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Aftermath of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona, at TVUUC, Knoxville, Tennessee

The Current Forum & Future Fora at
Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church

"The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum."
-- Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965) , New York Times, Jan. 19, 1962

Since 1975, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) in Knoxville, Tennessee, has complemented its Sunday morning worship services with a "forum" on various secular topics. The current forum and all future fora (forums) which have already been arranged are described below.

Click here for the home page of the church website.
Click here for a sample newsletter.
Click here for information on all past fora in 2007 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
Click here for information on all past fora in 2008 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
Click here for information on all past fora in 2009 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
Click here for information on all past fora in 2010 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
Click here for information on all past fora in 2011 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Sunday, May 15, 2011: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Atlas of the United States of America." Presented by Ted Lollis, member of the TVUUC forum committee since April 2007. Ted and Schera owned a retail map store in Washington's Union Station (before converting their business to computerized geographic consulting and moving to Pennsylvania, then to Washington state, and finally to Tennessee). Ted thought for many years that there is no good atlas the USA in print. So he recently created his own atlas -- by shamelessly downloading his favorite US maps from the Internet. This forum will be a rapid (repeat RAPID) map tour of the USA. We'll see our nation's history, its mountains and rivers, its animals, highways, power houses, food and drink, religious distribution, income disparities, health statistics, election results, and a lot of other things which maps show best.

Sunday, May 22, 2011: -- No forum today -- N.B.: No forum on this date because of the TVUUC Annual Meeting.

N.B.: May 22 is the first Sunday of TVUUC's summer schedule. On subsequent Sundays (and until the winter schedule resumes in August), the forum will take place at 11:15 AM after the single worship service at 10:00 AM.

From this point forward, all fora are under the responsibility of TVUUC's new Forum Committee.

Sunday, May 29, 2011: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Topic to be Announced." Forum presenter to be announced.

Sunday, date to be determined: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "You Tube Anyone?" TVUUC Fora on November 21, 2010, and again on February 27, 2011, were devoted to misealaneous on-line videos. Here's a selection of more short videos thought to be fun and/or informative for a UU audience. We'll see as many as we can see in one hour. You can also click these titles on the forum's master video list ( and see them whenever you want!

Some videos "left over" from February 27, 2011:

"On the Mindless Menace of Violence" by Robert F. Kennedy, City Club, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968 (6:18). Suggested by Ilse Anderson on 09 Jan 2011.
"200 Years That Changed the World," by Hans Rosling of Sweden, Gapfinder Foundation (4:38). See other Rosling videos.
"PS-22 Chorus Vida la Vida," sung by kids of New York Public School #22 (3:09). Suggested by Emily Ellis 24 Feb 2011
"Alabama 'Roll Tide' Commercial," ESPN commercial (0:46). Suggested by Emily Ellis 24 Feb 2011.

Some videos "left over" from November 21, 2010:

"The Gandhi Rap -- be the change u want to see" (4:19).
"Will Tennessee Enact New Immigration Law?," WSMV-TV, Nashville, TN, May 14, 2010 (2:00)
"The Emphathic Civilisation," by Jerremy Riffkin (10:40).
"The Sound of Science" with Charles Darwin (2:40).
"Mr. Deity & the Evil" (3:52).
"Lost Generation" - prize winning palindrome (1:45).

Sunday, Date to be Determined: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Solar Power" (tentative topic) Presented by WUUC member David Bolt, founder of Sustainable Future, LLC, an East Tennessee licensed solar contractor for both residential and commercial systems. The company specializes in solar thermal and photovoltaic technology, as well as thermal imaging. They installed the first residential grid-tied solar photovoltaic system within the city of Knoxville in 2010 and have installed both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal equipment at sites throughout East Tennessee. /// In 2010 Sustainable Future installed over 400 kW of Solar Power that is expected to produce over 500,000 kWh of electricity annually, saving 450,000 tons of coal and 880,000 lbs. of CO2 pollution annually. (400 kW is 14 times the size of the 28.7 kW solar panel project being negotiated for TVUUC.) /// Dave Bolt presented a TVUUC forum on December 10, 2006, entitled "Zero Energy House: A Spiritual Practice." He received BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, as well as an MS degree in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee. In 2006, he renovated a 30-year old home to be net zero energy through the use of renewable energy sources, including solar hot water and photovoltaics. His utility bills have been negative ever since.

Sunday, Date to be Determined: Forum at ____ AM -- "The Education of Laura Bridgman." Presented by Dr. Ernest Freeberg, Professor of History at UT and author of the recent Book "Democracy's Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent" (about which Prof. Freeberg presented a TVUUC forum on February 7, 2010). Now -- back by popular demand -- he will share highlights from his earlier book, "The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language." In the mid-nineteenth century, Laura Bridgman [1829-1889], a young child from New Hampshire, became one of the most famous women in the world. Philosophers, theologians, and educators hailed her as a miracle, and a vast public followed the intimate details of her life with rapt attention. This girl, all but forgotten today, was the first deaf and blind person ever to learn language. Laura's dark and silent life was transformed when she became the star pupil of the educational crusader Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe [1801-1876], husband of Julia Ward Howe [1819-1910] (both of whom were Unitarians). Against the backdrop of an antebellum Boston seething with debates about human nature, programs of moral and educational reform, and battles between conservative and liberal Christians, Freeberg tells this extraordinary tale of mentor and student, scientist and experiment. Under Howe's constant tutelage, Laura voraciously absorbed the world around her, learning to communicate through finger language, as well as to write with confidence. Her remarkable breakthroughs vindicated Howe's faith in the power of education to overcome the most terrible of disabilities. In Howe's hands, Laura's education became an experiment that he hoped would prove his own controversial ideas about the body, mind, and soul. Poignant and hopeful, The Education of Laura Bridgman is both a success story of how a sightless and soundless girl gained contact with an ever-widening world, and also a cautionary tale about the way moral crusades and scientific progress can compromise each other. Anticipating the life of Helen Keller [1880-1968] a half-century later, Laura's is a pioneering story of the journey from isolation to accomplishment, as well as a window onto what it means to be human under the most trying conditions.

Sunday, to be determined: Forum at _____ AM -- "Little Briar Rose." The fairy tale Dornroschen was told and retold many times before it was published by the Brothers Grimms in 1812 and popularised by Walt Disney in 1959 as "Sleeping Beauty." TVUUC member Carolyn Rogers, ________ and ________ (otherwise known as the Rainbow Puppet Theatre) produced a version of the tale -- "Little Briar Rose" -- six years ago for the opening of the Carpe Librum Booksellers and again last December for its closing. Now they bring their live perfomance to the TVUUC forum, along with a discussion of fairy tales, of the long history of "Little Briar Rose," and of their method of silk marionette puppetry. Rudolf Steiner [1861-1925] developed the method during World War I as a healing art for the war torn children in the daycare center in his home. Steiner then went on to develop Waldorf schools. "The magical world of fairy tales is especially suited to the world of the young child. The archetypal characters and situations express inner qualities and dilemmas that all of us face--even young children. A puppet play with silk marionettes allows the archetypal character of the puppets and the flowing quality of the silk to combine in vivid images for the young child. As the tale is told, there is a quality of deeply satisfying aliveness and transformation." According to Carolyn, "It will be impossible to duplicate the atmosphere that Carpe Librum has provided, but the beauty and grace of the puppets will bring comfort wherever they are."

Sunday, Date to be Determined: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Topic to be Determined." Presented by David Massey who coordinates TVUUC's Saturday-night Spectrum Cafe (aka Diversi-Tea & Coffee House), is secretary and treasurer of the Greater Knoxville Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and, since May 2008, is official Neighborhood Coordinator for the City of Knoxville. A longtime Knoxville resident with a long history of working on community issues and with neighborhood groups, Dave was the executive director of (formerly known as KORRnet), 2000-2007 and a member of the city's Better Building Board 2005-2007. Prior to his work with Discover, Massey worked for many years as an editor and reporter for publications ranging from a newsletter covering the coal industry to local newspapers to theological publications. Massey has been very active in neighborhood issues, including serving as president of the Fourth & Gill Neighborhood Organization, and he organized and led the Alliance for Incinerator Review in its successful battle to stop the location of a proposed Knox County Incinerator on Baxter Avenue in the late 1980s. Since 2007 he has been a partner in Harris-Massey Words & Design, which offers copywriting, proofreading and graphic design services to its clients. Massey said his roots are deep in Knoxville, and he has spent much of his life working with organizations dedicated to making their neighborhoods, and Knoxville, better places to live and work. "I have always loved community organizing and helping people find common ground," Massey says. Massey is a 1970 graduate of Emory University and he also did graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Massey is married to Barbara (Jamie) Harris, a graphic designer. They live in Rocky Hill and have one son, Kevin, who is a producer at WBIR Channel 10.

Sunday, Date to be determined: Forum at ____ AM -- "Was Shakespeare a Unitarian?" Scattered throughout Shakespeare's extensive body of work are diverse expressions of world views, personal philosophies, and even religious themes. Many are contradictory, but a close examination of some well known plays (plus a sonnet or two) nevertheless suggests this genius may have held religious views which we would consider similar to Unitarian Universalism today. Presented by TVUUC member Robert Porter, PhD, a recovering theater professor who recently played major Shakespearian roles at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.. Bob is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, was a resident actor at the University of Michigan (where he won a Best Actor Award in the title role of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens), and is now Director of Research Development at UT.

N.B. This forum was previously scheduled for August 29, 2010, but had to be postponed.

Sunday, Date to be determined: Forum at ___ AM -- "Targeting of Radioisotopes for Imaging and Therapy" Presented by Stephen J. Kennel, Ph.D., Radio-Biochemist, Preclinical and Diagnostic Molecular Imaging Laboratory, and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee. The major emphasis of Dr. Kennel's work is on the basic science of how injected biologicals such as antibodies circulate and deposit at target sites such as tumors. He will discuss the most common imaging agents and some radiotherapy procedures currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sunday, Date to be determined: Forum at ____ AM -- "Healthy Homes" Presented by Grace Ashford. Environmental hazards in the home harm millions of children each year. In 1999, in response to a Congressional Directive over concerns about child environmental health, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched its Healthy Homes Initiative (HHI) to protect children and their families from housing-related health and safety hazards. HUD has developed a new Healthy Homes Strategic plan that lays out the next steps our office will take to advance the healthy homes agenda nationwide.

Sunday, date to be determined: Forum at time to be determined -- "Once Upon a Time in Knoxville: America's Third World Future." A [full-length?] documentary by Will Fraser, Fugue State Films, England. "James (Rollo) Sullivan rents out homemade houses made out of trash and discarded materials. The community he's created lives a simple, sustainable, sufficient third world lifestyle by choice, and is fulfilled doing so. But they are in opposition to the city they live in, and their community is surrounded by the environmental chaos that the American lifestyle has wrought. They see their lifestyle as the way for everyone to live. They also say they show what the future will be like when declining resources narrow the gap between America and the Third World and force Americans to lower drastically their standard of living." Click here for movie trailer on YouTube (3:15).

Sunday, Date to be Determined: Forum at ____ AM -- "Promoting Social Change: Historical Lessons from Media and the Vietnam Veterans against the War." TVUUC member Mark D. Harmon, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, is presenting a paper entitled "Promoting Social Change: Historical Lessons from Media and the Vietnam Veterans against the War [VVAW]" at the 11th Annual Graduate Conference, Observing, Promoting and Resisting Social Change: Perspectives from the Social Sciences, at the London School of Economics & Political Science on May 21-22. He also is presenting another research paper and a poster in London this summer while leading an overseas study program there. His book "Found, Featured, then Forgotten" has just been accepted for publication by UT's Newfound Press. Harmon was also recently awarded the annual Distinguished Service Award by the College of Communication and Information. He currently serves on the Knox County Commission.

"If I should ever decide in the future to discuss my deep Christian beliefs
and condemnation and sinfulness, I would use another forum besides Playboy."
-- President Jimmy Carter (b. 1924 , repenting for
the "lust in his heart" remark he made to Playboy Magazine.

Please email any comments or questions to geovisual at

Click here for information on the current forum.
Click here for a sample newsletter (PDF format, 341 kb).
Click here for the home page of the church website.
Click here to see The Forum in 2008 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.