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Border Crossing

Border Crossing | Who may take a Border Crossing? | Handbook | Ghana | Myanmar | Contact

The Border Crossing Immersion requirement

The Border Crossing Immersion requirement in the Andover Newton Master of Divinity curriculum is one way Andover Newton seeks to deeply engage students with communities and persons of different social, cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, national, and faith identities other than their own in order:

  • to work toward the elimination of the category of “the other,” while developing hospitable ways to relate to difference;
  • to develop greater understanding and sensitivity to the dynamics of privilege, power and disadvantage as they are seen in patterns and structures in one’s own and others’ contexts;
  • to provide an opportunity to develop tools for social analysis, theological reflection, and deeper self knowledge;
  • to create visible change, evidenced in possessing a larger lens, to see themselves and the world in which they live;
  • to contribute to the development of multicultural sensitivity and skills which help one become more agile, knowledgeable and respectful in border crossings and;
  • to deepen the student’s commitment to live one’s faith through engaging vital issues for the church and the world with communities and persons who challenge one’s own assumptive world and meaning making.

Border Crossing Immersions are offered throughout the academic year, with most being offered in the winter and summer sessions. There will be some “intense immersions” lasting from ten days to twenty-one days, and some “slow simmers” happening over the course of a semester or full year.

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Who may take a Border Crossing Immersion?

Any degree candidate, BTI or non-BTI student, Minister in the Vicinity, or Andover Newton alumni/ae may take a Border Crossing Immersion if places are available. No first year student should apply to take a Border Crossing for credit, except with permission from the Director of Border-Crossing Immersion.

Andover Newton students needing the course for credit will receive priority. The same application process and deadlines apply for all. Andover Newton alumni/ae and non-BTI students will need to pay a $300 application fee and whatever the cost is for a particular Border-Crossing Immersion. BTI students will pay the regular $150 application fee plus costs.

Applications and more detailed information on Border-Crossing Immersions may be found in the Border Crossing Immersion Handbook.

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Application due dates

Deadline for applying to the Winter 2014 Border Crossing programs is September 27, 2013. Earlier submissions are encouraged..

Deadline for applying to the Summer 2014 Border Crossing travel programs is December 15, 2013.

Informational Meetings - Spring

Those who are planning to take a Border Crossing are required to attend one Informational Meeting on campus. Fall meetings will take place on the following dates:

September 18 at 5pm; September 24, at noon; and September 25 at 5pm.

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Upcoming International Border-Crossing offerings for Winter 2014

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Walking the Path of Non-Violence in Myanmar: Buddhist and Christian Approaches (January 2-15, 2014)


Professor Brita Gill-Austern, will lead an Andover Newton Border Crossing trip to Myanmar.

This Border Crossing will take students to one of the poorest of South Asian countries, which until very recently had one of the most repressive governments in the world and is now in the process of reaping some of the fruits of a long and rich history of non-violent resistance. This BCI will be focused primarily in Yangon working with the Myanmar Institute of Theology and their centers of conflict resolution and interfaith relations as we explore the theory and practice of non-violence within this context. It is our hope to stay a few days in a Buddhist monastery, meet with Buddhist monks and Christians who have participated in non-violent resistance in Myanmar, and to discover resources and inspiration for walking the path of non-violence in our own context. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, will be a rich source of inspiration for our work and travels. There will also be time to discover some of the ancient history and beauty of Myanmar in travels to the ancient city of Mandalay and the mystical city of Bagan and its ancient temples. Approximate cost $3,000. Airfare deposits due October 10. Limit: 10.

Walking the Path of Non-Violence in Myanmar is open to Andover Newton students as an intensive class, but also to trustees and alumni who are interested in this unusual opportunity.

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A Faith that Sustains: Exploring Church and Community in Rural Ghana (January 9-21, 2014)

In Ghana, community relationship, not productivity and accomplishment, is a dominant cultural value. This Border-Crossing Immersion, led by

Professor Beth Nordbeck and the Reverend Jim Christensen, will introduce participants to community life in rural Kpenoe (“Penway”), offering first-hand experience of the way in which Christian faith sustains, informs and offers hope to many impoverished and pre-literate residents. The group will converse with traditional chiefs and elders; participate in worship; interact with seminarians, professors, and residents of a “cured lepers’ village;” and experience the rich but unhurried pace of rural village life. A day trip to a coastal “slave castle”--the last African stop before shipping slaves to the west in the 19th century--will also allow participants to consider slavery and its effects on community from the perspective of the place of origin. Our primary conversation partners will be members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana – a partner denomination of the United Church of Christ. The class will be co-led by the Reverend James Christensen, an Andover Newton graduate with more than a decade’s intimate work with, and experience of, the people and culture of Kpenoe. Approximate cost $2,700. Airfare deposits due October 10. Limit: 8.

Exploring Church and Community in Rural Ghana is open to Andover Newton students as an intensive class, but also to trustees and alumni who are interested.

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