Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
January 28, 2024

This Sunday:


Reframing Aging

January 28, 2024 at 10:30 am 

Angela Lavery, PhD, LCSW, FT Associate Professor at West Chester University will be reframing aging, not as a problem or a disease, but as living. When we create age-friendly environments, it benefits everyone’s well-being

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, first floor

  • Faith Formation in January: We explore Affordable housing, homelessness, not in my back yard?  How do our UU values inform solutions? 

  • 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: Gerber Room 

    • The Gift of Nourishing Each Other  – Coffee Hour Hosts

  • Upper Elementary: social hall meeting room

    • The Gift of May You Survive and Thrive 6 – Coffee Hour Hosts

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 next on Feb 4th.

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. and Cookie L.
Coffee Crew: Jayne P.  and RE Kids

Contemplative Companions

Join us on Monday 2/5 @ 7:00pm via zoom for our Contemplative Companions. This month we offer the time and space to attend to our hearts. For further information or to receive the zoom link, contact Nadine.

Don’t Miss This!

Queremos Justicia: How We Shut Down Berks


Presented by GoggleWorks

Feb 2-Mar 3, 2024
Small reception Feb 2 from 6-8pm. No admission cost and light food provided by The Doubletree hotel

For eight years the Shut Down Berks Coalition fought to close the Pennsylvania immigrant prison for families, then later adult women. On January 31st, 2023, the coalition of immigrant leaders, organizers, grassroots groups, interfaith leaders, lawyers, and activists, WON.

“Queremos Justicia’” tells the story through art of how the Shut Down Berks Coalition organized to close an immigrant prison. This multimedia exhibit explores the art made for the campaign and how it played an invaluable role in education, mobilization, and community building. The viewer will learn about the organizing strategy executed by the coalition, the artists who supported the campaign and most importantly, view the art and messages of families held at the Berks County Detention Center themselves.

Donation Drive

Family Promise of Berks County has teamed up with CommunityAide Partnership- they give quarterly payments for donations collected to Family Promise. If you donate items be sure to give the Family Promise number 50183. FP will get a certain amount of money per pound donated .

They accept things like clothing, household items, electronics, small furniture and toys. They are located 5370 Allentown Pike in Temple.  For questions talk to Cyndi D.

Auction Helpers Needed

Do you like to decorate and throw parties?  We need your help with the 2024 Service Auction on Saturday, April 13th.

The Service Auction is an important fundraising event for the church. Frank Wilder has volunteered to be in charge of the service auction tech: donations, the auction catalog, the auction and bid winner billing.

We need someone else to be in charge of the “entertainment” part for the event.: choose a theme for the event, decorate the church for the event, manage the food & drink, and help clean up after the event. If you are interested in helping, please contact Melissa at office@uuberks.org

Photos from the 2023 Event

Mark Your Calendars

Save the date for the following events:

Saturday, April 13: Annual Service Auction

Friday April 26th -Saturday April 27th: Group Camping at French Creek

Sunday, August 25: Church Picnic in the Park

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

Can’t attend in person? Join us on zoom

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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