Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
July 30, 2023

This Sunday:

“Mystery. . . Mystery. . .”

July 30, 2023 at 10:30 am 

UU’s claim, as a primary source, our “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit, and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.” Gathered here in the mystery of this Sunday hour, let’s take time to reflect on our experiences of mystery and wonder that have renewed our spirits and opened us to life.

Take action to protect yourself from Covid-19 based on local risk conditions.  

Feel free to wear a mask anytime.

FUUBC encourages all those who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated, including boosters, as appropriate.

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 of Lizard’s Song as told by musician at large and friend of UU, Lea Morris and Lea’s child.
  • Story and song from Lea Morris, how do we live into our authentic selves and celebrate our own blessings?


9:45 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: Back Chalice House 

  • Faith Formation – 5th Sunday in July: We lean into Mystery this morning.  We discuss what we’d like to lean into this Autumn in Adult RE.

  • One of the goals of the Adult RE program is to get to know each other better.  What fascinating people sit around our table and how much we have to learn from each other.  There’s a place for you at our table – or for this Sunday – our dance floor! 

  • email Ginny Chudgar for more info (see directory for address)

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE: Theatre Camp Summer!  

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

  • On site: Chalice House *airconditioned* 2nd floor * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming
  • Children’s RE – Summer Theater Camp series!  We play games, create costumes and have fun. *** reminder – you have homework this week – see remind or fb family group page

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

What does it mean to make friends with mystery?

10:45 – 11:45 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: we had a great year!  next meet up in September.

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: Dennis W. and Lisa F.
Ushers: Carol O. & Randy N.
Coffee Crew: RE Kids

Hello Everyone!

Keep your eyes out for an important survey to arrive in your email in the near future! Please fill out the survey so that we can compile the results about our congregation to share with prospective new ministers in our search.  We are excited to be at this stage of the process.
These next few steps involve our whole congregation.

Thank you for your very valuable time, perspective and participation!

The Ministerial Search Committee

If you have any questions please email g.minister.search@uuberks.org

A Friend In Need

Adanjesus Marin, a lifelong activist, was the lead organizer for Make The Road in Reading.  He worked closely with our congregation when we were supporting MTR on a variety of issues ranging from a municipal ID and driver’s licenses for people without papers to the initial organizing efforts at closing the detention center.  He was a frequent speaker at our anti-racism trainings and workshops. He accompanied Tonya Wenger and me to the General Assembly in 2018 in Kansas City to speak on a panel about the importance of white allies following the leadership of people of color on issues that involved their communities.

He is suffering from terminal cancer with a prognosis of less than a year.  The American “safety net” is failing him, as it has so many others. He had to struggle to get food stamps because they said he “couldn’t survive on what money he had.”  He finally won that.  But Social Security Disability is still delaying opening his case on various pretexts.  The latest demands for him to resubmit his paperwork included a deadline on the same date as the postmark of the letter, and then another one that his doctors resubmit their paperwork because “their signatures were illegible.”

In the meantime, he can’t make his rent for July as he has no income and it will be months before SSDI comes through when his case is finally opened.  He has asked for two things:  one, that if he touched you or improved your life in some way, that you let him know, and two, that if you can, that you help him financially in whatever amount that you can.

A paypal donation page has been set up for Adanjesus at this link  tinyurl.com/Donate4Adanjesus

The church will also collect donations that will be and mailed to Adenjesus. If you would like to donate by cash or check please make checks out to FUUBC with Adanjesus in the memo line or drop cash in a envelope marked for Adanjesus in the collection plate or the donation box in the Gerber room.

You can find him on facebook, or contact me at paturli50@gmail.com for well wishes. Please consider both of his requests:  Adan was an important part of our community while he was working in Reading.  While individually perhaps we cannot give much, what we give together can make a substantial difference for him.

Thank you,
Pat Uribe-Lichty

Reading Pride Festival 2023

Pride Fest – Reading, PA at Jim Dietrich Park  was a wonderful event for pride.  We could not have personally managed much of what was done, even though Louise and Melissa loaded Louise’s car with just about everything imaginable, it still required lugging heavy items and chairs (thanks Melissa and Ky), and even an extra canopy (Thanks, Frank) in order to set up for the day.

Did you know we made colorful sand sculpture heart necklaces at our table drawing in young and old alike at the creative suggestion of Melissa?  With rain predicted throughout, it turned out to be a gorgeous day with just enough spritzing rain to keep things fairly cool until later in the afternoon.

Amber, Nate, Sebastian, and Delilah Brown were everywhere and added much energy to UU Berks Table as well as Planned Parenthood in the adjacent spot.

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers who represented UU Berks with rainbows of welcome and kindness.  They include Melissa Medina, Ky Medina, Frank Wilder, Louise Lorenz, Dennis Williams, George McNulty, Jayne’ and Cesar Park-Martinez, with Altair, and Lyra, and Laura, Jeff and Amelia Carson.

I felt happy to be able to be there as well and when people commented on liking the Reading Pridefest, I was told it’s because it “feels relaxing, welcoming and open to all.”  I couldn’t agree more, and hope you will plan to attend next year.  It just keeps getting better!

Be Y., Social justice Coordinating Team

You can find photos from the event here. You’re welcome to download, print, and share them

Contemplative Companions

Contemplative Companions will be taking a summer hiatus in the months of July and August. We will be regathering on Monday 9/11 (note – this is the second Monday due to labor day). If you are interested in learning more about Contemplative Companions, please feel free to reach out to Nadine or Jane.

Social Justice Opportunities for Connection & Information

Mike and I have been members since 2004. As we prepare to go to General Assembly for the first time, we are learning about our extended UUA family. Here are some nuggets of knowledge that Randy and Carol opened our eyes to: First UU is in the Central East Region (CER) and our primary contact is Lenore Bajare-Dukes (she/her).Sign up for their Opportunities for Connection monthly newsletter to learn about events and programs on https://www.uua.org/central-east/blog

UU JusticePA is our legislative lobbying group that fights for policies and structural change. Sign up for one of their Justice Teams and talk to Carol Orts about their monthly calls that empower you to make a lasting impact. https://uujusticepa.org/justice-teams/

The 8th Principle Learning Community is a Facebookgroup of committed folks across the country who continue to learn how to accountably dismantle systems of oppression. Ask Pat and Maggie about how it has fed their spiritual growth.

Finally, we have our own internal community bulletin board. If you’d like to share some news with fellow congregants about something fun, curious, for sale, or for discussion, you can send an email to g.friends.of@uuberks.org and receive a daily digest only when someone posts a message. Join our First UU Berks internal listserve by emailing a request to admin@uuberks.org.

Once you’re connected with one of these groups, please share your insight and involvement with our First UU Social Justice Coordinating Team at g.social.justice@uuberks.org.  We’ll connect you with others of similar interests!

Greeter Volunteers Needed

I hope this mid spring beautiful weather is finding you all well!!

As we are all seeing new growth in nature in this season- I find that being of service is also a path to growth for us humans 🙂   We currently have a dedicated list of volunteers which is very much appreciated but as summer gets closer- I realize there are other adventures we will be heading out to do so there are currently a lot of open spots for the upcoming Sundays.  This is a wonderful way to connect with the rest of the community, get to know more about our amazing church and as an added bonus- gets you to church when sometimes you may not feel like getting out of your pajamas and hear the priceless messages in each of the services.

With this said- we need your help!!   If you are available or want to know more about being a greeter -please reach out to me by phone, text or email

Joanne K.

Food Bank

The Helping Harvest Food Bank is held at our church on the 3rd Saturday of each month. To prepare, we need to set up a “store” in the Gerber Room with tables and shelves starting 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 in our store. 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.

End of Summer Picnic

Mark your calendars now for the End of Summer Picnic on Sunday, August 27th at 12pm at Farming Ridge Park in Exeter. The picnic will begin after the worship service and there will be a basket raffle during the picnic. We will be sharing more information in the Univoice later this summer. We will need help organizing and running the picnic. I am hoping that Rev. Amy will lead us in an old-time worship service before the picnic that lasts 3-4 hours like our church used to have 100 years ago. As one of the co-chairs of the Picnic Committee, I decree that all the picnic volunteers will be officially excused so as to be able to help with the picnic.

Contact Frank W. if you are able to help or have questions/suggestions.

Handprint T-shirt Order

Have you seen our amazing congregation handprint canvas in the Gerber room? Now you can get it on a T-shirt for $20! You can pre-order a shirt for yourself now through May 21st on the order form in the Gerber room- find the shirt and you’ll find the form. Ask an RE volunteer for assistance.

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. to get your book. We look forward to lively discussions this summer.

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

Our Stories

In July and August, the Soul Matters group encourages us choose our own theme,
or even forego the thematic schedule. We decided to have a summer theme, for
July and August—Our Stories. Even as we welcome guests to the pulpit, stories
will abound. The act of coming together to hear the goings-on of other people,
other places, is a big part of human civilization. Our religions, too. How else do
we find out about the world unless diverse people share their stories?

In July and August, invite and bring friends. Most people who have had it in their
minds to find a church community for themselves or their kids “church shop” over
the summer. There was a time when “polite conversation” stayed away from
politics and religion, so it would seem awkward to push our religion on somebody
else. But it is no longer the 1950’s with those standards of etiquette. With religion
and politics being forefront in so many decisions effecting American families
today, UU Berks is the sanctuary for many people and their families that they do
not know exists.

This summer let your story include that time you were an evangelist and welcomed
that co-worker to UU Berks, or brought the neighbor, or drove your kid’s bestie to
church after a summer backyard campout. Create the church community you wish
to attend.
And, just because summer makes me think of all the prizes we got for attending
Vacation Bible School when I was a kid, there is now a prize closet for July and
August! But you must listen and be able to answer the questions! Come and
renew your faith by sharing it with others!

In peace and love
Rev. Amy

Exploring and Imagining at General Assembly

Here’s one one snapshot from General Assembly. In the pic, A young child participates in a General Assembly exhibition hall interactive display of the core values proposal. The picture here was shared with permission from our young UU’s mom.

This past week at General Assembly, thousands of UU’s from across the globe and many ages gathered to worship. We gathered to wonder. We gathered to explore what we as Unitarian Universalists believe. One way we did this was to vote on the process of updating what’s in Article two of the UUA’s bylaws to continue. Article two is the section that holds what have been called our principles and sources, although, they’ve had a few different names through the years since the Unitarians and Universalists merged into one faith in 1961.

We as members and friends of all ages at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County will have opportunities throughout our year together to explore what we as UUs believe here and now and how we articulate that to serve us for the next fifteen years or so. I’m excited to be on this journey of exploration and imagination with all at UUBerks.

Yours in faith and learning,

Ebee Bromley

Director of Religious Education

faithfully becoming

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director


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