Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
March 3, 2024

This Sunday:


The Power of Song on the Journey (Indigo Girls Music Day)

March 3, 2024 at 10:30 am

Join us as we experience the way beloved music both fortifies us and gives due expression to the layers of our thoughts and feelings as we share this road together.

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 Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. Soul Matters writes, “This story is about how it can sometimes be hard when we are different from others. But if we have the courage to proudly tell our unique stories, the world around us transforms. It begins to open up and make room for us.

  • Find it at your local library

  • Here it read online


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: back of chalice house meeting room.

  • Faith Formation in March: We explore the gift of transformation! This week we continue our exploration of Gaza, Israel, and Palestine.   

  • 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 change with the weather game (exploring article II).

  • Upper Elementary: social hall meeting room

    • The Gift of transformation below the surface (creating eggs for our Easter egg hunt).

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: Building a Better World RPG.

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: Joanne K. & Jim B.
Ushers: Randy N. and Carol O.
Coffee Crew: Joanne K. and Marta M.

This month our special plate collection will go to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide.To donate please make checks out to FUUBC with Planned Parenthood in the memo line. Checks can be dropped in the collection plate, in the wooden box in the Gerber room or mailed to the church office at 418 Franklin St. Reading PA 19602

Exploring Subtle Acts of Exclusion;  How to Understand,  Identify, and Stop  Microaggressions*

Sunday April 21, 2024 Exploring Subtle Acts of Exclusion will be the focus of our Sunday worship service, followed by a short coffee break, a light vegetarian meal, and the second part of the workshop. Join us for our child-friendly worship service at 10:25 for the beginning of the workshop and stay for the second part of the workshop from 12:15 to 3:15 when child care will be provided.   For more information and to register by 4/19/24,  contact Pat Uribe-Lichty at paturli50@gmail.com

Message From The Office:
Melissa will be out of the office the week of 11-15th. All univoice submissions for the 3/15 and 3/22 must be sent in by 3/6.
Thank You.

Clothing Drive

We did such a good job collecting items for Hope Rescue Mission last year that they have asked us to do it again! We will be collecting coats, hats, scarves, gloves, belts, and purses. They are very much in need of new men’s underwear in all sizes from small to 3x. Donations can be left in the bin in the Gerber room.

FUUBC 2024 Service Auction

Mark your calendars: Our FUUBC 2024 Service Auction is on Saturday, April 13TH. The live auction is an in-person event and we will also be streaming it over Zoom. Like last year, we will be using the Auctria website to host the silent auctions. Watch the Univoice for more details in the coming weeks. Here is the link to the auction website: https://uuberks.org/service-auction

We are currently taking donations for the auction: service auctions only work if there are items to bid on and people participate. If you click on the link above, you will be taken to our auction website. Once the home page loads, you will see a menu across the top of the page (look for the line with “Home”, “Donation Ideas”, “Donate an Item”,…).  To make a donation, click on the “Item Donations” link on the menu and a new page will open. The top of the page has a list of people that have made a donation. If you scroll down the page a bit, you will see the donation form.

On the first page of the form, you can enter the title for your donation (example: “1 hour of weeding”), a short description and some other details about the donation. Notice the red asterisks next to the title entry field: the asterisks signifies that the field cannot be empty. On the first page, the “Title” is the only required field.

When you click on the “Continue to item images” button at the bottom of the form, you will be taken to a page where you can upload a picture of your donation. Click on the “select files to upload” link in the middle of the page to add a photo from your computer. We will use the photo in the catalog to help advertise your item.  Photos are optional: you do not have to perform this step.

When you are ready to move onto the next page, click on the “Continue to donor details” button on the bottom of the page and the donor detail page will open. There are only 2 required fields on this page: your name and your email address. You may want to also include your home address information just in case you purchase something at the auction that will be delivered.

Click on the “submit donation” button at the bottom of the page to submit your complete donation. A short time later a member of the Service Auction Committee will review your donation and send you a confirmation email. If you would like to donate an additional item, click on the “Donate another item” button on the bottom of this page: you will be taken back to the first page of the donation form.

You can also submit donations by making a phone call to 484-897-0234 or by sending an email with your donation details to us at service.auction@uuberks.org. Finally, if you would like to volunteer to help with the auction or have a question/suggestion, send us an email at g.service.auction@uuberks.org. Many thanks from the Service Auction Committee.

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

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.

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

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 3.1.24

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


February 29, 2024 • 

May Sarton wrote, “Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.”

We have been living through the necessary darkness, and the days are coming to watch all the flowering.  That is transformation.  In order for anything to transform, necessary changes will happen.  And we all know that change is hard, even when necessary and welcome.

As the ground thaws, and the flowers come to light, may you see and feel your own transformations.  However it happens and whatever it is that has been quietly growing and changing, may the transformation be a good one.  Perhaps the change in our lives will feel like a great bursting forth, or maybe more like quietly peering around a curtain.

Transformation is not just the chosen theme for March;  March is always a month of transformation whether it is the noted theme or not!  The trees and plants know it and if we stop to notice, we might delight in their new growth.

March always holds the first day of Spring, March 20, or Ostara on the pagan calendar.  March also holds Easter this year, on its last day, March 31.

Transformation can be seen in others, and in our relationships.  Winter is ending and it gets easier, physically and mentally, to get around and to gather.  It is often Springtime, the first big gatherings after winter, that new ideas get shared and transformation begins to happen.  While transformation is always going on inside of us, it is exciting for several “selves” to share that community energy.

In March, I wish for all of us that we are aware of our own changes, welcoming transformations, even as we see beauty and new growth around us.  In Community and in relationships, may both the fresh new starts and growth from mature soil yield splendid transformations.

In peace

Rev. Amy

Let Yourself Be Transformed!

Have you ever been transformed by a piece of music? Maybe that’s to lofty a question. Have you ever felt or thought one thing before a song came on the radio or before a rehearsal and then felt completely different when that musical moment was finished?

I still have seared into my bones how experiencing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Lark Ascending” in concert the first time left me feeling fully transcendent and connected to the fabric of the universe. Let me tell you, I was not feeling that way before I walked into the concert hall.

Do you have a memory like that? Your director of music would love to hear from you.

If you are aching for a dose of transformation, may I suggest listening or playing? Here are two resources from our Soul Matters resources built on Transformation:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5PShWqVAaKEkUxzNR8AZ6v

Youtube: https://uuberks.org/Playlist

transformative pause*

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

breathe in
be still
breathe out
breathe in
breathe out
in your heart
is waiting
to be born
through you
*repeat practice as needed,
identifying deep desire may
take time

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