Sikh Happens!

July 12, 2009



On Saturday, two of my fellow Cronkite-Europers and I spent more than two hours walking around London’s Hyde Park in search of a protest rally that we had heard about on the Web site The site claimed that thousands of Ravidasi Sikhs would be protesting the murder of one of their gurus about a month ago.

We got to the park about 12:30 p.m. and walked around with the assumption that despite the size of the park, there was no way we could possible miss thousands of Sikhs protesting. Read the rest of this entry »


Back Story 3

July 7, 2009


I am officially finished with the Cronkite Euro stories! I have been extremely busy since we have been home, and it has been hard to get back in the swing of things. I have had to tell people stories from the trip, show them pictures and answer the same questions over and over again, such as: What was your favorite city? (Paris) Did you have an amazing time? (YES!) Do you want to go back? (Yes!) Read the rest of this entry »

Volunteer Service at a Sikh Gurdwara

July 7, 2009


LONDON — Inside the Langar, a free community kitchen at a Sikh temple in a London suburb, three men wearing colorful turbans cluster around a giant pot. They’re preparing kara parshad, a cookie-dough-like pudding offered as a blessing from their God. Four other Sikh men are serving food at the counter in front of the kitchen.

Guests form a line in front of these men to receive a traditional Sikh meal. There are no tables or chairs, just rows of rugs where the diners sit on the floor to eat. A woman with a light blue scarf covering her hair washes dishes at the opposite end of the Langar.

None of these men or women is paid. Read the rest of this entry »

The Church That Remembers

July 7, 2009


LONDON—Years after the British press moved out, one church on Fleet Street remains dedicated to journalists and the industry that once ruled the area until the 1980s. In the front of the church, just left of the altar stands a wooden plaque dedicated to fallen journalists. It’s inscribed with these words: “And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

This memorial at St. Bride’s Church honors journalists who are missing or have died on foreign duty. “It is part of the Church which I find to have a particularly powerful emotional impact,” said William Greaves, a former writer for Fleet Street’s Daily Mail, in an e-mail. About 20 framed commemoratory letters and photographs of such journalists line the top of the memorial to remind passersby that soldiers are not the only casualties of war. Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking Out: What is religion meant to do in our lives?

July 7, 2009


LONDON — Michael Shrewsbury speaks to us with a faint smile in his eyes. We can see that he’s proud to be a prebendary at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He conducts services and plays an administrative role at this Anglican cathedral, which crowns the highest point in London.

His blue eyes gleam in the midday sunlight that filters through the stained-glass windows lining the cathedral’s nave. He is really enjoying talking with a group of budding journalists about religion.


In the middle of a sentence recounting the brief history of how he got involved with St. Paul’s, a woman’s voice comes over the loudspeaker announcing there will be a prayer. I can’t tell if she has a heartbeat or if she’s pre-recorded, but her voice is soothing and deep. She kindly asks churchgoers to take their seats and remain silent for a few minutes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Rocking the Foundation

July 5, 2009

A gay Catholic mass builds a new core of acceptance in London’s Soho


LONDON—As the church bells chime 5 o’clock, the organ prelude begins. Late-comers hurry to take their seats. The congregation is mostly single men, with some couples and even a handful of families—all with the shared goal of unhindered worship.

Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory’s Catholic Church capitalizes on the oxymoronic by offering mass for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community the first and third Sunday of each month. “This is the only LGBT Catholic mass offered on a regular basis,” says Terry Weldon (below), a member of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. “I’ve now been attending these for almost six years, even though the journey into Soho from my home in Surrey is time consuming.”

Terry Weldon

Read the rest of this entry »

From Inspiration to Fruition

July 3, 2009


I stroll around St. Paul’s Cathedral, my footsteps echoing. The ceilings seem endless. The air inside has a cool tinge to it, even though the front doors remain closed.

A group of what looks like fifth graders hurries past me, whispering and trying to keep up with their absent-minded teacher.

In the time between when I arrive at the cathedral and when I sit to enjoy evensong, I muddle through my thoughts. I think about religion and God—and what religion is meant to do in our lives. Read the rest of this entry »