In the historic Lotus Building conference room – the same place where Srila Prabhupada held the first GBC meetings - the Congregation Development Ministry held its annual meeting March 13-14 20 in Sridham Mayapur.
Kaunteya Dasa, newly appointed by the GBC as co-Minister, chaired the proceedings. He shared a remembrance of Dasa from Malaysia, who passed on last year. Uttama Caitanya had served as Temple President in Kuala Lumpur and was actively promoting congregational development in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
The Youth section of the Ministry – known as Youth Crew – has been set up by 18-year old Bhakta Zak. He wants to facilitate a forum on the web where the youths connected with the ISKCON congregation can speak freely about their lives and experiences. He plans to circulate a questionnaire to find out the number of the youths – 15-25 of age – involved with ISKCON, what they are doing, how they feel about their involvement and what can the Ministry do for them.
A new system for congregational scores and points has been devised and is already in operation. The ministry hopes that more temples and communities will send in their scores.
The Congregational Preaching Night, during the Gaura Purnima festival in Mayapur, went very well this year. Some outstanding preachers were acknowledged through awards for their distinguished services, some even spanning over thirty years.
Manohara Syama Dasa from Argentina performed some magic tricks, and Sri Godruma Kalpatavi by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, with translation and commentary by Jayapataka Swami, and Holy Jail by Candramauli Swami were presented to the group. They also viewed a PowerPoint presentation of highlights from different parts of the globe, such as the first Russian Ratha Yatra in the snow.
The production of the Congregational Development Journal will soon resume, with plans to publish the 24th issue by Nrisimhadeva Caturdasi.
The meetings ended with an afternoon visit to the home of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Surabhi Kunja – both on Godrumadvipa, across the Jalangi River from Mayapur. The team took darsan of the rooms, of the Samadhi and of the Deities of Sri Sri Gaura Gadadhara. In Surabhi Kunja, the original headquarters of the Nama-hatta program, the devotees meditated, through lecturing and discussion, on the actuality and relevancy of the vision of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura for the systematic expansion of the “Market of the Holy Name.”
The Ministry is looking for enthusiastic devotees to join the team and take up various roles, such as national or continental coordinators in different parts of the world. They are also looking for patrons who would like to sponsor the publishing, translation and educational initiatives of the Ministry.
Please visit namahatta.org
for more information.