On most Sundays during the church year, we offer Sunday Forums before service in lower Gage Hall, next door to our sanctuary. The Forum provides members and friends of the Unitarian Church in Charleston with thought-provoking talks and discussion sessions, mainly on topics of general interest but also on topics pertinent to the church. They occur from 10:00-10:50 a.m. Childcare is available in the Annex. Please check the Forum schedule, or see Sunday’s list of activities for further details.

By attending the Sunday morning programs members and friends of the church make the program worthwhile. It is especially helpful when attendees recommend speakers. Simon Lewis runs the program and is always open to ideas and/or volunteers to help!  He can be reached at: lewiss@cofc.edu

Schedule of Upcoming Forums:             


Sunday, September 16​, 2018   *WEATHER PERMITTING*
“Read Their Writes”

Church member authors, Joanna Innes, Mark Kruza, and Jason Merchey will read from their recent publications. These Unitarian authors are from diverse backgrounds, and write about what they know, what they think they know, or what they imagine. That’s quite a lot! Dialogue is welcomed.


Sunday, September 23, 2018
“Electoral Justice”

Susan Dunn, Legal Director of the ACLU in South Carolina, will discuss hurdles that voters face when they go to the election booth​, ​and what the ACLU does to help protect the right to vote.


Sunday, September 30, 2018
“Humility: The Foundation of a Life Worth Living”

Dr. Jennifer Wright presents a very thought-provoking forum on humility. One of the central commandments of Christianity is to love one’s neighbor, indeed even one’s enemies, as oneself. Found in similar forms across religions, this commandment captures the heart of humility, which is the ability to not only love the arbitrary other as ones self, but also to love ones self “objectively;” that is, as just the arbitrary other whose life one is nonetheless called upon to lead. We will explore why this serves not only as the foundational for an ethical life, but also for a flourishing life – a life worth living.

Dr. Jennifer Wright is an Associate Professor in Psychology, as well as an Affiliate Member of Philosophy and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. She teaches courses like Moral Development, Psychology of Social Change, Transpersonal Psychology, Altered States of Consciousness, Psychology of War and Conflict, and runs a summer study abroad program to Cambodia and Vietnam. She studies the psychological function of virtues—like humility—and the role of moral discourse in the development, enforcement, and challenging of social norms and practices.


Sunday, October 7, 2018
“Magnanimity & Altruism: Saving 50 Jews from Death”

Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus are very likely two of the greatest unsung heroes in American history – at least, in Jewish history. Their courageous acts (in 1939) amounted to nothing less than a full-throated display of magnanimity and altruism. This presentation by Jason Merchey will tell their story, including a selection of quotations about magnanimity by noted Holocaust survivors, human rights activists, altruism researchers, and stalwart exemplars of virtue and honor such as Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Viktor Frankl. Based on: https://www.valuesofthewise.com/magnanimity-altruism-saving-50-jews-from-death/

Jason Merchey is the founder of Values of the Wise. Started in 2004, the website and series of books promote free thinking, critical decision making, and act as a guide to asking and answering the big questions in life. Jason earned a master’s degree in psychology and is studying philosophy and ethics through Harvard University Extension School.


Sunday, October 14, 2018
“Jews on the Frontier: Religion on the Road in the Nineteenth Century”

This presentation ​by Shari Rabin ​will offer a religious history that begins in an unexpected place: on the road. It will show how the experience of geographic mobility shaped the religious lives of Jews -​ ​and those of their neighbors – in the nineteenth century.

Shari Rabin is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston. A historian of American religions and modern Judaism, she earned her Ph​.​D​.​ in religious studies from Yale University in 2015.



Sunday, October 21, 2018
“Bitcoin: Future or Fantasy?”

What are Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency? What is the origin of Bitcoin and can it fully operate as a currency? This talk by Peter Calcagno will provide an introduction to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, explaining where they come from, how they work, and what the potential financial and regulatory implications of using Bitcoin are.

Peter Calcagno earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Auburn University. He is currently a Professor of Economics at the College of Charleston, and Directs of the Center for Public Choice & Market Process, an undergraduate free market center. His primary areas of research are in applied microeconomics, specifically public choice economics, and political economy.


Sunday, October 28, 2018
“What the Midterms Mean”

What does this midterm election say about the past and future of the two major parties? What contemporary electoral trends can we trace back in history, and how might our political future change if those trends hold?

Our presenter, Michael J. Lee, teaches and researches in the areas of rhetoric and political communication at the College of Charleston. He has a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Minnesota, and an M.A. in Communication and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia. His book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (2014) earned four national book awards in its field. His essays have been published in such journals as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Feminist Media Studies, and the Journal of Applied Communication Research.


Sunday, November 4, 2018
“The Shifa Clinic: Providing Free Health Care in Mt Pleasant”

​​The Shifa Clinic is a non-profit clinic established by The Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA (ICNA Relief USA) to provide compassionate quality advanced gynecological and primary health care to the residents of our communities who do not have health insurance and cannot pay for such services. Located in Mount Pleasant, SC, the clinic was established in 2012 in order to eliminate health barriers by offering health services without cost. Many of the services provided cannot be obtained anywhere else in the state at no cost to the patients.

Indian-born Dr. Reshma Khan is the founder and Executive Director of Shifa Free clinic, and will lead this forum. After completing her medical residency in OB/GYN at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Ohio in 2003, she worked in private practices in Indiana and Maryland before moving to Charleston in 2007.


Sunday, November 11, 2018
“The War to End All Wars​..​.Didn’t. World War One’s Fallout​, ​and the Nightmare of the Twentieth Century”

Professor Richard Bodek will discuss the consequences of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles that was supposed to have cemented the peace.

Richard Bodek teaches history at the College of Charleston and specializes in the history of Germany between the unifications.


Sunday, November 18, 2018
“Where ​M​emories ​S​urvive: World War II ​M​onuments and ​M​useums in Italy”

This presentation by Anne Saunders concerns World War II museums and memorials in or near Italy’s most-visited cities, including Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Trieste. These sites commemorate events that receive little attention in tourist guidebooks.

Anne taught at the College of Charleston for twenty years, and is the author of the book A Travel Guide to World War II Sites in Italy: Museums, Monuments, and Battlegrounds (2nd edition, 2016). She has also translated an account of WWII combat in ​Tuscany.