RRUUC’s Contemporary Issues Forum (also called Coffee, Conversation, and Controversy) has been informing our members and guests for the past 35 years with over 30 programs per season. The 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.

We are using safe practices during this period of COVID, and the Forum will always be online, via Zoom, 12:00pm-1:00pm. Upcoming dates will be publicized in the eWeekly, and the link to attend will be sent in our “worship links” email the Saturday before each Forum. If you are interested in attending a Forum and are not on our mailing list, please contact us.


Next Contemporary Issues Forum, Sun., May 1, 12-1pm, via Zoom
“A Conversation on Trends in Progressive Theology, Poverty Alleviation, and Answering the Call,” from Kirsten Lodal, RRUUC Intern Minister

Please join us for a wide-ranging discussion with Kirsten that draws on her observations as a “second chapter” Master of Divinity candidate at Union Theological Seminary in NYC, as well as on her prior two decades of experience as a secular social entrepreneur focused on domestic poverty alleviation. Kirsten will speak about key trends and debates within progressive theology, including inter-religious engagement, liberal vs. liberation theologies, addressing the climate crisis, and congregational transformation in a digital age. She’ll also share thoughts on promising poverty alleviation strategies including the 2-Gen approach, cash transfers, constituent voice, and social capital formation. And she’ll gladly discuss why she felt compelled to answer the call to ministry at this stage of her life and career. We will welcome your questions!

In addition to serving at RRUUC, pursuing her Master of Divinity at UTS, and being a mom of 3, Kirsten Lodal is the Founder and CEO emerita of LIFT, a national nonprofit that works to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty. She is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Business School and holds fellowships at The Aspen Institute, the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and Harvard University’s NextGen Human Services Program.


Most recent Contemporary Issues Forum: Sun., April 10, 12-1pm, via Zoom
“The United Nations and Ukraine: Meeting the Challenge,” from Don Bliss, Former US Ambassador to a UN agency, attorney, Cedar Lane member

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represents an existential challenge to the institutions that have preserved peace and security among the world’s great powers for 76 years. It has also shown the value and the limitations of the United Nations. What has the UN done well in Ukraine? Where has it fallen short? Does Russia’s veto power in the UN‘s Security Council prevent effective global action, or are there other tools that could be used more effectively? We will explore the UN’s humanitarian and peace and security efforts and consider some alternative strategies.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.) served as ambassador to the UN-affiliated International Civil Aviation Organization from 2006-2009 and president of the United Nations Association for the National Capital Area from 2013-2017. He currently serves on the UNA-NCA board and its Peace and Security Committee. He is past Board Chair of Cedar Lane UU.


Watch this page, read the eWeekly and follow us on social media for updates on future Forums.

Past Forums will be posted on our YouTube channel.