From 14 to 16 January, the Archbishop of Yangon, Charles Bo, and the Secretary General of the Myanmar Council of Churches, Saw Shwe Lin, co-convened the first-ever meeting of Catholics and Protestants at the Catholic Bishops Conference in Yangon. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the Church should respond to the emerging opportunities and challenges in the new Myanmar.

The gathering opened with tour-de-force keynote by Archbishop Bo, and concluded with a joint statement that described a roadmap forward for Catholics and Protestants working together on key issues. Dr. Seiple, the only American present, was invited by the Archbishop and Secretary General to speak formally into this discussion through a prepared presentation, as well as respond informally at the conclusion of the conference. His combined comments are summarized in his article, “Five Principles for the Minority Church amidst Countries in Transition.”

To be clear, Catholics and Protestants have worked together before on various projects in Myanmar history. However, this meeting marks the first time that all 16 Bishops from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) and the 14 denominational leaders from the Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) have gathered together to carefully consider and steward their role as the Church in Myanmar.