Updated: May 6, 2020
During these troubling times, when so much seems uncertain and many are struggling around the world, we in the ashrams of Paramahansa Yogananda are deeply touched by the stories of hope and perseverance that are emerging and the bright light they seem to cast towards our future. One such story that we wanted to share with you involves our members in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As many of you may remember, several years ago, the congregation of the long-established Richmond Temple was faced with having to move to a new location. In the highly competitive real estate market of the Bay Area, finding a new home for the temple was a challenge. In 2012 the congregation, led by the temple’s monastic minister-in-charge, was fortunate to find a temporary location — though it was undersized and did not fully meet SRF’s needs — and this became the current SRF Berkeley Temple.
Though they knew it was not their permanent home, the temple’s members and monastic ministers worked hard to make it a beautiful and welcoming place of divine communion and fellowship, while their unfaltering efforts to find a suitable permanent location — and to raise the necessary funds to acquire it — continued. Finally, in December 2019, after a six-year search, the congregation at last found a church in nearby Walnut Creek that was within the price range of the funds they had raised and had all the desired features: a quiet setting; a large chapel; ample space for the bookroom, Sunday school, and social activities; as well as onsite parking, attractive outdoor spaces, and quarters for visiting monastics. It was also within easy walking distance of the Bay Area public transportation system.
Fortuitously, arrangements for the purchase of this property (formerly a Lutheran church) were all but finalized a couple of months before the Covid-19 pandemic crisis erupted in the United States. Funds raised by the temple membership during the previous six years were sufficient to cover the purchase cost, and all that was needed was the signing of the final agreement to give SRF ownership of the property, which took place just last week. This was truly a blessing, as the expiration date for lease on the current temple in Berkeley was approaching soon.
The details concerning how to conduct the move safely will be worked out in the coming months, as public health restrictions permit, and we look forward to a grand opening of the new temple as soon as that has been completed.
SRF President Brother Chidananda expresses his profound appreciation and gratitude to all of the many members of the SRF Berkeley Temple congregation who contributed their prayers, service, and all the vital funding needed to make this acquisition possible.
We are heartened to know that in the midst of these challenging times, by working together Paramahansaji’s family of lay members and monastics has been successful in the acquisition of this new temple, which will be officially known as the Bay Area Temple of Self-Realization Fellowship. It will be a sanctuary of deep spiritual seeking and meditation, as well as a place of divine fellowship, that will uplift and fortify members of the growing SRF spiritual family for many decades to come.
For more information and to view a slideshow of the new temple property, please visit the SRF Berkeley Temple website and scroll down to view links for the new temple in Walnut Creek: