The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Sikh Coalition will unveil a new partnership by hosting their first series of Neighbor and Neighborhood dialogues in New York City, with the goal of providing a better understanding of how the two faith traditions can work together to promote peace.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Christine Hong, the PC(USA)’s associate for Interfaith Relations, and Simran Jeet Singh, senior religion fellow with the Sikh Coalition, will facilitate the first dialogues at Church of the Covenant, 310 E 42nd St., from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and at Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 W. 73rd St., from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, they will lead a dialogue at West-Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W 86th St., in the context of worship that begins at 11:00 a.m. followed by dialogue from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The framework for this neighborhood-building partnership grew out of the need to address the ever-growing instances of violence against members of the Sikh community in the United States and around the world over the past several years.

“This partnership, which is the first of its kind, brings together two strong faith traditions. Presbyterian Christians have long valued interreligious relationships as part of our witness in a world we share with people of different faiths and traditions. Part of that witness is advocating through neighborhood action and national partnerships, for the respect and compassion all human beings need in order to thrive,” said Hong. “We hope that through these dialogues we will be able to better understand one another and begin a movement that will inspire peace.”

The Sikh Coalition has identified five areas of advocacy where they invite Presbyterians to work to help address stereotyping and violence:

  1. The end to school bullying, in particular as it relates to articles of faith.
  2. The updating of public school history and world religion texts and curriculum to include information on the Sikh religion and stories of their substantial contributions to American society.
  3. Promoting diverse hiring practices and encouraging employers of all kinds to hire and embrace Sikh American employees.
  4. Standing up for Sikh colleagues and friends who face discrimination in the workplace, schools, and streets.
  5. Removing barriers to religious liberty for Sikhs who wish to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The dates for these pilot events were intentionally chosen to coincide with World Interfaith Harmony Week, Feb. 1-8. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly designated the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week, recognizing “the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.” 

For more information about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or to learn more about the Neighbor and Neighborhood events, contact Christine Hong, Christine.Hong@pcusa.org.