IRVING PARK – A non secular heart and ashram on the former United Methodist Church in Irving Park opened after the constructing was renovated – and delays brought on by the pandemic.
The Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, a non-profit group based mostly within the suburbs of Homer Glen that practices the teachings of the Indian thinker Swami Vivekananda, has taken over the historic campus at 3801 N. Keeler Ave. On the finish of 2019 from Irving Park United Methodist Church.
The campus has been house to devotees for greater than 125 years however bought for $1.7 million after being available on the market for practically a yr. Congregants determined to promote as a result of membership dwindled and there wasn’t sufficient cash for wanted renewals, chaplains beforehand informed Block Membership.
Minister Swami Ichatmananda stated the non secular neighborhood was in a position to buy the constructing due to funds from 6,000 donors nationwide. However he stated repairs to the basement, roof, lofts and exterior bricks must be accomplished earlier than opening, which might value the middle one other $800,000 or so.
He stated that for the ashram a part of the middle, which is a part of the campus constructing, renovation work included including bedrooms and bogs and making the house compliant with the town’s rules for residential housing, which value extra money. However the extra guests from everywhere in the world, the extra donations too.
“When individuals come to go to, they donate,” Ichatmananda stated. “When Hindus go to a sacred place, they at all times donate.”
Renovations, in addition to the transportation of essential non secular gear and supplies from the suburbs—together with the pandemic—delayed the neighborhood’s inaugural plans. However the rehabilitation was accomplished in Might and formally opened its doorways in June.
The constructing is called Residence of Concord and presents free 11am yoga and mediation lessons on Sundays; non secular conversations and philosophical discussions by numerous non secular leaders; and cultural packages designed to hyperlink completely different religions.
Ishatmananda needs the Residence of Concord to be the “Residence of All Individuals” and Religions – a spot the place individuals can find out about numerous faiths and see how they’re associated and comparable.
“This isn’t a Hindu or Sikh place,” he stated. “It is a place for everybody the place they will come, with out hesitation, and categorical their opinions. … In the future, maybe the characters of the Dalai Lama or the Pope will come to go to them.”
The sprawling campus features a basement the place yoga and meditation lessons are held, in addition to a kitchen and library with non secular texts and non secular books. In the primary vestibule upstairs, seating faces a big statue of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sophie and Yogi of the nineteenth century. Ichatmananda stated he practiced Hinduism, Christianity and Islam and “realized that each one paths go in direction of the identical aim” which is God and love.
Upstairs on the third ground is a prayer shrine that homes pictures of Paramhansa, Vivekananda and different Indian non secular leaders. Miniature lecture rooms, every designed for the teachings of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, border the sacred room.
Irving Park is a manner for neighborhood followers to raised entry and go to its providers. With the neighborhood near public transportation, trains and highways, the constructing was appropriate for metropolis growth, the minister stated.
This is not the primary time Chicago’s Vivekananda Vedanta Affiliation has discovered a house within the metropolis. The non-profit group was based in 1930 on the Gold Coast earlier than shifting to Hyde Park in 1966 till 2008. This location, he stated, introduced individuals from everywhere in the world. However restricted parking and elevated membership affected the Southside campus, so the previous minister determined to maneuver the ashram and heart to the suburbs.
Nonetheless, Ichatmananda stated some members wished a extra central location and did not miss out on downtown.
Pradeep Muzoomdar, a longtime neighborhood member who teaches yoga and meditation at Residence of Concord, additionally hopes his classes will attain extra individuals and assist reveal yoga philosophy.
Muzumdar has been a yoga trainer for seven years and teaches Ashtanga Yoga, which focuses on the eight limbs of yoga that embrace asanas, respiratory strategies, self-discipline, and meditation. He needs to show college students that yoga might help individuals obtain their objectives, profit from non secular development and quit unhealthy habits if they’re practiced on goal.
“The category consists of half-hour of asana and half-hour of meditation, respiratory and knowledge sharing strategies,” Mazumdar stated. “If you happen to do that recurrently, it is going to make it easier to attain the aim. I preserve reminding individuals about having a goal for every part you do. Your sorrows in life won’t ever be diminished except you retain the aim of overcoming your negatives.”
Residence of Concord is in search of extra licensed yoga lecturers with a background in Ashtanga Yoga. These can contact Mazumdar at [email protected]
Homer Glen will stay as an area for ritual observe, whereas Irving Park can be a venue for neighborhood discussions and occasions associated to spirituality, yoga and faith.
The minister stated Residence of Concord additionally needs to open a cultural faculty for younger youngsters to introduce them to numerous perception programs and host culinary occasions the place numerous non secular leaders can showcase recipes from their religion and community with different cooks.
The August Lecture Sequence “Know and Love” started over the weekend and can characteristic free talks on non secular and non secular development at 4pm each Saturday. At 4pm on August 21, the middle will host a particular live performance entitled “Jewish Rhythms” that includes knowledgeable Jewish band.
Ichatmananda stated extra concert events, occasions and packages are within the works and can be posted exterior on the constructing’s bulletin board, although the house owners are engaged on a web site and social media for the house.
For now, neighbors are encouraging to cease by, meet the group, attend their occasions, and assist arrange the middle on the northwest aspect.
“That is the place individuals can pray, research, keep and join — multi function place,” he stated.
“This may carry a fantastic title to the realm,” he stated. “If the neighborhood understood it, that will be a fantastic place. It may very well be a landmark for Chicago and get individuals to point out up in America, we might present a spot the place everybody was welcome.”
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