ISKCON Leadership Sanga 2014 Begins!
By Vrndavana Vinodini dasi
The 2014 ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) was inaugurated on Sunday, February 16, 2014 in Sridham Mayapur. During and after the morning program, crowds of devotees could be seen registering for the event whereupon each attendee was given a reusable jute bag packed with goodies including a schedule, a pen, a notepad, a map and various fliers highlighting numerous projects and resources.
After a satisfying breakfast, devotees made their way to one of three huge pandals set up to take part in a wonderful guru puja kirtan led by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami. After invoking prayers, members of the GBC’s Strategic Planning Team (SPT) took to the stage and welcomed the eight hundred devotees who had gathered from all corners of the world. After a brief introduction about the work of the GBC’s SPT, attendees were left with a dual call to action: To take the knowledge and tools that will be presented during the next eight days and take them home to 1) help manifest the GBC’s strategic plan within the different yatras around the world; and 2) share that inspiration to help empower local and up-and-coming leaders.
After a quick recap of the eighty-eight various seminars and workshops that will be presented during the next eight days and their locations, participants dispersed to the first session of the day. Despite the rain, smiles were abundant and the anticipation and excitement for the upcoming days could be felt in the air.
Day 1 consisted of three sessions during which at least ten seminars would run in parallel per session. Heads could be seen huddled together as groups of devotees consulted their schedules and decided which ones to attend. These seminars represent the results of months of hard work and time put in by the GBC’s strategic planning committees.
Seminars such as Effective Outreach (Outreach Committee), How to Implement the 5 Steps of Succession and Identify Future Leaders (Succession Committee), Devotee Care Through Cow Care (Devotee Care Committee), Invest in the Future (Education Committee), and To Love is to Cooperate (Srila Prabhupada’s Position Committee) were just a handful of the numerous seminars devotees had the opportunity to attend.
After attending the first session, devotees were warmly greeted into a huge pandal where prasadam was served. Conversations about the experiences of each seminar filled the atmosphere along with the delighted exclamations of seeing friends from different places around the world.
The afternoon consisted of two more back-to-back sessions whereupon devotees could be seen carrying numerous umbrellas to avoid the heavy rains. Despite the weather, spirits were high and after dinner attendees got the chance to spend time with one another and attend the evening program.