Recently, the fourth annual Camp Unity, held on the outskirts of Borehamwood at Well End Scout Activity Centre, had another successful gathering. The popular event allows area children and their families to experience other cultures, foster friendships, strengthen community bonds, and serves as a springboard for celebrating diversity. Hosted by a team of multi-faith leaders, this year saw the largest registration of campers, with 48 children participating from various religious and cultural backgrounds.
Religious scholars and spiritual practitioners gathered for the 26th Annual Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue on March 14-15th. Attendees include priests, pastors, and professors from both the Protestant and Catholic worlds, as well as leaders and scholars from the Vaishnava tradition.
On March 30th, the “Building Peace around Ancient Cultures” forum was held in the Legislative Palace of San Lázaro in Mexico City, coinciding with the Rama Navami festival.
ICE EC meeting Mr. Oliver Schuster at the EU Parliament
The ICE EC Team is preparing for the upcoming international ISKCON Communications Conference at Villa Vrindavana, Italy to be held May 27th – 30th, 2023. About 60-70 ISKCON leaders, senior devotees, and devotees engaged in communications service from Europe and other parts of the world are expected to participate.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) extends our heartfelt condolences to all of our friends and colleagues in the Roman Catholic Church, who are feeling great loss due to the passing of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict was a great theologian and scholar of the modern Church. Among his many contributions, we are moved by his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, in 2005, where he spoke about God’s limitless love for humanity. This same spirit of love inspires our Gaudiya Vaishnava faith. Pope Benedict was also a trailblazer. After serving the Church selflessly for many decades, he demonstrated his humility and detachment by stepping down from this highest post, to usher in a younger pontiff, Pope Francis. His example of service and renunciation is an important lesson for the world today. The Catholic Church underwent a historic change in 1965, when it adopted Nostra Aetate, an important document of Vatican II. Then known as Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict was a progressive voice of that Council. For ISKCON, 1965 is also exceptional, as it is the same year that Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to the United States to carry the message of Lord Krishna and spread love of God as understood by the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. In 1968, Prabhupada wrote to Pope Paul VI: His Holiness The Pope, Paul VI Vicar of Jesus Christ Your Holiness: Please accept my respectful humble obeisances at Your lotus feet....the special significance of human life is to achieve Love of God as the prime perfection of life....The human society is gradually degrading in the matter of religiosity, and justice; and "might is right'' is gradually taking the place of morality and justice...because Your Holiness is the Head of a great religious sect, I think we should meet together and chalk out a program for cooperation...I shall be very much pleased if Your Holiness will grant me an interview. Thanking you in anticipation for an early reply. Yours in the service of the Lord, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami While Pope Paul VI and Srila Prabhupada were unable to meet, since that time, and during the time of Pope Benedict, ISKCON members have interacted with many leaders of the Catholic Church around the world, and in various interfaith formats, both formally and informally, including with cardinals, bishops, priests, academics, and lay-leaders. In 2008, ISKCON members, including Professor Ravi Gupta, were kindly invited to meet Pope Benedict in Washington, D.C. during his visit to the United States. During a brief exchange, Dr. Gupta informed the Holy Father about the continuing dialogue and friendly interactions between our two faiths and institutions. As stated in Nostra Aetate, "...in Hinduism people explore the divine mystery and express it both in the limitless riches of myth and the accurately defined insights of philosophy. They seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and recourse to God in confidence and love..." Nostra Aetate further declared, "The Church, therefore, urges its sons and daughters to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, together with their social life and culture." During the time of Pope Benedict, we saw the relationships between followers of ISKCON and the Church grow and blossom. We are grateful for Pope Benedict's support of those endeavors, and appreciative that the Church continues to welcome and encourage dialogue and cooperation in many forums around the world. We are grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for his devotion and his many decades of service. We pray there will be a continued effort to "meet together and chalk out a program for cooperation" in promoting peace, and love of God, throughout the world. On behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
As the representative for the Hare Krishna Movement and the Vaisnava Hindu Community in Victoria, Bhakta Dasa was again voted in as the Chairperson for the third year of the Faith Community Council of Victoria (FCCV) in Australia. Established in 2010, the Faith Communities Council of Victoria is Victoria’s umbrella multifaith body.
The Youth Interfaith Walk was a three-day hybrid event to bring together individuals of different religious orientations and cultures. With the objective of enhancing social cohesion and interactions among youths of different religious communities, Ms. Fatima Jiwani decided to launch this initiative as part of her fellowship with the ‘King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural dialogue’ (KAICIID). KAICIID is a unique intergovernmental organization bringing together followers of different religious traditions, religious leaders, and policymakers to the dialogue table so that they can find common solutions to shared problems. In addition to being a KAICIID Fellow in the International Cohort for 2021-22, Fatima is also a doctoral candidate researching Interfaith Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is a recipient of two international interfaith fellowships. She says, “I have taught religious studies for more than a decade. Now, after gaining expertise in interfaith theology, I wanted to bring the knowledge of both in practice. In my understanding, communal disharmony is caused when we don’t know the ‘other’. This can lead to the human mind sometimes creating fearful caricatures of someone we have never met. Through interfaith dialogue, I wanted young adults, who are the future decision makers of our country, to connect and interact in a safe environment. I’m grateful for the KAICIID fellowship that facilitated the opportunity.”
This past Sunday I had the opportunity to visit the ISKCON temple in Buenos Aires, needless to say, it was a very nice experience. I had read many books of His Divine Grace Abhay Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda “The man who built a house that everyone can live in”.