The opening ceremony at the West Valley City Council has occasionally featured an invocation by a local religious leader.
Prayers from the Mormon, Muslim, Episcopal, Disciples of Christ and many other faiths have been delivered in council chambers. And last year, for the first time, passages from Hindu scripture were recited.
Now, a high priest from the Sikh faith has delivered an invocation. Gurmeet Singh Garib from the Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple in Taylorsville prayed at the Aug. 14 opening ceremony for the well-being of the whole universe and for all religions "because we are sons of one God."
Mayor Mike Winder said he invited Garib to offer a prayer because of the Aug. 5 rampage at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee that left six people dead.
"As you know, we had a recent tragedy in Wisconsin at the Sikh temple, a senseless act of violence that was heartbreaking for many of us in this county and specifically in this community," Winder said at the meeting. "Often out of tragedy we can find opportunities to come together."
Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran, opened fire on worshippers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, killing six and severely wounding a police officer before taking his own life. Investigators have described Page as a neo-Nazi.
According to the New York City-based Sikh Coalition, Sikhism is the fifth-largest world religion, with about 25 million followers, including more than 500,000 in the United States. There are an estimated 250 Sikh families in Utah, or about 800 to 1,000 people.
Followers of the faith, which was founded in 1469 by Guru Nanak in South Asia, believe in one universal god and the equality of all mankind.
Prayer for the universe
O To see a video of the opening ceremony at the Aug. 14 West Valley City Council meeting, visit bit.ly/r9Z1lv and click on the "City Council" tab.