Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
June 2, 2024

This Sunday

“A SciFi Nerd, a Jesuit, and an Improviser Walk Into a Church…”

June 2, 2024 at 10:30 am 

Who is this Rev. John guy and how did he get here? Some thoughts on what it feels like to be called and called again.

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 bedtime story, Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth, words by Douglas Wood and illustrated by P.J. Lynch.  This month’s story helps us understand that prayers help us and others express our gratitude.  After a time, the boy’s grandfather passes away.  The boy is very sad, as we all are when someone or some being we care about dies.  After a while, the boy comes to value the memory of his grandfather and what he learned from his grandfather.  The boy is renewed in spirit when he realizes that prayers are gratitude expressed. 

  • Find it at your local library

  • Hear it read online


9:30 AM : Adult RE 

  • In Person: back of the chalice house meeting room.

  • Faith Formation in June: We explore the gift of Pluralism!  This weekend we’re starting on “Overpopulation – Myth & Reality” with a special visit from Rev John Cullinan.  Come with a question this morning for Rev John Cullinan. 

  • 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 nourishing our bellies and friendships

  • Upper Elementary: social hall meeting room

    • The Gift of renewal through storytelling 

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 this fall – have a great summer!

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: Lisa F. & Liz E.
Ushers:     Corinne H. & Dennis W. 
Coffee Crew:   Jayne M. and Gerrie M. 

This month our special plate collection will go to Berks Stands Up
Berks Stands Up Mission:
We’re member-supported, volunteer-led, and part of the vast multiracial, multi-generational, cross-class movement to redeem the promise of liberty and justice for all. Our mission is to ensure that our elected officials represent all their constituents, including the most vulnerable.

To donate please make checks out to FUUBC with BSU. 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


Greetings UU Berks Member By completing a two prompt survey, please inform us if you will be attending the Settled Minister Vote for Rev. John Cullinan following worship on Sunday, June 9th.  

Here is the link:  https://tinyurl.com/yc72a3zm

We need more than 60 people to hold the vote.  You can attend in-person or online via Zoom.

Please do all that you can to attend.

We are providing attendants to help members and friends navigate the 4th St parking lot app and kiosk as needed for June 2 and 9. For an additional tutorial please use the QR code located in the Gerber.


The Board of Directors of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County

Get to know Our Candidate

As we approach Candidating Week (June 2-9) we would like for everyone to feel they have had an opportunity to learn about our candidate, Rev. John Cullinan with the same thoroughness and vigilance that we have in informing our decision for his recommendation.  We are encouraging you as congregants to attend his June 2nd sermon and Q & A luncheon afterward.  We also encourage you to watch his sermons online and to take a look at his website.  

Here are some bullet point regarding his social justice work from his 17 year body of ministry:

*On the front lines supporting the vote for gay marriage in New Mexico.

*Support of justice and compassion for refugees and immigrants (statement to Los Alamos County 8/30/17)

*Led (60 person) interfaith mission trips to Mexico to build housing for/with the Pueblo Indians.

*Led vigil for the Charlottesville shooting victims.

*Partner church with the Hungarian Unitarian Congregation in Fenyokut, Transylvania

* Letter to the Editor supporting LGBTQ members and marriage equity (10/18/21)

*Served as a Good Officer through the UUMA, serving as a”minister to the ministers” – as a sounding board and advisor to other ministers.

These are a few of the highlights. We encourage you to do your own research so that you feel comfortable and prepared to vote on June 9th

Five Opportunities for Everyone to Meet Rev. John during Candidating Week! 
(Mark your Calendars!)

1.  Sunday, June 2nd – Rev. John preaches, followed by an 11:45 am Congregational 
     Luncheon and Q & A with Rev. John

2.  Sunday, June 2nd – 7 pm Open Zoom with Rev. John  

3.  Tuesday, June 4th – 9:45 am meet at the church for a 
     South of Penn Neighborhood Walking Tour with Rev. John

4.  Thursday, June 4th – 5:30 pm ‘Dessert over Zoom” Open Zoom with Rev. John 

5.  Thursday, June 6th – 7:00 pm In Person Open Meet and Greet 
     with Rev. John at the Chalice House 

This is a very exciting time for FUUBC! June 9th will culminate in another opportunity to hear Rev. John preach, and then the congregation will vote!  It is very important to participate!! Details on how to do this either in person or virtually will be coming soon. 

For the Zoom offerings, please use this link uuberks.org/zoom-worship 

Rev. John will visit for a friendly chat with the Adult RE Class on June 2nd.  On the following Sunday, June 9, he will visit with the youth classes. Children and youth with parents are encouraged to attend on June 9th.

If you would like to learn more about Rev. John, you are welcome to check out his website: revjcullinan.com

Your Ministerial Search Committee

A Message from the Board:

The UUBerks Board is happy to share that we have selected and unanimously voted on the following officers for year 2024-25:

President, Mike Mannix
Vice President, Nic Stoltzfus 
Secretary, Amber Brown

Please join in welcoming and supporting our new officers.

Kids Coffee Hour

Our last Kids coffee hour of year is extra special! Make sure to sign up today to share what you’ll bring On Sunday – 6.2.24, all of our youth are invited from 9:30 – 10:15 to help prep for a special luncheon to greet and meet Rev John and his wife Jess. From 11:30-12 we will help the lunch 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, beverage that we can work on prepping. Snacks and sides 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 family bring?

sign up here:


Contemplative Companions

This month’s Contemplative Companions will be held on Sunday 6/2. Following time at the luncheon with our ministerial candidate, Rev. John Cullinan, we will move to the back room on the first floor of Chalice House to between 12:45-12:50 to begin our time together at 1:00pm. PLEASE REMEMBER to bring an object that represents a favorite thing you do or have collected. For further information contact Jane R.

Family Promise Needs Our Help

Typically, First UU Berks delivers meals and groceries to three homeless families in the Family Promise program twice a year. They had a gap in coverage for June 3rd, so they asked if we could chip in as we’re able. Any help is greatly appreciated! More details about the families will be posted on the the sign-up as soon as possible.

[We will host again from Nov. 4-12, 2024.]

Sign up here


We Are Earth, a day of music and power with Rev Joshua Long

Save the date for July 7th when UUBerks welcomes Rev Joshua Long and his colleague from PA Power and Light.  Worship at 10:25 with workshop from PA Power and Light to follow.  Check out Josh’s music here joshualongmusic.com/

Mark Your Calendars

Save the date for the following events:

  • Sunday June 9th- Settled Minister VOTE
  • Sunday, June 16th, -Flower Ceremony and Amy’s Send off
  • Sunday, August 25th: Church Picnic in the Park

Help Our Youth Grow in 2024-2025!

We need you and your gifts to make next year’s RE program all it can be! How will you help our RE Children and Teens Grow this coming year? Share your level of interest with us so we know what we can plant in our learning garden and who will be tending it 

Monthly Recorder Ensemble Continues 2nd & 4th Sundays – music lovers welcome. No experience necessary.

We are hoping to get a regular recorder ensemble started at UU Berks!  The UU recorder ensemble ( 3-10 players) plays music of many different types, focusing primarily on renaissance and baroque music, but includes early classical, folk, and even some modern tunes!  We play soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorders, but recorders come in many more sizes!

Potential players might:

Have an interest in playing a wind instrument-

Can read music or are willing to learn

Can play the recorder or are willing to learn

Can meet for an hour once to twice a month: April 14th, April 28th, May 12th, May 26, June 9th and June 23rd.

Are willing to practice the music between meetings

Are willing to play at a church service when we feel ready

If you’re still reading, why not give it a try?  Please contact Tracy Blunt with any questions at: tracylblunt@comcast.net.  All ages between 10 and 110 are welcome.

When you email your interest, please let Tracy know if you have an instrument of your own ( plastic recorders are fine) or if you need a recorder.  Tracy will email music to anyone interested who already has a recorder so you can look it over before our next meeting.  Those who are total beginners or who don’t have a recorder, Tracy will give you music at the first meeting.

Here are links to some recorder music in case you are interested in exploring a bit more:


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.

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

From Soulful Home: The Groundhog Day Effect

This month, on the cusp of the ‘endless days of summer’, I bring to you an exercise suggested in June’s Soulful Home Packet. Soulful Home curator, Teresa Honey-Youngblood writes:

The Groundhog Day Effect is an informal but commonly experienced phenomenon

of feeling as if you are reliving the same day over and over, as if your life never

changes and isn’t moving forward in any meaningful or discernible way. The

concept got some traction during the pandemic, when the daily sameness of life

sheltering in place was magnified across the globe. But for many of us, the feeling

continues to come and go. To gain a sense of renewal and bolster our

psychological fortitude in the face of ennui or despondency, try the following


Once a week for this month, set aside a time–no more than five minutes–to ask

yourself the following questions, adapted from Rabbi Dr. Ira Bedzow:

1. Am I the person I want to be right now, in this moment?

2. Did my actions this week continue to create this person I want to be, or did

they detract from them?

3. Has anything challenged my values in the past week? Do I remain

committed to those values, or do I want to re-examine them?

4. Did my habits this week support my connection with friends and family, or

did they contribute to isolation?

5. What one thing could I do today to make my life and the lives of those

around me a little different, in a positive way?

6. What’s some small, fun thing I could do today?

From https://uuberks.org/Soulful_Home

Find out what to do next by visiting the “On The Porch” section of this month’s Soulful Home Packet.

Yours in the exploring,

Ebee Bromley


by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

we stand
at the threshold
may we find blessing
in the unexpected
may our eagerness
be tempered
with patience
may we imagine
both change and
being changed
on our way to
may we pause
to grieve
our unbecoming
may we welcome life

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