When the Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado burned to the ground Dec. 5, 2011, there was an outpouring of support from other Asian communities who offered their temples for worship. The expressions of support from other Asian-American religious organizations prove that faith is very much alive in the Mile High City.
To celebrate their devotion to the community, Asian Avenue highlights some of Denver’s temples and churches. Like safety nets ready to support any individuals in need of faith, the places of worship are surely staples in the Asian-American community.
Across the board, religious centers serve as a place for multiple generations of families to join together in faith. They are a home away from home, a weekend getaway, and a venue to meet a lifelong friend or future spouse. The centers also place an emphasis on developing and mentoring their youth. No matter what the customs and beliefs, religion teaches us how to become better people and brings hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Chinese Evangelical Church of Denver (CECD)
1099 Newark Street | Aurora, CO 80010 | www.cecd.net
Ivo Yueh, a leadership community member, and former high school and college Sunday school teacher, has been involved with CEDC for more than 13 years. He loves the friendly and welcoming environment at the church, especially since the community has become an intentionally emphasized priority in the past year.
Yueh said that what’s important to the church is what makes the church so important. CECD understands discovering one’s identity can be a struggle for those caught between cultures, thus in the upcoming years they are looking to become more involved in Denver’s Asian-American community. By building relationships with heritage camps, orphanages in China, adoptive families and other related organizations, CEDC hopes to help other Asian-Americans discover their identities through a relationship with God.
“CECD strives to learn how to love and develop one another. This love extends to understand that each person needs to find their own identity in God – to have personal experiences through a personal relationship with God,” Yueh said.
Also the former youth director, Yueh loves working with young people in the church and is grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such defining periods in their lives.
“Youth have the energy and curiosity that rival even the most ambitious adult scholar,” he said. “Serving them challenges leaders to continually be creative with a constant reminder of how important fundamentals are.
CECD offers many opportunities to get involved including welcoming activities such as swing dancing, ice skating, bowling and game nights. In addition, they also have small groups to cultivate spiritual and community growth. One program that CECD has cultivated for more than a decade is Camp Crossroads, a camp with a mission to help youth understand their relationships with God on a real and practical level.
Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of the Rockies
8375 Wadsworth Blvd. | Littleton, CO 80128 | www.hindutempleofcolorado.org
Acharaya Kailash Upadhyay, the chief priest of the Denver Hindu Temple and Cultural Center is proud to announce that groundbreaking on a larger Hindu temple will begin in June or July at a site in Centennial. The temple will be able to accommodate more worshipers and will hopefully be completed in Fall 2013.
Upadhyay became the chief priest of the Denver Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in 1998. Originally from India, Upadhyay had been with two temples in Canada before deciding to call Denver home; he has been living in Canada and the U.S. for nearly 20 years.
The Hindu Temple and Cultural Center has about 1,600 members and is constantly growing, Upadhyay said. Upadhyay stresses the non-violent aspect of Hinduism and encourages anyone interested in learning about the faith to visit the temple. It is the oldest temple of its kind in the area and houses several deities.
“We stand for freedom of worship and accepting other people’s views,” Upadhyay said. “We are a very tolerant faith. We are very calm people; we just want to live in peace.”
Avalokiteshvara Buddhist Center (ABC)
1081 Marion St. | Denver, CO 80218 | Meditationincolorado.org
Avalokiteshvara Buddhist Center (ABC) in Denver provides an environment for people from all walks of life to learn about Buddhism and meditation. ABC offers meditation, chanting meditation, and a variety of courses and programs.
Ruth Borri, a teacher at the center, urges individuals to not be intimidated by the center because Buddhists and non-Buddhists can benefit from their teachings. Borri helped establish the center in 1999 when their resident teacher, Gen Kelsang Losel, came to Colorado. Losel is also the principle teacher of Kadampla Buddhism in Colorado.
Borri encourages newcomers to attend the weekly Prayers for World Peace session held on Sundays at the center from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The session includes prayers, meditation and teachings to help individuals develop inner peace. Since the class is held simultaneously with their Dharma for Kids class, it is the perfect opportunity for families to come to the center.
For those looking for more in-depth understanding of Buddhist teachings, ABC provides general, foundation and teacher training programs. They have free guided meditation classes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at noon.
ABC also offers special classes such as compassion for animals and the power of concentration. “All are welcome,” said Borri. “Our goal is to help the community achieve a state of mental peace.”