Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
October 1, 2023

This Sunday:


Zoom Service Only- No In Person Service

In light of the 275th Anniversary parade taking place this Sunday in Reading and the road closures that go along with that, we will be joining our friends at UU Somerset Hills for service via Zoom.

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).

October’s Share the Plate recipient in Safe Berks

Safe Berks, formerly Berks Women in Crisis, provides a safe haven and ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Donations can be made by mailing a check to the church or dropping one in the collection plate. Checks should be made out to FUUBC with Safe Berks in the memo line.

Upcoming Share the Plate Recipients:
November: Berks Coalition to End Homelessness 

Contemplative Companions

Contemplative Companions will be gathering for a brown bag lunch at church after the service this Sunday. Following lunch, the group will be going to walk the Labyrinth at Penn State Berks. For further information contact Jane or Nadine. 

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

Hello UU Berks!  We are now moving into the Small Group Discussion part of our ministerial search process!  Your input about your hopes and dreams regarding our next minister is very important to us.  Some of you will be attending small group meetings through specific ministries or committees, while others will have the opportunity to attend our open meetings, shared below.  Please plan to come to one, and contribute your feedback to these important discussions!

October 8th (in person) 12:00 noon in the Sanctuary

October 18th (virtual) 7:00 – 8:00 pm

October 22nd (both in person and virtual) 12:00 noon in the Sanctuary

All meetings will use the following link uuberks.org/zoom-worship

Thank you!  We look forward to seeing you there!

Your Ministerial Search Committee

Tour de PAC Cyclists at Our Church
Tour de PAC cyclists visited our church on Monday, September 25th.

Tour de PAC is 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.

We started the evening with a potluck meal, which was attended by about 18 people. After dinner, there was an ad hoc discussion about the cyclists’ journey and their plans for the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence. We finished the evening with a memorial service for a past member of their group, who would have been 33 years old on Monday. The group left early on Tuesday morning for their next stop in Pottstown after enjoying a pancake breakfast. 

A journalist from WFMZ dropped by the church on Monday night for the ad hoc discussion. You can view the segment on the WFMZ web page.  Also, one of the cyclists, Ted Glick is an author. We purchased a copy of his book 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation. The book is currently on the Social Justice table and we will add it to our library soon. We wish them a safe journey.

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
We are also looking for volunteers to help over the weekend. Please sign up if you are able to help on this sign uphttps://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0D45A8AF29A13-tpuc

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 Beidler, jamesmbeidler@gmail.com or 717 507-7237.

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 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 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

Heritage for October 2023

These days, I approach the word “heritage” very carefully.  So many traditions and customs, when carefully inspected through our 21st century lens do not hold up.  They were charming at one time, but only accessible to a privileged few.  As we see things through more of a global, multi-cultural, anti-racism lens that is more realistic to our lives now, the word “heritage” often signals that we will be reckoning with it rather than celebrating.

From the Oxford dictionary, heritage is “valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations.”  The entry uses it in the sentence, “a sense of history and heritage.”

Finding the parts of our heritage that we are proud to lift up, like using our GOD IS LOVE pulpit, is reconciled every week with heritage from our past that do not instill pride in us today.  When we know better, we do better.  When we pay respect to, and remember that Lenni Lenape people were here before us, when using pronouns to introduce ourselves so that more silenced people feel included, these are examples of continuing a heritage to be proud of, building in new patterns.

As we live our daily lives, independently and as a congregation, we are building a heritage of love.  Not by dismissing the parts of our heritage that we are ashamed of, or outgrew, but by placing ourselves into an age old pattern of looking to the past with honor and respect, not afraid to do new things.  

Heritage is not just our past—we are always building on it.  May we continue to do the hard things, reconciling the great parts of heritage with the problematic parts.  It’s the way we have always done things around here.  

In peace

Rev. Amy

Sacred Chain

by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director



to the whisper

of your heart

re minding you

to re member

who you are

essential link

in a sacred chain

of being


to a blessing



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