With a growing Sikh population in Monroe Township, members of the Guru Nanak Sikh Heritage broke ground on what soon will be a place where the community can gather for worship and hold activities for children.
“Our center is open to everybody,” Ravinder Shah Singh said.
Singh said the construction of the worship center and community center on 21 acres at 29 Wyckoff Mills Road will be completed in phases and will start as early as this May.
“We will have a worship center, a community center and soccer fields for school children,” said Singh, who has lived in Monroe for 13 years. “We have places to worship, but we really did not have a place near home and for our growing population in town of 200 families. This is for our next generation.”
The Heritage Center is the first of its kind in New Jersey and the focal point for the Sikh community. The ceremony on April 14 included bright-colored clothing, food and camaraderie.
Mehar Kaur Aiden, 12, who was born and raised in town, said the Sikh community welcomes everyone in Monroe to learn about their religion, which treats men and women equally.
“We are the fifth largest and one of the youngest religions,” she said, noting the religion was founded in 1469.
Singh said the Sikh religion is selfless and serves the community in many ways, which include serving meals at soup kitchens and at homeless centers.
New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal, Mayor Gerald Tamburro and Township Council Vice President Elizabeth Schneider were present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Tamburro welcomed Guru Nanak Sikh Heritage by presenting a proclamation, noting April is Sikh Heritage Month.
Schneider said it was an honor to attend the ceremony and called the members of the Sikh community “warm and wonderful” people.