Caribbean theologians, scholars and students who attended the 19th Conference on Theology in the Caribbean Today (CTCT) in Paramaribo, Suriname were all challenged to see the disasters and the ensuing chaos as an opportunity for reflection, newness, growth and deeper intimacy with each other.
The biennial conference, held June 11–15 had as its theme Laudato Si’: Caribbean Responses.
A report from participant Sr Annette Chow SJC said that during the week, some presentations recalled the work, ideas and values of Caribbean theologians Idris Hamid, Peter Sjak- Shie, Fr Michel de Verteuil CSSp and Bishop Emeritus
Anthony Dickson, who was honoured for his work as an early ‘Champion of the Environment’.
It stated, “We reflected on the nature of prayer and understanding of the Genesis story. We saw how the music and poetry of the Caribbean helped us to reflect deeply and cope in our unique way with humour in the midst of the devastation.”
Participants were graced by the presence of Rev Sonia Hinds, a female Anglican priest and theologian from Barbados who presented the Anglican Church’s response to the problems of the environment.
The conference also included talks on Guyana’s situation as they decide on the use of the oil reserves, and a reflection on indigenous peoples whose lives are being destroyed by greed and exploitation.
According to the report, the bishops from the Dioceses of Roseau (Dominica), St George’s (Grenada) and Óbidos (Brazil) enabled them “to enter into the pain and strengths of their people in a personal and moving way”.
New participants all remarked on the camaraderie at the conference and added their own perspectives. “Some of our best ideas emerged in the moments of fun, laughter and relaxation in the evenings.”
Sr Annette said that she left the conference with her “ears ringing” with the words of the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit with his call to become the world’s first climate resilient country.