By The members of the NA GBC/Executive Committee
From January 14-18 the North American GBCs, Temple Presidents and Leaders met together in Dallas, Texas for the North American Leadership meeting. The following is a short summary and highlights of the meeting:
The meeting started on Friday afternoon with a lively kirtan led by Bhaktimarga Swami. Vaisesikha Prabhu inspired everyone by his keynote presentation on the importance and joy of book distribution. Kuladri Prabhu followed with the NA Support Office report, including important legal issues.
Praharana Prabhu presented a very serious and extremely important topic on Pastoral Abuse Prevention. The North American leadership presented a document ‚ÄúPastoral Abuse Policy.‚ÄĚ This document sets a clear policy and procedure to protect woman and other vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation. There is a need for further education and training of our devotees about this sensitive issue.
On Saturday morning the day started with a presentation by Romapada Maharaja on Zonal Reconfiguration. This was an update of ongoing GBC discussions that have occurred over a few years and have involved the GBC Strategic Planning and Organizational Development Committees. Temple leaders were invited to share their thoughts and suggestions regarding this process.
Anuttama Prabhu reviewed the Leadership Training program. The goal is to train potential future and existing ISKCON leaders. The devotees are trained in foundational spiritual values and leadership and management skills. Three terms have already been held at Potomac and the remaining ten day training terms are scheduled for March, June and September this year.
The temple presidents then had their own meeting, chaired by Akrura Prabhu. Many issues were discussed of relevance to the temple leaders.
In the afternoon Kuladri Prabhu spoke briefly about the Youth Fund and Sesa Prabhu followed with an presentation giving an update on Immigration issues.
The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to strategic planning presentations. The following presentations were made:
Yajna Purusa Prabhu spoke on a successful brahmacari ashram and book distribution in Bhakti Center, Manhattan New York.
Mahat Tattva Prabhu spoke about sastra dana, book distribution, Krishna Fest, and the ‚Äúlounge‚ÄĚ program that has been very successful with the contemporary youth of San Diego.
Nandasuta Prabhu from Seattle spoke about many festivals held at their Vedic Culture Center including musical festivals and children fun nights.
A short video compiled by Manu Prabhu was shown featuring the Youth bus tour of Mexico.
Mukhya Prabhu of Alachua presented their strategic planning goal of serving large devotee community, increasing preaching and outreach, increasing spiritual life of devotees, devotee care, book distribution and installation of Krishna Balarama deities this year in Alachua.
Finally,Praharana Prabhu from Toronto presented activities of the highly involved and active youth. They organize a loft program on the temple grounds, manage university clubs with yoga classes, and run the Sunday Feast program, all with a high degree of involvement and cooperation
The day concluded with play directed by Bhaktimarga Swami‚Äôs called ‚ÄúLoneliness‚ÄĚ. Maharaja engaged local youth and presented first class entertainment much to the delight of assembled Vaisnavas.
On Sunday morning Kuladri Prabhu presented the results of the NA survey, how the temples did in 2009 and what they want to achieve in the year 2010. The next meeting is scheduled for May in New Vrindavan the weekend after the festival of Inspiration.
The meeting was finished with the Leadership training in devotee care by Tamohara Prabhu. Devotees were trained how to deal with difficult leadership situations and learned guidelines for discipline discussions , recognizing and dealing with mental health issues, systems & models of devotee care, and communication skills.
Our thanks are going to all organizers of the meeting, especially to Nityananda Prabhu, his wife Manjuali Prabhu, Labangalatika Prabhu, and to the whole temple management team for their wonderful hospitality, and excellent prasadam. We also thank all of you who participated in this meeting.
Yours in service to Srila Prabhupada
The members of the NA GBC/Executive Committee