Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
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Sacred Space

Sharing Sacred Spaces

Over nine months in 2011-2012, religious and spiritual communities came together in partnership with the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) to visit one another’s Sacred Spaces, a program designed to engage religious diversity and widen participation in interreligious activity across the Chicago metropolitan area.

Overview: Beginning in October 2011 and continuing through May 2012, eight places of worship and practice in downtown Chicago opened their doors to extend hospitality to visitors from the general public. Through these visits to spaces where people pray, worship, engage in religious practices and celebrate life's events, visitors were invited to listen, learn and connect with one another. This was more than a tour; it was an experience. Each community had members available to talk about their tradition during the Sharing Sacred Spaces events. Visiting a variety of Sacred Spaces in this way proved to deepen understanding of one another and to lay groundwork for building a greater sense of community together.

At the end of the project, those who visited and those who hosted gathered in celebration of this time shared together. Each community considered, from their own tradition, what it would mean to be in solidarity with one another. Each participating community signed a solidarity pledge. The pledge is intended to build bridges and strengthen bonds across traditions when a community is faced with religiously-motivated defamation or hatred. We hope that by standing in support of one another will draw these communities closer together as they move into the future.

The Sharing Sacred Spaces initiative in Chicago exceeded the expectations of the organizers, and the program is being further developed to become a model program for other cities. Engagement with sacred spaces is an effective vehicle to inspire individuals to build more diverse and vibrant communities.

Click here to view the schedule for Sharing Sacred Spaces in Chicago, 2011-2012.