The Sikh Community in St. John's
680 Logy Bay Road
St. John's, NL
President: Mr. Grewel
Phone: (709) 753-9138 (temple): (709) 754-7458)
Newfoundland Sikh Society
47 Ruteledge Crescent,
St. Johns, Newfoundland
Origins of the group: The Sikh community in St. John's egan with three St. John's families, the Grewel, Pritam Cheema, and Wadhwa, over thirty years ago. Without a traditional Gurdwara in the city, the families practiced in their homes and rotated hosting responsibilities. When opportunity presented itself, the families still practiced the ‘open doors' custom of their religion by openly welcoming any outside guest into their homes. This private practice continued, and in 1999 welcomed a forth family into the community, the Puran Chemmas, who were newcomers to St. John's. The families eventually discussed the possibility of a Gurudwara, and in 2005 they purchased a property on Logy Bay Road, renovated the building, and had the first Gurudwara in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Highlights of group's history: The Sikh community is particularly proud of their ‘open doors' custom which welcomes anyone, Sikh or non-Sikh, into its Gurudwara. The families offer any kind of guidance, support, or simply provide a place to rest for a tired traveler. The Sikh community is always active in the community as it is involved in Habitat for Humanity, local soup kitchens, and has provided guest speakers for schools seeking knowledge about the Sikh faith. The Sikhs are proud of their history, and are eager to share their rich history and beliefs with the public.
Present Goals of the group: The Sikh community feels as though they have not really done all they could do to tell the St. John's community it exists. Many locals are aware of other religious groups that may not be a traditional part of Newfoundland; for example, the Muslim temple on Logy Bay, but for the large part St. John's still remains in the dark about the Sikh community. Many of the Sikhs feel they should do more to expose the religion to the public. This could potentially ease the curiosity of the public and answer some of the questions some people are too afraid to ask about the Sikh religion, and its community.
Membership: The local Sikh community currently consists of four families totaling about a dozen members in St. John's, with an additional 20 or so families scattered in different areas of Newfoundland. Those from other areas of Newfoundland come to St. John's when possible, but mostly during significant religious events.
Leaders and contacts: Leadership is minimal as it is distributed equally amongst the four families. Tasks such as building maintenance, ceremony organization, and celebrations are usually communally accomplished. However, Mr. Grewel is the president of the society, and is the main person to contact.
Schedule of Events:
There is regular prayer every Sunday from 10:00 AM -12:30 PM where they have individual prayer, group prayer, and singing of hymns, followed by tea and snacks.
A typical Gurdwara is never locked, however, given the size of the local Sikh community, this is not possible. Limited access to the temple and financial constraints are some drawbacks to the smaller Sikh community, however, an advantage is that it is a very tight-knit and supportive community that encourages direct participation in activities.