1. Have a Guru Granth Sahib with Bhai Sahibs who share their responsibilities with the sangat.
  2. Have a sangat who regards the community as an extension of their family and is willing to take some ownership of and responsibility for themselves and community.
  3. Have a sangat made up of Sikhs born into the faith with generational ties to Punjabi culture and Sikh converts.
  4. Have Sikhi-to-the-Max (or its equivalent) displayed and viewable to the entire congregation.
  5. Translate the context of Hukamnama after it is read.
  6. Serve langar that is meant to provide nutrition and control pangs of hunger, not induce comas: 1 dhaal, 1 sabzi, phulka OR rice, water, 1 dessert and nothing more.
  7. Open langar to the rest of the community. For real.
  8. Offer youth and teen programs. Not only Gurmukhi, instrument, history, and philosophy lessons, but outdoor group activities, sports teams, arts and crafts, tutoring, and mentorship (i.e., big brother/big sister). I’d like to think of it as offering what the current summer camps or Sikh conferences have squashed together in 3-7 days but instead spread evenly over 365 days.
  9. Offer adult programs: regular evening walks, gurmat veechar lectures, book clubs, cooking classes with a nutritional bent, [insert topic] 101 classes.
  10. Have a women’s group. Yes, the Kaurs need their own venue.
  11. Have a complete library (and perhaps buy out Sacha Sauda).
  12. Have an up-to-date website and mailing list.
  13. Have an acute-care health clinic with a little pharmacy on the side. Free services. Meant to link people into the health care system. Not a way to funnel patients into one’s own private clinic.
  14. Address mental health issues openly and respectfully.
  15. Invite members of other faiths regularly to visit, learn about Sikhi, and share ideas AND vice versa. (Can you describe the basics of Christian or Judiac theology? I hear myself saying “umm” quite often to that question.)
  16. Make sure to have every member of the sangat registered to vote and get the sangat out on election days.
  17. Never have political infighting.
  18. Become acquainted with local media and actively engage them when necessary.
  19. Have some marvelous way of centralizing funds and distributing it at the sangat’s discretion.
  20. Have folks who take action on the above and make it real rather than complain in private or write it out on a blog.
  21. Have marble floors, open grounds, and a sarovar with multi-colored fish 🙂 (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it would be okay to feed parshad to the the fish.)

A gurudwara is a place of individual learning and spiritual growth and a center for the sadh sangat as well. It should be a resource that serves all the dimensions of a Sikh: the soul, mind, and body. It should be a place where ideas and thoughts can be shared, debated and challenged openly and then acted upon by the community as a whole. Thankfully, many gurudwaras are on their way to reaching perfection or nearly there. What do you think is necessary for our gurudwaras? What would be your ideal?

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