New Sanctuary

“In all spiritual traditions, the design of a sanctuary strives to be an outward expression, in material form, of the still, sacred space at the center of the human heart where man is joined with and can know God. It therefore aspires, first, to be the most beautiful form its creators can envision.”
– Murshida Carol Weyland Conner

After more than half a century in temporary quarters, Sufism Reoriented now has a permanent home in Walnut Creek, California. Designed under the guidance of Murshida Carol Weyland Conner by the distinguished architectural firm of Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie, the new sanctuary is set among serene gardens on three acres of land in a suburban neighborhood about twenty-five miles east of San Francisco.  

“My primary aim was to create a beautiful building that is an expression of our worship,” Murshida Conner explains. “The sanctuary’s curvilinear design is based on the form of the circle. Like God, the circle has no beginning and no end. This expresses eternity, the eternal life in God the Infinite. The circle is also recognized as a symbol of unity since all points on the circle are equidistant from the center, as all beings are in relation to God. This symbol embodies the essential unity of Creation and the Universal Love at the heart of all life.”

This important symbol of the circle is also expressed in the gently sloping saucer domes vaulting the Prayer Hall and adjacent rooms. The outline of the domes reflects the soft, rolling hills that border the surrounding valley. Within the sanctuary, the domes create tranquil and uplifting interior spaces for prayer, meditation, and communion with God.

Begun on May 24, 2012, the sanctuary’s construction was completed in 2017.

For a deeper understanding of the principles in the sanctuary's design, please see Murshida Conner’s address to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors entitled Sacred Design.

Photos above courtesy Ali Atri Photography and Jim Kirkpatrick.