Swaminarayan sect buys 2 US, Canada churches

August 18, 2013 by  
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Swaminarayan sectGujarat, August 15, 2013: Shree Swaminarayan Gaadi Sansthan Maninagar is on a spree of buying unused churches across the globe. After acquiring churches in Los Angeles and California last year, the religious organization has acquired two more churches – one in Canada and the other in the US. These churches would be thrown open for the devotees next year after the idol of Swaminarayan bhagwan is installed in these churches.

The sect has paid 1.9 million Canadian dollars for buying an over 100-year-old church located in Ontario, Canada. The church, declared a heritage structure by the Canadian government, is located in Scarborough, the town known for its heritage structures. Sansthan officials said the heritage structure would be preserved and restored as well. The church, built over 9,000 sq foot, comes with a community hall and a house.

Similarly, the Sansthan has bought a defunct church at Louisville in Kentucky, the US. The institute paid 9.50 lakh US dollars. This church is spread over four acre of land. Last year, the Sansthan bought churches in Los Angeles , California and turned it into Lord Swaminarayan abode.

Bhagwat Priyadasji of the Sansthan said churches have been acquired for the purpose of spreading global peace and brotherhood and integrity. “People from all religions visit the temple. With the blessings of our head Acharya Purshottam Priyadasji Maharaj, we would install the idol of Lord Swaminarayan in 2014.”

Gujaratis constitute one of the largest immigrant communities and the growing number of Swaminarayan temples all over the world only underline the financial clout of the community. The Sansthan has 12 temples abroad. Most of the churches acquired are situated in prime areas and in a run-down condition.

The trend started in the UK in 1982 when St Ninian’s Church was bought for 200,000 pounds and a temple built on the 2.5 acre compound.

In 1998, when a 70-year-old church in Bolton was bought and turned into a temple, the glass paintings which had images of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary were retained. “People from different faiths visit this temple,” says Mahesh Varsani, trustee of Swaminarayan Temple Trust in the UK.

– times of india

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