Pre-Conference Event in Chicago: 2017 Sacred Space Tour

Chicago has long been an important city for people interested in studying religion and culture — most notably thanks to its hosting of the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. During the 2017 AEJMC pre-conference session, a group of RMIG members continued the recent tradition of visiting important sacred sites in the convention’s host city.

This year’s tour began north of the city, with a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship in Willmette — the only one in North America and one of only eight in the world. After a scenic drive down Lakeshore, the tour stopped at Soka Gakkai International’s Chicago Buddhist Culture Center. The group then made it to the Downtown Islamic Center in time for midday prayers, followed by lunch and a robust discussion with members of the community about media coverage of Islam. Next, Rabbi Gerry Rosenberg of Chicago Loop Synagogue discussed that facility’s architectural features. The last stop was Grace Place, the current incarnation of Grace Episcopal Church, which functions as a community center that is deeply engaged with the local community.

 

The tour was organized by incoming RMIG Research Chair Brian J. Bowe, and 2016-17 Head Joel Campbell drove.

”The 2017 sacred spaces tour was extremely beneficial to me as a person who teaches and researches in the area of mass communication and religion,” said current RMIG Head Rick Moore. “Brian lined up some great sites, each of which had local adherents who could really speak to issues related to their own faith traditions, and how they interact with media. The event combined the best elements of a sight-seeing tour, a seminar, and a party, all rolled into one eventful day. This was one of the most productive and enjoyable elements professional elements of the last year for me.”

 

 

Left: Baha’i House of Worship / Photo by Srishti Puri

Above: Chicago Loop Synagogue / Photo by Srishti Puri

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