The Spiritual Baptist Faith is the name given to the Christian religious group emerging among the Africans in the 19th century in Trinidad. In 1917 the group was outlawed by the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance against its mode of worship which was considered "too noisy" and "too African" and therefore uncivilized and unacceptable. It suffered legal persecution and prosecution until the ordinance was repealed in 1951. Syncretism and secretism are fundamental features of its growth. Its survival is a tribute to the resilience and faith of its adherents. The absence of written records of those early years facilitated the perpetuation of misconceptions about the Faith among the citizenry.
This book explores the development and the practices of the Spiritual Baptist Faith, its relationship with African religion and with Christianity, and reveals the essential tenets of the much maligned and misunderstood indigenous religious community in a clear and concise manner.
Reverend Teacher Hazel Ann Gibbs DePeza is a practicing Spiritual Baptist of 27 years, an ordained minister and a spiritual teacher and mother. She is a trained teacher, holds a Diploma in Theology, a Bachelor of Arts Hons. and Master of Philosophy degrees, and is completing the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
Teacher Hazel, as she is known in the Baptist community, is the principal of the Herman Parris Spiritual Baptist Southland School of Theology. With 33 years of teaching experience at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, she is also a senior instructor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
She has written two theses and edited two books on the Spiritual Baptist Faith, is published in the University of Puerto Rico's La Torre and Yorke University's Religious Encyclopedia, has won prizes for writing, and has presented papers at local, and international religious and academic conferences.