Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan (MSSGS) held its inaugural North America Convention from July 1st through July 5th, 2015, right outside the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, at the JSMC Community Center. After a full year of planning and coordination by over 200 dedicated volunteers, with Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s blessings, over 1200 pre-registered participants attended, with an additional 500 walk-in registrants. Despite being scheduled on a very important long holiday weekend, the exceptional turnout spoke volumes about the importance and significance of the event.
The convention was inspired and graced by His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj, along with a mandal of 21 eminent sants. The convention theme was based around unity, although breakout sessions covered many religious topics, which were presented in presentation-style lecture-based sessions. Also featured were many socially-relevant topics, such as health, financial management, and career/education workshops. There were also special sessions focusing on distinctive topics for females, males, and youth. The main content of the entire convention was based on making the foundations of our religion relatable in the modern world. The convention comprised of a series of activities and workshops to teach participants not only the about the glory of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, but to also to develop within participants key life-skills, such as collaboration, empathy, trust, self-efficiency, teamwork balanced with independence, problem-solving, communication, and leadership. A blood donation camp was also held throughout the convention to promote our annual campaign to donate the precious gift of life.