The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.

“Religious freedom safeguards the right of all people to hold their own religious beliefs and express them openly without fear of persecution or being denied equal rights of citizenship”
(“Religious Freedom: The Basics”).

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Edmonton area were recently reminded of the importance of religious freedom, thanks to a Sikh parade. They learned that supporting someone else’s right to worship freely in the community strengthens their own understanding and appreciation of this principle.

Edmonton’s Sikh community has been celebrating Colours of the Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan Sikh Parade since 1999. This annual event takes place on a Sunday in May and has grown into an important gathering for the local Sikh community.

The celebration marks the birth of Sikh religious tenets and practices. It involves a procession with heads covered and the sharing of Sikh holy hymns through song and chanting. The term “Nagar Kirtan” means “bringing the religion to the community” (“Sikh Religion’s Celebration of Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan”).

In Edmonton, this procession travels 6 kilometres from the Gurdwara Millwoods to the Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, passing directly in front of the Church’s Millwoods chapel.

Chantelle McMullin, communication director for the Church in the Edmonton area, described, “In the past, it has been a challenge for our members to access our Church building and attend services [during the parade]. This year, President Nathan Baldry of the Edmonton Alberta Gateway Stake decided to reach out to parade organizers before the event and offer our help by providing our building facilities to event participants.”

Baldry explained, “This is a major event in our community, and as a [religious organization], we felt like we could do more to help our Sikh friends out. It was wonderful to work alongside each other and make the day such a positive experience.”

To read the full report, CLICK HERE.