Adult Life Long Learning

We believe our church is a place where "we keep on learning together."

Life Long Learning programs
  Most programs will be scheduled for the second and/or fourth Wednesdays, 4:00—5:30 of each month.  Content will be varied, including philosophy, history, spirituality, archaeology, and education.  Most programs include time for audience questions and comments.

The LLL Committee is interested in receiving proposals or ideas for consideration


Due to the Coronavirus  The Life Long Learning programs will be conducted on Zoom until it is deemed safe to return to the UUCOB building. 




FALL PROGRAMS FOR 2020 begin in September
       All programs will be conducted on Zoom until further notice.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 4:00—5:30   ZOOM LINK

What do Aging, Cancer, and the Short Life of the Bay Scallop, Argopecten irradians have in common?  Presented by Steve Estabrooks

 Argopecten irradians is a common name for Atlantic bay scallop or bay scallop. Dr. Estabrooks will discuss his research on Argopecten irradians, their reproductive cycle, and their lifespans. A bay scallop can double its weight postspawning and storing nutrients in the form of carbohydrates, lipids, and protein for an upcoming winter.  

Steve Estabrooks  has a PH.D. from the University of Rhode Island. He has worked in hospital laboratories and conducted research in marine biology on the island of Nantucket. He has taught courses on advanced biology, whales, chemistry, criminal investigations and marine biology to high school students. 

   Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 4:00—5:30

Two Hundred Years of Great Scientists  presented by William A. Hilburn

 When people think about the greatest scientists in history, most focus on two: Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.  Though these two individuals both contributed to our understanding of the world and changed the direction of science during their lifetime, they are separated by 200 hundred years of the most profound and amazing discoveries.  In this talk Drew Hilburn will discuss the contributions of the other great scientists during this 200 year interva , which enabled Einstein to enhance and extend one of Newton's greatest accomplishments. 

Drew is an Advanced Placement Physics teacher at Mainland High School and is currently serving in his 27th year.  He has taught physics at the junior high, high school and college levels, and was recently named teacher of the year at Mainland High School.

 Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 4:00—5:30

Early Developments in Christianity

 Reverend Kathryn Tew Rickey

 In the early years following Jesus' death, his disciples and followers were left to ponder his teachings and live into them as best they could. Among the earliest Christians there were varied thoughts and beliefs not only about what Jesus taught but also about the nature of his human existence. Reverend Kathy will take a look at some of those varied beliefs and at a few non-canonical gospels. Then she will turn our attention to the key people and events which led to today's Christianity.


Kathy Tew Rickey is an ordained Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister. She serves the UU Congregation of Ormond Beach. Rev. Rickey has served congregations in Rochester, Syracuse, and Cortland, New York. She also served as a hospital chaplain in Rochester. Before becoming a minister, Rev. Rickey was a banking consultant and continuing education teacher. She raised two daughters and several dogs while living in various places in the Eastern U.S. Over the years, she has taught many adult and youth religious education courses in the context of congregational life


 Programs for Spring 2020

 January 22, 2020  Jim Cunningham "Literature of the Sea "

 February 12, 2020__ Martha Brant “A Journey of the Heart into Andalucía, the Jewel of Islamic Spain “

 February 26__Henry Pate “Health of Aquatic Environments       

 March 11, 2020- “Surviving the Holocaust:  My Story Beatrice Schemer

Fall 2019 Programs 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 4:00 - 5:30  

Census 2020: The Magic of Numbers

Tom Hilburn will deliver a presentation on the 2020 national census – Census 2020. Tom will discuss the following:

  • The History of the Census
  • What is Census 2020
  • Census 2020 in Florida
  • Why it is important
  • What you can do

Tom is a Professor Emeritus of Software Engineering and a Distinguished Engineering Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon from 1997–2009. He is a member of the League Women Voters and the Volusia County Census 2020 point person for the League.

    Wednesday November 13, 2019, 4:00—5:30


  Irene Curran, a literary lecturer, will present an interesting talk about Emily Dickinson, the Belle of Amherst, her life and her poetry.

Several examples of her poetry will be recited and read.   Irene Curran, a retired teacher from New Jersey, gives lectures on various authors and historical figures that she finds interesting, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Agatha Christie. Irene received her B.A. degree in History from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. in 1973 and her Masters' Degree in Reading from C.W. Post College in Brookville, N.Y. in 1978. She also earned her supervisor's certification from TCNJ, N.J. She now speaks at libraries, nursing homes and senior centers in New Jersey and Florida. 

 Wednesday, October 9, 2019     

Dan Gribbin__Comparing Langston Hughes & Richard Wright Hurston: African-American Writers with Distinctive Purpose  4:00-5:30 pm 
Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright all came to prominence between 1925 and 1945 as literary interpreters of the lives of African-Americans. Each of them reached a wide audience, including white readers, but their purposes in writing about African-American life were by no means identical. These differences in emphasis will be the focus of our discussion.

Dan Gribbin has retired from college teaching after 37 years. He spent the bulk of his career as a Professor of English at Ferrum College in Virginia, teaching writing, film, and a variety of literature courses. More recently, he taught African-American Literature and American Literature at the University of Central Florida. He and his wife Martha live in Daytona Beach Shores and are members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ormond Beach, where he serves as Co-chair of the Worship Committee.

Sept 25__Drew Hilburn__History & Biographies of Physicists

Drew Hilburn—" Standing Upon the Shoulders of Giants”—Wednesday, September 25th 

In 1676, Isaac Newton attributed his advances in science to “standing on the shoulders of Giants.”              In this program, William “Drew” Hilburn will discuss some of these scientific giants.

For example:

  • Anaxagoras - his descriptions of the reflective Moon and central burning Sun, set into motion an understanding of our solar system.
  • Ptolemy - helped solve the planets rhythmic dance across our night sky, placing the earth at the center of the universe.
  • Roger Bacon - proponent of the study of nature through empiricism and an advocate for the use of the scientific method.
  • Nicholas Copernicus - formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at the center of the universe.
  • Galileo Galilei - studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, and used a telescope for scientific observations of celestial objects.
  • Johannes Kepler - a key figure in the 17th-century scientific revolution, best known for his laws of planetary motion.

 Drew Hilburn currently teaches physics at Mainland High School and has been teaching there for the last 13 years of his 24 years of experience in the classroom.  He has taught physical science principles over a wide range of levels from 7th grade all the way through undergraduate college physics courses, working both in Florida and Washington State.  He has also worked in a variety of leadership roles, including  Branch Leader overseeing three of the nine academies at Mainland.  Volusia County recognized Hilburn for his excellence in teaching science and as Mainland's Teacher of the Year. 




Irene Curran

            Wednesday November 13, 2019, 4:00—5:30

  Irene Curran, a literary lecturer, will talk will present Emily Dickinson, the Belle of Amherst, her life and her poetry.

Several examples of her poetry will be recited and read.   Irene Curran, a retired teacher from New Jersey, gives lectures on various authors and historical figures that she finds interesting, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Agatha Christie. Irene received her B.A. degree in History from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. in 1973 and her Masters' Degree in Reading from C.W. Post College in Brookville, N.Y. in 1978. She also earned her supervisor's certification from TCNJ, N.J. She now speaks at libraries, nursing homes and senior centers in New Jersey and Florida. 

 Dec 10__Jim Cunningham__Literature of the Sea
  Spring, 2019 PROGRAMS

 May 8th   Today’s Religious Issues - Jim Rothweiler

 There are over 4,000 different religions practiced in the world today.  This talk will explore the demographics, social, economic, and political power of the key groups affecting us daily. In addition to defining the current states of religious conflicts and alliances, we will explore actions that can be taken by us and the larger UU community to influence a better future. 

Jim Rothweiler was reared a lapsed Catholic, studied Sociology and Business, became an empirical skeptic by decades of market research, has been part of the UU family since the early1980s, with excursions into Methodists teaching and Buddhism. 

 May 22th Human Factors Psychology:  Making Designs Work for You – Shawn Doherty

 Human Factors Psychology is a field that seeks to improve designs of the things humans use, through an understanding of people’s behavior.  From everyday objects like doors and elevators to technological devices such as computers and cellphones, human factors psychology seeks to make the designs easier to use instead of forcing us to change our behavior to fit the design.

 Dr. Shawn Doherty is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Factors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  His Ph.D. is in applied experimental psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  He teaches primarily human factors courses including classes on core human factors processes, research methods, automation, system safety, human-computer interaction, and entertainment systems.  He is a founding member of the Game-Based Education and Advanced Research Simulation (GEARS) Lab at Embry-Riddle and his current research investigates aspects of technology use and video game play involving areas such as gamification, virtual reality, engagement, cheating and ethics, and attention allocation.


Spring, 2019 Special Programs

World Religions - Rev Kathy Tew Richey - Wednesdays, 2019, 4:00--5:30:  Jan 16 & 30;    Feb 6 & 20;  March 6 & 20. 

Pre-K Education & Economics - Tim Bartik - Saturday, Feb 23, 10:00—11:30

Plato’s (Socrates) Apology - Ted Mashburn -   Saturday, March 23__10:00—11:30



      April 24th Our Sky, Our Universe - Derek Demeter

From the first time humans gazed up toward a dark and starry night, the universe has inspired emotions of awe and wonder. Over the past several thousand years, our understanding of the universe may have changed, but our deep fascination with it has not. Join astronomer and planetarium director Derek Demeter for a talk that explores the history of our understanding, starting with our earliest ancestors and their ideas about the cosmos to the modern-day telescopes and spacecraft that have enhanced our knowledge in unbelievable ways.

Derek Demeter began working at the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida in 2003, and assumed the position of Planetarium Director in 2007. Derek also served as the President of the Southeastern Planetarium Association from 2017-2018. Derek also enjoys promoting science beyond the planetarium with his work as an astrophotographer, and by giving talks to give the public a truly "out-of-this world" experience.


April 10th   Panel Discussion: What Does Spirituality Mean to You?

The term spirituality can mean various things.  For some it may mean belief in a divine power (e.g. God) and supernatural phenomena, usually associated with religion.  Others find it in the existence and functioning of the cosmos (e.g. laws of nature). A current trend is for those leaving mainline churches to say that they do not believe in traditional religion, but that they are spiritual.  When asked to explain this, answers are often vague and ambiguous.  This program will explore concepts of spirituality, using a panel discussion and Q & A format.   Moderator:  Dan Kennedy

Panelists:   Harriet Anderson, Julie Hilburn, Cliff Jackson, Jim Rothweiler 

 World Religions Class Rev. Kathy Tew Rickey,  Taoism —Wednesday, April 3th   

We will continue our study of Eastern religions by exploring Taoism.  No pre-reading, no homework— just come and enjoy in words, pictures, and hear from some folks who are practitioners of this faith.  We’ll have a break-out session to explore and process with each other the many remarkable aspects of this eastern religion. 

WORLD RELIGIONS CLASSES— led by Rev. Kathy Tew Rickey1 st and 3rd Wednesdays 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 1 — January 16 & 30, February 6 & 20, and March 6 & 20. In six 1½ hour sessions, we will study the basic tenets of religions of the East: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shinto, Confucianism. No pre-reading, no homework – just come and enjoy in words, pictures, and hear from some folks who are practitioners of these faiths. There will also be break-out sessions for class participants to explore and process with each other the many remarkable aspects of eastern religions. Rev. Kathy is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister with a Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, Illinois. She has been serving UU congregations since 2011 and has lived in Ormond Beach since being called to UUCOB in 2016. She shares her home in Ormond Beach with her little dog, Daisy. Rev. Kathy also serves as cochair of the F.A.I.T.H. organization. In addition, she is active in Toastmasters and enjoys gardening, kayaking, golfing, travel, and dining with friends 


Reading Nietzsche in Our Turbulent Times

Dr. Kyra Von Brokoph, Ph. D.

 Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 4:00—5:30

 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), a great thinker of the 19th century, has been called an existentialist, a nihilist, and is known as a critic of religion, morality, contemporary culture, and is remembered for the concept of the Obermensch (Superman).  With his proclamation that God is dead, he announced the end of metaphysics and is thus regarded as the father of modern philosophy.  Like all great thinkers he must be studied in the context of his time, place, social, political, and philosophical currents that influenced him and helped shape his controversial and contradictory views.  The program will examine if some of his ideas have relevance today.

 Professor Kyra von Brokoph is retired from a career that focused on German literature and culture and Philosophy at St. Lawrence University.  She has published in these areas extensively and lectured at academic conferences and universities worldwide.


                                                               PLATO’S APOLOGY

                                                                     TED MASHBURN, D.PHIL

                                                   SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2019, 10:00—11:30

 Dr. Ted Mashburn, Professor and Department Chair of Humanities at the University of Mobile, will discuss “Plato’s Apology” which relates to the death sentence of Socrates by the court of Athens and the defense of Socrates before the court.  Professor Mashburn’s academic and professional background includes combining religion/spirituality (e.g. Baptist pastor positions) with philosophy/theology (e.g. Master of Theology degree, University of Edinburgh and Doctorate of Philosophy in philosophy and theology, Oxford University.  This promises to be a thought provoking program using a lecture-discussion format,

  Andalucía ~ Jewel of Islamic Spain

 Dr. Martha Sanders Brandt

  Wednesday, March 13, 2018, 4:00—5:30

 Dr. Brandt has been engaged in a serious study of Islamic art which she likes to share with others

 This program will provide a journey of the heart from a serene mosque into a beautiful fortress and on to an elegant palace.

 Dr. Brandt, a retired college professor of French, comes from a life filled with art, music, literature, spiritual quest, and worldwide travel. Her experiences with these fascinating sites in Spain have been among the highlights

 February 27th   Panel Discussion on Masculinity Crisis – Joan Thate

 Masculinity Crisis” — Panelists: Dan Kennedy, Jim Rothweiler, and Tom Hilburn, Wednesday, February 27th from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. 

 Joan Thate will moderate our discussion of the controversy among sociologists, psychologists, and just ordinary people — that men in our country are in a state of crisis.  In this session, a panel will look at the data and discuss some of the many questions that have arisen surrounding that claim: e.g. Does such a crisis exist?  What are the contributing factors?  Is the changing view of masculinity a good thing?  How have the first and second waves of feminism affected our cultural view of masculinity?  The last half hour of the presentation will be open for audience participation in the discussion.

 Joan Thate, a retired veteran of more than 45 years in public secondary education teaching.  Dan Kennedy is retired from a career that combined psychology and education, spent mainly in university settings; Jim Rothweiler spent 35 years in the telecom industry conducting research to identify and analyze market needs for new services; and Tom Hilburn is a retired mathematics and computing professor from Embry-riddle Aeronautical University.

 The Local Economic Case for Investing in Early Childhood Programs

Dr. Timothy J. Bartik

Saturday   February 23, 2019, 10 am - 11:30 am 

High-quality early childhood programs, such as preschool and child care, can have powerful short-run and long-run benefits for state and local economic development. If adequately funded and managed to ensure quality and broad access, these programs significantly increase the adult skills of the former child participants. About half of these former participants will stay in the local economy, and two-thirds in the state economy, which increases average local job skills. This improvement in local job skills will significantly boost growth in the number and quality of local jobs, which will broadly benefit local residents. Furthermore, providing more extensive high-quality child care also significantly increases the short-run and long-run earnings of parents, providing more immediate local economic benefits.

 Dr. Bartik’s research focuses on state and local economic development and local labor markets. This includes research on how early childhood programs affect local economies. Bartik’s 1991 book, Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies? is widely cited as an important and influential review of the evidence on how local policies affect economic development. Dr. Bartik’s 2011 book, Investing in Kids, argued that early childhood programs can promote local economic development. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, “Tim Bartik has written a thoughtful book on the value of a local approach to financing and creating early interventions to foster child development.”  Bartik’s 2014 book,From Preschool to Prosperity, provides a summary of research on economic benefits from early childhood programs.  Dr. Bartik received his B.A. from Yale, and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the Upjohn Institute in 1989, he was an assistant professor of economics at Vanderbilt University


Brain as a Believing Engine

Dr. Jack Bates

Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 4:00—5:30

Survey research over the last twenty-five years has demonstrated consistently that many adults, often independently of their educations, hold a variety of pseudoscientific, supernatural, and otherwise illogical, impossible, or outright disproven beliefs about the nature of reality.  Among such widely held beliefs are that full moons cause violent behavior (up to 60% of Americans), that modern humans once coexisted with dinosaurs (up to 75%), and that psychic abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance are established facts (up to 80%).  One way to understand such high rates of credulity is from the perspective that the human brain is a composite of interdependent modules that have evolved not to acquire and apply accurate knowledge, but rather to construct beliefs that help individuals survive long enough to reproduce; moreover, such beliefs do not need to be truthful to be useful and adaptive.  This talk will discuss the functions of several of these components and how those functions can contribute to construction and maintenance of false beliefs.  A set of guidelines will be offered to conduct skeptical assessments of our own beliefs about the nature of reality.

John Bates obtained his Ph.D. in general psychology from the University of Massachusetts, and recently retired as full professor and associate provost at the University of Baltimore.  For more than 30 years, he conducted research on the prevalence of and factors contributing to pseudoscientific and supernatural beliefs among large samples of American and Russian college students and has made presentations on these topics at meetings of various regional and national organizations, including Georgia Skeptics, the National Social Science Association, and the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology.



 Cliff Jackson

 January 23, 2019, 4:00—5:30

  Last May I read a curious article in the News Journal.  "Man with no tail discovered in Ormond Beach". What in the world? I don't have a tail either! I had no idea that people have tails. I'm 67 years old and now I find out about this. Unbelievable!   Actually, that is unbelievable, but it is exactly how I felt when I found out that I have Aphantasia. I am "mind's eye blind". My first thought was amazing. I'll share the history, testing, current research and personal experience of the condition. We will also explore related conditions like synesthesia and eidetic memory.

 Cliff has lived in Ormond Beach since 1980. He has a bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry. He had a chemical manufacturing business in Holly Hill, started in 1980 and sold in 1996. He is married to Cathy and has two daughters, Lisa and Sandra in the Atlanta area. Lisa is taking care of their two grandchildren Aden and Annalise. He enjoys fishing, is active with UU and is a member of two Toastmasters clubs. 


 Debbie Wingfield

 January 9, 2019, 4:00—5:30  During this program, listeners will learn about Microplastics; what they are, where they come from, how they are affecting our waterways, and what we can do to prevent them. They will also hear about the impacts of marine debris on the environment and marine mammals and learn how they contribute to the problem of microplastics. Following the discussion,Debbie will filter various water samples, to test for microplastics.

 Debbie Wingfield is a Marine Science graduate from Coastal Carolina University. She is the Manager for the Volusia County Manatee Protection Program and Marine Mammal Stranding Team. Previously she has worked for Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge as an Animal Care Specialist and Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, before that, the Marine Science Center (Ponce Inlet, FL), as an Animal Care Technician for seabirds and raptors, and at Banfield Pet Hospital as a Veterinary Technician.

 LLL Programs in the Summer are by special announcement. 

Regular LLL programs resume in September



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