January Virtual Forum Speakers & Sunday Worship

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Virtual Forum
9am Sunday January 3, 2021

Social Media Literacy in the Disinformation Age

Paola  Banchero

Paola Banchero is a journalist, and Associate Professor of Journalism and Public Communications at University of Alaska Anchorage. She worked as a reporter and editor at the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Business Journal, the Wichita Eagle, the Arizona Daily Star, the Anchorage Daily News and in strategic communications for a large agribusiness. Paola is the past chair of JPC, and has taught a wide range of courses, from Corporate Communications to Documentary Filmmakers and Filmmaking, to Magazines to Media Literacy. She is faculty adviser to The Northern Light and a member of the UAA Media Board. She has been active in the Alaska Press Club and has long served on the Alaska Public Media Community Advisory Board.  She earned masters’ degrees in Journalism (Northwestern) and Business Administration (Benedictine). She is
co-author of the “River of Bears” documentary for the UAA Planetarium and Visualization Theater. Paola and her husband and fellow UAA faculty member Travis Rector and their daughter enjoy the Alaska outdoors. 

Virtual Worship
11am Sunday January 3, 2021


Twelfth Night 
With Rev. Lise Adams Sherry

As we approach the twelfth night of Christmas (January 6), we thought it might be fun to explore Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and see what his play has to offer in these times.

Virtual Forum
9am Sunday January 10, 2021


The View from Inside Alaska Airlines

Marilyn Romano, Vice President of Alaska Airlines

Marilyn Romano is Alaska regional vice president for Alaska Airlines. She spent nearly two decades with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the second largest paper in Alaska, including 11 years as publisher. She was the newspaper’s first woman top executive. Marilyn serves on the boards of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and Rasmuson Foundation. She also serves on the Governor’s Aviation Advisory Board and is a member of the American Heart Association statewide board and the Alaska Airlines Foundation board. She’s been inducted into the ATHENA Society, named a YWCA of Alaska “Women of Achievement,” and recognized with a Top Forty Under 40 award from the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Woman of Distinction from the Farthest North Girl Scouts, and the Cashen Award for meritorious service to University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Marilyn and her husband, Brian, live in Anchorage.   

Virtual Worship
11am Sunday January 10, 2021

Imagination & Boredom

Rev. Lise Adams Sherry

I imagine many of us have heard others in society wonder if we’re losing touch with our creativity because we have so many ways to occupy our time (phones, Netflix, Zoom, games, etc.) How important is it to have nothing in our lives? How has the pandemic brought us back to creative time fillers in ways we wouldn’t otherwise have imagined?

Virtual Forum 

9am Sunday January 17, 2021

Alaska at the Crossroads: New Session,

 New Budget, Tough Challenges

AK State Representative Ivy Spohnholz

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz represents House District 16 in east Anchorage including Northeast Anchorage, Russian Jack, Nunaka Valley, Reflection Lake and College Gate neighborhoods. She chairs the House Labor & Commerce Committee, vice-chairs House Health & Social Services and Special Committee on Energy, and serves on the Joint Armed Services Committee, Military & Veterans Affairs, and Resources Committees.  Her recent legislative accomplishments include passing Health Care Price Transparency legislation, expanding access to telehealth, expanding access to unemployment insurance for Alaskans impacted by COVID-19, and providing protections from evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs if Alaskans are unable to pay due to the public health emergency measures.

Rep. Spohnholz was born in Nebesna, Alaska and raised in Anchorage. She and her husband Troy have three adult daughters. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Washington.  


Virtual Worship
11am Sunday January 17, 2021

The Impossible Will Take a While

With Rev. Lise Adams Sherry
It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. How have we realized the dreams he held up for us over 50 years ago? How can we continue our work for racial equality, so all our lives reach their full potential?

Virtual Forum
9am Sunday January 24, 2021

Why the Arctic Council and Arctic Policy Matter to Alaska

Diane Hirshberg, Ph.D.

Diane Hirshberg is Professor of Education Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, and also serves as Vice President Academic for The University of the Arctic. She sits on the board of the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. and the International Arctic Social Sciences Association Council. Her research interests include education policy analysis, indigenous education, circumpolar education issues, and the role of education in sustainable development. She co-authored the Education chapter for the Arctic Human Development Report II, and co-edited “Including the North: A Comparative Study of the Policies on Inclusion and Equity in the Circumpolar North.” Dr. Hirshberg currently teaches in the UAA Master of Public Policy Program. She has a Ph.D. in Education from UCLA, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University, and two bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley.  

Virtual Worship
11am Sunday January 24, 2021

Getting into your “opponents” head . . . with empathy!
With Rev. Lise Adams Sherry

By this Sunday we will have witnessed the inauguration of our 46 th president. As we all have acknowledged this will be just the beginning of the work we all need to do. How can we bridge the divide with those who share different views? Are there ways we can graciously welcome them to our side of the river?

Virtual Forum
9am Sunday January 31, 2021

Songs of Social Movements—Do You Hear What I Hear?

Cal Williams and Megan Webb

Megan Webb, a lifelong Alaskan, grew up on the Kenai Peninsula.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2002 from the University of Nevada, Reno, where she studied clarinet, saxophone, and voice, playing and singing in a number of ensembles. Megan then returned to Alaska to teach band, choir, drama, and guitar at schools including Houston High School, and Wendler Middle School where she currently teaches 7th and 8th grade band, jazz band, and a music exploratory class for Life-Skills students. Megan is the former conductor of the Mat-Su Community Chorus, and a current member of the Alaska Chamber Singers. In 2017, she accepted a position as the music director for the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In addition to her busy life as a music teacher and musician, Megan is the mother of a happy and energetic 7 year old, Elliot. 

Cal Williams is a community activist. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, he graduated college, served in the United States Air Force during the early 1960s, participated in the historic March on Washington, and was affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality. In 1965, he moved to Alaska, seeking job opportunities, racial integration and a better life. He has served as President of the Alaska Chapter of the NAACP, and as District 22 chair for the Alaska Democratic Party, was a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and ran for the Alaska House of Representatives. Cal served as the Filipino choir director at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, as Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus at St. Patrick's Church, and as chaplain for American Legion Post 34. He helped exhibit the collection of the late historian George Harper, who documented the history of African Americans in Alaska. Cal is a past board member for Anchorage Senior Activity Center.

Virtual Worship
10:30am Sunday January 31, 2021

We’re joining our UU neighbors to the north this morning (UUF Fairbanks). Note the earlier start time and look for the Zoom link in announcements closer to this date.

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