Re-thinking African Enslavement

Revd. Dr Carlton Turner
Anglican Contextual Theologian, The Queens Foundation
Published on

In his talk, Revd. Dr Carlton Turner describes how the trauma associated with enslavement, and the race-based ideas that justified it, still affect people both sides of the Atlantic. He explains how the Anglican church is implicated in this trauma, and together with others, can help with the healing process. He says “There was Transatlantic movement for abolition, but it did not go far enough…It did not deal with the deep ideas and beliefs within British society — both Church and State — that permitted such atrocities.” The legacy of this continued to this day. There is a need for “not only an intellectual conversation, [but] an existential one.”

He talks about training for ordination at Codrington Theological College, Barbados and passing a plaque commemorating Pinder for three years. Codrington Theological College has a direct connection to Vicars Close Chapel, Wells. The medieval chapel was adopted as the chapel for Wells Theological College, established in 1840 through slavery-derived wealth. Inside is a memorial frieze to the College’s first principal, the Reverend John Hothersall Pinder (1794-1868), He had previously been a slave-owner and a chaplain to enslaved people on the Codrington estate, owned by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts (SPG), a Church of England missionary organisation. Early in his Church career Pinder had publicly defended slavery and the interest of slave-owners.

Revd. Dr Carlton Turner’s Master’s degree was sponsored by USPG (formerly SPG), of which he is now a trustee, and his PhD explored the legacies of colonialism and enslavement on the religious and cultural heritage of people in the region.

Carlton looking up at Pinder Frieze & Carlton in in front of window

Rev Dr Carlton Turner, a native of the Bahamas and Anglican priest, is a Caribbean Contextual and Practical theologian working as a tutor in Contextual Theology and Mission Studies at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham. Dr Turner writes and researches on themes around decolonisation, legacies of enslavement, theologies of oppression, and theological hermeneutics as they have shaped and continue to shape postcolonial and postimperial contexts.


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Long Gallery with portraits
Over the centuries, many of the bishops of Bath and Wells have played significant roles beyond their pastoral and ecclesiastical duties; supporting the abolition of slavery was one of these.
'John Hothersall Pinder', National Portrait Gallery
The Revd. John H. Pinder was a slave-owner, plantation chaplain and inaugural principal of Wells Theological College.

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