Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Programs in PCNAK 2013

As we are coming to the end of 2012, we are reminded that there are only a few months left for PCNAK 2013 scheduled to take place in Hartford, CT from July 4 to 7 of next year. Despite the challenges we have faced this year, the conference has taken shape and most of the pieces of the puzzle are in place. Time has come to kick Registration into high gear and to find good hearted people in our community who will share the financial burden of this conference by becoming sponsors at various levels.

This year we have incorporated a number of innovative ideas into everything including sponsorship. We realize that the first generation of Malayali Pentecostals in North America is aging and many have already reached retirement. A large number is reaching retirement age. So the 'empty nest syndrome' we used to hear about from American parents is becoming a reality in our community also. The empty nest syndrome is the loneliness parents feel when all of their children move out from their home after education and marriage leaving just two aging parents in the house. America does not have extended families. It fosters only nuclear families. Many of our people who thought they could reverse this trend and can convince their married children to stay with them had to find out the hard way that it does not work. So many are left alone in huge homes, prompting at least some of them to dispose their dream homes and move into smaller facilities.

We have endeavored this year to gain a better understanding on where our community is now and plan and budget the conference based on it. We intentionally chose to leave out nostalgia and to embrace the hard truth. Thus, all the planning of this conference is based on the status and the needs of our nuclear families.

For example, until last year we designed our basic sponsorship package based on four people attending from a family. But the hard truth is that many of the attendees of the conference will be empty nesters. So we have divided our basic sponsorship package into two- $1000 for two people and $1500 for four people. We do not think it is fair to ask parents who attend the conference without children to pay for four people. You can click here to see various levels of sponsorship and register online.

One of the requests from our younger families has been to incorporate 'marriage enrichment sessions' into the conference. We have had similar sessions in the past. But in this conference it will be a couples only closed door session where they and the speakers can share things openly. We will have a qualified marriage therapist recommended by Focus on the Family leading this session.

We will have a special session for men taken by a qualified speaker who was recommended by Promise Keepers. There will be a special session for senior Citizens also.

A majority of our members are employed in the medical field. As we know, the medical landscape is changing drastically in the US and it will have serious ramifications to our community. So we plan to incorporate a special seminar for medical professionals to voice their concerns, better educate the medical professionals in our community and to provide a way for them to network with each other.

Each year we spend a lot of money to bring an American band to the conference. This year we will not do that. We want to promote our own young people and find out the best worship bands among us. So we will be conducting a 'Battle of the Bands.' Cash awards in the amounts of $2500, $1500 and $1000 will be given out to the top three bands, so that they can buy needed musical instruments. Many of our bands have produced their own CDs. We salute them. You can check them out soon in the media section of PCNAK Youth Website. Please contact our Youth Coordinator Ashish Jacob for more details.

We also plan to open our conference with prayers for America. This country is changing too fast for comfort. But this is our country now. This is the country of our progeny. As God told the O.T. Israelites through Jeremiah concerning Babylon, we must "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jer. 29:7 NIV). Many in our next generation have chosen to serve this nation in police, military, fire forces etc. They wear their uniforms proudly as Indian Americans. We as a community will publicly recognize them and honor them in the opening session of he conference, which happens to be on American Independence Day.

All of these programs were approved by the national committee that was held on September 9, 2012 at the conference site. As I pen this, our Secretary Br. Rajan Aryappallil is busy finishing up the first issue of the official publication for the conference.

Finally, a lot of people have asked me recently about the overall financial picture of the conference. According to our treasurer, Br. Joyce Mathews, we will break even with 2500 people attending the conference, if our folks show their support by taking the contracted rooms and meals packages. But we are ready to serve up to 5000 people.

Please show your support by registering early.

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