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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
he first of two open houses aimed at helping more people understand the Sikh religion is Sunday.

The Sahib Singh Sabha of Michigan, on Canton Center Road south of Palmer Road, is hosting the event from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Guests can observe and take part in traditional Sikh customs. The Sikh house of worship is also called a gurdwara.

The gurdwara has been open for more than two years. Members have hosted an open house before but felt it was especially necessary to have one now in light of a recent incident involving a fourth-grade Sikh boy who was barred from wearing his kirpan, a symbolic dagger carried by baptized Sikhs, to school.

“The whole purpose of it is not a weapon,” said gurdwara committee member Tejkiran Singh. “It’s a religious symbol. It reminds the kid to be always nonviolent. He has to respect others more than he can respect himself. That’s the pledge baptized Sikhs take.”

Singh, along with other members of the gurdwara, planned the open house to educate and bring the community together.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a good idea for them to know how we pray?’” he said. “And the more we get close, the more the community knows us.”

Singh said they expect guests from Canton Public Library and Plymouth-Canton Schools' board of education, as well as government officials such as State Rep. Dian Slavens and her husband Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mark Slavens.

The program will start with tea and snacks in the main hall of the white-spired building. Guests will then make their way up the expansive staircase to the Diwan Hall where the Guru Granth Sahib, or Holy Scripture, rests. The carpet leads straight to the platform where the Guru Granth Sahib lays open. Colorful decorations hang from the ceiling, creating a protective canopy over the reciting priests.

“We’re going to have prayers,” Singh said. “The form of prayers we do is we sing his [Guru’s] glory … that our priests perform.”

After the prayers and songs from children, Singh will welcome and introduce the Sikh religion. He said school board representatives may also speak on the progress of the situation regarding the kirpan.

Guests will then return to the first floor to eat and socialize in the Langar Hall where rows of rugs will be laid out as seating for guests while food is served.

Gurneet Chatha sat quietly against the wall listening to the recitation of scripture earlier this week. She recently moved to Canton from Saginaw and said she is looking forward to Sunday’s event.

“It’s been five years since I moved from India,” she said, and this is her first time in Michigan living so close to a gurdwara.

“It’s been a very good experience so far,” she said about attending worship services there.

Open house attendees can look forward to an abundance of new experiences in trying new food, listening to special prayers and meeting new people.

The Sahib Singh Sabha of Michigan open house is 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 1130 S. Canton Center Rd., south of Palmer Road.

A second open house is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Gurdwara Sahib, 40600 Schoolcraft Rd. in Plymouth.




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