RRUUC’s Contemporary Issues Forum (Coffee, Controversy & Conversation – CC&C) has been informing our members and guests for the past 35 years with over 30 programs per season. The weekly programs often focus on social justice issues, but also include an eclectic range of topics including foreign relations, U.S. security, state and federal government policy, art, history, nature and more. The weekly CC&C programs are held mid-Sep. through May at 10:25 – 11:10 am (between worship services.)

October 20

The Great War, Western Culture, and Cosmic Meaning (Part 2)
Chuck O’Connor, teacher, author, and retired lawyer

World War I was the turning point in modern Western civilization: it shattered Enlightenment confidence in human reason, exposed the nineteenth-century myth of inevitable progress, challenged traditional belief in a divinely ordered universe, and fostered an emerging cosmic pessimism and purposeless materialist reality. Mr. O’Connor will help us consider how Western culture – theology, philosophy, literature, art, and music – responded to the Great War and to this emerging godless reality. The Great War’s cultural impact continues today in the ongoing controversy between science and religion. (Part 1 held on Oct. 13).

October 27 and November 3
No Forums

We’re working on the Bazaar! Come volunteer with us, and of course, come shop on Saturday, November 2! More info here.

November 10

Photo: (Joe Soriero, Baltimore Sun)

Understanding the Immigration Debate
George Clack, Lawyer, Professor, Blogger

George Clack will explain the complexities of the immigration debate, drawing on experience gained in a career at the US Department of State, the US Information Agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, where he worked as an editor of magazines, books, and Internet content. He is an immigration activist with Indivisible in Howard County, MD. After retiring, Clack and a colleague began writing an online journal – 317AM.net. He now compiles a weekly email newsletter, “Immigration News”; and is a board member of a literary magazine, the “Little Patuxent Review.” Clack also teaches courses on literature, blogging and social media at Howard Community College and Johns Hopkins University (continuing education).

November 17

Insights into Restrictions on the Media
Hamit Bilici, Editor-in-Chief of Zaman News Media

Credit: API, 2004

Hamit (Abdulhamit) Bilici will speak about erosion of media and other freedoms in Turkey after the ascendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bilici was Editor-in Chief of Zaman (“Time” or “Age”) and Today’s Zaman, Turkey’s largest English-language news outlet. Following a coup attempt in 2016, the administration shut down the news headquarters in Istanbul. The editor and hundreds of journalists were arrested for being critical of the government. Bilici is now in exile in the US, after enduring a sham trial. By some reports, Turkey accounts for a third of all journalists imprisoned worldwide.

November 24

Riding the Freedom Train: America Confronts Slavery
Candace Ridington, RRUUC member

With cameo dramatic portraits, Candace Ridington portrays glimpses of players in the troubled times leading to the Civil War. Some figures you some you will recognize, others are anonymous, both white citizens and enslaved and emancipated blacks. Serving as narrator as well as character portrayer, Candace fills in fascinating details to link historical events. A longtime member of RRUUC, Candace has created some 16 separate dramatic characters, and performs both locally and further afield. We last hosted her as Helen Dukas, Albert Einstein’s secretary. With each season, she builds upon her unique interpretative stage skills in portraying the finest attributes of some of America’s finest female citizens.