On October 19 2019, members of the Sathya Sai Center of Columbia, MO,  celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding. A mini retreat with the theme “Community Outreach and Engagement through Service” was held at the Fairview United Methodist Church. The Sathya Sai Center of Columbia is one of only two centers in the USA, where all officers are Young Adults.

Among the guest of honor was Dr. William Harvey, member of the Prasanthi Council, and two keynote speakers, Dr. Bharat Datt and Dr. Joe Phaneuf, the National Young Adult advisor. Dr. Harvey stressed on  the importance of living by Sathya Sai’s teachings on Truth and Love and using the tools of spiritual practice to bring us closer to our inner divinity. Dr. Datt’s two-part presentation took us through his own Journey to God and gave us insight into the mysticism and innovation of bhajans (devotional singing). He shared several entertaining personal stories of his time as a student at Parthi, interwoven with beautiful songs that helped illustrate Sathya Sai’s teachings.

Dr. Phaneuf’s interactive presentation focused on the spiritual journey, the importance of prayer and the reading of Sathya Sai’s discourses. He encouraged us to see divinity in everyone and focus on striving to improve ourselves rather than seek to improve others. He also stressed the practice of gratitude for everything given to us and being in the present moment.

The Young Adults made a presentation on the many service activities undertaken by Center members during the past 25 years, including the 2011 tornado relief efforts in Joplin, MO, and the ongoing monthly service activity at the St. Francis House. The day ended with an interactive team-building activity aimed at helping participants drop their egos, go beyond their differences and inhibitions, and work together for the benefit of the community.  The debriefing led to highly engaging team discussions on how living the guidelines and values put forth by Sathya Sai Baba provides us with concrete ways to benefit the community. Participants felt they developed a more in-depth understanding of spiritual practices and gained insights into the building of communities united in love, service and human values.