BAC Hosts Dr. Eben Alexander
On Sunday, April 6, 2014 Bryn Athyn College, in partnership with the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools, and New Church Live, hosted Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon and author of the best-selling Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. The event attracted over 1,000 people from Bryn Athyn and surrounding communities including Ohio, Brooklyn, and the DC area.
The idea for the event started when multiple faculty members realized that they had all read Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander. After meeting together to discuss their responses to the book, the faculty all agreed that it would be an amazing experience to have Dr. Eben Alexander as a guest speaker on campus.
The planning and coordination of the event was an eighteen-month process. Following discussions between Glencairn, the secondary schools, New Church Live, and Dr. Alexander, a date and venue that worked for everyone was eventually found.
Throughout the weekend, various faculty members donated their time to hold sessions that were open to the public in which they encouraged participants to reflect on various aspects of Proof of Heaven.
The event was successful in letting the public know about the college, the secondary schools, New Church Live, and the town of Bryn Athyn. The event showcased the amazing facilities Bryn Athyn has to offer, and it allowed us to serve the surrounding communities while letting them know they are welcome.
When asked about the success of the event, Dr. Dan Synnestvedt, professor of philosophy at Bryn Athyn College stated, “Dr. Alexander’s basic message–that God exists and that there is a life after death–is one that all our Bryn Athyn organizations (including the Swedenborg Foundation) could rally around. It was a wonderful experience to have a vision of what could happen and then see the affirmative response to it from so many people. College faculty got the opportunity to shine as experts and teachers in their fields, many of our students got to hear a first-hand account of a powerful spiritual experience while being useful during the event, and our neighbors got to experience a little bit of our spiritual message.”
Between the private dinner reception held before the event, and the speech itself, over $40,000 was raised in support of New Church Live and the scholarship funds at Bryn Athyn College and the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools.