About the Conference

Religious scholars and theologians joined faith leaders from diverse faith traditions at the University of Southern California on November 3-4, 2016 to explore the power, purpose and meaning of sacred spaces and sacred clothing in everyday life and worship. What can the ancients teach us about sacred spaces and holy vestments? In today’s secular environment, how do world religions use temples, mosques, cathedrals, and churches to draw a connection between believers or seekers and the divine? What imprint have faith traditions left on our communities, and, in shaping civil societies? Is there tolerance for religious clothing or does it too frequently evoke derision and misunderstanding?

The conference, which was free and open to the public, was also viewed through live streaming technology by viewers in nine foreign countries (Canada, UK, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Greece, Tanzania and Colombia) as well as the United States. Analytics showed we had over 1,500 online “locations/viewers” that tuned in. USC’s “Daily Trojan” wrote a front page article about the conference in its popular Homecoming edition.

The conference was sponsored by the John A. Widtsoe Foundation, USC’s Office of Religious Life, the Academy for Temple Studies, Our Savior Parish USC Caruso Catholic Center, the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, the Los Angeles Greek Orthodox Community, the USC Latter-day Saint Student Association and the Los Angeles Institute of Religion.

In the News: Sacred Space, Scared Thread

Videos of Full Conference Sessions

Day One, Keynote (1 hr)

Day One, Session One (1.25 hrs)

Day One, Session Two (1.5 hrs)

Day One, Session Three (1.5 hrs)

Day Two, Session One (1.5 hrs)

Day Two, Session Two (1.5 hrs)

Day Two, Session Three (1.75 hrs)

Post-Conference Video Interview

In brief post-conference interviews, speakers reflected on the importance of interfaith dialogue, the universal search for peace, the urgency to protect religious thought,expressions of holiness, individual sacredness, and how the world’s religions, while uniquely diverse, share many interconnected threads.

Jack Welch, Pt. One (1 min)

Jack Welch, Pt. Two (30 sec)

Jack Welch, Pt. Three (1 min)

Margaret Baker (0.75 min)

David Albertson (0.75 min)

John Thompson(1.25 min)

Gary Rendsburg (0.75 min)

Rev. E. Wayne Gaddis (1.08 min)

Ross Winkle (1 min)

Vinayak Bharne (1.25 min)

Patrick Mason (1 min)

Daniel Gurtner, Pt. One (1 min)

Daniel Gurtner, Pt. Two (1 min)

Amir Hussain (1 min)

Roy Gane (1 min)

Rueven Firestone (1 min)

Dean Helen Williams, Pt. One (1 min)

Dean Helen Williams, Pt. Two (1.25 min)

Janet Ewell (.45 min)

Pim Valkenberg (1 min)

Aziza Hasan (1 min)

Jacob Rennaker (1.5 min)

Promotional Videos