Buddhist Church of Florin Celebrates 90th Anniversary, Members Reflect

By Jennifer Kubo, Nikkei West, 12 November 2009

Florin, CA (USA) -- The Buddhist Church of Florin celebrated its 90th anniversary on Oct. 25 with the theme “Remembering the Past and Embracing the Future.”

Over 200 people attended the event. Through old photographs, maps and newspaper clippings, attendees reflected on the people and efforts that made the temple what it is today.

A special Sunday service was held to commemorate the anniversary. Officiating the service was Socho Koshin Ogui, Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America, assisted by Rinban Bob Oshita and Sensei Grace Hatano of the Sacramento Buddhist Church.

During the service, George and Myrtle Furukawa, Myrna Hitomi, Lois Nakashima, Shig Okimura and Walter Otani were honored for their years of dedicated service to the church.

Following the service, a luncheon was held in the YBA Hall. The afternoon program included a PowerPoint presentation of the church, from its inception to the present.

One of the highlights of the luncheon was the recognition of 67 temple members 80 years or older for their continued support of the church. The Sacramento Kendo Club also participated in the celebration with a demonstration.

In 1919, the Issei families of Florin, a farming community south of Sacramento, broke ground for a Buddhist temple. The original building was a simple structure built to house a small congregation. As the area grew, so did the temple membership.

In 1939, the YBA Hall was constructed for social and athletic activities. Unfortunately, during World War II the temple became dormant as members were evacuated to camps.

After the war, families returned to Florin and the church was once again full of activity. Religious services and athletic events resumed. Japanese school and social activities such as Japanese movie viewings were also held at the church.

In 1976, a new building containing the hondo, kitchen was built and the multipurpose room followed in 1980. A columbarium, or nokotsudo, was also added on to the building in 2007.

“It was wonderful to see so many members attending, some who I have not seen for some time.”

It was especially touching to see the senior members who have given so much of their time to the temple. The Buddhist Church of Florin has grown so much since 1919. It is reassuring to know that the temple is still thriving today.

The Buddhist Church of Florin’s 90th anniversary committee was headed by Judie Miyao and Lois Tanaka.

The BCF Co-Presidents are Dick Kadoya and Lois Kashiwase.

More images can be viewed on the church’s website at www.florinbuddhist.org