San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Celebrates Centennial

On April 16, San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (SFVHBT) celebrated its 100th anniversary. Originally scheduled for October 2021, pandemic conditions delayed the event as well as the retirement luncheon for Rev. Patricia Usuki, who completed her 16 years of service as resident minister in 2020.

Both occasions were combined into a joyful gathering of 200 members, guests, and ministers from throughout Southern California and Nevada.

SFVHBT is a Jodo Shinshu temple affiliated with Nishi Hongwanji, the largest school of Buddhism in Japan. In the 1920s, the first generation of San Fernando Valley’s Japanese settlers came together to observe the Buddhist teachings through small gatherings.

Two decades later, Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into incarceration camps during World War II. Persevering through this difficult period, these families and following generations built and expanded the temple as an expression of gratitude for the Buddhist teachings.

On the morning of the 100th anniversary special service, the temple facilities were shining with recent renovations from its 100th Anniversary Capital Campaign.

With in-person services only recently resuming, this was the first opportunity for many attende