Khalsa Council Fall Meeting 2018
The International Khalsa Council met at the Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram in Espanola, New Mexico on September 26- 29th, 2018 for its Fall meetings. Comprised of approximately 100 Ministers and leaders from the global Sikh Dharma community, the Khalsa Council serves as a leadership body for our Dharma, meeting twice a year to discuss issues of relevance to the present and future of our Dharma.
This meeting brought about the introduction of new elements and an increased use of technology to connect our Global Sangat. The Reports by the Legacy Organizations were recorded and posted for the Membership to watch prior to the meeting, allowing for more time to be devoted to discussion and dialogue during the meeting.
To introduce our two-year theme of Global Presence and Inclusion in our Khalsa Leadership, Zoom Rooms were used to include leaders from the Latin American Sangat in small group dialogue on Leadership & Service. As well, the second day of meetings were shared via GoToMeeting for KC members who were not able to attend in person.
The overall structure of our meetings was revised so that the first day was Dialogue Day – Listening to each other, building our frequency, and sharing our collective consciousness on topics that are relevant to our global Sangat.
The second day was our Business Day – Working towards the growth of our Dharma, further discussion, proposals and motions for advisement.
And, the third day was our Training and Spirit Day – Offering members a relevant approach on Dharmic elements, and building spirit and group consciousness to serve our Sangat around the globe.
The following are some more highlights and updates.
New Khalsa Council Chairperson
SS Dr. Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, chaired the first meeting of her two-year term and the new theme “Global Presence and Inclusion in Our Khalsa Leadership”. Gurusangat Kaur and a working group of the KC Executive Committee met with fourteen leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Through questions asked in their community and discussed at this meeting, topics were formulated for dialogue with the Khalsa Council. This relationship with the Latin American Sangat brought depth and the true sense of Global Sangat to the meeting and this initiative will continue with dialogue with other global regions and the Khalsa Council.
MSS Nirvair Singh framed the afternoon session. He explained that we would be using the meditative mind in this segment of the agenda. We would set a frequency for this agenda theme. He described the Khalsa Council as a frequency-changing body. It was an exercise in opening up and using both sides of our brains. Using the meditative mind, the technique of deep listening allowed the flow of ideas and the frequency to shift. The Khalsa Council divided into 6 small groups to discuss the following questions: “Our Dharma has created, in the last 50 years, a solid foundation to preserve, to promote and to share the Siri Singh Sahib’s Teachings of Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga. This is the Aquarian Age and many out there are serving the world as teachers and representatives of our legacy organizations:
1. How would we see ourselves nurturing inclusion of those leaders in the International Khalsa Council and Sikh Dharma?
2. How might their leadership and service on a local level connect globally with each other and also better connect to the International Legacy Non Profits?
3. What internal attitudes and external operations would have to be transformed in ourselves and within our organizations to be truly inclusive of who we have become over 50 years?”
Mapping our Future as a Global Community
MSS Guruka Singh facilitated the topic of Mapping our Future as a Global Community to address how the Khalsa Council will accomplish its 2-year theme over the next 4 meetings. By connecting our intuition, our hearts and our presence, through meditation and inviting Guru’s guidance, the unfolding of the agenda will spring from a deep place inside ourselves. He presented a slide show about different kinds of organizations and networks. After leading a guided visualization, he had members manifest their vision through drawing a picture of where we will be at the end of our two–year theme. Some themes that emerged were: Networks, radiating points of light, sound current connections, radiating from the heart center, unity, working together in harmony.
Zoom Room Dialogue - Leadership and Service
The Khalsa Council divided into six groups, each with a representative from the Latin American Sangat, to discuss one of the three questions below. Four groups met via Zoom to include the Latin American representative online, and two groups met with members from Chile and Bolivia, who were present at the meetings. After the small group meetings, the facilitators consolidated the highlights of their discussion and reported to the whole group.
1. Aquarian leadership requires a particular set of skills to in order to be effective leaders in today’s world. How can the IKC support and develop our global communities leadership capacities at the local, national and international levels? What forms or structures might the International Khalsa Council need to put into place in order to support the growth of leadership and service Internationally? (Latin American Leadership representatives; Siri Sahib Singh and Sat Kartar Kaur, Brazil. Facilitators: SS Viriam Singh and MSS Nirvair Singh
2. How might we bring the global leadership together using service programs to support our connections? (Latin American Leadership representatives; SS Sham Kaur, Bolivia and Sat Bhagat Singh, Brazil. Facilitators: SS Shanti Kaur and SS Sada Sat Simran Singh)
3. Many successful Service Programs are in place within our global communities reaching those in need. How can the IKC serve the expansion of our service programs internationally from both a supporting as well as generating role? What would this look like? (Latin American Leadership representatives – SS Sat Sansar Singh, Chile and SS Gian Kaur, Mexico. Facilitators: SS Hari Charn Kaur and MSS Guruka Singh)
Conscious Businesses in Challenging Times – Sharing perspectives from our Legacy Organizations and Sangat
SS Shanti Kaur
There have been questions and concerns expressed by some members of our Sangat regarding Akal Security’s work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service. The intention for putting this topic on the Khalsa Council agenda was to clarify the facts, dispel any rumors, and to have an open discussion on the various perspectives. Members of the Akal Security management were invited to speak, and Fatehbir Kaur, a Sangat member from Los Angeles, who has drawn up an on-line petition to end Akal’s relationship with ICE, was also asked to speak.
An open discussion followed with members sharing their perspectives which had the following outcomes:
- the Khalsa Council affirmed our values of transparency and communication, as is appropriate, for our legacy organizations.
- the Khalsa Council requested the Office of Public Affairs and Akal Security to draft an informative statement that can be shared with our Sangat and others as is needed.
- The Khalsa Council requested the Office of Public Affairs to prepare a proposal to add a Public Relations arm to their office within the next few months, so we can be more responsive when issues like this come up.
Satwant Singh, the Executive Director of the SSSC reported on the activities of the SSSC since our last Khalsa Council meeting in April. (This report supplemented the video report that was available to all Khalsa Council members prior to the meeting.) He began with an overview of the number of meetings held by the board since the April Khalsa Council Meetings, and the report then covered updates relating to the Nonprofits, For-Profits, SSSC governance and process, settlement actions, and outreach.
Here are some of the highlights:
- He reported on the recent Board appointments to legacy non—profits and for profits
- On-going work to update the constituent non-profit bylaws.
- A brief report and update on work being done to establish endowments as part of our long term security plan for our Nonprofits * Internal restructuring within certain entities
- Internal governance actions of the SSSC
- The repositioning of the Office of Ethics and Professional Standards, to be directly under the SSSC in order to comply with best practice compliance methods.
- Updates regarding matters of settlement
- Overview of outreach efforts performed by the SSSC and its board members, which included attendance of members at Sangat and organization events and the organization of the Peace Prayer Day Guest Speaker
Krishan Shiva Singh, former Executive Director of KIIT, shared the highlights for KIIT in 2018:
- 2018 full-year projections profitable
- Won 2nd Judicial Circuit and BWI Airport
- Successful sale of Coastal contracts
- Fueling future strategic investments
- Diversification efforts are accelerating
- Equipment leasing venture implemented
- IT & Cyber security venture
East West Tea Co / Yogi
- New CEO & CFO this year, smooth transition.
- Moved into the new building, had a big celebration event!
- Siri Singh Sahib pictures and quotes throughout
- Italian Execs came for Peace Prayer Day. They were very inspired.
- Sales growth continues in US & EU
- Great alignment b/w Board and Exec team
- Planned growth in EU; new building project soon
KIIT Renewable Energy
- 1 new project under construction
- 9 solar projects awarded by the City of Albuquerque
- Several new projects scheduled for 2019
- Developing innovative products for the industry
- 35mW project pipeline in place for 2019 & beyond
Developing innovative products for the industry
- Phase one of renovation project completed this summer
- Enrollment numbers strong for upcoming Level 1
- Community engagement is a focus for the future
Office of Public Affairs
The Dharmic Office of Public Affairs (OPA) seeks to affirmatively influence public opinion and expand awareness about the legacy organizations of the Siri Singh Sahib, build and maintain a positive reputation for our organizations, and build solid relationships with the Indian Sangat, the yoga community, the media, and the general public.
The Office of Public Affairs updated the Khalsa Council of the work being done with the following video report.
Please note that the report refers to the Light of Guru Nanak Yatra. The dates for this yatra have changed to November 3 -14th 2019.
Please follow link to video here Office of Public Affairs
Beads of our Divine Mala Video Reports
The Legacy Organizations began a new practice of recorded their reports in order for the members to view them before the meetings. This allowed more time in the meetings to be devoted to dialogue and discussion. Please click on the links to the videos below;
Defining the Electorate Task Force
SS Sahaj Singh gave an overview of the work of the Defining the Electorate Task Force, which was tasked with defining who would be eligible to vote in future elections of Siri Singh Sahib Corporation board members. The intention was that it would be in the best interests of our Sangat to ensure a broader representation and greater involvement of the global Sangat in our election process. A detailed motion outlining the criteria for future Electorate members, as well as the process for application and approval was presented.
The Khalsa Council deliberated on the Motion and it passed. The Motion for Advisement was submitted to the SSSC after the meetings.
LGBTQ+ Task Force, Empathy Skills for Ministers with a focus on LGBTQ+ Populations
The LGBTQ+ task force helped start the new Khalsa Council training initiative, where the Khalsa Council receives training at every assembly, by presenting a two-hour interactive process titled Empathy Training for Sikh Ministers, with a focus on the LGBTQ+ population. Creating a welcoming Sangat.
The training presented an overview of a process designed by the Unitarian church to create a welcoming atmosphere at services. The Unitarian process was adapted to fit Sikh protocols. SS Dukh Niwaran Kaur guided the Khalsa Council attendees in the process, which included a story, individual writing, small group process led mainly by task force members and large group discussion. SS Jivan Jot Kaur guided the Khalsa Council in a meditation titled Breaking the Mask.
The LGBTQ+ task force also presented via handout the semi-annual briefing on LGBTQ+ topics from around the world, in the USA and in the Dharma. The big news of the past 6 months being the decriminalization of same sex relationships in India.
Motion for Advisement on the formation of an Office of Seva Corps
As an outcome of our Zoom dialogue groups, Sada Sat Simran Singh presented a motion for advisement on the Formation of an Office of Seva Corps. The motion included details on the creation, mission, operations, funding and staffing of the office. The Motion was approved unanimously by the Khalsa Council, and has been submitted to the SSSC.
Part of the motion called for the establishment of a Seva Corp Task Force and Khalsa Council Members volunteered to serve.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of 3HO - 50 years of Serving Humanity
SS Pritpal Kaur, CEO of 3HO, gave a presentation on plans for the 50th anniversary celebration of 3HO. She announced a new 3HO “microsite” for the 50th celebration called www.3HO50.org with videos, letters, photos and announcements about events. She requested the members to help prepare this event and shared the desire to bring ten people to Solstice who are leaders and sevadars in their community and who are not able to afford to come to Solstice. She requested suggestions of individuals as well as assistance with fundraising to bring them to Solstice and to be honored at Peace Prayer Day. The East West Tea Company will also be supporting and participating in the celebrations. 3HO is creating marketing in fifteen languages and will be supporting local celebrations around the globe.
Light of Guru Nanak Yatra
SS Sada Sat Simran Singh shared about the Light of Guru Nanak Yatra planned for November 3 -14th 2019 to celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th birthday. *Please note date change. This is going to be a huge event sponsored by the SGPC in India. The celebration will take place in Sultanpur Lodi, at the site of the river where Guru Nanak experienced Jal Samadhi and recited Japji Sahib. The Yatra will begin with a 3-day “Japji for the Aquarian Age” course at Dashmesh Sadan in Anandpur Sahib, and will then travel to Amritsar for the celebration.
Future Khalsa Council Training Topics
Going forward, the Khalsa Council will have a two hour training session on a topic of enrichment at each meeting. The following topics were identified, and task forces will be created to develop training sessions for future meetings. KC members were invited to be part of the task forces. The following are the topics and the members who volunteered to serve on the Task Forces:
- Mental Health, Trauma and Depression – SS Dr Shanti Shanti Kaur and Dharam Singh from Seattle proposed we have a training on Mental Health, Trauma, and Depression, looking at ways to improve the vitality of our community. SS Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur shared that there is a small team that is starting to talk about these issues and wants to bring skills, understanding and ways of working particularly with our young adults.
- Cultural Awareness Training – to understand our global community with regard to Yoga, Religion and Dharma. To include all areas of the world where we teach and have outreach.
- Aquarian Leadership Training – Models for Success – Templates and tool kits for successful service programs; Dharmic culture ad values; collaboration skills.
Food 4 Kids Seva
After the first day of meetings the members of the International Khalsa Council gathered to pack bags for Food 4 Kids NM.
SS Guru Simran Kaur runs Food 4 Kids as a way to give back to the Espanola Community and support the children who, without these bags of food have no food over the weekends.
Learn more about Food 4 Kids here
The Khalsa Council Statement
As Sikhs, we believe in the equality and dignity of all human beings. Sikhs stand for truth, social justice and freedom for all.
The International Khalsa Council, a body of Sikh Ministers and leaders, stands united with all people of love and consciousness to:
- Honor and protect the right of each human being to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
- Respect the equality and dignity of all living beings.
- Welcome and embrace the diversity of all humankind.
- Honor the dignity, divinity and grace of women.
- Protect and care for the environment
Together we are working towards a more loving, just and peaceful world.