Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
April 30, 2023

This Sunday:

Our Whole Lives—OWL

April 30, 2023 at 10:30 am

Recently finished teaching this comprehensive sexuality course at UU Berks, highly acclaimed instructors Amber Brown and Nic Stolzfus share what they learned from teaching the class.

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 Anh’s Anger words by Gail Silver, and illustrations by Christianne Kromer.
  • Soul Matters shares:  How can you resist being mad, sad, or anxious?  Find a quiet spot, sit, and breathe.  When you meditate every day, your mind stays happy, and even bad days are a little easier.  This happens to Anh in the story. 
  • Watch it here.  Or find it here.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: meeting room off gerber room.  (Teens welcome with accompanying parent/guardian)

  • Faith Formation – fifth Sunday in April: discussion based.  Do you have a topic you’d like to discuss?  email Ginny Chudgar (see directory for address)

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

Elementary Ages:  

  • On site: Kidspace Classroom 2nd floor * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming
  • Children’s RE – We make our RE poster for the upcoming month of May.  Soul Matter’s theme the path of Creativity.  

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

How are we navigating our faith and religion? 

10:30 – 12:00 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: meet to finalize your worship service you will lead on 5/7 and prep the sanctuary.

?? Mystery Pals ??

Week 3 of 6: registered participants have received information to send and receive correspondence!  What do you want to know next?

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.

Getting to Know South of Penn – April’s Special Plate Recipient

South of Penn consists of our immediate neighbors working to improve and appreciate where we reside.  Here are some projects for which South of Penn is making its mark.

Community Lot – Reading, Pennsylvania

A vacant lot in Reading, Pennsylvania, that was once full of

abandoned cars and trash now serves as a focal point for

neighbor-led programs, art, and activities for youth in the

community.  This efforts has led to the following:

  • The Community Lot has become a point of engagement for neighbors. 

  • Neighbors  feel safer in the neighborhood since the lot has been repurposed.

  • Appreciation has grown for persistence in working with local government.

  • Learning to start small and build from success works.

  • Including neighbors, even those who oppose a project, has elicited gradual support and built trust among neighbors.

Additional activities supported by South of Penn have included Easter Egg Hunts complete with a photo-op Bunny, free haircuts, free food and music; Fiesta de Navidad; Redevelopment of Reading Iron Playground; and other ongoing community transformations.  

Please consider a donation made payable to First UU Berks Church with the memo:  for South of Penn.  

Your Social Justice Coordinating Team

Sunday Volunteers: 
Greeters: Lauren and Jake F.
Ushers: Dennis W. & Lauren F.
Coffee Crew: Bonnie S. & Lynn O.

Contemplative Companions

Join us on Monday 5/1 @ 7:00pm via zoom. Contemplative Companions session. We will be reflecting on this month’s theme of creativity. In preparation for this month’s session: please select a ‘piece of art’ that is meaningful to you. You will be asked to share the story of what makes this ‘piece of art’ meaningful to you.
See the group email for more detailed guidance. For further information or to receive the zoom link, contact Nadine.


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

Mark your calendars for our Spring Congregational meeting. These bi annual meetings give our members an opportunity to find out the latest updates and vote on important issues. Please plan on attending Sunday, May 21st, following coffee hour.

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 Young to get your book. 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.

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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