War and Post War Years
With the outbreak of World War II, the temple was closed from May 1942 for a period of 3 years. It was reopened by Reverend Kanmo Imamura in the spring of 1946. Under his guidance, interest in the study of Buddhism grew among college students and young members alike, as well as friends outside the church. Membership grew and it soon became apparent that new facilities would be required to meet this demand for renewed activity and interest in the temple.
The present temple was constructed in 1955 and officially dedicated on June 10, 1956. The new facility included a library for the BCA Study Center and a dormitory for 22 students. The Study Center was subsequently moved when the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) was established on Haste Street.
The architecture of the Berkeley Buddhist Temple is distinguished from most of the other temples in the BCA by its beautiful simplicity, especially the Hondo (Main Hall) interior and shrine area. A conscious, successful attempt was made to create a spiritual practice center for an evolving American Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.
The original Temple (old Temple) building was moved towards the rear of the lot and is still used for small services, meetings, and kitchen facilities.
With the increase of the "Sangha" membership, particularly the Sunday School, the "Jichiryo" was closed in 1967 and the space converted into additional classrooms. The youth programs proliferated during those years, particularly in the area of athletics.
In 1968, now a part of the growing national BCA, a pledge system was instituted. In 1969, a Memorial Columbarium was established at Sunset Mausoleum in order to provide niches for temple members. These programs were instituted under the guidance of Reverend Masami Fujitani who served the temple from 1958 to 1971.
Reverend Toshio Murakami served the temple from 1971 to 1977. Under his guidance the temple observed its 60th Anniversary, during which time its Issei pioneers were honored. The temple joined the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council during this time. Close ties to IBS continued to be made through Reverend Murakami's teaching at IBS. The Japanese School and Youth Athletics program, and Busseis were well attended during these years.
The Reverend Newton Ishiura, formerly Bishop of Canada, came to serve as resident minister when Reverend Murakami was transferred to BCA Headquarters as Director of Bureau of Buddhist Education.