‘Theologizing latinamente’ Conference Expands Latinx Studies Conversation

Seminary of the Southwest buzzed with activity October 11 and 12 as Southwest presented Theologizing latinamente: A conference on Latino Cultures, Liturgies, and Ethics. Established and emerging scholars convened on campus to present scholarship on Latino cultures, liturgies, and ethics in an Episcopal/Anglican context.

Thursday night kicked off with a festive bilingual, bi-cultural Eucharist for Dia de la Raza and an opening keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Juan Oliver on “Enfleshed Anglicanism: The Incarnation of Anglican Liturgy in Latinx Cultures.” “You can’t ask a Latino/a to first become Anglo before they can worship God,” Oliver noted. Liturgies for Latinx cultures must be carefully crafted with an understanding of the unique cultural traditions of each parish community, he argued.

Friday’s panels included Liturgy and Aesthetics, Theologies of Activism and Practice En Conjunto, and Historical Problems and Trajectories, with a range of research-based reflections on culture, ritual, the theo-politics of immigration, history, ecclesiology, congregational practice, critical race theory, and gender and sexuality.

The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Hughes, Southwest’s Consulting Director of Latino/Hispanic Studies, and the Rev. Dr. Altagracia Perez-Bullard collaborated to organize the conference, which offered free registration for Southwest students. Select papers from the conference will also be published in a special issue of the Anglican Theological Review in the fall of 2019.

“The purpose of the conference was to bring together scholars and theologians to launch a conversation about the relationship between Latino religious cultures and spiritualities and the Episcopal and Anglican tradition,” Hughes said. “Where are there points of connection and resonance? Where has the road been difficult? It was very exciting to see how many people turned up for this conversation, how many people had been longing for it. There were many challenging papers.”

In her talk on Latin American Hybridity, Ritualism, Religious Cultures and the Via Media, Hughes offered the idea that “the central issue about Latino/a theology within Anglicanism is whether we can discover something holy in Anglicanism that advances the authentic faith of Latino/as.”

Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, acting dean and president, remarked that the conference “served as an opportunity to launch a discussion of Latinx Studies within the Anglican/Episcopal context. This conference reaffirmed Southwest’s leadership in Latino/Hispanic Studies in the Episcopal Church. It also provided a road map for the future and a guide for us as we search for a new permanent director of Latino/Hispanic Studies at the seminary.”