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Conference, symposium will explore contemporary sacred architecture

On October 25-26 the Yale Institute of Sacred Music will hold a conference on “Sacred Space: Architecture for Worship in the 21st Century,” which will be the lead up to a Yale School of Architecture symposium entitled “Constructing the Ineffable: Contemporary Sacred Architecture.” The School of Architecture conference, which will take place Oct. 26-27, is jointly sponsored by Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. Both events are free and open to the public.

Speakers at the ISM conference, which will be held in the Great Hall at ISM and at the St. Thomas More Chapel and Catholic Center at Yale, will include Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Friedhelm Mennekes, SJ, of St. Peter's Church in Cologne, and architects Michael Crosbie, Joan Soranno, Trey Trahan, and Duncan Stroik. Additional information is available by calling the Institute of Sacred Music at 203-432-3220, or online at http://www.yale.edu/ism/events/sacredspacesconference.html .

The Yale School of Architecture symposium, to be held at the Yale Art Gallery auditorium, seeks to explore ways of widening the circle of discussion about the nature of the sacred in relation to architectural and urban space.

While religion is a motivating force behind many political and social movements in the world today, questions of faith are often discussed only cautiously in the academy. Yet the building of religious spaces such as mosques, synagogues, churches, and memorials has engaged and challenged the creative capacities of the most prominent architects of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

The relative marginalization of religion from issues in architectural debates, however, has limited the discussion of the role these works play in forming ideas of citizenship, culture and identity. The intention of the symposium is to open a discourse among architects, sociologists, philosophers and theologians by engaging an international and interfaith audience in consideration of the powerful influence religion has exerted in contemporary civic life, and the concretization of that role in the design and construction of prominent religious buildings.

The symposium begins Friday afternoon on the theme of “Memory and Identity,” which will include a talk, among others, by Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School. On Saturday, the symposium's first session will be on “Constructing the Immaterial,” at which one of the speakers will be Emilie Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology. The concluding session on Saturday will be on “The Language of the Ineffable.”

Additional information about the symposium can be found online at http://www.architecture.yale.edu/drupal/index.php?q=lectures/sacredarchitecture by contacting the Yale School of Architecture Office of Special Events at 203-432-2889; or by emailing archevents@yale.edu .

The conference and symposium are organized by Karla Britton of the Yale School of Architecture and Jaime Lara of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

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