Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Churches In The Caribbean

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series about the Christian denomination known as the Spiritual Baptist Church (or Shouter Baptist Church). This post presents information about and seven videos of Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Churches in the Caribbean.

Part II of this series provides information and videos of the Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Churches in the United States and Canada. Click for that post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the members of this church, and the publishers of the videos that are featured in this post. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

"The origins and early development of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Religion in Trinidad and Tobago are not well known but the consensus is that the religion developed among the people of African descent during the Nineteenth Century.

It can be found throughout the Caribbean under various names but according to Gibbs de Peza (10), the name Spiritual Shouter Baptist is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago. It is a unique religion, comprising elements of Protestant Christianity and African doctrines and rituals. It is also one of the few religions indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.

The term Shouter was given to the Baptists because of their tendency to shout, clap and sing loudly during their religious services.* It was a derogatory term imposed on them by mainstream society. During their fight to have the Shouters Prohibition Ordinance repealed, the Baptists decided to use the term Spiritual Baptists instead of Shouter Baptists, in an effort to gain respect for their religion.

There are four theories that place the roots of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Religion in Africa, Britain, North America and St. Vincent."...
Click that link to read about those four theories.
*The spiritual meaning of “shout” is more than speaking loudly and may not even include speaking loudly. Here's the definition that I added to this pancocojams post on a number of terms that are used in Pentecostal churches:
"Shout – to do a holy dance, speak in tongues, or other actions that show that you are being touched by the Holy Spirit (also known as “getting happy”, feeling the Spirit, cutting a step”

Also click
[The History Of The] Shouter Baptists [In Trinidad & Tobago] and for more information about this Christian denomination.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates with the oldest videos given first.

Example #1: Baptism, the Spiritual Baptist way

peter gould, Uploaded on Jul 27, 2010

certain rituals are performed before a pilgrim is being baptise

Example #2: A Spiritual Baptist Youth Thanksgiving, Black Rock, Tobago [Jesus Savior Pilot Me, While The Apostle's Fragile Bark Struggled With The Billows Dark, On The Stormy...]

TheArieschildALIL, Uploaded on Sep 30, 2010
The song titles are included in this video's title.

Dellee Smith wrote two comments in response to another commenter who wondered why the words to Shouter songs weren't clear. Here are those comments:
"Hi shiza quamina. I'm not Shouter Baptist, but I can explain. Have you ever listened to classical music? Have you ever heard a song from any area of the music industry and found yourself humming the tune even before you have learnt the words? So why do you expect Shout Baptist to always sing all the words to a song when they are shouting? Throughout Christianity, where music is a part of the worship you will find chants or times of praise or worship where words are not used -"

"The words of a song allows the mind part of the soul to focus on God enough for the person to open up their spirit to link with God’s Holy Spirit. Once the link is firmly established, the words of the song are no longer as important. The sound of the music is what matters because the body can respond to the sounds whether they are created by one’s mouth, clapping, drums, guitar and keyboard or orchestra: as God’s Holy and Limitless Spirit directs. I hope this helps. :-)"

Example #3: Georgetown thanksgiving 02/12

peter gould, Uploaded on Feb 20, 2012

Leader K leading the congregation into a worship cession the Spiritual Baptist way.
I believe that this is in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to " held at various times throughout the year. It is a means of expressing gratitude to God for his blessings and is held after special occasions in members’ lives, such as success in an undertaking, or recovery from an illness. It also recognizes God’s mercy."

Example #4: Spiritual Baptist Thanksgiving in St Vincent

Andrez Breen Quow , Published on Mar 5, 2012

Leader Andrez Thanksgiving.Singing the Sankie''One more River Journey on''.

Example #5: Spiritual Baptist Barbados Feast of Tabernacles

MarvilleUsBarbados, Published on Mar 10, 2012

Join us as we visit the Spiritual Baptist in Barbados during the Feast of Tabernacles...

Example #6: Shouter Baptist Trailer 2012.

Oyetayo Raymond Ojoade, Published on Apr 3, 2012

In a documentary which re-visits the 1917 - 1951 Prohibition Ordinance on the "Shouter" Baptist religion of Trinidad & Tobago, this film exposes the legacy of colonialism and delves into the schisms inherent in the unhappy marriage between the secular and the sacred. It dares to challenge laws that legislate against a belief system, provoking questions about religion and law, power and social control whilst exposing and juxtaposing the central conflict between Euro-centric and Afro-centric religions.
Besides exploring the causes and effects of such legislation on members of the faith and the general public, this piece also celebrates the liberation struggles of Afro-Trinidadians and restores a voice to the voiceless in a film that is compellingly visual and profoundly enlightening

Example #7: st Bethel receiving a pilgimage form stJoseph spiritual baptist church

esther0001able, Published on Apr 13, 2012
This video was posted with video examples listed of St. Vincent Spiritual Baptist churches]
A commenter wrote that the title of first song is “"In Shady Green Pastures"

At 2:14 - a Spiritual Baptist version of “Jesus Savior Pilot Me”

Here are the lyrics to this song as given by Jessi j:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

While th’Apostles’ fragile bark
Struggled with the billows dark,
On the stormy Galilee,
Thou didst walk upon the sea;
And when they beheld Thy form,
Safe they glided through the storm.

[These lyrics are reformatted for this post]

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  1. I find this Caribbean fusion interesting.

    1. Thanks for your comment, donalika.

      I'm glad that I happened upon these videos.

      One love!

  2. Thank you for compiling this material. I'm doing some work on Vincentian identity and this is very helpful. FYI there is a book by Adrian Fraser, From Shaker to Spiritual Baptist about the religion's history in St. Vincent.

    1. You're welcome, hendrika haasen.

      I appreciate your comment. Also, the book that you mentioned sounds like a very interesting read.

      If you have such information, I'd love to add more information in this blog on St. Vincents, for example information about popular first names and/or surnames.

      One love!