Journeying Together
Worship Services
Special Events and Announcements
Summer Forum
Humanist Connections
A Letter of Solidarity to Brown Girls Climbing
Social Justice
Family Ministry
From the Executive Director
From the Treasurer
From the Connections Coordinator
Partner Church Committee
Good News Corner

Journeying Together

Dr. Rev. Michelle Collins

Hello! It’s great to meet you all! While I say “meet,” these wild times we live in make meeting and getting to know one another and working together continually a different sort of thing. Despite all of the adjustments and “zoom” meetings that we’ll get to know one another in, I have no doubt that we’ll be able to do some great work together now, and when we can start getting together in person in some form once again.

I can hardly tell you how excited I am to begin our work and ministry together.  There is so much potential during these times, and UUCB has a great deal of potential as well. We are in the midst of many different times of transition and potential: that of the covid-19 pandemic, of racial justice awareness and work throughout our country, of the continuing challenges and changes brought to us by global climate change, and of course of the time of ministerial leadership transition here at UUCB.  Times of transition and change bring with them a tremendous amount of potential, some of it potential that might not be realized or even recognized outside of that time of challenges.  I can name many changes in our congregations that have only come about because of the propelling challenges of the pandemic and how we have responded to it.

This is where we begin our journey together, trying to get to know one another under quarantine and distancing practices.  So instead of the chance meetings and face-to-face times that I would hope that we’d have, we’ll have to be a bit more intentional about making those times happen.  However, our greetings and getting to know one another are the same as ever.  I’d love to hear about you and your story, about what’s important to you, about what you love about UUCB, and about your hopes for our church and what it can be in this present world that we find ourselves in.

This is the beginning of our journey together, and I look forward to being partners along this journey.


Rev. Michelle

Sunday Services in August

Facebook Live and YouTube Live, 11 am on Sundays

August 2 – Blessing of the Animals. Worship service via Facebook and YouTube. Jim Gasperini, Service Leader, with Sarah Ward and Rev. Michelle Collins. Reviving a longtime UUCB ritual, we will celebrate the animal companions and neighbors that bless us with their presence in our lives. Since most animals prefer to be blessed within the comfort and safety of their homes, this ritual seems well suited to online celebration. Please send pictures or very short videos (under 20 seconds) of animal companions or close neighbors to by Wed. July 29th. Include the names of the animals and their humans, and if you’d like a few words about their importance to you. Rev. Michelle Collins, our new Interim Minister, will be introduced.

August 9 – 75th Anniversary Commemoration of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bombing. Worship service via Facebook and YouTube. Social Justice Council members, Rev. Michelle Collins and Bob Adams.

To commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after 75 years, we invite you to join the service on August 9th for an introspective hour of remembering the past, being present in the now, and thinking forward for the future.

August 16 – The Stories and Blessings We Share. Worship service via Facebook and YouTube. Rev. Michelle Collins, with Karen Elliott. Many say that the universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories.  And people and the relationships between people even more so.  Willingness to share these stories blesses each of us – sharing blesses us through trust and through giving that little part of ourselves to each other.  As we start to get to know each other, I’m looking forward to hearing your stories and your hopes and dreams for UUCB.

August 23 – The Wisdom Within Us. Worship service via Facebook and YouTube. Rev. Michelle Collins, with Andrea Brown. Throughout our lives we are faced with stress, pain, and challenges of a variety of sorts. And, like it or not, we have to find ways to keep going in whatever way makes sense for us. We’ll look into ourselves this morning for the wisdom of our bodies to address the stress that comes along.

August 30 – Trips & Journeys. Worship service via Facebook and YouTube. Rev. Michelle Collins, with Lee Maranto. Trips, outings, journeys, pilgrimages, quests…there are a lot of different ways that we go places and a lot of different things that each means. What is it that we are seeking, what keeps us questing, and what sorts of journeys are we on? We’ll explore these today.

Virtual Coffee Hour 11:45 am
After worship we invite you to switch over to Zoom for a time to connect “face to face.” The link to Virtual Coffee Hour is listed below, but we will also share it in the comments on the Facebook Live feed during worship. Use the following information to join us:


Meeting ID: 332 046 821
Password: 810131


669 900 6833

Vespers in August

Zoom, 6:30 pm

Join us for our mid-week online vespers services, led by our Worship Associates! The 25-minute Wednesday evening service will provide a time for us to gather together to experience moments of reflection, prayer and song, grounded in our UU faith.

Please click this link to join us.
Meeting ID: 862 9046 0367
Password: chalice

Good Neighbor for August:

Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program (ECAP)’s mission is to provide food, clothing, furniture, care and compassion to those in need in Emeryville, California and the surrounding bay area communities.

Special Events and Announcements

  • UUCB Staff Availability 
    To maintain the highest level of safety precautions, our staff works mostly remotely from home. Additionally, some hours have also been reduced because of budget restrictions, and most of our staff now works part-time. Kindly allow two (2) business days for us to reply to your messages, and we greatly appreciate your patience and understanding when making requests.
  • Friday, July 31st – Sunday, August 2nd. Rev. Michelle Collins begins her time with us on August 1st. Since we can’t meet her in person and share a giant cake in the atrium like we normally would, we invite you to join us! Come anytime at your leisure to make our largest SUPER CARD EVER and write your message of welcome to our new interim minister! You can write with chalk on the ground of our main parking lot or leave it taped to the glass doors of the main entry.

  • First Friday Social Time on Zoom: Join UUCB folks for a virtual happy hour, 5-6 pm on August 7 and the first Friday of each month. Use this link: and the password chalice. Questions?, 510-559-3616.
  • Commemorations of the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 
    • SUMMER FORUM August 2 9:30 am: Takashi Tanemori is one of the few survivors of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He lost both of his parents and two sisters to the effects of that weapon, and became an oyanashigo – a street urchin – who struggled to stay alive by searching waste sites and garbage cans for food in the ashes of postwar Japan. Today, Tanemori’s purpose in life is exposing and defeating what he has come to know as humankind’s greatest enemy: fear and hatred that cause darkness in the human heart. As founder of the Silkworm Peace Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to international peace, he has fostered forgiveness and helping others overcome barriers.
    • LFDC August 2 12:30-2:30 pm: We invite all UUCBers to read Hiroshima and then join us to discuss it with the Literature, Film & Drama Contingent. Don Klose hosts our discussion commemorating the 75th year after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This issue of The New Yorker was dedicated solely to this work by John Hersey, with no cartoons or ads. We encourage ALL members of UUCB to read Hiroshima and discuss it with LFDC, or within your group of preference.
    • SUMMER FORUM August 9 9:30 am: Our speaker will be Marylia Kelley, who helped found Tri-Valley CAREs (or Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) almost 40 years ago. Tri-Valley CAREs serves both to oppose nuclear weapons and to operate as a watchdog for the Lawrence Livermore Lab, which, with Los Alamos Labs, is one of two facilities where all U.S. nuclear weapons have been designed. The group, with Ms. Kelley as its Executive Director, lobbies in Washington, D.C., speaks publicly against increasing nuclear weapons activities in the U.S. and publishes a quarterly newsletter, Citizen’s Watch, decrying the growing national budget for nuclear arms.
    • On August 9th, both the service itself and Religious Education will carry over this theme to honor the history of the bombings.
  • Let’s not just weather this time together, let’s celebrate together, too! Send us your Good News and we will feature them in the Good News Corner! Send them to

Summer Forum

Toward a Just World

Sundays, 9:30-10:30 am on Zoom
Click here to join us.

August 2 – Honoring 75 years since August 1945. Takashi Tanemori is one of the few survivors of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He lost both of his parents and two sisters to the effects of that weapon, and became an oyanashigo – a street urchin – who struggled to stay alive by searching waste sites and garbage cans for food in the ashes of postwar Japan. Today, Tanemori’s purpose in life is exposing and defeating what he has come to know as humankind’s greatest enemy: fear and hatred that cause darkness in the human heart. As founder of the Silkworm Peace Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to international peace, he has fostered forgiveness and helping others overcome barriers. Hosts Beth Jerde, Helen Toy.

August 9 – Speaking on Nuclear Weapons. Our speaker will be Marylia Kelley, who helped found Tri-Valley CAREs (or Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) almost 40 years ago. Tri-Valley CAREs serves both to oppose nuclear weapons and to operate as a watchdog for the Lawrence Livermore Lab, which, with Los Alamos Labs, is one of two facilities where all US nuclear weapons have been designed. The group, with Ms. Kelley as its executive director, lobbies in Washington, DC, speaks publicly about increasing nuclear weapons activities in the U.S. and publishes a quarterly newsletter, Citizen’s Watch, decrying the growing national budget for nuclear arms.

August 16 – Working with environmental issues. Dr. Paloma Pavel and Carl Anthony. Co-founders of Breakthrough Communities.  Hosts Sheila Tarbet, Dorothy Herzberg.

August 23 – Training in use of solar and natural energy in developing countries. Bruce Gardner, founder of Solar Roots. Hosts Barbara Daniell, Dorothy Herzberg.

Humanist Connections

Sundays, 12:30 pm, Zoom

A discussion group to explore our humanity, values, ideas.

“A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

 (Fourth principle of Unitarian Universalism.)

August 2020  

August 2 – Medical Tourism – Dennis Monthei

August 9 – Short topics and topic selection for September – Ray Westergard

August 16 – Should We Update English Spelling? – Timothy Travis

August 23 – Poetry Workshop on Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods… – Bob Hall

August 30 – Trump’s Niece’s Book on his Family Development – Marcia Bates

Group managers: Susan Singh, Ray Westergard, Al Kueffner, Lee Lawrence, Kris Homme, Anne Fitzmaurice. Communications: Marcia Bates Contact Marcia for Zoom information. 

A Letter to Brown Girls Climbing 

In mid-June at Indian Rock Park in Berkeley, two young African American girls –members of Brown Girls Climbing, a rock-climbing group– were approached by a white woman who made hostile and racist comments to them. The ten-year-old told her coach, Emily Taylor, an expert climber and owner of the club (and first Black woman to climb El Capitan), who posted a poignant video describing the incident. You can watch the video here:

The UUCB Board, Social Justice Council, People of Color Caucus and Whites Opposing White Supremacy sent the following email of support to Ms. Taylor:

Dear Ms. Taylor and members and families of Brown Girls Climbing, 

We, the members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) in Kensington, were outraged and saddened to hear of the racist verbal attack on your students at Indian Rock in mid-June and to hear of other incidents that created an unwelcome and hostile atmosphere in that area.  

One of our members lives a few hundred yards from Indian Rock and alerted the congregation to the incident.  Through this member, the church continues to be updated on ongoing community actions by the neighbors at Indian Rock.  We were also informed that a Black Lives Matter banner had been stolen from Marin Circle, and we immediately replaced it with one that the church had.   

We recognize the huge impact this incident has had on you, the children, and their families.  Some of us understand this impact from our own personal experiences.  For others of us, your candor is a huge gift.  Thank you, Emily, for your courage in putting this information out into the world.  We appreciate how much you give to the girls in your care.   

In love and solidarity, 

UUCB Board of Trustees
UUCB Social Justice Council
UUCB People of Color Caucus
UUCB Whites Opposing White Supremacy 

Social Justice Council

Sheldon Jones has assembled a task force that is coming together to work on developing an anti-racist agenda for the UUCB community, hoping to include several different programs throughout the Church as we start our new fiscal year.

Several reports from the on-line General Assembly have spurred the council to look at:

  • Widening the Circle – analyzing structural racism in UU – study group.

  • Communities of Communities – expanding leadership to strengthen the mission of a group by reaching out for leadership across other areas of the congregation.

  • Discuss Reparations to educate the congregation about the idea of making amends for our historic abuse of the African American.

  • Issues of Indigenous people – task force formed.

  • Organizing to expand our network of volunteers while doing the work.

  • To remember to network across the UU community, and use resources already in place to help in our work of Social Justice.

  • Naomi Klein’s Ware Lecture asked us not to avoid this moment teetering on the precipice of world crises and to step through the portal of opportunity having seen that the resources are here to be used in the “Great Leap” into a green economy for the betterment of everyone.

There will be Hiroshima, Nagasaki commemoration events:

August 2 

August 9

Beth Jerde continues to make masks with all proceeds going to people in need. ($1,600 to date)

Sponsored Projects

Reclaiming Our Democracy – Norie Clarke

We continue to have great participation from the congregation in writing Reclaim Our Vote postcards. People have signed up again to write postcards to unregistered and purged voters across the country focusing on people of color who have traditionally been less likely to vote and less likely to be contacted.  We are beginning a new 1500 card batch of bilingual mailings to El Paso, Texas.  This work can continue through September.  UUtheVote has ongoing phone banks on Zoom as well. And we are formulating a push to have UU youth and young adults sign up as poll workers across the country, including the youth of Contra Costa and Alameda counties as well.

Confronting Racism – Helen Tinsley-Jones and Julie Rogers

Please watch the movie “13th” on Netflix, and participate in a church discussion, date(s) to be determined for August.

We have replaced our Black Lives Matter sign, destroyed at a rally in support of “Brown Girls Climbing” at Indian Rock where, young girls, their first day out, were subjected to ugly slurs from a passerby.  We have sent a letter of support and concern to the organization and Linda Laskowski is participating in a neighborhood organization meeting around this issue.

A plan to plant periwinkles at the Church is being planned as a memorial to African American lives lost throughout our history.  Periwinkles were planted to mark the graves of Africans stolen from their native lands.

Tiny House Project – Jim Acock

Houses are being placed at the YSA community lot on Hegenberger Road. Hoping to open on September 1st. We are planning to participate in painting the fence to secure the property. This will happen on August 1 at 8:30 am at the Youth Spirit Artworks center.

Climate Justice – Sheila Tarbet

Three presentations at the Summer Forum occurred in July:

  • The extremely knowledgeable Andres Soto from Communities for a Better Environment spoke about actions being taken against oil and coal pollution in the Bay Area.

  • Rev. Earl Koteen – The Arc of the Universe

  • Bud Abbott – Conservation of Wildlife in Africa

We are following closely our Sanctuary Family whose housing situation is precarious under the strictures of COVID 19.

We want to thank the Congregation for their continued generous participation in our Good Neighbor collections. We will be collecting funds for Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program in August.

Lonnie Moseley will host “Congrats to Grads” at the SJC Meeting, August 9, 6 pm. 

Family Ministry

Catherine BoyleCatherine Boyle, Director of Family Ministry

RE 2020 Looking for Helpers 

As we come to Fall 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, we are re-envisioning RE for our new reality featuring online and small groups. Come be a part of this new journey with us as an RE Teacher, a Coming of Age Teacher, a substitute or support staff. For more info or to join in, email Catherine at

Support During This Time 

The pandemic is a scary and stressful time. If you need resources, whether material or emotional, email me at for support. Available by appointment by phone or Zoom – email to schedule. We here at UUCB are here for you.

Stay safe!

Catherine Boyle, Director of Family Ministry

Tess O'RivaFrom the Executive Director

Tess Snook O’Riva, Executive Director

As a species on this planet, humans are quite young, comparatively. I equate this era in our evolution to adolescence. (Having two in my household makes this analogy hit pretty hard.) Like teens, we often think we know everything, are insensitive, make selfish and illogical choices against our own long-term health, and want to rebel against everything that came before. We are certainly better than *those* generations and won’t make the same mistakes!

Except we have. We do. Generation after generation. We have let fear of the “other” guide our choices and our lives. We have been ignorant and not sought out the knowledge to grow. We have been complacent and apathetic to the injustices perpetrated against people who are not “us.” As long as it doesn’t affect us personally, right? And then we watched the videos. Dozens of them. We saw what our world really was and who really had the power… and how they used it. Finally, large numbers of people and companies looked in the mirror and realized how they had contributed to a broken system – a broken world.

Acknowledging the effects systemic racism has had on me and those I love is not easy. It has benefitted me, never having to deal with microaggressions or be cautious around authority figures, and it has hurt those I love for whom this is a daily fact of life. Would I be where I am today if I had been born to different parents? I don’t know. But the thought-exercise is valid to really illuminate all that I didn’t have to struggle against. My path was easier than if I had been born with darker skin. Period.

Apathy is a choice. One cannot live their UU values and let injustice continue. Whether it is supporting a protest or vigil, interrupting jokes, asking hard questions, or raising children who say, “Racism is stupid,” we cannot sit idle. We will only reach our potential as a species by evolving with intention – making the changes that are necessary for a just world right now.

So I will be more careful who my money supports, speak out more, educate myself continuously, and be the best ally I can be. I will uphold UUCB values in our purchasing decisions, hiring practices, and organizational priorities. I can do more than just not be racist. I can be anti-racist. I may be the first generation in my family to do so, but I will NOT be the last.

Feel free to reach out to me directly ( or join my UUCB Open Lounge Hour on Tuesdays at 4 pm (see for details)! 

From the Treasurer

Larry NagelLarry Nagel

As you read this article, we will be closing the books on Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and just starting Fiscal Year 2020-21. This article describes results for the month of May 2020. However, I will attempt also to shed some light on the rest of the Fiscal Year as well.

The good news is we are closing out the Fiscal Year in a very good position. Year-to-Date Total Revenue at the end of May was ahead of budget by $69,985. Year-to-Date Expenses are $83,432 less than budgeted.

The bottom line is that as of the end of May, the Year-to-Date Surplus is $107,246, which is $153,416 better than budgeted. Our cash reserves stand at a very healthy $362,879, and the UUA Board Designated Endowment is now at $778,268.  

Our financial future is still clouded by the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t know when we will start programs again or when we will be able to resume rentals. The next three months will be pivotal in charting our financial course, and we will be reviewing the budget in September to evaluate how we are doing.

If you have any questions, please contact me at or call me at (510) 558-0842.

From the Connections Coordinator

Charis Domador

When we received the Shelter in Place order, I had only been working at UUCB for two weeks. I did not expect it to last as long as it has, and I genuinely thought I would have a chance to meet you all in person months ago. Sometimes it takes me a while to fully grasp and accept shifts of great magnitude, and I confess this trait can make me slow to act.

Since the safe and caring path leads us to continue physically distancing for a while longer, it is time for me to introduce myself officially. First, I want to say I am so lucky to have landed amongst you all. I am blessed that I get to work with good people at a place with values that align with my own.

I am from Caracas, Venezuela, and have lived in Florida, Arizona, D.C., Virginia, and now California. Throughout my professional career, I have always gravitated to fields that connect people. My life’s purpose is serving humanity however I can.

Through my work in communications and as a yoga teacher, I strive to cultivate a world where curiosity yields connection and stewardship among us, recognizing the oneness of humanity. I possess a holy curiosity, and fully support independent investigation of truth and the divine. I believe in human rights for all, banishing prejudice of every kind, the harmony of science and religion, the abolition of extreme wealth and poverty, and accessible education for all.

I thoroughly enjoy cake and cooking. I love to laugh but take myself, and life, way too seriously. Spanish is my native language, and I pronounce my name CHAD-ees (rhymes with PATTIES).

I hope my work will enhance and amplify the amazing efforts of UUCB, and I truly cannot wait to meet every single one of you soon. Until then, you can watch me say hi here.

Email me at if you want to connect… get it? I’m connections coord… I crack myself up!

Partner Church Committee

Church in HomorodujfaluStephanie Ann Blythe

In June we received word from Rev. Attila in Homorόdύjfalu that Rev. Levente Kelemen had died after a long battle with esophageal and stomach cancer. Levente was the minister in the neighboring village of Oklánd. He grew up in Újfalu where his parents Emma and Imre still reside. He also leaves three children: Kincso, Elöd, and Tas. He was an expert horseman and participated in Hussar cavalry reenactments. Levente’s wife Eva is known to many of you as our steadfast tour leader in Transylvania for many of our recent pilgrimages. After a visit here he and Eva started an effort to improve village life in their area that came to be known as Project Harvest Hope. A bakery and a dairy farm were developed with support from many partner churches and individuals and government grants.

He was generous with his time and hospitality in his busy life to pick us up in Segesvar and drive us to Újfalu, then later drive us all the way to Bucharest (a 12 hour round trip). Although language differences posed barriers on both sides, we can only wish that all of us could have learned more of his quiet intellect and vision for a better world.

You may send condolences to the Kelemen family at 537225 Ocland, Jud. Harghita, Romania or

Stephanie Ann Blythe at and Anne Greenwood at

Good News Corner

This pandemic, what we’re living through, seems like a real-life version of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Remember that show? It is becoming increasingly difficult to stumble upon positivity and good news. It feels more and more like we have to battle for hope and optimism.

In this new section of The Beacon, we want to include all the celebrations, fun moments, and every instance that fills our congregation with hope, and keeps us going day after day. When you need a pick-me-up, come to the Good News Corner!

  • Google launches balloon-powered internet service in Kenya. The technology will “offer connectivity to the many Kenyans who live in remote regions that are underserved or totally unserved, and as such remain disadvantaged,” Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mugo Kibati, said in the statement released Tuesday. Project Loon balloons had previously been used to provide emergency connectivity in the aftermath of crises such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico when mobile networks went down.

  • In Nakabale, Uganda, residents celebrate a new well which means clean water and healthier communities. Watch the heart-warming video here.

  • “No one should go hungry during a pandemic,” said Tatiana Smith of Jersey City, New Jersey. Smith bought a fridge and placed it fully stocked in her front yard. Anyone can take what they need from the Frontyard Pantry, and anyone can donate, too.

  • Six-year-old Bridger saves little sister by standing between her and a charging dog. After getting bit several times on the face and head, he grabbed his sister’s hand and ran with her to keep her safe. Bridger’s aunt, Nikki Walker, shared the Wyoming boy’s heroic tale on social media, where it garnered the attention of millions of people, including the cast of The Avengers. The U.S. Navy and Wounded Warrior Project also praised the boy’s bravery.

  • Scientists at Oxford University said their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.

Let’s not just weather this time together, let’s celebrate together, too! Send us your Good News and we will feature them in the Good News Corner! Send them to