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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Feeding the 3,000

Sikhs serve up an 'ethic of care' with langar, free lunch

Away from the Barcelona, Spain, convention center and over the expressway stands a cluster of white tents by the Mediterranean shore. On one of them, foot-high letters spell “sacred space.” A few people lounge beneath the canopy, creating flower-petal mandalas or enjoying the view of the Mediterranean.

Another tent features a sunburst symbol, the word gurudwara (temple), and a line that stretches two blocks from its entrance. Inside, Sikhs from Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha in Birmingham, England, busily prepare and serve langar (blessed vegetarian food) to all who come. They've served 3,000 people daily for the seven days of the Parliament of the World's Religions, and on this final day, it seems, everyone has come back for one last meal. The Sikhs take the long line in stride, passing out bottled water to those waiting in the midday sun.


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