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Love and Light

Region 3 - Sathya Sai Orientation Conference

On Saturday 14 March, Region 3 held its Orientation Conference at the Ilford Sai Centre – Seven Kings High School from 09:30 – 14:00. This conference was organised by the youth of Region 3 with strong support from the Regional Committee. The regional conference focussed upon the theme of ‘Love is My Form: Living as Reflections of Love and Service’ building upon the National conference.

A total of 64 devotees attended the event with representation from 11 of the 18 centres and Groups in Region 3. This was an important event in our Sai Calendar and both our UK Chair Dr Kiran Patel and Vice Chair Dr Veeru Rao attended.

In the meeting with Centre Chairs the question was raised on how to re-engage with the Local English Sai Devotees. It was agreed to setup a task force to identify solutions. Centre Chairs agreed that:
• They would meet monthly for an hour via conference call to share ideas and improve communications.
• Support the creation of a Special Project group comprising a pool of active workers who can take responsibility for projects in the Region.

The youth facilitators wonderfully led the workshops making them fun and practical so that devotees could relate the key messages to their daily lives and be able to easily practice Swami’s message on Love and Selfless Service. The workshops paved the way for the afternoon session where the Regional wing coordinators discussed the plans for 2015 with Centre wing coordinators.

Wing Updates:

Service:

The Service Wing Coordinators arranged themselves in to 2 groups to review and contribute to:
• Current service activities to be carried out in the Regions/Centres
• Plan a number of activities for the year in 2015

The discussions highlighted the importance of the service coordinators’ role within the centre and the responsibility to help everyone engage in National, Regional and local service activities; to regularly review their activities; to identify needs for further training and explore opportunities to expand the services delivered.

Proposals for future activities are as follows:

• Establish Leads from regions to respond immediately and to provide help when required by the National teams.
• Overseas Service Projects – investigate areas where there is a need not currently met under Educare and initiate a project in conjunction with national teams with a view to assist at an international level.
• Enviro Care – contact local authorities and agencies to pick up litter, tree planting etc. as potential service opportunities.
• Continue with ongoing activities such as supporting Food Banks, Refuge UK, providing meals at the Night Shelter, hymn singing for the Aged, etc.
• Registration and participation in Christmas Decorations in Prasanthi Nilayam.

All present left in the full understanding that we had a role to play, to be reflections of our Master Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in the way we carry out service and in full knowledge that this was the essence of spirituality.

Spiritual:

Centre Spiritual Coordinators were encouraged to hold frequent Study Circle discussions using the pre-World Conference study material based upon Love and Service in preparation for the pre-world Conference in July 2015. The theme is: "Love is my Form" and the same material is used by all countries in preparation for the pre-World and World conferences. Some Centres have already started using the material in their Study Circle discussions and others are encouraged to start in earnest.

Centres are encouraged to practice meditation either before or after the Bhajans. If required, the guided meditation CD will be used, especially given that Swami has made it the 1st point in the Code of Conduct.

Regionally we are aspiring to introduce a balance of English and non-English Bhajans at centres in accordance with the National objectives. A National English Bhajan database is being created with Bhajans submitted by Centres.

A regional multifaith panel discussion is planned in October. Centres are encouraged to join their local interfaith groups. A number of centres are actively involved with their local interfaith communities.

SSE:

It was heartening to see so many SSE teachers gathered together to represent more than seven centres in the region. We began the wing meeting by discussing how fortunate region 3 is, being a region with circa 300 children enrolled in the SSE programme across the region. There was excitement about the National Easwaramma Day celebrations on the 2nd May 2015; the feedback from all the teachers was that the co-ordinated activity that is being undertaken across the country in preparation for NED was having a positive impact on the students. We discussed that this year was a very special year for SSE with the SSE National Pilgrimage (Sai Mahima programme) 28th July – 6th August and the international SSE conference in Prasanthi Nilayam scheduled 1-3 August 2015.

Finally, we discussed the needs of the SSE wing at centre level and the programmes we will take forward as a region this year to support those needs. We are fortunate that there appears to be a great team of SSE teachers and we pray that Swami guides us in a way that He would have wanted us to serve Him.

Youth:

A video (Christmas discourse, 1997) was shown at the beginning, in which Swami emphasised on the aspect of Love, and how this is expressed in service.

Questions were asked of the youth, in terms of what they expected, what they wished to see and
service activities they wanted to undertake in the region. Were they happy with the 'YAP sessions' that had taken place so far, and whether any changes needed to be done? But mainly, what inter-ested them!

It was agreed that that the Monthly Narayana Seva was now an established routine Service activi-ty, for the youth, which could be developed further e.g. by cooking the food. This led to discussion and generated ideas on what cooking to undertake such as soup, etc. Discussion extended to 'workshops' on these, and whether these workshops or service activities could serve as YAP ses-sions.

YAP for 2015 has been encouraged, to be focussed upon service. Youth will be encouraged to lead the 'National Youth Symposium' and aspects of the 'pre-world Conference.

Youth Coordinators have an opportunity to work more collaboratively with members from other Centres.

Kapil Dev Prashar / Kamal Arulvel – Region 3