A dream has come true…
Members of the Sikh American community numbering over half a million (originally from Punjab, India) have been living in the United States for over a hundred years and in New Jersey from the last 50 years. The last 20 years have seen a large growth in the numbers in this area and correspondingly in establishing of several of their new places of worship (Gurdwaras).
Sikhism is based on the concepts of universal acceptance of all humanity, the belief in one creator, and reaching out to people of all faiths and cultures and to work toward world peace and in achieving unity in diversity. People of all races, religions and genders are equal in the eyes of God
In 1997, in Mercer County, a few Sikh families came together and started to organize religious services and a Sunday school in their homes that later moved to a rented hall with growing members.
Sikh Sabha of New Jersey was founded in 1999 on the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa (the day the Sikhs were given the gift of a distinct identity). A need for a permanent home for our Gurdwara was felt by the community members and in 2002 found suitable land in Lawrenceville for the same. In 2003, Lawrence Township approved the site for place of worship.
Throughout the world, the Gurdwara is a place of immense importance for the adherents of the Sikh faith where all are welcomed. First and foremost, it is what its founder Guru Nanak Dev Ji intended it to be and so named it: the doorway to the enlightener. The Gurdwara serves as the provider and facilitator for quenching the thirst of the mortal to understand his/her world, his/her place in it and his/her relation to the creator. The Gurdwara is the great equalizer: all who come to hear the message of the holy scriptures of the Sikhs are respected and treated as equal to another, no matter what their religion, race, color, origin. Significantly, men and women are also treated as equals.
The Gurdwara serves as an oasis of divine knowledge for people of all origins and of all faiths, and even those who have no faith. It is a place, which acts as a focal point for Sikh religious celebrations and customs. Another important part of the Gurdwara service is the free community meal “Langar” where the rich and the poor sit together and eat as equals.
Imparting our religious and cultural heritage to the youth has been important priority. We have been teaching the children Sikh history, Panjabi language (our ancestral mother tongue), Kirtan (singing praises of the almighty) using Harmonium (small piano) and Tabla (pair of small drums) during the weekly Saturday and Sunday classes and also encouraging them to participate in multi-cultural or inter-faith events. The children are learning to conduct themselves according to the tenets of the faith. We place strong emphasis on leading our lives according to the teachings of the Gurus and intend to pass on these values and traditions to the younger generation, who will be part of the great future of this county, state and country – America.
The first phase of the new Gurdwara building (approximately 5000 sq ft in size) is now complete, located on 282 Bakers Basin Road, off Franklin Corner road, Lawrenceville, Route 1.