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THE LINK Weekly Edition February 15, 1995

Sikhs And Christians Gather To Mark Brotherhood Week
(Close to 300 Sikhs, largely turbaned, and their families crowded the pristine and
colorful premises of St. Helen’s Church.)
In an effort to improve Community relations and seek mutual understanding and
harmony, the St. Helen’s Anglican Church, last Sunday, invited Surrey Sikhs to
their Church to mark Brotherhood Week.
Close to 300 Sikhs, largely turbaned, and their families crowded the pristine and
colorful premises of St. Helen’s Church. The Sikhs were joined by about 200
regular Church members, bringing the total to just over 500 people.
“It was just enough to fit in the Church“, explains 84-year old Arthur Helps, a
member of the Church Executive Committee and one of the two men responsible for
organizing the Social. The other is a Sikh, Lt. Col Pritam Singh Jauhal, who
gained a nearly celebrity status for his battles with the Royal Canadian Legion
over the wearing of headgear in the Legion premises.
Jauhal and Helps, both retired army men, got together and came up with idea of
organizing a Get-Together of the two Communities. “We got the ball rolling”,
Jauhal said. Mr Helps asked me, “if we call you, will you come and bring members
of your Community?” I was delighted and asked the Gurdwara leaders to help me
organize this visit. And we were able to get quite a number of people to come”
This cross-faith Gathering was presided over by Rev. Maggie Rose Muldoon-Barr, one
of the few women Revs. Rev Muldoon Barr read a message from the Church’s Bishop
welcoming the guests to St. Helen’s. The Bishop expressed regret at not being able
to attend the Gathering and congratulated the two Communities for creating a
dialogue and seeking harmony.
The Sikhs joined in with the Church Congregation in taking part in the Sunday
service, some even singing hymns. “Everybody was happy” Helps said. “It was a
success. This is the first time anything like this has happened. Anglicans have
never been in a position to do something like this, but it was fruitful”.
Jauhal agreed with his friend. “I hope other Churches across Canada take a cue
from this and hold Brotherhood Gatherings with Sikhs,” Jauhal said. We are here
and we want to live harmoniously. This will go a long way in bringing
communication between the Sikhs and Christians Communities.”
Asked, if he was continuing his struggle against the Legion to win membership?
Jauhal ducked the subject, saying that he did not want to antagonize anyone. I am
not paying any attention to it,” Jauhal said. It’s up to them (Legion) to decide.
Some of the dignitaries included MLAs Penny Priddy and Sue Hammell as well as Guru
Nanak Sikh Society President Piara Singh Natt. Sikhs Seniors Society President
Harchand S Gill and Sikh Community leader Mota Singh Jheeta. Natt took advantage
of the occasion to extend an invitation to St. Helen’s Congregation to visit the
Surrey Sikh Temple.
Pictures show: Rev. Maggie Rose Muldoon-Barr of St. Helen’s Church, Whally (a)
welcomes members of the Sikh Community (b) with Col Jauhal after Church service.
Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal (Retd) World War II Veteran
Founding President Indian Ex-Servicemen Society British Columbia