Learning from the leaders of the great religions

Presentation to John Parry and his wife cpd What can we learn from the leaders of the great religions, even if we are not of that faith?  Rev Dr John Parry, a United Reformed Minister who has studied Sikhism for over 30 years, shared his insights with a well attended multi-faith audience at the Gurdwara Sri Singh Sabha in Hounslow on 13th July.

Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th and last spiritual leader and the founder of the Khalsa, the Sikh community, in 1699.  He was a man of vision, commitment and organisational skills, but also of humility. Although he inspired sacrifice from Sikhs as they stood up for their faith against the Mughal emperor, he also saw humanity as one. He distinguished between the political form of a religion and faith itself for the individual.

John Parry discussed the value to a faith of scriptures, the understanding of the concept of God and the obligation of service to others. It was Guru Gobind Singh who installed the Sikh scriptures as the final guru, always available and central to the life of the community and the family.

He saw the concept of God as too great for the human mind to comprehend.  This inability to comprehend God fully has a parallel in Christian St Paul’s words ‘through a glass darkly’.  Humans should always be selfless and give service to others.

This talk presented something new and different, a real soul searching for those who are at the chalk face of interfaith activities, having to deal with histories of strife between faiths and yet finding a way forward together as one diverse humankind.

The photo shows John Parry and his wife receiving a thank you gift from Chair of HFOF Charanjit Ajit Singh.  Earlier John had presented a copy of his book ‘The Word of God is not Bound, the encounter of Sikhs and Christians in India and the UK’ to Mr Gurmeet Singh, President of the Gurdwara.