After serving for seven years starting in 2011, ISKCON New Vrindaban temple president Jaya Krsna Das is now set to retire on December 31st. So the search is on for a devotee who can expand on the foundation he has built.
Or rather, three devotees.
“New Vrindaban is not your average temple – it’s a very big and complex project, because it has so many departments to take care of,” says search committee chairperson Vrindavan Das. “So instead of having one temple president take care of everything – which is an unfair expectation – we are restructuring and creating a management team of three ‘executive directors’ who will work as a team.”
Each of the three directors will oversee different areas. The first will be Temple Services, a brahminical department. This will include the Deity department and morning programs, pilgrim care, festivals, devotee and ministerial care, local outreach such as book distribution, harinama, and prasadam distribution, bhakta and bhaktin programs and ashram standards.
The second director will oversee Administration and Finance – Kshatriya-like responsibilities. These include human resources management such as recruiting and training staff; accounting; IT department; supervising apartment leases and rent collection; managing the purchasing department; and supervising construction and maintenance, land management and legal.
The ISKCON New Vrindaban temple
The third director will head up Guest Services, a more business-oriented, or Vaishya department. They will oversee communications and marketing, Govinda’s restaurant, the Palace Lodge guesthouse, gift shops, and Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. The Guest Services director will be responsible for providing an excellent experience for guests and visitors during their stay in New Vrindaban.
One of the directors will be legally appointed director of ISKCON New Vrindaban on a rotating annual basis. However all three positions will carry equal authority, and be equivalent to the well-known temple president role in ISKCON. All will be under the supervision of ISKCON New Vrindaban’s Board of Directors and the GBC.
“They’ll work together as a team in a cooperative and service-minded manner,” says Vrindavan Das. “Whenever there is a major decision to be made, all three executive directors will discuss things and make a decision as a team. That includes hiring department heads, promoting people, legal affairs, budgeting, finances, apartment leases, agreements, and conflict resolution.”
All directors will be required to have a mature understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and ISKCON; good sadhana; and have skill and experience in managerial or leadership roles. As they will be overseeing a major operation and managing some 80 to 100 devotees during the summer months, some professional background will enhance their services. They should also know how to create and work with a dynamic, efficient team.
The presiding Deities of ISKCON New Vrindaban
Depending on the role, they’ll require good financial, communication and customer service skills, while the Administration and Finance director will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or related work experience.
All three roles are full-time salaried positions, and are also major opportunities for service. New Vrindaban is one of the main ISKCON projects in the Western World. It is visited annually by 30 to 35,000 people, including thousands of pilgrims looking to deepen their spiritual lives and their connection with Lord Krishna, as well as tourists and seekers.
Over the years devotees have built healthy relationships with its neighbors, so local influential figures amongst academia and politics also visit on a regular basis.
New Vrindaban holds more than twenty festivals throughout the year, including 24 Hour Kirtan, Festival of Colors, Wheeling Rathayatra, Holy Name Retreats, and of course Vaishnava festivals like Janmastami and Gaura Purnima.
The community is also home to Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. One of the main tourist attractions in the state of West Virginia, it was rated by CNN as one of the eight religious wonders to see in the United States, and by Business Insider as one of “The 30 Most Beautiful Places to See in the U.S.”
Perhaps most importantly, New Vrindaban – ISKCON’s first ever farm community – was one of Srila Prabhupada’s dream projects. Prabhupada personally gave a wealth of instructions to devotees on how New Vrindaban should be developed by establishing cow protection, self-sufficiency, a holy place of pilgrimage, and spiritual education.
At New Vrindaban, he wanted to replicate the original sacred village of Vrindavan, and show the world how to live in harmony with nature, placing God in the center of our lives.
“This is such a unique place to serve,” says Vrindavan. “Srila Prabhupada wrote to devotees, ‘I pray to Krishna every day that this New Vrindaban attempt is more and more successful and ideal for your country.’ So it will be very pleasing to Srila Prabhupada to take up this service.”
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To apply for one of the three executive director positions at ISKCON New Vrindaban, please read the full list of duties, responsibilities and qualifications here: http://www.newvrindaban.com/service-opportunities/
Prospective candidates will need to submit a cover letter, resume, list of references with contact information, and a background check release form (available at the above link) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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