Unification News for April 2002

ACLC Sikh Blessing in Seattle

by David Malloch

The first Sikh Blessing in Seattle took place on Sunday April 7, 2002 at the Gurdwara Singh Sabha. About 250 couples received the Blessing.

Sikh Peace Ambassador Dr. Tarlochan Randhawa, Regional Director Rev. Hun Suk Lee along with David Malloch and Daniele Cohen organized the event. In attendance were Rev. Geun Sik Song, National Messiah to Italy and Rev. Jung Yuel Choi, National Messiah to the Dominican Republic. Fifteen Japanese missionaries lent their support.

Planning this Blessing required careful consideration how to maintain respect for the Sikh faith and how to administer the Blessing within the bounds of Sikh culture and tradition.

The Blessing was given through the Sikh holy bread pershad ,a mixture of flour, sugar and butter. The taking of pershad for a Sikh is one of the most holy rituals he can engage in. It represents the grace and blessing of God. All Sikhs partake of pershad at their worship services. It is also the only item according to religious stricture that can be consumed within their holy sanctuary. The Family Federation offered to sponsor the pershad for that day and Revs. Lee, Song and Choi prayed over the pershad to add their blessing to it.

An explanation of True Family Values and the Interreligious Blessing in English and Punjabi was distributed to the participants. In addition everyone received the four Blessing Vows again in English and Punjabi. David Malloch gave a short presentation in English which was translated by Dr. Randhawa. The head priest gave the Blessing prayer also in the native tongue.

The whole event made for quite a colorful spectacle. The Korean elders and the Japanese sisters all wore brightly colored cloths on their heads. The Sikhs themselves, especially the women, wear bright clothes and scarves. Everyone gathered for photos afterwards. Since September 11 the Sikh community has unfortunately been persecuted in this area and they were very appreciative of what we were doing. We in turn were moved by the warmth and sincerity of such devout people.

This Blessing was just the first step. There is a Sikh population of about 10,000 in the Seattle area and 100,000 in Vancouver, BC. Two more Blessings are planned for April 14 and 21. April 21st is the day the Sikhs celebrate Kalsa, the biggest holy day in the Sikh calendar. Thousands of Sikhs will attend from the Seattle and Vancouver area and we are planning a very big Blessing at that time.

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