An Ahmedabad-based sect, Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, has converted a 50-year-old church in Bear, Delaware in the US, into a Swaminarayan Hindu temple.
Members of the sect held a (consecration) ceremony for the idols in November. It is the third church in the US and fifth across the world to be transformed into a Swaminarayan temple, reported The Times of India.
Two other churches in Kentucky and California were earlier transformed by the sect. Apart from that two UK churches have also been converted.
At least, in this case, the church has managed to remain religious—albeit Hindu—after its original Christian residents left. In some cases, the house of worship has turned into something more sacrilegiously secular like pubs and breweries. Businessmen buy churches for its aesthetic charm — old wooden pews with stained-glass windows and cavernous halls.
“Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent,” reported The Atlantic
During the visit of the spiritual head of the sect , a few years ago, Purshottampriyadas Swami, the disciples were encouraged to search for a suitable property.
Subsequently, the property in Bear which has multiple rooms, a kitchen and a large prayer area suitable for community congregation was facilitated as the church was not functioning, the report adds.
Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, mahant of the Sansthan, told the newspaper,”The temple is open for all without preference and prejudice. It would be a cultural nucleus for the 700-strong community in Delaware and nearby states not only for religious purposes but also cultural activities including art, drama and craft.”
Courtesy : https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/50-year-old-church-converted-into-temple-in-us/305994