Updated Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
June 30, 2024

This Sunday

 DRUUMM’s Public Worship

June 30, 2024 at 10:30 am

“Choosing Joy!” brings together hundreds of UUs from around the world to hear Rev. Ali C Bell preach and experience the ensemble music led by Saunder Choi.

Join us as we broadcast this service in our Sanctuary or view online at the following link


Join us as we broadcast this service in our Sanctuary.

View the DRUUMM order of service here

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 Renewal!  Topic info please email Ginny Chudgar (membership directory).

  • 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: 

  • sUUmmer Kids Theater Religious Exploration

    • The Gift of a new story

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. and Virginia S.
Ushers: Dennis W. and Joanne K. 
Coffee Crew: Lauren F. and Karen N. 

Mark Your Calendars

Save the date for the following events:

  • Sunday, July 21st, Reading Pridefest
  • Sunday, August 25th: Church Picnic in the Park
  • Sunday October 6th –  Solar Panel Dedication Ceremony (details to follow)

We Are the Earth Service and Workshop- LAST CALL -RSVP by July 3rd

WO R S H I P @ 1 0 : 2 5 A M – 11:30 AM
Creating Hope will be the focus of our worship service on Sunday, July 7th. Based upon Joshua Long’s new album We Are Earth, we will explore how our interconnection and interdependence can help us take hope-filled action that will lead to building a sustainable and just world. 

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. – Josh plans to be there for coffee and conversation. He is happy to answer any questions about climate change or his music. 

L U N C H & WO R K S H O P @ 12:30 – 2 pm
A light vegetarian meal will be provided for all workshop registrants and their children.

R E G I S T R A T I O N  R E Q U I R E D. Register HERE by 7/3/24 )
Workshop  – Environmental Civic Engagement (12:30-2pm) 

During the workshop, we will discuss the impacts of climate change in Pennsylvania and how our civic engagement can help create lasting change in the state. The workshop will be led by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. 

Berks Pride Fest 2024 is coming!

July 21st, 2024
Jim Dietrich Park
11:00-6:00 pm

We need volunteers to help staff the UU Berks table. Please sign up here

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

Summer Update

Mike Mannix, Board President On May 19th there was a congregational meeting.  Amber Brown and Michael Mannix were voted into second terms on the Board of Directors.  Steph Elliot was voted to serve on the Ministry and Operations Team.  A budget for the 2024-25 church year was approved by the congregation.  It is a noteworthy budget because the expected church income is more than $40,000 dollars short of the expected church expenses.  Money from the employee retention tax credit and some other reserves will allow the church to operate very close to normal in the upcoming church year despite the shortfall.  Some program cuts were made to reduce the deficit as much as possible.  No cuts were made to staff hours or church operations.

Avoiding a deficit in the 2025-26 church year (next year) is a main focus of the board this year.  Our next church budget must be balanced.  In pursuit of that goal, we plan to create a target budget for 2025-26 very early in this church year.  The target budget will allow the pledge drive to set goals. You can expect the pledge drive to start earlier in the church year than it usually does.  A stewardship committee will be formed soon that will function through the entire year to support the pledge drive, the service auction, and other sorts of donations.

Of course the successful vote for our new settled Minister, Rev. John Cullinan, is the latest big news.  Rev. John officially becomes our minister on August 1st, but don’t expect too much visibility from Rev. John until September as he and his wife Jess will need to settle into Reading following their move from Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Behind the scenes, Rev. John is already engaging with the board and staff on some issues that pertain to this Fall.

Come September when we begin the church year in earnest, I expect excitement and good energy – solar energy to be specific!  The Solar Panel Project is just about 100% complete and we are using solar energy for electricity in our building. Excess energy is going back into the grid and will benefit the church financially.  The dedication of the solar panels that was mentioned at the May Congregational Meeting has been set for Sunday, October 6th!

Camping? We want to hear from you:

We’re looking at planning our next camping overnight! Did you attend part of all of April’s event? Are you interested in attending a future camping time? We want to hear from you – please fill out: uuberks.org/camp_ask

Join UU Berks For Our Summer of Readers Theater

Sunday Mornings for Kids 18 and under, June 30 – Sept 1 from 9:30 – 10:15 in UU Berks Rehearsal Space(s)

The stage will be yours! Dazzle us with your unique light!

Share your interest and intended days we’ll see you at www.uuberks.org/theater

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 

Recorder Ensemble to Rehearse over Summer

The UU recorder ensemble ( 3-10 players) is enjoying playing many different types of music, focusing primarily on renaissance and baroque music, but including early classical, folk, and even some modern tunes!  We play soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorders, but recorders come in many more sizes!

Summer Schedule: from 11:45 – 12:45 ON:

July 14 and 28

August 11 and 25

  Please contact Tracy B. with any questions.

All ages between 10 and 110 are welcome.


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

The Interim Time is Ending in Renewal

We would know that Renewal is in the air, even if Soul Matters did not share its theme. It is time to go into the next church year, celebrating this past year, with all of the planning and joy and anticipation of each year’s transition PLUS a new minister! Our time together has been a time of transition, with many discoveries along the way. Let us end our time together well.

I will preach on June 16th , which is also Flower Ceremony. After, at coffee hour, there will be a cake to celebrate our successful transitional ministry! The following week, June 23, I will be present at the  sanctuary for the service, where we will all be watching the GA service together.

Many have asked what is next for me. From Reading and serving UU Berks, my family and I will be moving to Castine, Maine, where I will be serving our UU Congregation of Castine. It is a homecoming for us, as our family began in Maine. Kevin will most likely return to public schools and teaching while our young adults will look at University of Maine to finish up.

As for us, I gratefully thank you for this time as your Interim Minister. Your congregation’s work with me not only prepared you for next steps, but enriched my call to ministry as we faced the developmental tasks together. Thank you all for being open and friendly, trusting, and generous. May your future ministries reap all of the benefits that you sowed by getting out of your comfort zones during our
time together.

Leaving well is part of the work. I will need to withdraw from daily, consistent social media contact, like Facebook, and real contact, like texting, with folks at UU Berks after I go. But I will keep track of your congregation’s successes, and enjoy seeing you at GA and such! And we have our memories.
Have a great summer and a joyful coming-back-together in the fall. Renewal is always a theme for those who have a strong sense of community, always changing
and thriving.

In peace

Rev. Amy

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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