Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
April 16, 2023

This Sunday:

Roots of Earth Day and of Flower Ceremony

April 16, 2023 at 10:30 am 

Today we honor our mother with the transformative love of the Flower Ceremony and celebrate Earth Day.  Bring flowers and take home different ones.  Bring a friend, too, to enjoy this meaningful day.

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 Whispering Town words by Jennifer Elvgren with illustrations by Fabio Santomauro
  • Soul Matters shares:  This is a story about neighbors in a small Danish fishing village who, during the Holocaust, shelter a Jewish family waiting to be ferried to safety in Sweden – based on a true story.  The town joined together to resist the ugly intentions of the Nazis to find and kill the Jews. 
  • Watch it here.  Or find it here.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: back craft room.  (Teens welcome with accompanying parent/guardian)

  • Faith Formation – Third Sunday in April: a preview of the post-coffee time workshop that Rev. Amy and Pat will be leading in the sanctuary.  The topic is the proposal that will be discussed at GA, to replace the  UU Principles with a statement of UU Values.

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

Elementary Ages:  Onsite/Onlineemail Ebee Bromley 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 explore the science of flowers and the ways they resist to thrive! 

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

This morning we celebrate what flowers can teach us as we approach Earth Day!

10:30 – 12:30 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: meet again in one week – April 23.

10:30 – Our Whole Lives: OWL, 4-6 

Session 10 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.

After Worship: Principles To Values

Rev Amy and Pat Uribe-Lichty lead participants in a workshop exploring our living faith tradition and what that can mean for our larger association and individual congregations.

?? Mystery Pals ??

Week 1 of 6: registered participants have received info to send their first correspondence!  What do you want to send to ‘Get to know you?’ 

The goal of this program is to build a relationship with Pals across generations, make a connection with them, and for participants kids and teens to know they are loved in their church community. 

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

April’s Special Plate Collection
This month our special plate collection will benefit South of Penn. 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 South of Penn in the memo line. 

For more information on South of Penn visit  https://www.facebook.com/southofpenntaskforce/

Sunday Volunteers: 
Greeters: Joanne K. & Stephanie H.
Ushers:     Jayne’ M. & Dennis W.
Coffee Crew: Corinne H. & Heidi S.

This Sunday: Meeting to Discuss Proposed Changes to the 7 Principle

The Article 2 Commission is proposing to change the 7 Principles into 6 values. They met with over 4000 UU’s and found that these six values were, in one word or a similar one, held by a large number of us.  A link to a video about the change can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPQmvlMBUOg   (Minutes 22:04  -29:03) There is also an article about the proposal in this month’s UU World.  

Your delegates to GA this year will be voting on a first vote to adopt the proposal. If it passes by a one half majority. it will come up for a final vote in 2024 when it must pass by a two-thirds vote. We would like to have a sense of where the congregation is on this issue.

We will meet to discuss this after service in April 16th In person and via zoom.
Please plan on attending! 

Proposed  hanger to UUA’s  Principles and Purposes. 
Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant.
As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. We draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of love.
Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love. 
 Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:
Interdependence. We honor the interdependent web of all existence.
We covenant to cherish Earth and all beings by creating and nurturing relationships of care and respect. With humility and reverence, we acknowledge our place in the great web of life, and we work to repair harm and damaged relationships.
Pluralism. We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture, experience, and theology.
We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.
Justice. We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive.We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.
Transformation. We adapt to the changing world.
We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically.
Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.
Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope. We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.
Equity. We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness.
We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.

Mystery Pals

Please join this exciting new program connecting our children and youth with adults in the congregation! Adult Pals who register will be assigned to a registered child. Adults will commit to sending at least one correspondence per week over the 6 weeks of the program. Over the length of the program, Mystery Pals will send letters, emails, drawings, cards, and perhaps small gifts or treats to each other. For safety, parents will be informed of their child’s assigned Pal. Parents of other children are welcomed to register and be assigned to a child that is not theirs. Mystery Pals will be revealed on May 21st. What a way to celebrate our community before our congregational meeting 🙂

The mystery only lasts a little while, but the friendship can be much longer!

Register to be a Pal here: https://uuberks.org/Mystery_Pals


Dear Members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County,

As we progress through Phase Two of the Settled Ministry Search Process, the congregation will participate in selecting the Search Committee (SC) members. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has refined and recommended a specific process to accomplish this important work. UUBerks leadership has embraced, tailored, and will execute this process within the next few weeks.

According to the UUA, using the recommended process provides good results with high respect and trust for both the SC and leadership. A synopsis of the process is as follows:

  • Leadership will phone each household to have a conversation, ultimately asking for recommendations for the search committee.

  • Recommendations will be recorded.

  • The most frequently listed names will become the short list of candidates for the SC.

  • Board members will call the short-listed candidates to see if they are interested in serving. Commitment and availability will be discussed.  Candidates who are sitting members of the board or M&O team would have to vacate those positions.

  • Candidates will create a Bio and statement of why they wish to serve on SC.

  • A vote for the slate of candidates will occur during a congregation meeting by early June.

Please consider the following questions while determining whom you recommend serving on the SC.

•What qualities are needed for someone to serve on a ministerial search committee? 

• Who in the congregation works well with others?

 •Who can represent and serve the whole congregation well, including our children and youth?

• Who knows (or can learn) the history and culture of the congregation, whether it is a member long-standing or relatively new? Who can use this history proactively? 

• Who has been and/or is active in the congregation and has demonstrated responsible participation and leadership? 

We hope you will take the time to have a meaningful conversation with leadership. If you are unavailable to talk when the call is placed, please be certain to return the call to the Board or M&O member that contacted you. It is imperative that we have each member’s input during this selection process. And please feel comfortable asking questions- if we don’t know the answer, we will research it and get back to you.

Respectfully Submitted by the Board serving you,

Ramona McCormick, President                           Nic Stoltzfus, Member at Large

Amber Brown, Vice President                               Mike Mannix, Member at Large

Greg Dimovitz, Secretary

Current Revolution Film Screening

“We are a nation in transition.” The shift from fossil fuels to clean energy is rapidly transforming the energy industry with profound impacts on workers and communities. How can we ameliorate the disruptions and facilitate a just and sustainable transition?   

Here is a link to the movie trailer.  We will be holding a free film screening of Current Revolution: Nation in Transition on Thu, April 20, 7:00pm – 9:30pm in the church sanctuary. This event is part of the Faith Climate Action Week, April 14-23 2023.

Member Spotlight:

On May 23rd, longtime members Nelson and Caroline Simonson will be celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. If you would like to send a card or letter please send them to: (call the office for the address)

Do you have our latest Church Directory?
If you are in need of a church directory, please email Melissa at office@uuberks.org for a PDF copy or a hard copy to be mailed to you.

Would you like to deepen your connection to members of our church community?

The Eighth Principle Committee invites you to read What Does It Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo and then share your reactions to this important work in conversations with others, starting in July.  This is an opportunity to build community by telling stories and grappling with societal oppression. We have a limited number of copies available for $12.  Please contact Be Y. We look forward to lively discussions this summer.

Food Bank

The Helping Harvest Food Bank held at our church on the 3rd Saturday of each month, is on 4/15/23. 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 the Solar Team.

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)

Resistance is our theme, resilience is our goal

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  (There is argument over who gets the attribution for this quote, but it is a good thought, eloquently stated)

Being involved in resistance against evil simply means doing something instead of nothing.  Resistance against evil might take some of us out onto front lines of a big battle.  But resistance also looks like refusing to think ill of somebody.  Or choosing to adapt your comfortable language to incorporate phrases or pronouns that require some work, some practice, some discomfort.  Resistance means not being idle or oblivious to encroaching evil, in whatever ways we can.

Resistance is both individual and corporate, to be examined then practiced as we can.  Usually when we realize that something is making its way into the midstream that has potential for harm, or might even have that feeling of being evil, we have to ask ourselves, individually and in a group, what will we believe?  What actions will we support and which will we resist?  And how will we resist?  Being a religious person does not mean being nice and friendly—yes, we may be nice, but it means knowing how to mount resistance against our family, friends, neighbors, and ourselves being mistreated.

Why might we be thinking about resistance, as a congregation?  While there are many answers to that query, let me give just a few ideas.  The three holidays at the beginning of April are all about resisting oppression, however different the forms or oppressors.  Ramadan for Muslims, Passover for Jews, and Good Friday and Easter for Christians all call their people to be resilient.  As Unitarian Universalists, we are bound together in our resistance to oppression.  Working together, holding a common view of freedom, is how we faithfully resist.

This month, bring a friend to any or all of the services, so that they might feel buoyed in their own journeys.  None of us is alone.

In peace with love,

Rev. Amy


Here’s a song in our hymnal that grew out of the Carlsbad Decrees in Germany, around the 1840s. It made it’s way into our hymnal, published close to 30 years ago in 1993 under the section ‘The Life Of Integrity’ as #291 Die Gedanken Sind Frei.

It became popular just eight years after it’s first round in the zeitgeist during the German Revolution. And again it sprang forth in Germany through the 1930s and 1940s. Rev Kimberley Debus writes in her blog, Notes From the Far Fringes, there was ‘at least one example of Nazi resistance, a member of the White Rose Resistance (Sophie Scholl) would play the song on her flute outside the prison where her father had been detained for calling Hitler ‘a scourge of God.’ ”

What thoughts do you resist? What thoughts do you embrace?

Take a listen to singers from The Community Church of Chapel Hill and pick out the line that helps you resist:

#291 Die Gedanken Sind Frei

translation of verse 1 is by Arthur Kevess and new lyrics from Elizabeth Bennett

Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts freely flower.
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
no one can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

My thoughts are as free as wind o’er the ocean,
and no one can see their form or their motion.
No hunter can find them, no trap ever bind them:
my lips may be still, but I think what I will.

A glimmering fire the darkness will brighten;
my soaring desire all troubles can lighten.
Though prison enfold me, its walls cannot hold me:
no captive I’ll be, for my spirit is free.


soften open yield

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

into the world
this day
i elect
to step softly
upon concrete
and asphalt
with people
i pass
on the street
to drivers
racing through
red lights
to brace
or harden
i choose a
that seeks to

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