Global Eckankar

Although Eckankar has its center in Chanhassen, the religion is a national as well as global movement. Kathleen, a representative of Eckankar, said that there are “Eckankar centers as well as other temples all over the place…There’s an ECK Temple in Connecticut…in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, you know, most major cities.” As scholar Wade Roof, author of Contemporary American Religion, has similarly said:

"Eckankar has flourished and become a permanent part of the new religious landscape of North America and the world…Membership statistics are not published or revealed, but Eckankar president Skelskey claims that the religion has ‘tens of thousands’ of followers worldwide."1

Still, the number of ECKists on a global scale seems to change depending upon with whom one speaks. It is estimated that ECKists can be found in anywhere between one hundred to one hundred and twenty countries across the globe. The presence of Eckankar is particularly strong in Africa and Europe, and two such strongholds are located in Nigeria and Germany. Eckankar texts are translated into multiple languages; in the bookstore at the ECK Temple, one can find materials in German, Spanish, and French. Linda, an ECKist who attended the community HU song session in May, told of a trip she took to Africa in which she sang HU with a congregation of thousands.

Kathleen, the representative of Eckankar, explained:

"We have members all over the world. Some countries that you definitely see a lot at our major seminars are Germany, [and] Nigeria. A student of Eckankar is called a chela so we have a lot of chelas in Africa and in European countries and a lot of them do travel here for the two seminars we have every year one in October and one in late March or early April…We have I would say, hundreds of thousands of members around the world. I think its hundreds of thousands, but maybe its tens of thousands? We’re not a huge religion, we are worldwide and there are quite a lot of members in different countries."2

  1. Wade Clark Roof, ed., Contemporary American Religion, Volume 1 (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000), 210.

  1. Interview with Eckankar Representative, May 6, 2012.