This study explores pastoral care for Caribbean families within inner-city
communities. It utilises a Caribbean theological methodology which, like other
theologies of liberation, is praxis centred and contextual. As such, the thesis begins
with a socio-historical background to the region and to the patterns of family present
there. Moreover, this research takes as its aims the development of a contextual
family theology and a model of family pastoral care. The study is presented as
illustrating the movement, in Caribbean theology, from a critical mode to a more
constructive and strategic mode.
Using Jamaica, the largest of the English speaking Caribbean islands, as a unit of
research, it makes use of a qualitative case study approach to explore the perceptions
of family in an inner-city community in Kingston, Jamaica. The data collected, with
the help of focus groups and individual interviews, allowed for a comparison of
family experiences and perspectives between residents and people attending churches
in the community. From this data, information was obtained about family in general,
family life in the case study community, views on the Church and perceptions of
God's vision of families compared with the Church's response to them.
The thesis demonstrates how these insights were brought into dialogue with others
from theological and non-theological sources. Arising from this conversation, it then
proposed a contextual family theology. This theological framework adopts an
emancipatory paradigm, which is central to Caribbean theological methodology.
Moreover, it laid the foundation for a model of inner-city family pastoral care, which
the study went on to outline.
The thesis is set out in five chapters. The first chapter, Chains and Freedom, gives a
background to the Caribbean and of family life in inner-city communities. Chapter
two, Moments in Theology: A Methodologyfor a Contextual Theology, explores
the theological methodology that underpins this study. It outlines an interpretation of
Caribbean theological methodology and discusses the details of the case study
approach used as part of the analysis of the context. The third chapter, Let the People
Speak, is a presentation of the findings from the case study. In the fourth chapter,
Freedom to Be...An Emancipatory Family Theology, a theological framework for
families and praxis with them in the Caribbean is presented. Finally in chapter five,
The Whole Church for all Families, a model of family pastoral care for inner-city
families is offered. It ends with a call for the churches in the region to embrace the
need to see family ministry as a current mission priority for the well-being of
Caribbean people and the advancement of their societies. To this end, some areas for
further research in family pastoral theology are identified.