SPEAKERS IN April 2018


April 1

 “Easters:  Past and Present”

Rev. Emmalou Kirchmeier. Emmalou’s remembrances of childhood Easter joys, international ways of enjoying the day, and the news stories that took the headlines away from the usual celebrations. This will be Emmalou’s last appearance with MUUF as she is moving North to join her family.

A former journalist and mother of seven children, Emmalou, with help from her husband, entered Boston University School of Theology at age 53 to earn her MA in Church History. After serving eight United Methodist churches, she went back to school to become a Chaplain, studying Clinical Pastoral Education until she had 1200 credit hours to qualify after 9/11 for Director of Pastoral Care at a Binghamton, NY hospital. The couple came to Florida in 1995 where Emmalou assisted at Old Myakka City United Methodist Church. She currently teaches a class in Creative Writing at H2U, and works with Church Women United as Publicity chair. Emmalou and her daughter, Judy, a tutor, live in Bradenton for now

Music: Our Choir led by Will Whitehead, accompanied by Barbara Jensen.

April 8

“Miriam the Prophetess?”

 Cantor Riselle Bain. Cantor Bain says of her sermon: Miriam is very close to me since I had the honor of portraying her as a little girl in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic movie The Ten Commandments. I lovingly speak about Miriam and sing specially chosen music to bring her character, her strength and her story to life.

Cantor Riselle Bain is ordained as a certified Cantor through Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and the American Conference of Cantors. Cantor Bain is a founding member and past president of the Bay Area Cantorial Association (BACA) and a member of the Sarasota Manatee Rabbinic Association. She is also a certified facilitator of Prepare and Enrich: Building Strong Marriages. She currently serves as the Spiritual Leader for Temple Israel in Sebring, Florida since June 2015.

Born in Los Angeles, Cantor Bain was an Honors-at-Entrance student at UCLA, majoring in Voice with a minor in Spanish. After moving to Florida, she completed her degree in Music, graduating from Stetson University, Magna Cum Laude. While at Stetson, she was awarded the honor of memberships in Pi Kappa Lambda for achievement in music, Omicron Delta Kappa for community leadership, and Mortar Board for scholastic achievement. Prior to her studies for the Cantorate, Cantor Bain had an extensive career in the theatrical arts. Each year at Passover, she is seen as Miriam, Moses’ sister as a child, in the epic film The Ten Commandments. Sacramento Civic Light Opera’s production of Fiddler on the Roof featured Jan Peerce as Tevye and Riselle Bain as Hodel. An audio tape of the final performance is available in the archives at the New York Public Library of Performing Arts. She also played the title role of Eva Peron in the First National Tour of Evita. She has worked with such showbiz greats such as Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Buster Keaton, Bob Hope, Paul Newman, and Bob Denver in motion pictures, television, and theatre.

In addition to her love for Judaism and Jewish Music, Cantor Bain loves the music of the Great American Songbook. She has written a musical revue based upon

the all-time great American hits that had their first presentations in some of Broadway’s biggest theatrical fiascos. Great composers like George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Harold Arlen and many others wrote the scores for many financial or critical flops BUT their music survived the test of time to become part of what is known as the Great American Songbook. Cantor Bain is thrilled that the Players Theatre of Sarasota has decided to present Tops From Flops! as part of their summer offerings from July 11-22, 2018.


Music: Will Whitehead -viola, and Barbara Jensen -piano

April 15

“2nd Amendment

David Finkelstein will be our speaker. The 2nd Amendment remains the most controversial part of our Constitution. It is entwined with our history and our current political feelings. Let’s explore why it was enacted and why it continues to be highly relevant.” 

An attorney in private practice in Sarasota, Florida, David Finkelstein refers to himself as a general practitioner, but he specializes in a number of legal areas related to small businesses and residents along the Florida coast. In addition to providing expert legal services, David Finkelstein takes an active interest in community affairs and organizations. A Master Mason with Sarasota Mason Lodge 147, he appreciates the organization’s service to the community and its ceremonies rooted in history. He previously served as a member of the Downtown Bradenton chapter of the Kiwanis organization.

 Music: MUUF Choir led by Will Whitehead, accompanied by Barbara Jensen

April 22

“Words That Can Change the World

Joe Simonetta.  Based on his latest book with the same title, Joe Simonetta will present a global belief system in seven words that changes the way we govern, the laws we enact, the way we do business, the products we create, the services we offer, and how we treat our environment, each other, and ourselves.

 Joseph R. Simonetta holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and studied at Yale Divinity School. He holds a B.S. in Business Logistics from Penn State University. Born November 22, 1943 in a World War II housing project in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he is the son of an immigrant blue-collar steelworker and his wife, and was raised in the shadows of the blast furnaces of the Bethlehem Steel Co                                  Music: Lisa Bohn and Peggy Dickson

April 29

“Darwin’s Daring Deed”

Dr. Robert Tucker.   In this sermon I explore continuing anti-scientific/religious challenges to Darwinian evolution and explain how Darwin’s theory revolutionized modern thinking in a myriad of ways.

Robert P. Tucker received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Theology from the University of Chicago. He holds the B.A. degree, magna cum laude, in Religion and Philosophy from Texas Christian University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Tucker’s career has combined teaching and ministry. He taught Religion, Philosophy, Ethics and Logic at Yankton College (in South Dakota) and at Florida Southern College (in Lakeland) and has served congregations in Texas, Illinois, South Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia, and Florida. From 1995 through 2008, Dr. Tucker served as the Minister of the U.U. Congregation of Lakeland. Now retired, he is Minister Emeritus of that Congregation. Dr. Tucker has been a member of both the Florida District UUA Board of Directors and the Board of the UU in the Pines. He is also a Founding Board Member of the Humanist Association of West Central Florida.

Music: Barbara Jensen