Manassas Baptist Church, raised in 1905 in Old Town Manassas (Virginia, USA) with tainted glass windows, is BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir now, according to reports.
Besides a prayer room, it has an assembly hall, education center, and housing facility for visiting sadhus. It has been possible after years of efforts of the community, and prior to opening this temple, area Hindu families have been travelling to Beltsville (Maryland, USA) for worship and related needs. Now, it is attracting devotees from as far as Fredericksburg (Virginia), reports suggest.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of Temple management and area community for realizing this wonderful Temple complex.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this new Temple would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.
Manassas Mayor Harry J. (Hal) Parrish II reportedly participated in the opening ceremony and Sadguru Mahant Swami Sadhu Keshavjivandas performed the sacred ritual.
Besides worship, this temple reportedly will also serve as a venue for sharing heritage and culture; celebrating festivals; promoting ethical/moral values and spirit of volunteerism; and organizing educational fairs, leadership and health camps, cultural events and blood donation drives. Members include Prakash Patel, Viresh Desai, Arati Patel, Dhiraj Patel, etc.
Established in 1907, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) with headquarters in Amdavad is “a socio-spiritual Hindu organization with its roots in the Vedas”. Worldwide, it claims to run 3300 centers, 5400 weekly assemblies exclusively for children and 7215 for others, eight hospitals and healthcare clinics treating 415,000 patients annually, 31 educational institutions, tree plantation-water conservation-recycling projects, 800 centers for tribal upliftment, and over 700 mandirs; and has over 800 sadhus and 55000 volunteers.
Manassas, incorporated in 1873, known for Battles of Manassas (1861-62), has three listings on National Register of Historic Places. Prominent people associated with it include baseball players Jim Bucher and Jon Knott, radio personality Mike O’Meara, and model Leeann Tweeden. Lawrence D. Hughes is the City Manager.