GBC Annual General Meeting 2003
Education and Training:
ANNUAL MINISTRY REPORTS
The Minister, HH Jayapataka Swami, attended and gave presentations on related congregational development topics in various places during his travels, especially at large congregational gatherings and festivals such as 25th Anniversary of ISKCON Ecuador or the Siberian festival at Barnaul. In such and other occasions he also offered personal advice and guidance to local congregational preachers.
Since the last report Kaunteya das gave courses, presentations or demonstrations in:
Asia: Hong Kong, Bali, Singapore, Mumbai, Mayapur, Baroda, Tirupati, Madras , Madurai, Hosur & Bangalore .
Europe: London, Cologne, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Nueva Vrajamandala, Prabhupadadesh, Bologna, Saraj evo, Split, Belgrade, Smederevo, Nis & Vienna.
Usa: San Jose, Sacramento, New Vrindavana, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington DC, Detroit, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New Talavana & Atlanta.
The ISKCON prison Ministries, headed by Candrasekhara Prabhu, joined us as an integral part of the Congregational Development Ministry.
In cooperation with the MIHE (Mayapur Institute of Higher Education) we started the ISKCON Pastoral School, to facilitate the creation of qualified spiritual guides for the Vaisnava communities worldwide by assisting potential and existing congregational preachers to become competent in three areas:
I/ Philosophical and personal Development
2/ Pastoral Skills & Culture
3/ Hands—on Experience
Third congregational Preaching Night at the Gaura Purnima Festival — we continued this annual celebration, which includes giving awards to outstanding temples and individuals.
The Ministry took an active role in organizing the ISKCON Ministries Meetings that took place in June 2002, in Alachua, Florida. The meetings aimed at increasing cooperation among the different Ministries for the benefit of all.
Related website: iskconministries.com
We also started a department dedicated to Children’s Programs. Matajis Vidya andSri Laksmi, based in Bangalore, accepted to lead this section of the Ministry. Other members of the Ministry’s staff: Advaita Candra Dasa, the Central Office Manager and Hemagopi Devi Dasi, the Corresponding Secretary: husband and wife (He is from Italy, disciple of Bhakti Caru Maharaja, and she from South India), they Iive in Sridham Mayapur and take care of communication, accounts, and of the design, printing, and circulation of the various publications.
They are also actively developing congregational preaching in Kolkata. Prema Padmini Devi Dasi, the Editor of CP News: she lives in a country of the Middle East; together with her husband, Vijaya—Venugopala Dasa, they have built a community of about two thousand devotees there. They also travel internationally to give presentations on congregational preaching.
Since the last report the Ministry produced:
– The Book of Icebreakers, more than 300 ideas on how to start a congregational meeting.
- Free to Preach by Prema Padmini Devi Dasi (two editions) , an autobiographical account of establishing a Vaisnava community according to the principles of Bhakti—vriksha Program in a country of the Middle East, going from two to two— thousand devotees.
- Bhakti — vriksha Manual in Spanish.
- The quarterly magazine Congregational Preaching Journal continues to be regularly published and we started the Spanish edition (the plan is to publish it three times a year).
- We continued the publication of CP News (Congregational preaching Newsletter).
- We started a new, completely redesigned web site: www.namahatta.org
- The email conference Nama—hatta Forum, on Pamho, continues with a growing membership.
- A challenge we face is that some devotee, apparently even amongst leaders, perceives the Ministry as a sort of “Bhakti—vriksha Ministry” and might deny them the Ministry ‘ s assistance when they select other models of congregational development.
- HH Jayapataka Swami wrote about another challenge in his latest Congregational Preaching Journal:
- Recently I asked some congregational preachers what they thought was the most pressing need in the field of congregational development. They commented that often they have taken seminars on the latest techniques of congregational preaching, but most conspicuous by its absence as such course was the presence of ISKCON leaders. very few, if any, Temple Presidents, Regional Secretaries or Zonal Secretaries (GBCs) attend the congregational development seminars. So, the preachers get trained and enthused to implement newly understood concepts and methods, but the local leaders either block or delay the process since they don ‘t understand what it is all about and don ‘t consider it a priority. If ISKCON leaders could become well versed in such concepts and techniques, easily their temples’ congregations could grow phenomenally in minimal time…
We at the Congregational Development Ministry hope that local leaders will take the initiative to understand congregational preaching, to take the seminars, and to help in spreading and establishing the most appropriate methodologies for their area.”
Vision for the activities of the Ministry for 2003:
- We plan to acquire land in Mayapur and build offices for the Ministry and Educational facilities for the ISKCON Pastoral School.
- We plan to facilitate the traveling of Candrasekhara prabhu so that he can introduce the techniques and values of prison preaching to a larger audience of devotees.
- We plan to start producing a video—magazine on CD with news and interviews related to congregational development.
- Udaranga Devi Dasi, in Sweden, is produced two CDs of seminars and one narration of the Free to Preach book.
- Kalavati Devi Dasi, in USA, is producing an interactive CD based on the Bhakti-vriksha Manual.
- We are working on a new seminar that we will start teaching in February 2003:
The Temple—Congregation Synergy: Symbiosis without Neurosis — Where are we?
Where are we going? How to get there? the vision, the challenges, the insights
and the breakthroughs on the road to maturity.
- The work on the Journey Guide continues. It’s a book for interactively training
the new congregational devotees through six months of lessons (five a week)
leading them to understand the philosophy and practice of Krsna consciousness.
The project is based in Bangalore and various devotees are participating in it.
- In Mayapur, in connection with the MIHE courses and the Gaura Purnima Festival,
we are going to Start enrolling students in the ISKCON Pastoral School. We are
working on an introductory brochure.
- The secretary, Kaunteya Das, is getting trained to teach the Counseling and
Life Skill Course and the Self—Transformation Course developed by Dhira Govinda
Das. These courses will play an important role in the training of future leaders of congregations.
We are going to publish The Book of Icebreakers and Free to Preach in Spanish.