Sunday Forum 2019-2020


We had a fantastic speaker series this season, and look forward to following up with new offerings in fall 2020 -- these may be online talks, depending on the situation with the coronavirus outbreak.


Timely topics are presented by renowned thought leaders from around the globe, as well as experts from within southwest Florida and our own congregation.  Topics are wide-ranging, and generally fall into one of seven areas of special interest that surfaced in the January 2019 Visioning Our Future workshop.  These areas include:

I. Economic Inequality:  Income, housing, poverty, education, recession, shrinking middle class

II. The Erosion of Truth:  Anti-science, anti-public education, denigration of expertise

III. Environment Threats:  Global climate change, red tide/blue algae, active weather patterns, food production, decline in green space

IV. Fear about the future of the country and the globe:  Economic inequality, survival of democracy, partisanship, tribal thinking, racial and generational separation and segregation,        violence toward minorities, judicial appointments

V. Changing participation in church membership:  Decrease in volunteerism, growth of megachurches, decline in religious affiliation (including millennial), seeking community and spiritual longing, and the thirst for social connection

VI. Women’s Issues:  increase in women in politics, economic disparity, living longer, aging disparity, increase in recognition of sexual harassment, women’s health choices.

VII. Exponential growth and speed of technological change:  Big Data, 5GL, Artificial intelligence, digital natives (born since the internet), digital divide (generational, economic divide)  



Forum 2019-2020 will be presented in an expanded schedule next season on Sundays from Sept. 22, 2019 through May 10, 2020. 


Talks will be held from 9:00-9:45 AM in the Sanctuary before the 10:00 AM worship service .  The format involves a 35-minute presentation with the remainder of the time allotted for questions and answers.  Speakers will be available for a more leisurely conversation on the Pavilion after the lecture from 9:45 AM to 10:00 AM.

The 2019-2020 schedule is filled now; speakers by scheduled date are listed below.  Click the links to learn more about them.  Come join us!


September 2019

22:  James Douglas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Marine & Ecological Studies at FGCU.  "Coastal Marine Habitats (Red Tide and Other Threats)"

29:   Jonathan Tuttle, Executive Director of Collier County Education Association and Bill Korson, President of the Greater Naples Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  "Vouchers:  A threat to our public schools in Florida and the nation"

October 2019

6:  Kevin Aho, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Chair, Department of Communication & Philosophy at FGCU.  Co-Author of “Body Matters:  a Phenomenology of Sickness, Disease, and Illness”.

13:   Kelly Cowan, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Micro­biology, MIami University and founder, Community Building Institute of Middletown, Ohio.   “An Unrecognized Crisis in Higher Education: The Effects of Poverty on Learning and Teaching”

20:  Donna Kordek, Volunteer Recruiter at Guardian Ad Litem Foundation (GAL) 20th Judicial Circuit (Collier County) “1,458 children abused and neglected in Florida”

27:  William F. Clinger, Jr.  Former Republican member of the US House of Representatives from PA-5.  (1979-1997).  Senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Advanced Governmental Studies and co-chairman of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Representative Government.  “How Gerrymandered Congressional reapportionment  is undermining Democracy”"

November 2019

3:  Skip Lundborg, UUCGN member and former Methodist minister:   "The Bible’s Literature 101.  Who wrote it? What does it say, or not say?"

10:  Cherrah Giles, Board Chair of the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.  "Indigenous Women’s Rights"


17:  Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, President of Compassion & Choices.  Author of Finish Strong: Putting YOUR Priorities First at Life’s End. Finish Strong is a practical guide based on her 50 years of firsthand experience in nursing, medicine, law, public policy and advocacy. 

24:   Nancy Lascheid, Co-Founder, "The Neighborhood Clinic".  "The Miracle of the Neighborhood Center"

December 2019

1:   Linda Oberhaus is the Chief Executive Officer at The Shelter for Abused Women.  "Human Trafficking Today"


8:  Myra Nicol Williams, Ph.D., former Executive Director of Merck Research Laboratories, Vice President & CIO for Glaxo Inc.; Vice President & Worldwide Director of Information Resources for Glaxo and President & CEO of Molecular Applications Group, a biotechnology company.  "Drug Pricing - Fair or Foul"

15:    Tom Menaker, J.D.  UUCGN Member.

22:    Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Dir. of Govt Relations, Naples Chamber of Commerce.  "The Chamber's Advocacy Work – and why it’s important to the community at large"

29:    Kate Howard, J.D., International professional with expertise in legislative, parliamentary, and not-for-profit institutional strengthening and capacity building. "The Camino de Santiago Trail"


January 2020

5:    John Psaras, Ph.D., former chief scientific officer with the U.S. Department of Energy "Artificial Intelligence - Benefits and Risks"

12:    The Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Swears, retired as pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 2006.  Afterwards, he served for seven additional years as a chaplain and the Supervisor of Chaplains at Avow Hospice.

19:   Bertha Vazquez, Director of the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, a division of the Center for Inquiry.  "Tying Up Creationism in the Classroom"

26:  Jeanne Goldberg, M.D., UUCGN Member.   “Millennials and Generation Z -- Some Perspectives"

February 2020

2:    Clarke Pollard, Family Consultant and Executive Director at Alzheimer's Support Network of Collier County. "Defining Dementia:  What's Normal Aging and What's Not?" 


9:    Jim Kenney.  Co-Founder (with the late Ron Miller) of Common Ground, Executive Director since 1986.  Trustee-Founder of the Parliament of the World's Religions and served as the organization's Global Director from 1995-2002. Currently the Executive Director of the Interreligious Engagement Project (IEP21), serves as Project Coordinator for the International Interreligious Peace Council.  Author of Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change.

16:  Kathy Sheran, UUCGN member, registered nurse; also a former state senator of Minnesota and a former member of the city of Mankato's Civil Service Commission, the Economic Development Authority, the Housing Redevelopment Authority, and the Human Rights Commission.  "Perspectives on serving in the Legislature"

23:   Charles Kupchella, Ph.D., professor emeritus and former president of  the University of North Dakota. "Gender Equality – Why is it Taking so ‘Damn’ long?"

March 2020

1:  Corwin Smidt, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Henry Institute and former professor of Religion and Politics at Calvin College; author of "American Evangelicals Today"

8:  Edward (Ted) Jackson, Ed.D., Senior Research Fellow at the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation at Carleton University (Ottawa, ON, Canada)  "Knowledge Democracy:  Community-Campus Partnerships That Work"

15:  CANCELLED. Eloise Ayala, JD, and William Hernandez from Legal Aid Service of Collier County

22: CANCELLED. Michael Savarese, Ph.D., is a Professor of Marine Science and Environmental Studies within the Department of Marine & Ecological Sciences and the Coastal Watershed Institute at FGCU.  "Climate change"

29:  CANCELLED. Nicholas Little, JD is the Legal Director of the Center for Inquiry.  The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.  "Science and Consumer Protection:  Using the law to protect people from pseudo-science"


April 2020

5:      Katherine Baer Costello, Consultant, Educator, and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator:  "The 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Suffragist Movement" 

12:   CANCELLED.  Paul R. Bartrop, Ph.D., Director, Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies at FGCU.

19:   Micah Kubic, Ph.D., Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida.  "Immigration – the greatest concern"

26:    Janet Hoffman, UUCGN member and retired teacher. “What children face in the justice system in Florida”    

May 2020

3:   William P. Pope, formerly Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism with the U.S. Department of State, now President, Center for Critical Thinking and a member of the Program Committee of the Naples Council on World Affairs. 

10:   Bill Korson, President of the Greater Naples Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Douglas Wilson, JD, focused on civil rights and employment law.  Debate “The Electoral College”