Acclaimed American theologians and professors from Howard University’s School of Divinity, Dr. Kortright Davis and Dr. Cain Hope Felder, shared their academic perspectives during a free public lecture on the theology of inclusion hosted by the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on June 17.
In his opening remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS Dr. Larry Palmer affirmed, “President Obama has championed the importance of inclusion for all citizens everywhere and has placed special focus on the full spectrum of human rights. When we speak of policies that support equity, we consider the rights of people with disabilities, marginalized women and children, LGBT, and the elderly. We recognize the value of ensuring that all citizens’ voices are heard, even when citizens disagree; especially when citizens disagree!”
During their respective presentations, Dr. Davis and Dr. Felder discussed the theology of inclusion by referencing sacred texts that promote the inclusion of marginalized groups. They also discussed the ways in which culture, institutions, and governments have evolved and adapted to the realities of a vibrant, pluralistic society. In the break between the speakers’ lectures, the U.S. Embassy presented an insightful video that highlighted different Barbadian leaders’ opinions on what inclusion means to them and why it’s important for society. At the end of their presentations, Dr. Davis and Dr. Felder fielded questions from the audience about their interpretations of the relationship between inclusion and religion.
Distinguished members of the audience included: Rector of St. Thomas Parish Church and Principal-elect of Codrington College, Reverend Michael Clarke; Archdeacon of the Anglican Church in Barbados, Eric Lynch; retired Anglican Bishop of Barbados, the Right Reverend Rufus Brome; President of the New Life Deaf Club, Lionel Smith; Executive Manager of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, Elsa Webster; Operations Manager of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Roseanna Tudor, and the Chairman of LIAT, Dr. Jean Holder.
Earlier in the week, the professors co-presented a lecture for practicing clerics, lay ministers, and seminarians, as well as visited Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds, where they co-presented a special lecture for inmates on reconciliation, redemption, and forgiveness. Their visit to the Eastern Caribbean concludes in Antigua, where they will co-present a free public lecture on the Theology of Inclusion on Friday, June 19. The U.S. Embassy invited Dr. Felder and Dr. Davis to the Eastern Caribbean as part of a continuing dialogue that underscores the importance of integration and human rights, and the fostering more equitable and just societies.