Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
March 31, 2024

This Sunday

Easter Sunday

March 31, 2024 at 10:30 am 

Wear your bonnet to a service focused on rebirth, on Jesus, and on faith.  Stay after for the Easter Egg hunt.

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

  • Hear it read online


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • On Easter Break: no discussion this week. Back April 7th.

    • We’ll have the tea kettle on and some Easter treats out in the Gerber room for those who would like to ease into their Sunday morning.

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

Elementary Ages: 

  • Elementary Ages: kids space cozy room

    • The Gift of The Change from Sad Hearts to Hopeful Hearts; Remembering that Bad Times Won’t Last Forever

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 April 7th

11:30 – 12 All Ages: *** Easter Egg Hunt ***

Participate in this year’s Easter egg hunt. Our upper elementary kids created and decorated eggs for you to find, learn about local endangered species and turn in for prizes! 

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:   Randy & John N.
Coffee Crew: Wendy & Dave W.

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

Contemplative Companions

Join us on Monday 4/1 @ 7:00pm via zoom for our Contemplative Companions when we will reflect on and share about our life connection with the natural world in any/all of its many forms. For further information or to receive the zoom link, contact Nadine S.

Game Night for 3rd-6th Grade fams

We invite the upper elementary families (grades 3-6th) to attend our spring game night! Bring a game to play, a snack to share, and be ready to have some fun together! Will we see you there? Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. Thank you!


Sunday, April 21, 2024
*by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran

WO R S H I P @ 1 0 : 2 5 A M
Exploring Subtle Acts of Exclusion will be the focus of our worship service on Sunday April 21st. Based upon “Subtle Acts of Exclusion: how to understand, identify, and stop microaggressions” by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, together we will begin to explore ways we might identify and address these subtle acts. 

C O F F E E & C O N V E R S A T I O N
If  you can’t stick around for the full workshop, we hope you will make time to join us for coffee and conversation – an opportunity to process what we heard and learned during the morning service

L U N C H & WO R K S H O P
( R E G I S T R A T I O N  R E Q U I R E D. Register HERE by 4/19/24 )

Light Vegetarian Meal 
A light vegetarian meal will be provided for all workshop registrants and their children.
Workshop  – 12:15-3:15
During the workshop we will take a deeper dive into the work of Jana and Baran, including the opportunity to develop our ability to understand, identify and address subtle acts of exclusion.

P A R K I N G 
Street Parking is Free on Sundays
Parking garage across the street (4th and Cherry st) accepts the ParkMobile app or card payments at the kiosk by the entrance.

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.

M&O Needs You!

Our Ministry and Operations committee is looking for members to help shape and support our church. If you are interested in hearing more about our M&O team contact Maria C.

Hymnody has evolved over two hundred years in our congregations. We’ll explore how our music has grown and changed. An introduction to the traditions of Unitarian, Universalist, and UU hymns and hymnals. For ministers, musicians, new UUs, and you! Registration isn’t up yet, but follow AUUMM here to stay tuned.

FUUBC 2024 Service Auction

Mark your calendars: Our FUUBC 2024 Service Auction is on Saturday, April 13.  The live auction is an in-person event, but just like last year, we will be using the Auctria website to host the two silent auctions. Watch the Univoice for more details in the coming weeks.

We are still in search of donations. Have you seen our Donation Ideas page? If you are not sure what to donate, take a look for some ideas. We have found all kinds of suggestions from past auction catalogs and from other UU service auction sites and posted them on this page.  I like the idea that I saw on another UU page of purchasing 2 extra tickets to an event and putting them up for sale — it is a great way to get to know other members and it helps out our church. Homemade food items like pickles, sauerkraut, salsa or homemade fresh bread are really nice too. Remember we need your donations to make this event a success. Auction item donations must be submitted by Wednesday, Apr 3 to be included in the printable program (use the Auction item donations page to make donations)

Finally, We need your help. Service auctions only work if there are items to bid on and people volunteer to help make it happen. We have a signup where you can RSVP for the live auction, sign up to share food & drink and volunteer to help. Contact us at g.service.auction@uuberks.org with your questions, your suggestion & offers to help.   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

Mark Your Calendars

Save the date for the following events:

  • Saturday, April 13: Annual Service Auction
  • Thurs, April 18th Family Promise Meet & Greet at Christ Lutheran Church
  • Friday April 26th -Saturday April 27th: Group Camping at French Creek
  • Sunday May 19th- Spring Congregational Meeting
  • Sunday, August 25: Church Picnic in the Park

Solar Panel Project Update:

Good news. “Solar in the City” is coming soon. We have an install date planned for Monday, April 1. Solar States expect the project to take 3 days.  We are hoping to capture some photos of the install and share them with local media. Watch the Univoice for more details.

Next UUBerks Jam Session!

Mark your calendars for the next Jam session on April 21st from 11:45-12:45 You don’t need to prepare anything or be the next Taylor Swift. Just come as you are. Sign up here to share your interest in attending, making some music, or enjoying what gets created.

Delegates Needed for Virtual General Assembly 2024 June 20-24

This year General Assembly will be fully virtual. It is a great opportunity for members to serve as delegates from the comfort of your own home. Delegates have the honor of representing UU Berks and voting on issues that impact the greater UU world. If you are interested in serving as a delegate, contact Melissa at office@uuberks.org

History of UU Hymnody:An online workshop

Hymnody has evolved over two hundred years in our congregations. We’ll explore how our music has grown and changed. An introduction to the traditions of Unitarian, Universalist, and UU hymns and hymnals. For ministers, musicians, new UUs, and you! Registration isn’t up yet, but follow AUUMM here to stay tuned.

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 Sirrot- Arleth at bonnie.sirott@gmail.com

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

Are you wondering what camping will be like next month? Check our welcome letter out:

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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