Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
March 26, 2023

This Sunday:

Van Gogh’s Humanity

March 26, 2023 at 10:30 am 

March 30 is the birthday of the artist; may we appreciate his legacy and delve into his spirituality this morning.

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 Desmond Gets Free words by Matt Meyer
  • This past Sunday’s Time for All Ages was written by Matt Meyer. “The Big Bang” isn’t yet published, but his book, “Desmond Gets Free,” recently won a Nautilus award for social justice in children’s fiction. You can check it out here.” or request it from our RE library.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: gerber room meeting room 

  • Faith Formation – Last Sunday in March, book prompt.

  • *Teens welcome with accompanying parent/guardian

  • 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 –  We learn about Transgender Day of Visibility and share the story “When Aiden became a Big Brother.”

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

We lift up the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh.  

10:30 –  Youth Group 

Grades 7th – 12:  back on March 12. 

10:30 – Our Whole Lives: OWL, 4-6 

Session 8 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.

12 – 1:30: Family OWL – taking flight session II 

Church member and nurse practitioner, Cyndi Dimovitz, leads parents in session II of II in our parents and caregivers as primary sexuality educators series. Prior registration required.

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

March’s Special Plate Collection
This month our special plate collection will benefit Planned Parenthood. Checks may be mailed into the church, put in the collection plate or dropped on the wooden box in the Gerber room, throughout the month. Checks should be made out to FUUBC with Planned Parenthood in the memo line. 

Sunday Volunteers: 
Greeters: Liz E. and Joanne K.
Ushers:  Joanne K. and Lauren F.
Coffee Crew: Carole & Stephanie H.

Week 1 of the Silent Auction is starting soon, on Saturday, March 26th.  We will be using the online auction website again this year to host the silent auction for two weeks (Mar 26 – Apr. 8).  The Live Auction will be held next Saturday, April 1st. in the church and over Zoom.

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

You will need to register and purchase a $10 ticket to be able to bid on Silent & Live Auction items. A single ticket can be shared by everyone in your household to bid on Silent Auction items, but you will need a ticket for each adult attending the Live auction in the church. If you just want to watch the Live auction over Zoom, there is no fee.

There will be a dedicated Silent Auction page on the auction website where you can view the different items and place bids, if you have registered and purchased a $10 ticket. The first one will open on Saturday, March 26th at 12:01 PM.  and close late on the afternoon of Saturday, Apr 1st. The second one will open on Sunday, Apr. 2nd, and close 1 week later.   Once the silent auction is open, you will be able to access the silent auction page on our auction web site at the link above, or you can use the Auctria Mobile Bidding App (Android version,  Apple Version), Just like on the website, with the Auctria app on your smartphone you will be able to browse the catalog and place bids.  For those power users out there, you will also be able to use the app to place bids directly on Live Auction items, while you watch the Live Auction on Zoom on your desktop/laptop/tablet.

We are still looking for volunteers to help with the Service Auction. If you’re interested in helping to decorate, set up, or donate finger foods, please sign up here.

Contemplative Companions

Join us on Sunday 4/2 @ 12:00pm for an in person Contemplative Companions session. We will be meeting in person at church after the service (and giving participants some time enjoy coffee hour). Participants are asked to bring a brown bag lunch. For further information contact Nadine.

Food Bank

The Helping Harvest Food Bank held at our church on the 3rd Saturday of each month, is tomorrow (Sat., March 18). To prepare, we need to set up a “store” in the Gerber Room with tables and shelves around 8:30 AM. We will receive a delivery truck from Helping Harvest around 9:30 AM, which contains hundreds of pounds of food that must be carried in from the street. We will unbox all of the items and place them on the tables and shelves. Once the “store” is ready, we will guide families through it, one or two at a time, and assist them in selecting items that they can take home for free. Afterwards, we will break down all of the boxes and put away the tables and shelves.

We require many volunteers to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Currently, we are in need of more help. Would you be able to spare a few hours on Saturday morning to assist us? Typically, things are slow until the delivery truck arrives, so we could use more help with unloading, managing the different food areas in the “store” and cleaning up afterwards. Last month we were done before 12 noon. If you have any questions, please contact Frank W.

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 Update:

The project is progressing smoothly, and we have made significant strides in the last week. One of our tasks was to determine the ideal location for the safety disconnect switch and combiner box. The disconnect switch is an on/off switch that is typically used during maintenance work on the solar panels. However, it is also crucial for first responders in the event of a fire to shut everything down. Thus, it must be mounted on the outside of the building, and we found a suitable location on the South wall of the Gerber Room within the library’s fenced-in parking area. The area is accessible via a fire department lockbox on the gate to the parking lot and we should be able to access it through the fence.

The combiner box has multiple functions. It serves as a waterproof junction box for all the different wires from the solar panels, linking them to a single cable running to the breaker box in the church basement. Additionally, with a microinverter system like ours, it acts as a communication gateway. The combiner box monitors the solar panel output and uploads the data to a webpage accessible via the internet. To connect the combiner box to our network, we will need an Ethernet cable. While Wi-Fi can also be used, our signal is weak when measured from outside the building near the church parking lot. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at g.solar.team@uuberks.org.

Current Revolution Film Screening

Share the exciting news of the transition to clean energy with your congregation with a series of short films called Current Revolution, this year’s featured film of Faith Climate Action Week in April. These films show the possibility of a just transition to a clean energy economy where the well-being of workers and frontline community members is valued, instead of neglected. Trailer at https://youtu.be/gc6lKf2-KpU

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

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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