Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
September 24, 2023

This Sunday:


Shine On Beautiful & Resilient People 

September 24, 2023 at 10:30 am 

Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries

Shine on resilient and beautiful people with DRUUMM for our annual public worship featuring a festival of Black and Brown joy and resilience through original works of music and preaching. Musical director Amanda Thomas and guest minister Rev. Katie Romano Griffin are joined by gifted black and brown colleagues from across UU-verse to help bring some shine to your day including The Rev. Dr. Kristen Harper, Nasreen Khan, and Cassie Montenegro. We will feature original works of music, prayer, and poetry.

 Rev. Katie Romano Griffin, Guest Preacher

 Amanda Thomas, Musical Artist and the DRUUMM Choir

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:

  • 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. 


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: chalice house craft room 

  • Faith Formation in August: We get to chat with the ministerial search committee as they develop our congregation’s ‘dating packet’ for a new settled minister.

  • 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: The Gifts of Our Faith – 2 classes

Elementary Ages:

  • Lower elementary: The Work of Wider Welcome – welcoming our appetites

  • Upper Elementary: The Work of Wider Welcome – welcoming serving our friends

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

We share songs, words and hearts that bring joy. 

10:30-12 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: this week enjoy worship. We meet next as a cohort on October 1 from 10:30-12, helping to build UUBerks’ profile for our ministerial search with a visit from the search committee.

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

September’s Share the Plate recipient in Helping Harvest Food bank.
Helping Harvest supplies food to numerous food pantries in Berks County included our own. Donations can be made in this Sundays collection plate or by mailing a check to the church made out to FUUBC with Helping Harvest in the memo line.Upcoming Share the Plate Recipients:
October: Safe Berks
November: Berks Coalition to End Homelessness

Religious Exploration Kicksoff!

Registration is open now for our program year. We have some exciting things planned and look forward to what will emerge as we seek, nurture and serve together this year!

We know that family’s plans change from year to you – make sure you fill out this year’s info for you:

To let us know how you plan to engage with our programs this year please visit. https://uuberks.org/Registration

Registered families will receive occasional goodies and treats like invitations to events, seasonal updates on what we’re programming together this year.

Check out what’s in the works here. Our offerings depend on the congregation and on participating families to happen. If you want to be part of shaping programming or can lend a hand to help make them happen, please email Ebee: director.religious.education@uuberks.org

Sunday Volunteers:
Greeters: Dennis W. & Carol O.
Ushers: Randy and Johnathan N.
Coffee Crew: RE Kids

Tour de PAC Cyclists at Our Church

On Monday, September 25th, we will be hosting cyclists from Tour de PAC, a bike tour that travels from frontline community to frontline community to collect testimony from people impacted by climate change. Their final stop will be the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence in Harrisburg on October 1st .If you are a cyclist and would like to participate in the ride to their next stop in Pottstown, let me know.

We will be having a potluck dinner with the cyclists at 6PM, followed by an ad hoc discussion. Everyone is invited! If you are able to attend, please sign up in the Dish to Share section of the signup sheet. Questions and concerns can be forwarded to Frank W. at frank.wilder@uuberks.org. We hope to see you there.

Join with our fellow Universalists!

FUUBC is one of just 6 congregations in Pennsylvania with Universalist origins, and the fall meeting of the Trustees of the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention (TPUC) is where we stay in touch with that heritage. Come for all or part of the activities on Saturday, 14 October…

8 a.m.   Registration at church

8:30 to 11 a.m. TPUC Annual Membership Meeting,Worship Service and Business Session, Memorials to FUUBC member Nelson Simonson and Arnold “Brad” Bradburd

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Complimentary Lunch in FUUBC Gerber Room

1:45 to 5 p.m. Delegate Activities

6 p.m. Catered Buffet Dinner at $30 per adult, $10 per child in FUUBC’s Gerber room (please rsvp with dinner registration form below by 9/26)

7:30 p.m. Professional singer-songwriter from FUUBC
Dan Hauk will provide songs and messages

Dinner Registration form https://docs.google.com/document/d/161A-shRUJtSOxc9zwYEJzIR8KD8PESk2D3cRdC0Wlks/edit?usp=sharing

Please Give Us Your Clothes!!!!

Last call to bring in your gently used clothes for the Fall Clothing Drive! They will be delivered to Hope Rescue Mission on September 29th! Many Thanks!!

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

Thank you for your kindness!!

Your Social Justice Committee

CROP Walk campaign is off and running, uh, walking!

First UU’s team has begun fund-raising for the annual Reading-Berks CROP Walk, from which a quarter of the profits stay local with the Berks Schuylkill Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank, which in turn benefits the monthly food pantry sponsored by our congregation. First UU is a sponsor of the Reading-Berks 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/team/first-uu-berks-county

Questions can be directed to team captain Jim B.

Thanks for your help in this key anti-hunger effort!

We will be holding a considering membership class on 11/12 following service. Come learn more about what our church community has to offer and how you can become a part of it. Contact g.membership@uuberks.org to register or sign up on the Gerber Room bulletin board

Get A Blessing for Your Bag or Device!


UU Berks Device/Bag Blessing Sticker or Pin

Here at UU Berks, we take time to renew, recommit and set a course for the months ahead.  This is our annual bag / device blessing.

Some of us came to the church sanctuary with our backpacks, purses, wallets, briefcases or other satchels.  Some of us came to church through our internet connections.

Take a moment now to acknowledge and honor and reflect on what you carry in that backpack, that purse, that wallet, perhaps your phone or other device you take to work and school and volunteer commitments. Think about some of the practical, spiritual, and guiding items that fill your bags. They are blessings.  You can count on them.

We’d like to give you a token to take with you and place on your item to remind you of our blessing.

Sign up for delivery of a blessing sticker or token please fill out the information below.

This information will only be shared with our office team.
You can count on us to deliver Blessing tokens in the next few weeks.

visit https://uuberks.org/blessing

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.

Here is a recent message from Adanjesus,,,

“I need to ask for one more push for solidarity from the UU folks- but it goes with the good news. My disability was finally approved, but I won’t get my first payment till mid-October and then still have to fight for the backpay. My payments will be enough to cover my expenses, so it’s a huge blessing. It’s just that till then I only have -$100 in the bank”

Cashapp: $Adanjesusmarin
Paypal: tinyurl.com/Donate4Adanjesus

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 Facebook group 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 NeededI 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 Y. 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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