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Upananda Brahmachari | HENB | Haridwar | Dec 24, 2018:: It must be a news of great dismay for the evangelists and Christian missionaries that an old church in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the US is celebrating its last Christmas and New Years Eve in this year end.
When the evangelists and Christian missionaries in India are running there cunning conversion ploy after pumping huge church funds from many American and European countries; many Hindu organisations have been purchasing hundreds of churches in Europe and America to make temples during last couple of decades as those churches could not be able to fetch practicing Christians there on the belief of Jesus Christ as their saviour! Falling for Crosses from the Church Top continues!!
Now, a 30 year old church in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the US has been bought to be converted into a Swaminarayan Hindu temple. The pran pratistha (consecration) ceremony for the idols will be done once the church is revamped as a temple.
It is the sixth church in the US and the ninth across the world to be turned into a Swaminarayan temple by Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan based in Maninagar, Ahmedabad.
The news above came to TOI as reported today by Bharat Yagnik of TNN and also confirmed by BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha)+ Central in Ahmedabad.
Apart from Virginia, churches in California, Luiseville, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and Ohio in the US have been transformed into temples by the sect. Similarly in the UK, two churches have been converted into temples in London and Bolton near Manchester. The sect has also acquired a 125 year old property in Toronto, Canada.
Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, the mahant of the sansthan, told TOI that under the guidance of Purshottampriyadas Swami, the spiritual head of the sansthan, the 30 year old church was acquired to be refurbished into a Swaminarayan temple.
“Not many changes would be mandated in the church at Portsmouth, as it was already a spiritual place of another faith. This would be the first temple for Haribhakts in Virginia,” Bhagwatpriyadas Swami said.
The Swaminarayan temple sources said that Virginia has an estimated population of 10,000 Gujaratis, mainly hailing from North Gujarat, Charotar in Central Gujarat and Kutch. The church is spread over five acres with 18,000 sq feet built up. It has a large parking place that can accommodate 150 four wheelers. The church was bought at an estimated cost of $ 1.6 million.
Not only Swaminarayan sects of Sanatan Hindu faith, many other Hindu organistaions having their Head Quarters in India have also purchased a significant numbers of Church properties and Christian Prayer houses in abroad for making new temple there.
“Bharat Sevashram Sanga has set up many branches and Sri Guru Mandir and Shiva Temples on legal purchase of unused or abandoned churches in last 25-30 years and those are running very well and preaching Sanatan Vaidik Hindu Dharma,” told Swami Purnatmananda of Head of Overseas Branches of Bharat Sevasharm Sangha, a pioneer Hindu Organisation in India and abroad.
ISKCON, Divine Life Mission, Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, Chinmaya Mission, Vendanta Society etc. purchased hundreds of Churches and Church properties to make new Hindu Temples for last couple of decades in Europe and America.
__with inputs from TOI.