Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
January 8, 2023

This Sunday:

Can the Center Hold?

January 8, 2023 at 10:30 am

It’s been a rough few years, and it would be reasonable to face 2023 with some trepidation. But we were made for this. Let us find and nourish our balance point — our quiet, glowing center — and from there, welcome this new year.

To attend on siteFULL VACCINATION STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages all those who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated, including boosters as appropriate.

MASKING RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages attendees at worship services and other large gatherings to wear masks.

To attend by Zoom, click on this link: uuberks.org/zoom-worship. (If this is the first time you’re using zoom, you may be prompted to download a launcher app).

To connect by phone (audio only):
1) Dial the phone number: 1-646-558-8656
2) When prompted for the “Meeting ID”, enter: 921 4271 5512#
3) When prompted for the “Participant ID”, enter: #

Please plan to arrive or log on by 10:20-10:25 am to enjoy the gathering music, and, for those on zoom, to establish a connection before worship is scheduled begins. Zoom participant mics are muted throughout the service.

This Weekend:

  • Tonight’s Story is The Me I Choose To Be Words by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley Art by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt
  • From Soulful Home – We can see the beautiful ways that we can find our multicultural center when we decenter whiteness. We can create a world in which all potential and possibilities are celebrated.  
  • Watch it here.  Or borrow it from your local library.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 
  • In Person: back chalice house room

  • Faith Formation Fall – This 1st week of our new year we focus on partner conversations.

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

Elementary Ages:  Onsite/Onlineemail Erin Connolly by Saturday noon if you’ll be attending online

  • On site: Kidspace Classroom 2nd floor * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming
  • Children’s RE – poster creation for January’s theme of Finding Our Center 

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

Long time member Jane Palmer, leads the morning in an exploration of making plans and how we can adapt when obstacles show up.

 Youth Group 

Grades 7th – 12:  Starts Next Week – look for email to group with Winter Calendar 

Monday – Thursday 

Weekly posts on our covenanted RE Facebook page
check out our Remind classroom.
If you need to signup link here: remind.com/join/refuucbc

Contemplative Companions – January 2023:

Join us on Sunday 1/8 @ 12:00pm for our first Contemplative Companion session for 2023. We will be meeting in person at church following the service, and some time at coffee hour. Participants are asked to bring a brown bag lunch and an object that represents your current spiritual life.

Feeding Families in Family Promise (Jan. 16-26)
The time has finally come!  Family Promise will be welcoming a third family into a new shelter home on Monday!!

A huge shout out to everyone that donated furniture, household items, and cleaning supplies to help make this house a home  We are extremely thankful for Dorothy DeLong and Janet Knudsen as they spent countless hours and energy on making this home look truly beautiful.  We can’t thank you enough- without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to provide this additional support to the community.  Pictures of the new shelter home are available.

Family Promise of Berks County’s ‘shelter house’ model has been very effective at helping families in a housing crisis. Families able to maintain some normalcy, learn homeownership skills, and save money. Many are ‘graduating’ and finding permanent housing in fewer than the 90 days allotted for the program.


Our congregation is one of eighteen around Berks County that provides meals or groceries to families temporarily living in ‘shelter houses’ operated by Family Promise.

We need you to drop off a meal or groceries on Wednesdays directly at the selected house at 6:00pm. Volunteers are encouraged to hand sanitize and wear a mask when handling food.

You can also mail gift cards for food and/or supplies directly to the Family Promise Office (325 N. Fifth Street, Reading, PA 19601) on Mon-Thur before 4:30PM. Call (610) 373-3323 to make sure someone is available.

If you have any questions, please call Carla.

SIGN UP FOR A MEAL TIME and see the wish lists:

2023 JANUARY Family Promise Meal/Grocery Drop-Off

Parking Update

Reading is changing its street parking procedure from meters to app only payments. Currently parking in front of the church is free during the week until further notice. Street parking is always free on Sundays and free parking is also available in the Library lot on Sundays. The parking garage does charge on Sundays. You can pay by the Parkmobile app or at the small payment station near the entrance of the parking garage (near the stairs)

Solar Panel Information Sessions

Mike M. from the Solar Team presented an update on the project during the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, December 11th. It was generally well received. In keeping with the presentation, we would like to offer follow up detailed presentations and discussions. We created a short online survey to help us find the best dates and we received 5 responses. Here are the 2 most popular options.

  • an in person event on Sunday, Jan 22 @ 12 PM in the meeting room at the back of the Chalice House
  • a online Zoom event on Tuesday, Jan 24 @ 7PM.  Here is meeting link: https://zoom.us/my/fuubc

Service Auction 2023 Update

This is not a joke: mark your calendars now, we have a date for the 2023 Service Auction: April Fool’s Day (Saturday, April 1st, 2023).  This year’s theme will be Here Comes the Sun  … I think it has something to do with the solar panels we are trying to add to our roof.  We are still working out all the details and we will be sharing them with you as they are finalized.  The Service Auction Team is looking for volunteers to help with the auction, watch for the sign up in the Univoice after the New Year.


The Service Auction Team

Finding Our Center

Happy New Year, everybody! May 2023 and its fresh-slate first month be the time
for finding our center.
A ritual I have often led around the New Year is called the Coffin and Cradle. It
was written by my colleague and friend, Rev. Barbara Child. Her intern, back in
the day, was Rev. Roberta Finkelstein, who taught me the ritual when I was
Roberta’s intern.

Reflecting on this ritual gave me the opportunity to think about how I look to get
centered. For me, I feel balance when I consciously connect to those around me–
when I see my life in its larger context. Centering on my identity as a UU minister,
I celebrate the lineage of rituals. How might you find your center?

The essence of the Coffin and Cradle ritual is that at the new year we are
encouraged to put into the coffin that which we need to leave behind us in the
previous year, thus the coffin metaphor. Likewise, a cradle metaphor, because in
the new year we could give birth to new dreams and plans.

In the search for finding our center, obtaining balance, we will continuously be
casting off old ideas and anything else that is not serving us any longer, balancing
that with decisions of taking on new visions, or not.

In some ways, the Cradle, that which you would like to birth this year, is like
making New Year’s resolutions, but with balance. The Coffin represents the
balance, finding that center, when we are capable of letting go.

Happy New Year and Happy Searching!

In peace,
Rev. Amy

Hide And Seek

Finding our Center can be a bit like hide and seek.   We need to seek out who we are.  Do we look around the corner or further down the hallway for the person hiding?

What do we love?  What makes us feel ecstatic?  What puts a smile on our faces? What feels like the right thing to do? What feels aligned with our values?

These are choices we can make every day.

Sometimes we need to hide.  To find a spot of quiet, be in protected space.

Where do we hide that will feel like the best spot?  If the person searching for us takes a while – what do we notice when we’re really quiet?  One time I was playing hide and seek with my niece and nephew.  The nibling doing the seeking was taking their sweet time and I was trying to be as quiet as possible, to occupy my waiting I started looking around my hiding place, between the wall and an open door.  I never had noticed the details in the door before.  The woodgrain was showing through behind the paint in interesting patterns.  Before too long my nibling found me and the game was set again.  This time I was the seeker in search of the hiding ones.

We seek, we find, we come to the center and we leave from that place ready to search anew.

May we all have some fun in learning what it means for us to find our center this month.

Your Director of Religious Education,

Ebee Bromley

take a moment

by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director

take a moment

to attend

to your breath

follow it in

all the way

to the center

of your being

then listen

to what it


in the ear

of your heart

on the way out

live that

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