Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
February 18, 2024

This Sunday:


On Equity

February 18, 2024 at 10:30 am

Equity in a system works best when planned on from the start; otherwise it’s like trying to add eggs to the batter after the cake is baked. Let’s look at equity this morning.

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 Dog and the Heartless King, and appears in UU religious education foremother’s Sophia Lyon Fahs’ 1948 wisdom tale collection, From Long Ago and Many Lands (full text here).  Read the story together, doing your best loud, unignorable bark for the dog’s part: The Dog and the Heartless King

  • Soul Matters Shares “Our theme this month is The Gift of Justice and Equity.  Soul Matters wants us to learn that Love Grows When We Let Go of Expectation. 


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: back of chalice house

  • Faith Formation in February: We explore housing policy.

  • 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 Building A Better World

  • Upper Elementary: social hall meeting room

    • The Gift of Equality, Justice and Equity.

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: checking in with the table of our well being.

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: Liz E. and Erin H.
Ushers: Denis W. and Denise W.
Coffee Crew: Be Y.  and Louise L.

Pledge Drive Kick Off Luncheon

Join us next Sunday, February 25th, for our Solar in the City 2024 Pledge Drive Kick Off. Stay for lunch during coffee hour. Please plan to join the fellowship.

Ministerial Search Update:

We received good initial interest in our first round of interviews. Unfortunately, there was not that right alignment with a candidate to move forward.  We will now go into extended search, which gives us another possibility of finding a potential ministerial candidate this year.  This means that our timeline will be pushed back a couple of months, regarding candidating week, should we find the right candidate for our congregation.

We are deeply committed to finding with someone who reflects the values and priorities expressed by our congregation as being important to FUUBC.

Thank you! Your Ministerial Search Committee

Coffee Crew Needs Help
Coffee Crew is looking for a few new helpers. Commitment is only about 4 Sundays a year on a rotating schedule.  Training provided!  Good benefits!!  Like first dibs on snacks and hot coffee.
If you can help out contact Bonnie S.

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 Dimovitz.

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

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.

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

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.


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. The latest directory is dated 1.31.24

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

Justice and Equity

A diagram of a person and a childDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

This graphic, by @restoringracialjustice, shows us what our aspirations look like in action.  February’s theme, from our resource called Soul Matters, is Justice and Equity.

Equality is a tough one to reckon with, because making something legislatively equal does not always cure the problem.  The Supreme Court granted equal access in the right to marry, but not every state automatically changed their laws around housing or employment or credit to reflect this.  “I can legally marry my same-sex partner but my job can still fire me for it, or my landlord can choose to not renew our lease,” is what I heard from some of the couples I married as we celebrated equality.  It is progress, and we should celebrate it, but equality alone is not enough without the larger framework of equality within a justice-seeking system.

Learning to accommodate a person’s needs so that they might fully participate in a community activity is the level I see UU Berks at.  Space for chairs and scooters, zoom for folks at home, words on the screen for hearing impaired….these ordinary run-of-the-mill accommodations are already in place, and as we become aware of needs, we do our best to meet them.  Equity is being sure that each person’s individual requirements (not likes or preferences, but needs) are met, and they may not be alike.  At the same meeting, we might have a person who needs to stand, another who needs closed captioning, and another who needs a ramp to get to the meeting.  Holding an awareness of equity within a justice-seeking system makes these actions happen.

Always having justice in mind, a time and place where there are no barriers to full inclusion, is where I see UU Berks at.  When you see me at coffee hour, or even with each other, what are your thoughts on this graphic?

Happy Valentine’s Day and Black History month!

In peace

Rev. Amy

Each Moment a New Moment For Justice

Each moment is a new moment,

Each day is a new day.

Pause. Breathe. Win the moment.

This mantra that Soul Matter’s Soulful Home packet shares with us this month reminds me of Borris, the spider.  Have you met Borris yet?  He’s been hanging out at your church since our fall Movie Night. Each week he talks with Erin, our Sunday morning assistant and sexton.  Each week he tells her a new place that he would like to observe us from.  He likes to hang up somewhere high, where he has a good vantage point.  One week it was next to the Black Lives Matter banner.  One week it was from our Christmas trees.  Some weeks he has hung out in the chandelier as people greet each other and find their name tags.

Getting a good vantage point can be hard for us humans sometimes.  Finding that vantage point is so important when we are working to make the world a better place.  This mantra “Pause. Breathe. Win the moment,” is adapted from Charles Oteyza for the National Education Association last year.  Soul matters reflects, “Oteyza offered this so that education advocates who work tirelessly for justice in our education system can ‘ …remain present, impactful and connected, [taking] a moment to pause, recharge, and refocus.’ Doing so, he says, allows us to sustain personal health while continuing to contribute to the justice work that is so important to us.”

There is so much in this world that we would like to be better, so much that feels too big, too insurmountable.  The biggest challenges are not completed in a single action.  They take the next right action done over, and over, and over, and over again.

Sometimes we need help getting to a place where we can notice everything.  Like Borris, we need to ask for help.  Tuning into our breath can sometimes be the help we need.  When we breathe with awareness, using something like square breathing or a similar technique, we mark the air going in and out of our bodies, it helps us slow down and feel more grounded.  When we’re grounded, focused, we can more easily choose that next right move, choosing the next action to help us in the moment. Those moments add up.  Together we can do great things. Breathe.

Yours in the exploring,

Your Director of Religious Education,

Ebee Bromley

living the dream

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

the dream is
we are called
to imagine it
and live into it
not to achieve it
for the dream
is not a
to do item
on some checklist
the dream is
a way of being
with each other
in the world
the dream is
realized in our
living of it
may it be so

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