Sunday Morning Forum – Expanding Mind and Spirit

The Adult Religious Education program encourages and supports the spiritual, social and intellectual growth of our UUFP congregation through educational classes, activities, and focused discussions on topics of interest. These opportunities allow participants to learn from one another and from active members of the broader community.
Fostering a vibrant sense of mutual understanding, curiosity, respect, empathy, tolerance, and social justice, Sunday Morning Forum is one such educational opportunity. Here is what is slated for an intriguing July 29th forum and a perusal of other recent stimulating topics. ​

“The Evolution of Darwin’s Religion”
Presented by Ken Goodrich – July 29, 2018

Charles Darwin, father of theory of evolution by natural selection, is often listed as one of the most famous Unitarians.  But, what did he actually believe?  And, given that he was a member of the Church of England for most of his life and even studied to be a clergyman as a young man, is it fair for us to claim as a member of the UU tradition?  Join us on July 29 for this single-Sunday session, where Ken Goodrich will lead the class in exploring Darwin’s spiritual journey along with the scientific and family forces that shaped his thinking.

“To See in West Africa”
Presented by Dr. Hugh E. Berckmueller – July 22, 2018

Guest speaker Dr. Hugh E. Berckmueller shared about his personal and professional experiences in a Ghanaian eye clinic.
Originally from Ohio, Dr. Berckmueller attended the College of William and Mary where he met his wife. They went back to Ohio for his medical training but returned to Virginia to be close to her family. In addition to practicing ophthalmology in Newport News since 2000, this physician has selflessly donated his time and talent in global outreach to those less fortunate.

Interested in a mission such as this and reaching out beyond the comforts of one’s own world? Contact​, and we will help facilitate the connection to learn more!

Kathryn Ozyurt (R) and Pam Luke

“Widening the Circle, Healing Divisions”
Presented by Pam Luke & Kathryn Ozyurt – July 15, 2018

Inspired by the power of fellowship circles, the class shared in small group format their perspectives on key questions provided by the Luke-Ozyurt team.

Participants explored the use of radical deep listening, a means of communication that helps to decrease divisiveness and bring people of disparate backgrounds and opinions together in our church, the wider community and the world.

“The Legend and Myth of Gilgamesh”
Presented by Meg Glenn-Albiez – July 8, 2018

Myths are traditional stories that address the various ways of living and being. The well-known myth of Gilgamesh has been cited in many sources as one of the first stories in our recorded human history originating from Mesopotamia, Iraq today, though some maintain it was not just a fairytale but was based on some elements of truth.

Adventurer Meg Glenn-Albiez took us on a voyage to discover what this age-old story means to us today.

Meg Glenn-Albiez with husband, Rich

“Giving Hugs: Reading the Signs”
Presented by Gary Ott & Henry Chambers – July 1, 2018

In their joy, when the released prisoners of war got out of Hanoi they “hugged.” These hugs among men, those released and those of us who were bringing them home, were unconditional—hugs that showed happiness, sincerity, and were without fear. From that kind of hug, when we retired to the U.S. mainland, the unwritten rules for how men are supposed to hug were back in place. Bang! ​Facilitators Gary Ott and Henry Chambers were the perfect tandem team to illustrate the spectrum on this “hands-on” topic!

Though Gary Ott’s wife, Heidi, wasn’t one of the facilitators for this class, how fitting a photo for this “huggable” topic.

Hugmaster Henry Chambers (R) in action in this comedic “demo,” with fellow member and good sport Ken Goodrich.

“Autism, ADHD, & the Sensory Spectrum: What To Do With Quirky in a Neurotypical World”
Presented by Rachel Bevins – June 24, 2018

With a Masters degree in Teaching, Rachel Bevins thought she was prepared to bring out the best in a wide variety of learning types. She used her people skills to help others and build communities, and life seemed navigable. Then she had kids. Ack! Why did none of her supposed plethora of skills and tricks seem to be working? The doctors told her “Autism and ADHD,” and she started to realize it isn’t just the kids!

So what do those terms really mean, and what can we as a community do in respect and support of people with special needs?

“Bananas in Heaven”
Presented by Kathryn Ozyurt – June 17, 2018

​”Bananas in Heaven” is one of several TED talks based on Yuva Noah Harari’s book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, where he states: “Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights.” Our thanks to Kathryn Ozyurt for serving year-four as the Adult Religious Education Committee’s Chair and also for being a faithful class facilitator.

“The Radical Teachings of Jesus”
​Presented by April Kelsey – June 10, 2018

Adult Religious Education team member April Kelsey’s return to the forum forefront in June was enthusiastically welcomed. Inviting the class to put on their biblical thinking caps, Kelsey introduced Jesus’ more controversial statements and examined his life as a radical reformer.

We continue to owe a debt of gratitude to each forum facilitator and our faithful interactive attendees in creating such an enriching program! Join us, Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon in the UUFP Office Building!​

Visit Sunday Morning Forum for the upcoming presentation and
Sunday Morning Forum Archive for a library of previous topics.
Have questions or would like to facilitate a forum?
Contact the Adult Religious Education Committee.