The site was once owned by the Mount Alverno Sisters of St. Francis, a Roman Catholic order. After 40 years on the 24-acre property, the sisters could no longer afford to keep it.
The Sisters of St. Francis say they sold the property to the group because they wanted to make sure the land continued to be used for "peace and harmony." They did not want to see the church razed for housing.
"On one level, it was hard because we knew that we could not carry on," Rayburn said. "But knowing that we were passing it on to the Shinnyo-en made it easier."