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Blog Detail

Blog Detail

Retrospect – 25 Years

As we come to the closing sessions of our 25th anniversary Conference on Theology in the Caribbean Today, there are some markers that have been present and consistent over the years that we should highlight and be justly proud of. The first and most Christian/Catholic of them all is:Hospitality. From the beginning of this conference in 1994 right through to this conference in 2019, the openness to welcome anyone who is interested and working, directly or indirectly, in religious, pastoral and theological matters in and on the Caribbean has been steadfastly followed…as a result of most participants lodging at the conference site over the conference, hospitality also manifests itself in the many social activities, planned and unplanned…These after and in-between hours events that are usually accompanied by drinks and snacks, build solidarity as well as mutual respect and understanding, and play a large role in the acceptance of various ideas precisely because of the cordial relationships built at these “limes”. If anything, some have claimed that it is at these “limes” where the real theology is done at the conference. It is hard to dispute this and it highlights how hospitality is indispensable for creative expression, for unity and for vibrant faiths! 


Celebrating 25 years is no small feat. What is even more startling is that this occurred through the voluntary efforts of so many persons, living and deceased, whose commitment and nurturing created and sustained spaces for the conference to survive …This was no mean task and for some years it seemed like the conference would not make it. Yet here we are, celebrating 25 years and also implementing the handing over of the reins of the conference to another generation.

The Experiential and Faith Dimension 

It is not uncommon during our formal presentations to have persons share, and sometimes quite emotionally, their deep spiritual and experiential insights. This commitment to the varieties of religious experience by the conference is enshrined in the three memorial lectures the conference has established over the years: the Rev. Idris Hamid Memorial Lecture, which honors who we consider to be the first person in the region to organize and publish, in ecumenical/inter-faith fashion, theological texts based on theologians from the region; the Cheryl Herrera Memorial Lecture, which explores women’s experiences, contributions and visions for the churches in the Caribbean, and honors the first executive secretary of the conference who worked tirelessly to assure the success of the conference; the Founders Memorial Lecture, which honors the founders of the conference, Fr. Michel De Verteuil, C.S.Sp., Archbishop Joseph Harris, C.S.Sp., Msgr. Patrick A.B. Anthony.


Over the years, the conference has met in St. Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, and Suriname. This attention to location is also thematic in the insistence that presenters must relate to some feature or place in the Caribbean region or its diaspora as well as use thinkers and resources from the region to inform their thinking.

Poetics and the Body

From the very beginning, and with increasing regularity, presentations at the conference have always looked to Caribbean literature, music, art and poetry as ways to understand and adequately express our ways of existing in the region. Interestingly, these resources have always led us to reflect and speak about the human body or the body of the earth.

Perhaps this is the true legacy of the conference over the past 25 years, the construction of a community of thinkers and activists that have experienced and expressed love, to each other and to God. (Boodoo, 2019)

{adapted from Gerald Boodoo’s reflections on the occasion of the 25th anniversary Conference held in Trinidad in June 2019}