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Annual Meeting, Lecture, and Reception of the Moravian Historical Society

Since 1857, the Moravian Historical Society has presented its members with an update on the state of the organization and hosted an annual lecture. Many of these lectures have been published in the Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, now known as the Moravian Journal.  A complete listing of the Annual Lectures can be found here.

The 167th Annual Meeting, Lecture, and Reception
will take place in the fall of 2024.
Please check back for updates. 

166th Annual Lecture
"A free wildlife:" Morale, Morality and Moravianism in Trinidad, 1885-1935

Rev. Dr. Winelle Kirton-Roberts
Saturday, August 19, at 4:00 pm

Keynote Address for the

Bethlehem Conference on Moravian History and Music

When Benjamin Romig, the President of the Moravian Provincial Board, visited Trinidad in 1886, he described it as a place where “careless,” formerly enslaved Tobagonians went to live “a free wildlife.” In the visitation report, Romig expressed concerns about the unacceptable immoral tendencies of the formerly enslaved Africans and proposed a prompt response to expand the Moravian work on the island.


As Rev. Dr. Winelle Kirton-Roberts argued in the Annual Lecture, in the context of a multicultural, multiethnic, and multi-religious Trinidadian community, the Moravians squandered the unique opportunity to meaningfully connect with the liberated Africans who migrated to Trinidad for better opportunities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Instead of offering a faith of affirmation and empowerment, Moravian mission work between 1885 and 1935 offered a message demonizing integral aspects of Africanism and Caribbeanism.

Rev. Dr. Winelle Kirton-Roberts is a native of Barbados. She holds a ThM in Ecumenics and Missions from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in History from the University of the West Indies, Barbados. As an ordained minister in the Moravian Church, Eastern West Indies Province, Kirton Roberts served in pastoral and administrative positions. At present, she is the pastor of the Geneva Moravian Fellowship in Switzerland.

Kirton-Roberts has been researching the history of missions in the Caribbean for over twenty years. While working in Trinidad, the Virgin Islands, and Barbados, she discovered the dearth and limitations of Caribbean church histories, an issue she has sought to address in her book, Created in Their Image: Evangelical Protestantism in Antigua and Barbados, 1834-1914 (2015). Her research has introduced the methodology of missiology to Caribbean church history, which brings together the important fields of history and theology. Through this approach, she has brought to the fore important discussions on the theological assumptions of the sending agencies and how these informed and shaped their missionary efforts in the Caribbean.

Moravian Historical Society Annual Meeting 2016
Moravian Historical Society annual meeting
Moravian Historical Society annual meeting
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