Located just outside of the city’s limits to the south of town off of Poppy Avenue, lies the location of the Sikh Mission, which has been operating out of a converted barn amongst one of the area’s remaining apricot orchards since February 1, according to the temple’s Sewe, or priest.
Services are offered every Sunday at the Gurdwara, which translates into ‘the gateway to the guru’, however people of all faiths are welcomed in the Sikh Gurdwara. Sikhs also believe that “all religious traditions are equally valid and capable of enlightening their followers”. Services begin around 11 a.m. and last until about 1 p.m.
“Sikh means student, because we are always learning, and learning from other religions,” Patterson resident and observer of the Sikh faith Sukhmani Singh said. “We believe in one God, but have respect for all religions.”
There are no pictures or idols in the main sanctuary, or Darbar Sahib, which is where the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is kept to be seen and read.
Adjacent to the Darbar Sahib is the temple’s community kitchen, or langar, where those of the Sikh religion offer up vegetarian food to everyone for free regardless of religious background. Vegetarian food is served so that everyone, even those with dietary restrictions, may eat as equals.
The service consists of reading from the Sikh, a holy book that is written in the native Punjabi language, as well as singing hymnals and observing music played on a harmonium and drums.
Sikhism is the fifth largest organized religion in the world, and is a comparatively newer religion since it originated in the 1400s. Much of Sikhism is based on service, action, justice and equality.
“The religion was combined from teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Muslims, yet it’s different because [Sikh’s] respect all religions and promote equality. Even women can worship, eat, and learn with us,” said Sukhmani Singh.
Prior to Patterson’s Sikh temple, those of the Sikh religion have had to travel to neighboring communities’ temples such as those in Livingston, Turlock, and Modesto.
Around 30 to 40 members of the congregation were gathered at a service attended by the Irrigator last month, all of them Patterson residents, and most of whom were relatively new residents of the city.
Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.