A Vaishnava gathering in Swindon, England
Here is another home in England where the sound of Krishna’s names, the worship of Tulasi, and the sacred darshan of the Lord is a daily reality. This is the temple room of Justin (yellow shirt) his wife Lisa, and their two children Yamuna and Chaitanya. After years of book distribution throughout the country there are many, many homes like this in England, so many we all have to work hard to offer to our members the support they need to sustain and develop their spiritual lives.
Seven of us were in Swindon for our regular Congregational Council meeting. Our small council is comprised of group leaders who have each taken responsibility for connecting newcomers in different regions of southern England. They also offer me feedback from their point of view so the man in the city temple can understand what life is like in the shires.
Next to Justin you will see an open laptop with the face of Sejal, another of our Council members. He took part in our meeting – and the kirtan – by Skype and it actually worked very well. Behind Justin is Chris, who looks after the Guildford area, and right at the front is Tribhangananda prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who (still) has great enthusiasm for preaching and who travels from Leicester, where he lives, to preach in Manchester, Nottingham, and Stoke-on-Trent. For readers in OZ and the US, the distances between these cities is nothing by your standards, but everything is relative and in a country the size of ours we like to think of these as huge distances.
Marianne from Cambridge, Gail from Bristol, and Lisa are all hidden from view, as is Dave from Reading, who took the picture. A family-size Tulasi tree can be seen framed by the window. I’m in the bottom corner playing mridanga.
Currently we are also collaborating on an ISKCON Group Leaders Handbook so that everyone who has taken the responsibility for caring for other members in a group setting can lead their group successfully.