38th World Religions Conference - Experiencing God in Today's World

The concluding session of the 38th World Religions Conference (Theme: Experiencing God in Today's World) consisted of a lively question/answer session. Over 100 question cards were collected from the audience and from #AskWRC twitter at the event on September 16, 2018. However due to limited time at the conference, only a few could be presented to the speakers to answer at the event by the moderator. As the moderator advised, all the received cards would be provided to the respective speakers and the speakers would submit written answers that would be posted on the conference website. The answers are therefore presented here from each of the 9 speakers representing Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha'i Faith, Indigenous Spirituality, Judaism, Hinduism and Humanism. 

Some questions from the audience may never be answered, since they were either unclear, not relevant to the conference or were not in line with the objectives of the conference of promoting peace, respect and understanding for all faiths. However, it is upto the speaker to make such calls.


Questions Responded by Michael Clifton (38th WRC)

Representing Christianity

Questions Responded by Imam Afzal Mirza (38th WRC)

Representing Islam

Questions Responded by Bhante Sasanasarana (38th WRC)

Representing Buddhism

Questions Responded by Jasmine Kaur (38th WRC)

Representing Sikhism

Questions Responded by Jaellayna Palmer (38th WRC)

Representing Baha'i Faith

Questions Responded by Brenda Jacobs (38th WRC)

Representing Indigenous Spirituality

Questions Responded by Dr. Daniel Maoz (38th WRC)

Representing Judaism

Questions Responded by Swami Haripriya Parivrajika (38th WRC)

Representing Hinduism

Questions Responded by Sassan Sanei (38th WRC)

Representing Humanism



38th World Religions Conference

Over 640 flocked to the Canada’s largest multi-faith event

Held Sunday, September 16, 2018          


Photographs provided by the courtesy of Assad Saeed, Tanvir Sheikh, Michael Clifton, Marhee Clifton and Daisy Arseneault

Canada's Largest & Longest Running Multi Faith Event

Scholars of nine faiths and philosophical traditions shared their experiences of God and expounded on the subject with the perspective of their respective faiths from their holy scriptures on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at Canada’s largest Multi-faith event, at the prestigious Humanities Theatre of the University of Waterloo. This was the 38th year of the conference, making it the longest running multi-faith event in Canada.

It takes several months in the planning of this conference, coordinating with partner organizations as well as promoting the event. Because of the sensitive nature of different faith groups that participate in the event, the organization of the conference is often faced with severe challenges. The volunteers and organizers work hard to resolve these challenges to make it a peaceful, meaningful and attractive event.

The World Religions Conference (WRC) is a multi-faith event which brings together well-known scholars from the world’s major religions to speak on a common topic from the point of view of their respective religious traditions. For 38 years, the WRC has served as an invaluable forum for different religious and ethnic communities to gather in the spirit of tolerance, peace, cooperation, and understanding. The WRC serves the noble purpose of educating members of the community regarding interesting and relevant topics by providing a platform where all major religions can pool their collective wisdom and teachings regarding the topic. Continually on the rise in terms of organizational standards, quality of content, and attendance, the WRC has become Canada's largest and longest running event of its kind!

The conference has a long tradition for bringing together renowned scholars for a deep and thought-provoking exchange of ideas. The event aims to explore the teachings and practices of different religious and philosophical traditions, with the hope that such mutual exploration will encourage better understanding and promote harmonious co-existence among the members of the society. The theme selected for this year’s conference was:

Experiencing God in Today's World

It is a question from time immemorial on how can one experience God? In a diverse modern world this question is ever so relevant and takes on new meanings in a technologically advanced planet. Numerous faiths and philosophical traditions presented at this year’s conference with their experiences of God.  

Participating Religions and Philosophical Traditions:

Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Bahai Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Indigenous Spirituality, Judaism and Humanism (Atheism and Agnostics)

Refreshments and dinner was served at the conference venue.

38th World Religions Conference - Experiencing God in Today's World

View entire conference on WRC youtube channel:

Part 1: Opening Ceremony


Part 2: Theme Session


Part 3: Theme Session and Concluding Session




Office of the Chief of Police

Bryan M. Larkin

Waterloo Regional Police Service


September 2018.

To All Attendees

On behalf of the Waterloo Regional Police Service, I am delighted to welcome you all to the 38th World Religions Conference, the largest multi-faith event of its kind in Canada. With scholars from nine different faiths and philosophical traditions represented here today, this truly is an event worthy of praise. Praise, because gatherings like this promote peace and harmony while strengthening relationships in our community.

The conference is a chance for everyone, regardless of your religion or faith, to come together and share thought-provoking dialogue that will create educated discussion. It's a chance for all of us to recognize that it is our differences that unite us and make us stronger. It's a chance to celebrate, accept and expand our knowledge on these differences. By working together and by recognizing all of our unique beliefs, we make our country stronger, safer an one that is admired around the world.

We are very blessed to live in a place where different beliefs and faiths are not only recognized, but are respected. It is events such as this that help bring awareness to the importance of acceptance and understanding so we can continue to live in harmony with each other. Throughout this event you will hear from renowned scholars on many different topics and I encourage you to join in on the conversation, share your views, and continue to working together to ensure everyone feels safe to worship and share their own personal beliefs.

I'd like to express my sincere thanks to all organizers, faculty, staff and volunteers, without whom this conference would not have been possible. And I thank all attendees for coming here today and for your dedication and commitment to make our country one where people can continue to live in peace and unity.

Yours truly,


Bryan M. Larkin

Chief of Polce


Image of Greeting Letter:


Sunday, September 16, 2018

J. G. Hagey Hall (Humanities Theatre), University of Waterloo

THEME: Experiencing God in Today's World


12:30p Doors Open
          — Welcome and Registration
          — Visit to World Religions Displays

12:50p Opening World Religions Multi Media Presentation

1:00p Welcome by the Presiding Chair
          — Phil Allt, Councillor City of Guelph

1:02p Opening Reading from a Holy Scripture

1:05p Opening Ceremony
          — Introduction of Speakers and Dignitaries
          — Unveiling of the World Religions Conference Plaque
          — Singing of O'Canada - National Anthem of Canada

1:16p Introductory Remarks
          — Lal Khan Malik, National President,
              Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada

1:19p Speaker’s Introductory Teaser Remarks
          1:20p — Christianity: Michael Clifton – Waterloo
          1:22p — Islam: Imam Afzal Mirza – Toronto
          1:24p — Buddhism: Bhante Sasanasarana – Toronto
          1:26p — Sikhism: Jasmine Kaur – Toronto
          1:28p — Baha’i Faith: Jaellayna Palmer – Waterloo
          1:30p — Indigenous Religions: Brenda Jacobs – Hamilton
          1:32p — Judaism: Dr. Daniel Maoz – Cambridge
          1:34p — Hinduism: Swami Parivrajika – Kitchener
          1:36p — Humanism: Sassan Sanei – Kitchener

1:38p Messages and Greetings from Guest Dignitaries

- Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister & MP Waterloo
- Raj Saini, MP of Kitchener-Centre
- Honourable Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria MPP Brampton South
- Mayor Dave Jaworsky of the City of Waterloo
- Karen Redman, Regional Councillor
- Jan D’Ailly, Former City of Waterloo Councillor and Moderator of WRC-2016

1:55p Break Time and Social Interactions
— Complimentary Refreshments

THEME SESSION - "Experiencing God in Today's World"

Speakers present his/her view of their respective faith on the theme (13 minutes each). Each presentation will be followed by a presentation of recitation from the Holy Scriptures (3 minutes).

2:20p Introduction to the Theme Session — Moderator

2:23p Experiencing God as a Christian — Michael Clifton
2:36p Christian Holy Scripture Recitation — Christian Community

2:39p Experiencing God as a Muslim — Imam Muhammad Afzal Mirza
2:52p Islamic Holy Scripture Recitation — Ahmadi Muslims

2:55p Experiencing God as a Buddhist — Bhante Sasanasarana
3:08p Buddhist Holy Scripture Recitation — Buddhist Community

3:11p Experiencing God as a Sikh — Jasmine Kaur
3:24p Sikh Holy Scripture Recitation — Sikh Community

3:27p Experiencing God as a Baha’i — Jaellayna Palmer
3:40p Baha’i Faith Holy Scripture Recitation — Baha’i Community

3:43p Experiencing God as an Indigenous — Brenda Jacobs
3:56p Indigenous Holy Scripture Recitation — Indigenous Community

3:59p Coffee Break — Complimentary Refreshments and Social

4:24p Experiencing God as a Jew — Dr. Daniel Maoz
4:37p Jewish Holy Scripture Recitation — Jewish Community

4:40p Experiencing God as a Hindu — Swami Haripriya Parivrajika
4:53p Hindu Holy Scripture Recitation — Hindu Community

4:56p Experiencing the Absence of God as a Humanist — Sassan Sanei
5:09p Presentation of Secular Principles — Society of FreeThinkers



5:12p Announcing rules of the Q/A Session — Moderator

5:14p Open Question & Answer Session
          — with all speakers of different faiths and philosophies

5:55p Vote of Thanks - Recognition of Speakers and Volunteers
          — Nomaan Mubashir, President WRC Organizing Committee

5:57p Closing Remarks — Moderator & Chair

5:59p Silent Multi-Faith Prayer — All Faiths

6:00p Dinner and Social

(* The order of presentations was determined via random draw at the last World Religions Conference, held November 4, 2017)



Humanities Theatre
J. G. Hagey Hall
University of Waterloo

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1

The GPS coordinates: 43.4723° N, 80.5449° W

Venue of the 38th World Religions Conference


The "Humanities Theatre" is located at the J.G. Hagey Hall of the University of Waterloo
in City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located less than one hour west of Toronto -- Canada's largest city -- and a couple of hours from the American cities of Detroit and Buffalo via highway 401.


World Religions Conference Complementary Parking Arrangement

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Parking Lot H of the University of Waterloo.

The World Religions Conference organizing committee has made special arrangements with the University of Waterloo parking services to provide free parking to all attendees and volunteers of the conference at Parking Lot H, located directly across from the Humanities Theatre, J. G. Hagey Hall. Follow posted "World Religions Conference" parking signs to be directed to the parking lot. Vehicles with passengers my use the drop off location at the gate of Humanities Theatre, but should park in Lot 'H' as noted in the map below. 


About the Humanities Theatre:

The Humanities Theatre located in the J. G. Hagey Hall of the University of Waterloo is a state of the art, prestigious and signature performing arts centre. The World Religions Conference has been hosted in this theatre for numerous years since 2001. 



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