Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
January 21, 2024

This Sunday:


Four Freedoms

January 21, 2024 at 10:30 am

Based on the 4 paintings of Norman Rockwell called the Four Freedoms, we look at different types of liberating love.  Also, we honor new members.

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:


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: back chalice house meeting room

  • Faith Formation in January: We explore the topic of our choice. Emailed out to adult-re@googlegroups.com Saturday  

  • 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 

9:30 AM:Children’s RE: The Gifts of Our Faith – 2 classes

Elementary Ages: 

  • Lower elementary: kids space cozy room

    • The Gift of Love Pulling Us Back to the Table

  • Upper Elementary: social hall meeting room

    • May You Survive And Thrive – building our collective art project

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

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

How to make visual art directed by breath 

10:30 – 12 Youth Group:  

Grades 7th – 12: meets with Jen Dalton – The Spiritual Power of words, chants, and poems

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: Be Y.  & Louise L.
Ushers: Mona M. & Joanne K.
Coffee Crew:   Randy N. and Steve H. 

Hello UU Berks! 
The Search Committee has been busy this fall, with your help, doing the industrious and insightful work of completing the Congregational Survey, Small Group Meetings and our Congregational Record.  The summary and compiled forms of each of these projects are available to you to view if you are a congregant of FUUBC.  We have them available in the documents section below ministerial search on the “members only” website at member-info.uuberks.org  .  (If you need a refresher about how to access this website, please reach out to Frank or Melissa.) 

Again, Thanks everyone for your participation!  It has truly been a group effort.  We are now on to the interviewing stage of the process. This is by nature a more closed procedure, but we will update you when we can. What we can say is that we find ourselves busy in this stage of the process.

Thank you very much,
Your Ministerial Search Committee

Feeding Families in Family Promise (Jan. 15-22, 2024)

SIGN UP HERE TO VOLUNTEER Our congregation is one of eighteen around Berks County that provides meals or groceries to families temporarily living in ‘bridge homes’ operated by Family Promise.  We need you to drop off a meal or groceries on Mondays directly at the selected house at 6:00pm

(Meade St needs 5:00pm delivery.)

You can also mail gift cards for food and/or supplies directly to the Family Promise, Attn Donna McGrath (325 N. Fifth Street, Reading, PA 19601) on Mon-Thur before 4:30PM. Call (610) 373-3323 to make sure someone is available.

If you have any questions, please call Carla at 610-301-4522.

SIGN UP FOR A MEAL, GROCERIES, OR SUPPLIES and see the wish lists:


Food Bank Help Needed

The Helping Harvest Food Bank is held at our church on the 3rd Saturday of each month, which will be Jan. 20th this 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 11:30. If you have any questions, please contact Frank W.

With Sadness

It is with great sadness that we share that  Adanjesús Marín passed away on January 12th. He was a fighter for justice and an inspiration to all that had the pleasure to know him. He will be missed. Details on memorial service forthcoming. Donations are still being accepted here:

Digital Security 101 for Congregations: A Two-Part Virtual Training. 

Our congregation is registered for the Digital Security 101 for Congregations: A Two-Part Virtual Training.  From the flyer: Increasingly, our congregations are finding themselves the targets of online harassment, phishing, doxing, and other forms of digital hate – often as a result of the ways we are embodying UU values in the world. 
Unfortunately, many of our UU communities do not have the skills and the infrastructure to protect themselves from malicious digital targeting that is constantly evolving.

Equality Labs’ Digital Security For All Workshop is a dive into the world of digital security, and what that means for you and your organization. We will develop some common ground and shed light on types of attacks and security concerns that affect our communities, engaging with you at a strategic level as you plan for your organization.

We cover everyday, practical steps to mitigate online harassment, fraud, and other forms of cyber attacks. We look at how the data broker ecosystem coupled with open-source intelligence (OSINT) from social media increases security risks to individuals and organizations. We then look at key preventative measures including data broker scrubbing, phishing awareness, multi-factor authentication, password management, VPN, and other tools that can be immediately applied in anyone’s daily lives.

Open to all congregational leaders but especially targeted to those who manage secure information such as congregational websites, social media accounts, databases, and communications.

This training will be hosted on Zoom. We have 4 open “seats” available. Frank W. is attending, does anyone else want to attend too? Here are the dates:

Session 1: Monday, January 22, 2024, 7:30pm ET – 9:30pm ET
Session 2: Monday, February 5, 2024, 7:30pm ET – 9:30pm ET

Contact Frank W. for additional information at 484-897-0234 or frank.wilder@uuberks.org

8th Principle Suggested Read

Your 8th Principle Team is recommending this read for all who are curious and concerned about the deleterious effects of microaggressions. You can find this book at the link below.

Subtle Acts of Exclusion, First or Second
(expanded) Edition: How to Understand, Identify,
and Stop Microaggressions
by Tiffany Jana (Author), Michael Baran (Author)


“This is an unreasonable manifesto. It’s unreasonable because it challenges us to take responsibility,
to be kind, to dig in, and to change the invisible corners of our culture. We’ve got work to do.
Unreasonable is precisely what we need.”
—Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
“This book skillfully uses stories and research to build a deep understanding that is able to take
something negative and turn it into an opportunity to productively come together and create more
support, trust, and equity.”
—Aimee Meredith Cox, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New York University, and
author of Shapeshifters
“Jana and Baran have provided us a powerful tool to help us learn about how subtle forms of bias
can profoundly impact people’s sense of belonging and their ability to perform at the highest level.
Through thoughtful research and powerful examples, they have not only brilliantly articulated the
problem but also offered us a pathway to a solution. Kudos!”
—Howard Ross, author of Reinventing Diversity, Everyday Bias, and Our Search for

“This book should open the floodgates for people to tell their own stories of being subtly excluded at
work, with a new language that will make it so much easier to address out in the open and create
teachable moments. As a little person, I have experienced so many subtle acts of exclusion over my
career, whether it’s people telling me I look ‘cute’ or having to constantly fight for respect and validity.
I wish every one of my colleagues over the years had been able to read this book!”
—Becky Curran Kekula, Director, Disability Equality Index, Disability:IN


Camping at French Creek – sponsored by RE Exec Team

We’re gearing up to go camping at the end of April 2024 (Friday the 26th – Saturday 27th).  The site is local.  There will be drop in and overnight camp options.  Let us know you’re thinking about attending by signing up here https://uuberks.org/camp

Kids Coffee Hour

On Sunday – 1.28.24, all of our youth are invited from 9:30 – 10:15 to help prep for coffee hour and from 11:30-12 to help coffee hour go smoothly.  Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. Thank you! please help your child(ren) bring one snack, food item that we can  work on prepping. Snacks that work well to prep – veggie snacks, dips, recipes with 3-4 ingredients.  We will have cutting boards, bowls, things to stir with, kid safe knives, etc.  What will your fam bring?

sign up here:


Mystery Pals

Please join this exciting program connecting our children and youth with adults in the congregation! Adult Pals who register will be assigned to a registered child. Adults will commit to sending at least one correspondence per week over the 6 weeks of the program. Over the length of the program, Mystery Pals will send letters, emails, drawings, cards, and perhaps small gifts or treats to each other. For safety, parents will be informed of their child’s assigned Pal. Parents of other children are welcomed to register and be assigned to a child that is not theirs. Mystery Pals will be revealed on March 24th. What a way to celebrate our community!

The mystery only lasts a little while, but the friendship can be much longer!

Register to be a Pal here: https://uuberks.org/Mystery_Pals

Beloved Conversations

Beloved Conversations is a program for people seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. Many members of First UU Berks have participated in this program prior to and following the congregational vote in 2020, when the 8th Principle was adopted in solidarity with UUA’s intention to formally vote in the 8th Principle.

Your 8th Principle Team encourages each of us to consider enrollment in Beloved Conversations, offered by the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School. The program is open to all learners. In Beloved Conversations, we join to heal the impact of racism in our lives, to get free together.

Click on the link below to receive updates for Beloved Conversations in early 2024. Please indicate group participated with your congregation- UU Berks of Reading, PA. Scholarships is available.


The Incredible Life and Times of an American Freedom Fighter

Please join us on February 4th, to hear Rastabla Hebron, a wonderful, dynamic speaker, share about the life and journey of Harriet Tubman.  Rastabla is a trainer and guide, coming to us from The Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May, New Jersey. He will lead us on a journey beginning with the African Diaspora, through the Abolitionist Movement, the Underground Railroad and the life of Harriet Tubman.  We will explore her childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and the key figures she encountered along the way.  Prepare your mind to be intrigued and enriched on this incredible, thought-provoking experience!

Please register by Feb 1st through this link:


Lunch 12- 1 pm

Presentation 1-2:30 pm

This event is being sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County and Calvary United Church of Christ. It will take place at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County,416 Franklin St., Reading, PA 19602

After B4

It was . . . . . last year when we gathered for the B4 workshop to help raise our awareness of our human tendency toward biases and begin to reflect on/examine how that might impact our discernment about, call of, and success with a new settled minister.

Now that the holiday celebrations have passed and we find ourselves in the cold dark winter (at least some days), nature offers us the perfect conditions for reviewing or watching the sessions for the first time.

The links our 2-session B4 workshop with Rev. Amanda Schuber can be found below: 

Friday: https://youtu.be/2s8SUw9rx5E

Sat: https://youtu.be/RmE5_Y0uIK0

Don’t be surprised if someone from the Search Committee or the 8th Principle Team strikes up an “After B4” coffee hour conversation with you in the coming weeks!

Mark your calendars for the next Jam session on January 21st from 11:45-12:45 You don’t need to prepare anything or be the next Taylor Swift. Just come as you are. More details in 2024.

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.

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

Liberating Love

Years ago when the city of Baltimore was experiencing violence, my friend the
Rev. David Carl Olson said that “My liberation is tied up with yours.” He was
referring to a quote that was not merely academic, but lived inside of him. “If you
have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come
because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” by
activist Lilla Watson.

Many of us have a life quote that we carry in us. Two of mine are “We are more
alike than we are unalike” by Maya Angelou and “Forward together, not one step
back” by Rev. Dr. William Barber.
Both of these refer to how I feel about people and how I wish to see and be seen by
people. They remind me of who I am—a unique person who shares bonds with
everyone, and a member of communities who move together.
Liberation means being free of ties that are unhealthy, being able to revel in bonds
that feel good, that do good.

When we keep our own self-worth in our minds, hearts, and in our words and
actions, seeing the worth of another is easier. To love another we must love
ourselves. One way that we love ourselves is by keeping our own boundaries for
our personal sense of safety, well-being and health.

When we know what we want and need and can identify how other people make us
feel, that is a premise of liberating love. We are liberated from fearing other
people or their rejection because we know who we are.
In turn, it is easier to love that other person because we see them for who they are,
not merely in relation to us, but as a whole unique person.

Liberation is freedom from, freedom to….
Liberating love is a love that we can give and receive freely because we fully
know and understand what is at stake.
We may not all have the same experiences or outlook, but we can share of
ourselves and see others, in a liberating love.

In peace
Rev. Amy

The Gift of Liberating Love

How do we access liberating love? How do we notice the love that is here? The love that could be here if we nurture it, if we say yes to it? Sometimes a song can help us do that. For me a song that acts as the key to open the door toward liberating love is Elizabeth Norton’s “There is A Love”.

Take a listen here

Sing it for yourself this month.

What do you notice?

Yours in Love,

Elizabeth Bromley, Director of Music

liberate love

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

liberate love
hold it in
let it
like the
life force
it is

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