Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
March 5, 2023

This Sunday:

State of the Congregation

March 5, 2023 at 10:30 am 

We use this time for a spiritual wellness check-up about the progress of UU Berks through the transitional time in ministry. Rev. Amy will also share her observations on the gathering of the historical timeline.

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 Brave Little Parrot words by Rafe Martin, from a Budhist Jataka tale.
  • Soul Matters shares: “When a raging fire threatens to burn down the forest, all of the animals run away in fear. All except for one brave little parrot, who has an idea. Help me, she cries to the elephants, beseeching them to fill their trunks with water to spray on the flames. Help me, she begs the cheetahs, even as they urge her to flee and save herself. But the brave little parrot will not be daunted. Can the determination and courage of one small bird be enough to save a forest? Finding hope in one’s heart.”
  • Watch it here (start at min 3:14).  Or find it here.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: gerber room meeting room 

  • Faith Formation – the first Sunday in March, we will be engaging in partner conversations with a topic suggested Ebee,

  • 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 – Vulnerability is a sometimes known as ‘a leap of faith’.  We’ll play some leaping games and create our Soul Matters Poster together for the month.  

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

What do we know so far – 6 months into our interim ministry time.  

10:30 –  Youth Group 

Grades 7th – 12:  back on March 12.    

10:30 – Our Whole Lives: OWL, 4-6 

Session 5 of 10:  This ten-workshop curriculum is designed to help children ages nine through twelve to gain the knowledge, life principles, and skills they need to understand and express their sexuality in holistic, life-enhancing ways. Like the other Our Whole Lives programs for different age groups, this comprehensive, developmentally appropriate program introduces key topics like values, body image, gender and sexual identity, peer pressure, and healthy relationships with sensitivity and inclusiveness, yet without specifically religious doctrine or reference. There is a mandatory parent/child orientation.

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

Sunday Volunteers: 
Greeters: Joanne K & Dennis W
Ushers: Carol O & Randy N
Coffee Crew: Stephanie E and Mark B

Contemplative Companions

Join us on Monday 3/6 @ 7:00pm via zoom when we will gather for contemplative reflection and sharing around this month’s theme of vulnerability. For further information, including the zoom link, contact Nadine.

Attention Giant Shoppers! Did you know you can shop at Giant and make money for the Church at no cost to you?

FUUBC is part of the Giant charitable grocery scrip program that gives 10% of all gift cards sold back to our church. You can purchase cards as needed or sign up for a monthly gift card order that will be sent directly to your home the first week of each month.

When you receive your order you will also receive a return envelope to mail your check to the church. Checks can also be dropped in the Gerber room drop box or in the plate collection. Checks should be made out to FUUBC with giant card in the memo line.

If you would like to purchase Giant cards please return the form below to Melissa at office@uuberks.org. One time cards can also be purchased from Melissa at coffee hour twice a month.

Giant cards are available in $50 and $100 increments.

Giant Card Form

Save the Date

Mark your calendars: Our FUUBC 2023 Service Auction is on Saturday, April 1st.  This year, the live auction is an in-person event!!! But just like last year, we will be using the Auctria website to host the silent auctions. Watch the Univoice for more details in the coming weeks.

Here is the link to the auction website: https://uuberks.org/service-auction

We are currently taking donations for the auction: service auctions only work if there are items to bid on and people participate. If you click on the link above, you will be taken to our auction website. Once the home page loads, you will see a menu across the top of the page (look for the line with “Home”, “Donation Ideas”, “Donate an Item”,…).  To make a donation, click on the “Item Donations” link on the menu and a new page will open. The top of the page has a list of people that have made a donation. If you scroll down the page a bit, you will see the donation form.

On the first page of the form, you can enter the title for your donation (example: “1 hour of weeding”), a short description and some other details about the donation. Notice the red asterisks next to the title entry field: the asterisks signifies that the field cannot be empty. On the first page, the “Title” is the only required field.

When you click on the “Continue to item images” button at the bottom of the form, you will be taken to a page where you can upload a picture of your donation. Click on the “select files to upload” link in the middle of the page to add a photo from your computer. We will use the photo in the catalog to help advertise your item.  Photos are optional: you do not have to perform this step.

When you are ready to move onto the next page, click on the “Continue to donor details” button on the bottom of the page and the donor detail page will open. There are only 2 required fields on this page: your name and your email address. You may want to also include your home address information just in case you purchase something at the auction that will be delivered.

Click on the “submit donation” button at the bottom of the page to submit your complete donation. A short time later a member of the Service Auction Committee will review your donation and send you a confirmation email. If you would like to donate an additional item, click on the “Donate another item” button on the bottom of this page: you will be taken back to the first page of the donation form.

Finally, the auction needs you! This is your time to share items to bid on and join in to make it happen. Find an area where you can help and sign up here:  UU Church Service Auction Helpers – April 1, 2023.  Questions and suggestions? Email g.service.auction@uuberks.org  Let’s make this another great auction!

Are you curious what it would be like to be with UUs from all over the country and continent, right in our backyard?   Make sure to register for General Assembly happening this June from the 21st – 25th!  You can register for a day, a few days or full meeting. Check out https://www.uua.org/ga for more information.

Solar Panel System

Net Metering

In most states you can receive credit for any excess electricity your solar panels generate that you feed back in the electrical grid. This is called Net Metering.

When the solar panels are producing more electricity than what is being used in the building, the electricity will flow back into the grid. The electrical company will keep track of the electricity going back into the grid. At the end of the billing period, the electrical company subtracts the electricity you generated from what you used. If you generated more electricity than what you used, the generation charge on your bill will be 0 and you will receive credits that you can use during a future billing cycle.

Here in the northern United States, solar panels generate the most electricity around the month June when there is a lot of daylight. Around December when there are fewer hours of daylight and the sun is low in the sky, they generate less electricity. Once we have the solar system this means that from April through August, we probably won’t have a generation charge on our bill and we will be receiving credits that we can use to lower our bills from October through March. This also means that during the summer when we are using a lot of electricity to cool the building, most of that energy will be coming from the solar panels. If you have any questions about the solar project, send us an email at g.solar.team@uuberks.org.  Watch the Univoice for updates.

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)


Truth can be shared with anybody, and honesty is good.  Most of philosophy involves pondering if Truth is an objective value, or subjective.  People tell THE truth and that is called honesty.  But when people share THEIR truth, expressing their innermost, private truths, well, that is vulnerability.

While telling the truth can lead to trouble, typically the truth is factual, and so any attacks made on the truth teller will be about the facts.  But when a person is vulnerable and shares their truth, any attack on the truths shared are aimed directly at the person, for who they are.

Vulnerability is important to building relationships because, while we get to know each other in many ways, sharing the deepest part of us is best shared with folks we trust.  That trust-building through being vulnerable is tricky, because it leaves us open to risk and hurt.  This is why vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness;  it takes great courage to risk being rejected or laughed at or not believed or supported because we dared to share what our own truth is.

Religious communities, at best, are places to be vulnerable, to take risks.  It is a deep honor to deeply know another person and what is in their hearts.  Being vulnerable, thoughtfully sharing truths that will be held carefully and solemnly by others, is how we build Beloved Community.  Obviously, other means help as well, like laughing together or engaging in common work, but our truths make us who we are.  While we should be honest with everyone, we can choose when to be vulnerable and with whom.

This month I encourage all of us to look inside.  Decide how vulnerable you feel like being in any given moment, and then check your courage level and see if maybe you might have a little more.  Share your truths and be known.  Take the risk, or be the support for another person who is clearly trying out their vulnerability levels.  We are all in this together, and love is always worth the risk.

In peace with love,

Rev. Amy

Choosing Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity.” Brené Brown

Taking in Brown’s quote on vulnerability this month my mind turned to a story.  Do you remember hearing the story of The Mish Mashed Heart?  In the story, a young child, Milly, works diligently at an all church craft event.  Everyone there was encouraged to design a heart with the materials before them.  So Milly sets out to create her most perfect heart.  When she was done with it, Milly’s heart even had glitter in the shape of diamonds all around the outside.

As Mily was helping clean up she noticed an elder sitting at a nearby table.  This elder’s heart was all mish-mashed.  It looked a mess, there were colors that didn’t go together and parts that were wrinkled and the glue was just all over the place – there even was a little hole in the heart!

Thinking something was wrong, Mily went over and asked her elder if she could help fix this heart.  The elder smiled, thanked Mily but explained that there was nothing wrong with his heart.  It merely revealed all the things that happened to him in his life so far.  He pointed out all the beautiful parts and shared what he recalled.  Mily wasn’t satisfied with this – “But what about all the rips and wrinkles?” Well those were from the times that his heart broke and also the times that he met important people to him. “In fact, every time a person comes into my life that I care about,” he explained, “they take a piece of my heart with them”

This all felt very scarry to Mily – “But what happens if you give it all away?” she asked.  “You’ll be left with nothing.”

“Ah, but you see, no I won’t,” the elder replied.  “Because you see, sometimes they give me a piece of theirs as well.”

And in that moment Mily, held her beautiful, perfect heart with the glitter and designs she worked so hard to make.  She looked over at the elder’s mish-mashed one with all the wrinkles and jagged colors and rips.  In that moment Mily chose to rip a piece of her perfect heart and then handed it to the elder.

“Thank you,” the elder said as he placed it with his mish-mashed heart and tore off a piece of his to hand to Mily.

We have unique opportunities at church this spring to choose vulnerability.  To choose to break our own hearts open.  Where will you choose to do so? Where have you chosen to do so? Has it been in OWL? Did you feel a bit vulnerable choosing to try out UUBerks in the first place?

Maybe you might choose to attend one of our Family taking flight sessions in March?  Or possibly you will take a risk and sign up for our new Mystery Pals Program starting this April.  We’re looking forward to sharing more about Mystery Pals soon.

Can’t wait to see what you choose and witness what our collective heart will become this March as we focus on what it means to travel the path of Vulnerability!

With Faith and in Community,



by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

each heartbeat
each breath
each moment
a gift
not a given
how much to care
what to share
when to dare
the gift
heart open
embracing other
courageous action
the gift is given
for the living

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