Walking the Path of Nonviolence from Boston to Myanmar

“Life always begins one step outside of your comfort zone.” – Shannon L. Alder

Even though the summer is not yet over, I’ve had January on my mind recently. Why you ask? Because I have some exciting news to share about January 2015: I have been accepted for a two-week intensive course called “Walking the Path of Nonviolence in Myanmar: Buddhist and Christian Approaches.” This opportunity to study in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is made possible by connections of Andover Newton Theological School, and I will travel with two faculty members and 10-15 other seminary students, spending a little over two weeks learning about interfaith relations and nonviolent resistance in one of the poorest South Asian countries.

We will primarily learn in Yangon (Rangoon) at the Myanmar Theological Institute and their Peace Study Center and Judson Center for Interfaith Relations. The readings and life of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, will be a rich source of inspiration for our immersion. Additionally we will spend time at the Pwo Kayon Seminary, a seminary of the Karen people, one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the country. And finally we will stay a few days and nights in a Theravada Buddhist Monastery sharing in the life of the monks there and practicing Vipasanna insight meditation.

Overall this promises to be an unforgettable experience and the most unique and challenging course in my theological education. Of course it will include uncomfortable, unusual and difficult moments, but this opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone will most certainly add a depth to my seminary experience that I am unlikely to gain anywhere else. I am early anticipating January 2015, but in the meantime I have some important steps to take.

Throughout the fall the students and faculty of this course will meet to prepare for the trip, discuss how to prepare and what to expect, and make sure all of our paperwork and travel information is organized. We will read books and articles about the history of Burma and relations with Buddhists and Christians in this part of the world in anticipation of our experience. In addition to preparing for this immersion physically, spiritually, and mentally, we must also prepare financially.

This course involves an additional course fee that includes airfare, lodging, meals, travel in Myanmar and other expenditures. While there is some financial aid available through Andover Newton, I do have to cover a significant portion of the cost, and as you can imagine, being a seminary student isn’t exactly a lucrative career.

Would you prayerfully consider supporting me as I fundraise for this immersion opportunity? Any financial donation, large or small, can bring me one step closer to experiencing firsthand the walk of nonviolence in Myanmar.

If you feel led, click here to support this once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity: https://www.youcaring.com/seganosmyanmar

A friend of mine recently heard that I would be traveling to Myanmar to study nonviolent resistance among Buddhists and Christians, and she responded, “The more people we have in the world studying nonviolence, the closer we get to actually achieving a culture of peace.” I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for thoughtfully and prayerfully considering making a donation to support this unique and unforgettable opportunity.


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