Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
September 3, 2023

This Sunday:


Wear pink and bring your Ken-ergy to this last Sunday of Summer worship services.  Rev. Amy takes us on a journey of memory and appreciation.  P.S.  Sept. 10 is Water Ingathering so collect your sacred offering!


This Weekend:

  • This month’s story is The Cracked Pot, a wisdom tale from India.  

  • Our theme this month is the Gift of Welcome.  Explore this through a story that gives us an example of welcoming things just as they are and how nourishment comes from many sources and places. 


9:45 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: Back Chalice House 

  • Faith Formation in August: We explore feminism today & toxic masculinity through the lens of our UU Values

  • 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.

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

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE: We Learn about Water Communion  

Elementary Ages:  Onsite

  • On site: Chalice House *air conditioned* 2nd floor * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming

  • Children’s RE – We hear the story of the Cracked Pot and create art with water.

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

We meet together to sing, to reflect, and to explore our world. 

10:45 – 11:45 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: we had a great year!  next meet up September 16th at the Stolzfus homestead.

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: Lisa F. & Jim B.
Ushers: Randy N. and Joanne K.
Coffee Crew: Dave and Wendy W. 

Hello Everyone!  

First, much heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have returned your surveys.  If you have yet to do this, please do!  We would like as thorough and complete a picture of our congregation’s feedback as possible. The search committee team is working our way through a packet of  tasks/steps given by the UUA that will culminate in our being ready to present our congregation for our ministerial search.  In the near future, you will be able to see a timeline of these tasks/steps on our website if you wish to follow along.

So far, we have formed our search committee team, attended the work retreat with the UUA facilitator, and sent out the survey which you received.   Our committee has divided the many tasks, and is meeting bi-weekly to ensure that we are able to accomplish everything that is needed by the deadlines. We are working diligently! We are now ready to begin having Small Group Meetings. 

Small Group Meetings are another way for the congregation to share information about their hopes and dreams about a new minister.  They give our congregants the opportunity to share information about how we see a successful fit, what we feel needs to be conveyed about our congregational culture, as well as more specific detail, in some cases.  Some of the small group meetings will be open for any congregation member, while some will be for focused committees or staff. Some will be in person, and others will be offered virtually.  

So stay tuned!  These are great opportunities to share your ideas. You will see more to come about the specifics around scheduling.  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any members of the search committee team, or email us here: g.minister.search@uuberks.org

Thank you for your trust.  We are honored to share in this process with you. 
Your Ministerial Search Committee  
(Randy, Nadine, Carla, Pat, Jim, Lauren)


Contemplative Companions

Join us on Monday 9/11 @ 7:00pm via zoom for our Contemplative Companions. We begin this season of contemplative gatherings by welcoming our memories of Tracie, and celebrating all that she brought to our circle, our lives and our community.  For further information or to receive the zoom link, contact Nadine.

Please Give Us Your Clothes!!!!

(Well, not the ones you are wearing…) those that you no longer need, and wish to recycle back into our local community for good! This will help to sustain the children, women and men of the Hope Rescue Mission shelter communities! 

Through the month of September, we will be collecting your gently used clothing in the Gerber Room.  At the end of the month, we will deliver them to help Hope Rescue MIssion. This is a great opportunity to practice recycling what still has valuable use, right back into our Reading community to share with our local brothers and sister. Please be sure that clothing is clean and in good repair.  

Any questions, please ask Be Y. or Lauren F.

Thank you for your kindness!! 

Your Social Justice Committee

Visit Isaac’s to help kick off CROP Walk Campaign!

One of the ways First UU supports anti-hunger efforts is through the annual Reading-Berks CROP Walk. A quarter of the funds raised stay local with the Berks Schuylkill Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank, which benefits the monthly food pantry sponsored by our congregation. First UU is a sponsor of the Reading-Berks CROP Walk, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 8, at Gring’s Mill along the Tulpehocken Creek. You can join the team or donate to it by going to the URL, https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2023 and enter “First UU Berks County” in the Search box. Questions can be directed to team captain Jim B.

The Reading-Berks walk is having a kickoff event on Thursday (7 September) at the Isaac’s in Spring Ridge, 94 Commerce Drive, Wyomissing. The CROP Walk earns 15% of your order (if you order online, enter “Fund” in the box on the payment page).

Thanks for your consideration and we’ll to see you as part of the team on Oct. 8!

275th Anniversary Historic Church Walking Tour

This year is the City of Reading’s ‘bicenterquasquigenary’ – or 275th anniversary. As part of the celebration there will be a self-guided Historic Church Walk on Saturday, September 16th from 1-4 PM. Our church is on the tour!

We need your help!

  • On Sunday, September 10th at 12 noon, we will be weeding the gardens to make sure the outside of the church looks its best.
  • On Saturday, September 16th, we need a few volunteers to help answer questions and keep an eye on visitors during the tour.

Sign up here to volunteer for either or both days.   https://uuberks.org/275_church_walk

Thank you for your support

We are UUBerks 2023

 Enjoy some photos from our 2023 End of Summer Picnic 

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 U.

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.

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 at youngry2725@gmail.com 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

September’s theme is Welcome

I have thoughts to share on the verb and adjective, welcome.
When you walk into my house there is a Cross-Stitch that says Witamy.  In Polish, it means welcome.  I got the cross stitch from my dad’s house after he died and I do not know of its origin;  it was just always there.
In the musical, Cabaret, the MC sings “Willkommen” whose lyrics say welcome in many languages, besides its German title.
We roll out the welcome mat, literally and figuratively, when receiving visitors.
In decades past, neighborhoods would have Welcome Wagons show up to welcome new neighbors.
In UU circles, it sometimes refers to our curriculum, Welcoming Congregations, which teaches congregations how to be more inviting and safe—more welcoming—to people who are LGBTQ+ , many of whom are deciding if we will become their spiritual community.
Clearly, the concept of welcoming people is everywhere, in all places and times.  The customs will differ, but the idea of welcoming in visitors, even strangers, is a human trait.
With the beginning of the church year, coinciding with a typical school year, welcome is on our minds, as it always is at new beginnings.  This year I invite a new way to think of this time-honored tradition of WELCOME.  Rather than it being a verb, to welcome somebody, turn it into an adjective that describes how it feels to be in that group, or in that place.
After years of being isolated from each other because of Covid, after years of living in a nation fractured by vastly differing politics, after years of cultural shifts around so many human issues…..when do you, yourself, truly know you are welcomed?  When and where do you know that you can help somebody feel truly, fully welcomed somewhere?  
My invitation is this:  After the introduction, keep asking what would make somebody feel welcome (adjective) which is more than welcomed (verb) and then do it.  Or even, let yourself state what you would need to be welcome, even if you have been in the group for years.  

Welcome back to church!
In peace,
Rev. Amy

this moment

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

in this
as it is
as you are




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