Asian American Religious Sites
Riverside’s landscape is punctuated by sites where different Asian American groups worship.
For many diasporic communities, places of worship are also community centers, offering a gathering place and other cultural resources to its constituents.
Some Asian Americans are Christian. Since the 19th century, Riverside has been known for its extraordinarily large number of churches, and now, at the beginning of the 21st century, more than a few have additional signs in Korean or Chinese, announcing the days and times of special services. Some Asian American Christian churches include the Korean Joong-Ang Presbyterian Church, the Korean Canaan Presbyterian Church of Riverside, the Vietnamese United Methodist Church, the Chinese Alliance Church, the Japanese Christian Church of the Inland Empire, etc. Many Filipinos are Catholic, and several Catholic churches in the area have a large number of Filipinos in their congregations.
The Mosque of Riverside and its accompanying school and Islamic Center on Linden Street near the University of California, Riverside is the main place of worship for local Muslims, including a number of Indonesians, Malaysians, and Pakistanis.
The Hindu Society of the Inland Empire (formerly the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir and Culture Center) on Magnolia Street is a major gathering place for local Hindus, mostly South Asian. Notice the Sanskrit symbol on its mailbox meaning “ OM,” the sound of the universe. Hindus from Corona, Moreno Valley, Colton, San Bernardino, Banning, and even Palm Springs gather at the Riverside temple. Unlike temples in India, which are usually dedicated to a single deity, the Riverside temple contains a number of deities. The temple is open every morning and evening and for much of the weekend. Indian music and dance classes are offered as well. Go to www.lakshmi-narayan.com for more information.