The Interfaith Centre occasionally hosts day-long dialogues on current and sometimes controversial topics, where more time is needed to explore an issue from a wider perspective. These dialogues usually involve presentations from panelists or individuals who are extremely knowledgeable and can present the view of their faith community in a clear and authentic manner. Panelists also interact with each other and with the people attending the seminar, and there is usually time for participants to share ideas and raise questions in small groups and in larger sessions.
March 2014 “Is Anything Sacred?: Religion in a Secular Society”
How do the symbols, beliefs, and practices of religion exist and function in a secular society? When our public spaces have been essentially emptied of God, and the presumption and practice of “unbelief” has become dominant in our economic, political, cultural, educational, professional, even recreational spheres, what can still be considered sacred? Is anything sacred? Is nothing sacred? The Edmonton Interfaith Centre partnered with the Chester Ronning Centre to hold an evening seminar in which speakers from different faith perspectives examined this question. With Quebec facing a referendum on the Values Charter and the rise of persecutions for ‘blasphemy’ in many areas of the world, questions of how we define and deal with the sacred in symbols and practices in the public sphere are becoming very important.
Speakers included Salima Versi, Father Stefano Penna, Martin Tweedale, and animator David Goa
April 2011 Women in Religion
Over the centuries women have played a wide variety of roles within diverse faith traditions, sometimes at the forefront and sometimes behind the scenes. Often it appears that their voices have been lost in the sands of time. Yet, their participation in religious rituals and their contributions to the faith community tell a unique and extraordinary story. Women have shaped their religions in important ways.
The EICEA explored the spiritual journeys of women across faith traditions, and examined the role of women in religious leadership. The day-long discussion took place at Beth Shalom Synagogue, and included both panel presentations and group dialogue. Speakers included:
November, 2010 The Opiate of the Masses? Religions in the 21st Century
The Centre examined the possible roles that religion will play in the near future, examining the following questions:
What will be the future of religion in Canada in the 21st century? In many mainstream religions commitment to institutions has declined, attendance is down, and religious practices are neglected or downplayed among many formerly observant people.
One explanation may be that we live in an increasingly secular society. Religious beliefs have been called into question. Both scientists and philosophers have produced theories that suggest religious beliefs are untenable. Yet, at the same time, interest in spirituality is increasing, sometimes drawing people toward religions that they find unfamiliar, or toward New Age beliefs and practices considered to harmonize ancient religious knowledge with the increasing secularity of this century.
The morning included panelists from many faith perspectives, including…. This was followed by an afternoon of group discussions, questions from the audience, and further views from the panelists.