Brighton Buddhist Temple closing after 65 years

by Dan Werner,, Oct 2, 2005

BRIGHTON, Colorado (USA) - A Buddhist temple that Japanese immigrants built in Brighton to serve as a place for gatherings and for spiritual learning is closing after 65 years.

Japanese farming families north of Denver began building the temple in the late 1930s, and dedicated it in 1940. It served up to 160 members at any given time over the years, but like other Buddhist temples around the country, it's seen its numbers shrink. The temple now has about 20 members -- all in their 70s and 80s. They plan to gather there today for the temple's final service.

The Reverend Kanya Okamoto of the Denver Buddhist Temple says many younger Japanese-Americans have moved away from their agricultural roots to jobs in urban areas.

The wooden building in downtown Brighton is being sold to a developer. The temple's Buddhist shrine will be moved to the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple.

Members say the developer has promised not to demolish the building. They say it's become too difficult for them to keep up with maintenance.