Ploughing with Oxen, and Congregational Development


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Oxen ploughing at Bhaktivedanta Manor

This morning the BBC Radio aired a 20-minute programme about the Bhaktivedanta Manor farm. It was a very good piece, revealing to listeners the thoughts behind cow protection, ploughing with oxen, sustainable agriculture, a working spiritual community, and a little of the philosophy behind it all.

The programme was “On Your Farm” and is a regular look at one particular farm in Britain. It goes out at 6.35 am on a Sunday morning. Early birds and farmers listen to it and now you can listen to it by clicking here.

The extra bonus for us is that the programme concluded with reference to Gangotri, our cow who, at the time the show was recorded, back in September, was being cared for and who attracted the attention of the interviewer.

After listening to this pleasant boost for our ongoing campaign I gave an online Caitanya Caritamrita class to 20 devotees and after breakfast came to the temple.

Today has been a day of meetings and discussions. First was the Congregational Council Meeting, a gathering of devotees from ISKCON small groups around the country. We chalked out 2008, scheduling the six Rathayatras, retreats, festivals and training days the year holds. The Council is comprised of a diverse range of devotees and we have been meeting for many years now. I’m very appreciative of their service in their local regions and their immense contribution to the movement over the years.

Next, I began meeting the teams that comprise our Eight Petals for this year’s “Year of the Congregation.” Senior leaders got things moving for the year by stating their ‘wish list’ for congregational development. After we created the Vision and Mission Statements for the year, we drew up some eight initial Key Result Areas and the teams assigned to them.

The meetings this afternoon were with the first two of the teams, those responsible for ‘Preaching Emphasis’ and ‘Pastoral Care.’ I am pleased to say that all the discussion was relevant, very much required, productive – and well overdue!

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