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Past Fora in 2008 at
Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church

"I consider myself a fortunate man to have a forum for my curiosity. "
-- Bill Moyers (b. 1934), Channel Maker, Feb. 29, 1979

Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) in Knoxville, Tennessee, usually complements its Sunday morning worship services with a "forum" on various topics. In 2008, there were 48 fora, all of which are described below. Click here information on the current forum and on future fora.

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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 2009 at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Sunday, January 6, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Morristown: In the Air and Sun." Filmed in Tennessee and Mexico, this is the story of Mexican workers in Morristown, TN, and of the 2005 unionization of the Koch Foods poultry plant which involved Lucille Thornburgh, Ruth Martin, and others from TVUUC. The 60-minute film was made by Anne Lewis of Appalshop with "principal humanities advisor" Fran Ansley, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee, and a brief appearance by her husband, the Rev. Jim Sessions, representing East Tennessee Jobs With Justice (JWJ).

Sunday, January 13, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "A Message to the American People from the People of Hiroshima" Mr. Takashi Teramoto, an atomic bomb survivor (Hibakusha) from Hiroshima, and Steve Leeper, Chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, will personally deliver a message from the mayor and people of Hiroshima: That nuclear weapons must be abolished and never used again. Their brief visits to Knoxville and Atlanta are the first of a series of appearances all over the US between now and the presidential election in November. A poster exhibition created by the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Museum will animate the forum and remain at TVUUC in the Lizzie Crozier French room for approximately three weeks courtesy of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA).

Sunday, January 20, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Two Hundred Years of Black Achievement in Knoxville" January 21 is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and we are privileged to welcome a former member of TVUUC who is also the foremost authority on the history of Knoxville's Black community. A 1953 graduate of Austin High School and 1962 graduate of Knoxville College, Robert J. Booker was the first Black ever elected to the State Legislature from Knox County. He was administrative assistant to the Mayor of Knoxville for seven years before becoming executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, writing four books about Knoxville history and a column for the Knoxville Journal. Even now, Mr. Booker contributes a weekly column to the Knoxville News Sentinel and is the historian and acting public relations director of Knoxville College.

Sunday, January 27, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Sustainable Architecture" TVUUC member Don Horton says, "Being green is in" (pun intended). He will will lead a discussion of how buildings affect our lives, the movement to make the indoor environment more sustainable, and how all this relates to the future building needs of TVUUC. An architect in the firm of McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Inc. (MHM), Don was project manager for getting the John J. Duncan Federal Building certified under a standard called "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED). When Don received his own LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council two years ago, there were less than 2,000 professionals in the field, but today there are already about 40,000.

Sunday, February 3, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Healthcare Systems Compared" Discussion, after a half hour PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Jim Reynolds comparing the healthcare systems of the US other fiirst world countries (using data fom the World Health Organization and other sources.) This forum continues a discussion which took place on the TVUUC email list last July. A TVUUC member, Jim is a board-certified family physician with 20 years experience, mostly working with the poor and uninsured through the Knox County Health Department's now dismantled indigent care program. In 1978, he spent six weeks at the University of London studying Britain's National Health Service (NHS). Since December 2007, he has been working for the State of Tennessee at the Roane County Health Department, heading up their primary care clinic.

Sunday, February 3, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "The Search for a Permanent Religious Education Professional at TVUUC" TVUUC is in the process of searching for a permanent Lifespan Religious Education Professional (LREP). The Search Committee would like to update you on our search process and timetable. The committee would also like to solicit your input as to what qualities you would to see us value in choosing a successor to Rosie Rimrodt. Please come and participate in this endeavor that is so important to our church life. This forum will be conducted by Ted Jones and other members of the LREP Search Committee.

Sunday, February 10, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "What TVA Won't Tell You About Green Power Switch" TVUUC member Ted Lollis thinks that Green Power Switch (GPS) might not be what it seems. Is it possible that GPS really does nothing for the environment? Is the environmentally minded public being manipulated? Are GPS participants -- including TVUUC -- being uncharacteristically naive and gullible? Ted met September 19 with two GPS managers from TVA's Marketing Department in Nashville. He will present his case against TVA and GPS at today's forum. A balanced debate, says Ted, will have to await another time and place.

Sunday, February 17, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Report from Afghanistan" Presented by Jim Malone is a professional librarian/information manager who spent most of 2007 working to establish the library of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAf) in Kabul. AUAf is Afghanistan's first and only private, not-for-profit institution of higher education, offering internationally-supported degree programs and education for the professions. Jim will tell us about his experiences in the ancient city of Kabul and describe efforts of the Afghan government and international aid organizations to rebuild the war-torn country. He is now back home in Johnson City, TN, and working as a Research Associate with the Oak Ridge Associated Universities/Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education (ORAU/ORISE) in Oak Ridge.

Sunday, February 24, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition" Presented by Roald Hoffmann, Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Cornell University, and 1981 Nobel laureate in chemistry. A unique and provocative look at how science and religion are actually parallel ways of trying to make sense of the world, each a voice intertwining with the other to help shape true human understanding. Professor Hoffmann will tell how science, religion, and art look at pieces of the world in the context of the tale of an ancient pigment Tyrian purple, which played a ritual role both in Jewish religious practice and in a critical biblical rebellion. NB: Professor Hoffmann will also lecture on "The Scientist as Writer" at the University of Tennessee on Friday, February 22, and the TVUUC Performing Arts & Lecture Series (PALS) will present his new play "Should've" on Saturday, February 23.

Sunday, March 2, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Protecting Our Children from the Harmful Effects of Marketing" The advertising industry takes advantage of children's and teens' vulnerabilities to create brand loyalty and to influence parents' shopping decisions. In 1999 a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups, and concerned parents created the Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) at the Judge Baker Children's Center, an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School. And, while living in Iowa, TVUUC member Monica Castaneda helped start CCFC's first local chapter. At this forum, Monica and two other parents will give examples of pernicious marketing practices and discuss what can be done to protect our children. A native of Ecuador, Monica has a degree in architecture and founded Feng Shui For Us. She presented a TVUUC forum on Feng Shui on May 13, 2007.

Sunday, March 9, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "The American Voter" presented by Justin Green, Professor Emeritus of Political Science. The Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan started studying the American voter in 1952 and published a seminal study in 1960. Updated ever since, the study explains who votes, why they vote, and what factors explain their votes. Political candidates rely on the study, and the media use it to predict election results. Justin will sort it all out for us at this forum. A UU for more than fifty years, Justin taught at Western Michigan and Villanova Universities and has published several books and more than 40 peer reviewed articles on politics. On November 4, 2007, he presented a forum entitled "Is Democracy for Everyone?" which drew on data collected during his many visits to the Philippines.

Sunday, March 16, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Evolution of the Dinosaurs" How did the dinosaurs evolve? Do they exist today? This provocative forum is presented by Dr. Colin D. Sumrall, Lecturer in Paleobiology, UT Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Sumrall obtained his B.S. degree at Arizona State University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at The University of Texas at Austin. His first love is extinct echinoderms (starfish and their allies), but he also lectures on dinosaurs to introduce students to the science of paleobiology. TVUUC is indebted to the Rationalists of East Tennessee (RET) who "discovered" Dr. Sumrall and invited him to speak on this subject before we did.

Sunday, March 23, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Toward Peace Within" Easter brings thoughts of peace and renewal. But how is it possible to experience peace in this increasingly violent and turbulent world? Jim Harb has spent 35 years working for Middle East peace and has spoken about different aspects of peace to a variety of Knoxville audiences (including fora at TVUUC in 2002 and 2005). This time, he will examine the internal journey of trying to live a peaceful life, further exploring ideas he presented February 17 in a sermon to TVUUC's Blount County Outreach Group. Jim was born in Knoxville and majored in finance at UT, but his family is of Christian Palestinian origin. He has been Executive Director of the Palestine Education Foundation in Washington, DC, US Development Director for the Ramallah Friends School, Administrative Assistant to Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Assistant Director of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Jim is now a grant writer for non-profit organizations.

Monday, March 24, 2008: Forum from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM -- "Nuclear Power: Pro and Con" The US nuclear power industry has been dormant since the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979, but the Tennessee Valley Authority -- headquartered in Knoxville -- is now in the forefront of a national "reactor revival." TVA declined to be represented at this forum, but Jerry Paul, JD, Distinguished Fellow on Energy Policy at the Howard Baker, Jr., Center for Public Policy of the University of Tennessee, will argue that new reactors are needed. And Stephen A. Smith, DVM, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), will argue that TVA should find ways to reduce the demand for electricity instead of spending billions for reactors whose safety cannot be guaranteed. NB: In order to allow adequate time for both presenters (and to encourage press coverage), this forum has been scheduled on a weekday evening instead of the usual time between Sunday morning services.

Sunday, March 30, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Homophobia and Right-Wing Politics" Presented by Suzanne Pharr, founder of the Arkansas Womens Project in 1981 and director of the Highlander Research & Education Center in New Market, TN, from 1999 until 2004. Suzanne is the author of "Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism" and "In the Time of the Right: Reflections on Liberation". She contributed to the anthology "Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right-Wing Backlash" and wrote two of the articles in the UU handbook on the Welcoming Congregation. Her paper "The Common Elements of Oppressions" can be found and read on-line. You can also read her blog and download her books at

Sunday, April 6, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Science and Religion in 19th Century America: The War That Wasn't" Presented by Neil Greenberg, TVUUC member and UT Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "Conflict thesis" is the theoretical premise of an intrinsic conflict between science and religion, and its most influential exponents were John William Draper [1811-1882] -- scientist, philosopher, physician, photographer, founder of NYU Medical School, author of "History of the Conflict between Religion and Science" [1874] -- and Andrew Dickson White [1832-1918] -- diplomat, author, educator, founder of Cornell University, author of "History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" [1896]. These two books constitute an overwrought defense of science in the midst of a increasingly mindless anti-immigration sentiment. For an interactive list of Prof. Greenberg's previous fora and other presentations, see "What's New?" on his personal website.

Sunday, April 13, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "The Jewish Merchants of Gay Street" Today the most prominent members of Knoxville's Jewish community are doctors, lawyers, scientists, and professors. But not so long ago, the community was led by a tightly interconnected tribe of merchants whose businesses clustered around South Gay Street and Market Square. For this forum, Wendy Lowe Besmann will draw from her book "A Separate Circle: Jewish Life in Knoxville, Tennessee." Ms. Besmann's essays on travel, practical living, and other topics have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, NY Times, Esquire, Better Homes & Gardens, Travel & Leisure, Outside, and SELF. She is a member of Heska Amuna Synagogue on Kingston Pike less than a mile from TVUUC. And her most recent Metro Pulse article about Jews in Knoxville, "Separate But Not Apart", can be viewed on-line.

Sunday, April 20, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau (a Play)" Sponsored by the TVUUC Environmental Concerns Committee for Earth Day 2008, directed by Eleanor Peplow, and presented by an all-female cast! Henry David Thoreau is America's original "tree hugger," forefather of the environmental movement, and the most quoted writer in American history. Yet, when he died in 1862, he was better known for having helped market the pencil than for any single word he ever wrote with it. "Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau" is a two act, four character play about the final two days Thoreau spent in his cabin before leaving Walden Pond in 1847. For more information about the play, visit its website,

Sunday, April 27, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "The Need for Just Immigration Policies at the Federal and State Levels" Immigration is a major issue, especially insofar as undocumented workers from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries are concerned. Frances Lee (Fran) Ansley, JD, Distinguished Professor of Law, UT College of Law, has written widely about civil rights, labor rights, globalization, race, and gender, specializing in the relationship between the southeastern states and Latin America. She was "principle humanities adviser" for "Morristown: In the Air and Sun," the film about immigrant labor in Tennessee which was shown during the forum on January 6, 2008. Prof. Ansley is married to the Rev. Jim Sessions who represents East Tennessee Jobs With Justice (JWJ) and is a former director of the Highlander Research & Education Center.

Sunday, May 4, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers as a Sacred Place" Kim Trevathan discovered the rivers' sacredness from an open canoe: First, by paddling 652 miles from Knoxville to the mouth of the Tennessee with his loyal dog Jasper. Then, by paddling 700 miles from Harlan, KY, to the mouth of the Cumberland with photographer Randy Russell. Tavathan will show a 6-minute film of his life on the two rivers, will explain why "the rivers are our last backroads away from Walmartization of place," and share some of the history and geography he chronicled in two books: "Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water" and "Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey down the Cumberland." Trevathan teaches creative writing, journalism, and literature at Maryville College. See for a selection of Russell's photos.

Sunday, May 11, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Art & Orthodoxy: What's a Photographer to Do?" Of all media, none is so literal and banal as photography. So how can a photographer aspire to great art? TVUUC member David Habercom photographed avidly in the Modernist tradition through his mid-thirties. He returned to photography at age 60, photographed homeless people in Knoxville (a project which WUOT news director Matt Shafer Powell discussed at TVUUC services on February 24), and is now working on a large series of 24 images in the Symbolist tradition. A smaller Symbolist series, called "Severance" will hang in the TVUUC art gallery this Summer. At this forum, David will discuss art and new directions in photography.

Sunday, May 18, 2008 (N.B.: This 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.): Forum at 11:15 AM -- "John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums", a rarely seen 1964 film by the former US Information Agency (USIA). Narrator Gregory Peck entones, "History will pick up its cold pen and book, and write in chronological order the events of the day with the date and time and the city. But history will be wrong, for there wasn't one date, or time, or city." President Kennedy's "years of lighting" (1961-1963) include the Peace Corps, the conquest of space, the Alliance for Progress, civil rights, freedom, and world peace. His "day of drums" is the state funeral on November 25, 1963. Introduced by Ted Lollis (a retired Foreign Service Officer), this forum will last 75-80 minutes.

Sunday, May 25, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "The Brian Griffin Show!" In addition to being TVUUC's Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Brian Griffin is the author of published poetry and short fiction in Shenandoah and other literary journals, and the New York Times compared his collection "Sparkman in the Sky" to Hemingway's early work. Brian studied under the famous Southern novelist Peter Taylor in Memphis, earned an MFA in Fiction Writing at the University of Virginia, and was Writer In Residence at UTK. He serves on the board of the Knoxville Writers' Guild and manages the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel. Brian has agreed to read some of his poetry and fiction and to talk about the link (which he considers to be deeply spiritual) between his literary work and his service to religious education at TVUUC.

Sunday, June 1, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Biofuels (Part 1 of 2): Fuelishness or Biopportunity?" Originally from Peru, Prof. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte is UT Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Associate Director of UT's Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). He works on the synergism between agricultural and energy policies, their international impacts, and the consequences of trade liberalization, and he helped write the "25X’25 study" which determined that American agriculture could provide 25 percent of our total energy needs while continuing to produce affordable food, feed, and fiber. But biofuels -- primaily ethanol and biodiesel -- are hotly controversial, and a differing view -- Biofuels (Part 2 of 2) -- will be presented on June 29 by Dr. Henry Fribourg, UT Professor Emeritus of Forage Crops Ecology.

Sunday, June 8, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "A Conversation with Guy and Candie Carawan," who may sing and play a little at this forum, but the occasion is intended mainly to hear them discuss their long experience with American folk music, its historic connections to the Civil Rights and Labor Movements, and their work with the Highlander Research and Education Center. Guy is particularly famous for helping shape and adapt "We Shall Overcome" with Pete Seeger and for teaching the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. Guy and Candie are authors of three books and more than twenty recordings covering the South Carolina Sea Islands, the Civil Rights Movement, and activism in Appalachia. See Jack Neely's portrait in Metro Pulse and the Carawans' own web site at

Sunday, June 15, 2008: No Forum today -- Annual Meeting of Congregation (postponed from May 18).

Sunday, June 22, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Why Does Tennessee Rank So Low?" Presented by Dr. Mac Simpson, TVUUC member and Associate Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Tennessee. An exploration of the inter-relationship between Tennessee's government, its people, and its politics that seeks to explain why Tennessee ranks so poorly on many indicators that measure a state's quality. For example, Tennessee ranks #43 in infant morality, #40 in the quality of public schools -- and #48 for total tax burden! When he lived in Georgia, Mac wrote "Atlanta: The City As Megalopolis" for Atlanta Magazine, "Restyling Georgia Courts", and many other professional papers under the name of T. McN. Simpson III.

Sunday, June 29, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Biofuels (Part 2 of 2): Global and Moral Perspectives." Dr. Henry Fribourg, UT Professor Emeritus of Forage Crops Ecology, fled occupied France at age 10 and came to the U.S. via Cuba (as told in his autobiography “I Gave You Life Twice"). He has worked in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and New Zealand and published extensively about grasses, pasture management, and the interrelations among climate, soil, forages and beef cattle. He believes that Tennessee and other governments are promoting biofuels without fully considering carbon dioxide emissions and the negative effects on food producton. Biofuels -- primaily ethanol and biodiesel -- are hotly controversial, and a differing view -- Biofuels (Part 1 of 2) -- was presented on June 1 by Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, UT Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics.

Sunday, July 6, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- Harlan County, USA, a 1976 Academy Award winning documentary film covering the efforts of 180 coal miners on strike in 1973 against the Duke Power Company in Harlan County, Kentucky. It was directed by Barbara Kopple, a long time advocate of workers' rights. Harlan County, USA is less ambivalent in its attitude toward unions than her later film, American Dream, the account of the Hormel Foods strike in Austin, Minnesota in 1985-86. A TVUUC member recommended this film during the forum on May 4, 2008, about canoeing on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, and Trish Adams helped us find the DVD.

Sunday, July 13: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Believe It or Not: Why We Believe What We Believe" Presented by Dr. Thomas P. (Tom) Walsh, former Director of the Graduate School in Special Education, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, and current Public Education Staff Officer, District 8 Eastern (Division 12), US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Tom has a Ph.D. in human memory, and, as a professor, he focused on ways people learn and remember. Learning leads to each person's belief system which influences how we see and interact with the world, and individuals appear to be more polarized than ever in their beliefs. Tom is a member of the Steering Committee of the newly forming Blount County UU Church. He is also active in the Second Harvest Foodbank and the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT).

Sunday, July 20, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "My Sixty Years in Oak Ridge: Genetics in the Mouse House and Nature in the Cumberlands" Presented by Dr. Liane B. Russell, biologist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), arguably the most senior scientist in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (a city of many scientists). In addition to founding the "Mouse House" at ORNL in 1947 and making many discoveries in genetics and the effects of radiation, she and her late husband Dr. William L. Russell founded Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP) and saved the Obed Wild & Scenic River from polution and development. On May 12, 2008, Dr. Russell issued TCWP's Newsletter No. 279.

Scene outside TVUUC, July 27 (courtesy CNN)

Four fora were scheduled on July 27, August 3, and August 10, 2008, but did not take place due to the shooting on July 27.
A regular schedule of Sunday morning fora resumed on August 17, 2008.

Sunday, July 27, 2008: No forum today. Single worship service at 10:00 AM was interrupted and all other church activities cancelled.

Sunday, August 3, 2008: No forum today. Single worship service at 10:00 AM rededicating the church sanctuary.

Sunday, August 10, 2008: No forum today. Single worship service at 10:00 AM.

Sunday, August 17, 2008: Two services resume today (i.e. Winter schedule). Intergenerational services today at 9:00 AM and 11:15 AM. See forum information below.

Sunday, August 17, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM - "Moving Forward." As an American Red Cross volunteer, Dianne Britton assisted the UU Trauma Response Ministry (UUTRM) and is continuing to help TVUUC cope with the aftermath of Sunday, July 27. At this forum, she will facilitate a discussion of our changing reactions to 7/27, with a focus on resiliency in the face of adversity. Ms. Britton is a professional counselor, offers therapy for all ages, and specializes in traumatic incident debriefing. She has worked with victims of 9/11 and of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, among other incidents. As a member of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Farragut, TN, she is a leader in diocesan disaster response and is an instructor of "Education for Ministry," a highly admired lay course in theology. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).

Sunday, August 24, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Unwilling Volunteers: Tennesseans Forced Out of Health Care." Presented by Greg Williams, East Tennessee Regional Organizer, Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC). TennCare used to be the Medicaid expansion model for other states. But, in 2005, Governor Phil Bredesen cut 200,000 medically ill and/or needy adults from TennCare and reduced prescription benefits for the remaining 400,000 adults, causing many to miss needed health care some to die. THCC tried but was unable to stop the cuts. It is currently working to see how it can make Cover Tennessee a better program and cover more uninsured Tennesseans. THCC is also working with a national coalition to guarantee coverage for all children. Mr. Williams will review the situation and tell us where Tenneseee is heading in the foreseeable future.

Sunday, August 31, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Modern Druidry: Ancient Philosophy for Today's Living" Presented by Nina Lee Braden, part-time English teacher at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, TN, and TVUUC Administrative Assistant (since April 2008). Like ancient Druids, modern revival Druids honor the earth, celebrate the cycles of the year, and meditate, study, and contemplate. But they adapt the lessons of the ancient Druids to modern living, and they come from a wide variety of spiritual paths. Modern Druidry is a flexible guide for personal spiritual growth and for care of the planet. The author of "Tarot for Self-Discovery" (2002), Nina Lee is a world-recognized Tarot expert, and she also teaches and writes about astrology. This will be her second forum at TVUUC, having presented "Tarot and Self-Knowledge" on March 28, 1999.

Sunday, September 7, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM - "Our Children & the Schools They Attend" This is the second forum related to the aftermath of Sunday, July 27. Mr. Marty Iroff, Supervisor, Office of Student Assistance Services, Knoxville County Schools, will discuss how schools work with parents to assist children touched by trauma and tragedy. Mr. Iroff supervises a staff of 120 school counselers who conduct about 45,000 counseling sessions each year. He notes that 15 percent of Knox County's students are dealing with depression and 10 percent have attempted suicide. In addition to his official duties, Mr. Iroff is active in the local chapter of Character Counts, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition which works to strengthen the moral fiber of the next generation by promoting consensus ethical values.

Sunday, September 14, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM - "How Far We've Come" This is the third forum related to the aftermath of Sunday, July 27. Clinical social worker Dianne Britton conducted a forum ("Moving Forward") on August 17 and returns today to discuss how far we've come in the seven weeks since the shooting. This time, she will talk about the next steps forward and cover as many of our questions about recovery as time will allow. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), Dianne specializes in traumatic incident debriefing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Our Recovery Process: Q & A" This is the fourth forum related to the aftermath of Sunday, July 27. It's been eight weeks since the shooting, and this forum is your chance to ask questions about our recovery process -- past, present, and future. Church president Ted Jones will answer your questions and facilitate discussion. You might ask: "What has TVUUC done so far to help congregants and staff get through the last two months?" "How did UUA help in our time of need?" "Who decides how to spend the donations TVUUC received for recovery?" Or ask anything else on your mind. Ted is also willing to discuss upcoming church decisions, such as ways in which we might honor Greg McKendry.

Sunday, September 21, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "War in Iraq" Presented by Don Williams, columnist and blogger for Knoxville Voice. (Click here for his blog "Truth Serum".) "Don Williams, columnist, short story writer, and editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings (NMW), was a full-time feature writer at The Knoxville News-Sentinel from 1985 to 1995 and a founding member of the Knoxville Writers Guild, which he served for its first five years as program chair. He lives in Sevier County with his wife, Jeanne Tredup, a special education teacher. They have three children. He teaches a writing course sponsored by New Millennium Writings at Christ Chapel, one block north of Laurel Theater, in Fort Sanders." His many columns about the war in Iraq include "Defense secretary admits Sept. 11 was blowback for U.S. mistakes" (Knoxville Voice, April 17, 2008) and "Hillary Provides Cover for Bush War Crimes" (New Millennium Writings, May 5, 2008).

Sunday, September 28, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "UU General Assembly As If You Were There." Rev. Chris Buice, Erven and Elnora Williams, and Brian Griffin from TVUUC attended the UU General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 25-29. At this forum, our lay delegation will tell us what happened at GA and will facilitate a discussion of some of the issues and spiritual bonds which connect TVUUC to the larger world of Unitarian Universalism. Erven, Enora, and Elandria Williams are long-time members of TVUUC. Erven is a retired TVA project specialist and chairs TVUUC's Denominational Affairs Committee. Elandria directs the "Seeds of Fire" youth program at the Highlander Research and Education Center. This forum was previously scheduled for July 27 but had to be postponed for obvious reasons.

Sunday, October 5, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Media Effect on the Presidential Election" The mass media have conveyed different images of Barack Obama and John McCain. And various news organizaitons are covering the election in significantly different ways. Catherine Luther is Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Electronic Media, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee. She follows the media very closely and will share her insights with us -- including the impact of "new media" in this year's election. Prof. Luther teaches courses on the media and society, broadcast journalism, media and diversity, and international journalism. Her research involves press-state relations, the media and gender/ethnicity/race, and international communication.

Sunday, October 12, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Thomas Jefferson & the Jesus Seminar" presented by David L. Dungan, Professor Emeritus of Religion, University of Tennessee. Prof Dungan retired in 2002. He is the author of "Constantine’s Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Bible" and -- with David R. Cartlidge -- of "Documents for the Study of the Gospels" (revised and enlarged edition 1994). See his article "Reconsidering Albert Schweitzer." The Jesus Seminar was organized under the auspices of the Westar Institute to renew the quest of the historical Jesus and to report the results of its research to more than a handful of gospel specialists. At its inception in 1985, thirty scholars took up the challenge. Eventually more than two hundred professionally trained specialists, called Fellows, joined the group. The Seminar meets twice a year to debate technical papers that have been prepared and circulated in advance. At the close of debate on each agenda item, Fellows of the Seminar vote, using colored beads to indicate the degree of authenticity of Jesus' words or deeds. Dropping colored beads into a box has become a trademark of the Seminar.

Sunday, October 19, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM. -- "Prevention of Domestic Violence" October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And we are privileged to hear about the state of domestic violence in our community from Rabbi Beth L. Schwartz, representing the "Clergy Task Force" of the Community Coalition on Family Violence (CCFV). The CCFV works with the Family Justice Center for Knoxville and Knox County, which is a "one-stop resource center" combining the efforts of 63 public and private agencies and based on a highly successful system developed in San Diego, California, to end the cycle of domestic violence. Rabbi Schwartz is spiritual leader of the Beth El Congregation, our neighbor on Kingston Pike.

Sunday, October 26, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Let's Talk About the Autopsy" Presented by TVUUC member Francis S. Jones, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine (GSM), UT Medical Center, University of Tennessee. Probably a little about the forensic autopsy, but more about the nonforensic (hospital) autopsy. Dr. Jones graduated from Boston University School of Medicine, was a pathologist in military service until 1949. Completed his residency training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been specializing in pathology for the past 52 years. He has done autopsies in Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Tennessee. He was a designated forensic pathologist in Virginia for 3 years, and has done forensic and hospital autopsies in Knoxville since the opening of UT Hospital in 1956 until his retirement from active practice in 1997. He continues in the teaching program in the GSM, Department of Pathology at UT Medical Center.

Sunday, November 2, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Justin Green Predicts the Election." If next Tuesday's election is still too close to call, Justin will go out on a limb and predict the winner. If the outcome is now obvious, he will use polling data to explain why it's obvious, when the numbers changed, and what factors tipped the balance. Justin expects everyone who attends this forum to argue with him. (Bring your saws to cut his limb.) A Professor Emeritus of Political Science from Villanova University, Justin has been a UU for fifty years, but he's been predicting elections even longer than that. (He won't say how successfully.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Japan Today." Ted Lollis and Schera Chadwick spent most of October in Japan, primarily in order to attend the 6th International Conference of Museums for Peace in Kyoto and Hiroshima. At this forum, Ted will share his impressions of modern Japan, describe how peace museums work to counter the culture of war in Japan and Europe, and speculate why there are very few such museums in North America. He will use slides to show how his interest in peace monuments led him and Schera to visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, two Buddhist bell foundries, two peace parks, and seven Japanese peace museums.

Sunday, November 16, 2008: Forum at 11:15 AM -- "Dead Blue: A Film About Surviving Depression" by Eames Yates (1998). Presented by Charlie Wade. "There are 18,000 suicides each year caused by depression in the USA. And depression is becoming more frequent. However, nine out of ten people with depression can be helped. Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to mental diseases, so that treatment is often not sought early enough. Moreover, family and friends usually cannot envisage the genuine mental pain that depressed patients experience. "Dead Blue" is a one-hour documentary movie that contains three very personal accounts of depression by 2 well-known Americans (Mike Wallace, the CBS "60 Minutes" anchorman, and William Styron, the Pulitzer prize novelist) and a clinical psychologist, who give their own accounts of the symptoms that they have experienced. For people who suffer from depression, the movie will help to put their feelings into words. For family and friends of those who are depressed, it will give some insight into the psychic pain the sufferer experiences. It is well worth viewing by anyone who comes in contact with clinical depression, or melancholia, as William Styron prefers to call it. You may also want to read William Styron's Darkness Visible (1990), an account of his own battle with melancholia.

Sunday, November 23, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Our Traumatic History: The Battle of Fort Sanders.” Union General William P. Sanders was killed very close to where TVUUC is now located, and a nearby fort was immediately renamed in his memory. Ten days later, on Novembr 29, 1863, the 20-minute Battle of Fort Sanders ended the Siege of Knoxville and put East Tennessee under Union control for the remainder of the Civil War. Today, very few people understand the meaning of these events as well as Dr. Joan M. Markel, Anthropologist, curator, and Outreach Educator at the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee. She will explain the story of the local involvement in the events that changed the nation in the 1860's, discuss new discoveries, and present images of artifacts and period photos.

Sunday, November 30, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- No Forum. Previously scheduled forum postponed in order for all TVUUC members and friends to gather at 10:30 am for a group photograph to be sent to Saint Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanya Church in Clifton, NJ, as part of a compassionate response to the shooting which occured there on November 23, 2008 (four months after the shooting at TVUUC).

December 7, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "How Do We Feel About "Race"? Race baiting backfired, and voters have elected our first African American president. Will American politics transcend race from now on? Does the public at last agree with anthropologists -- that race is social and cultural and not biological? John Bing has a PhD in anthropology from Emory University. This forum will explore the history and logic of racial categories, and John will provide a state-of-the-art description of how social and biological scientists view human races today. John is the son of Dan and Pat Bing. He grew up in TVUC and has recently moved back to the area after years of college teaching and field research on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana.

Sunday, December 14, 2008: Forum at 10:05 AM -- "Irreproducible Results: The History of Science & the Role of Printmaking” Science is based on reproducibility -- an experiment incapable of being reproduced in a different lab would be regarded as flawed. In this forum, Beauvais Lyons will discuss "irreproducible science" in relation to the politics of parody, the history of surrealism, the uses of false science as form of critique, and the parodic magazine The Journal of Irreproducible Results. A member of TVUUC, Beauvais is Professor of Art at the University of Tennessee and Director of the Hokes Archives. In the latter capacity, his work is a form of mock-science -- using print media to disseminate "science" which is imaginary, irreproducible, and thus fake.

Sunday, December 21, 2008: No Forum -- Sunday Before Christmas.

Sunday, December 28, 2008: No Forum -- Sunday Before New Years.

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."
-- Name of a musical play starring Zero Mostel which opened on Broadway, May 8, 1962.

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