Faiths Join Together in Support of Sikh Community, Shooting Victims

"We can survive anything now."

Faiths came together in Medford Sunday in solidarity and support for the Sikh community.

The Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar, a Sikh Temple in Medford, held an interfaith prayer service mid-day Sunday for the victims of a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin one week earlier. Representatives of at least a half dozen religious sects were in attendance.

The temple's congregants sat cross-legged, heads covered in the second flood of 226 Mystic Avenue as speakers reflected on the tragedy.

"We are all the children of one god," Gurinder Singh, president of Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar said. "Hopefully, this will be a new beginning for all of us."

Wade Page, 40, entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. on Aug. 5 and killed six people inside. Page was shot in the stomach by a police officer, then shot himself in the head, according to media reports. Page was an Army veteran and white supremacist, according to Reuters.

Sikh was founded as a religion in the 15th century in an area now part of Pakistan. They follow the teachings of Gurus -- masters of the religion. For many Americans the shootings in Wisconsin were their introduction to the faith.

"We are here for you in solidarity and personally, I am embarrassed that it's taken a tragedy for me to come here and introduce myself to you," one speaker from an area church said.

Members of Unitarian Universalist and Methodist churches, as well as representatives from the faith communities at Harvard University and Tufts University attended the service.

The tragedy has caused many Americans to become more informed about the Sikh faith, State Sen. Patricia Jehlen said Sunday.

"This is the good part that's come of this terrible tragedy," she said.

Kathleen Rouleau of Boxford stood outside on the sidewalk on Mystic Avenue with a sign that read: "My heart does ache with you. My hands offer condolences."

"There's lots of things that happen in life and your lucky to have moments to stop and support those things, whether they are good or bad," Rouleau said. "But sometimes we forget to put forth that extra effort it takes."

Inside, the names of the victims and brief descriptions were read aloud during the service, which sometimes became tearful and reflective.

"We can survive anything now," Singh said.


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