Description: Shortly after 9/11, the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles recognized a need for increased dialogue and cooperation among the various faith communities in Los Angeles. The Commission also realized that – with the possible exception of unstructured (and sometimes impromptu) prayer sessions – all attempts at interfaith worship fail at some level. They therefore approached Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church with the idea of jointly producing an evening of music by Christian and Jewish composers based on the book of Ecclesiastes, with textual commentary provided by the pastor of Beverly Hills Presbyterian and the rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom, and musical commentary provided by me. This concert was such a success that plans were immediately made for a second event, this time including the participation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and, beginning the third year, the cooperation and assistance of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Thus, the Annual Los Angeles Interfaith Symposium of Theology, Art and Music was born. This session will discuss the planning, production and gradual evolution of the Symposium from a single concert to a multi-session event that includes a meal and an art contest that draws some 1,200 submissions annually. The session will also examine the most surprising phenomenon of the symposium: attendees leave feeling that they have worshiped!

Location: Truett Seminary, Baylor University – Waco, Texas.