Background of CETA

The Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association was born in the early 1970’s when a few theologians from the region met informally to “compare notes.” Within a very short time, college administrators from wider territories expressed an interest, in an organized fellowship with regular times for meeting.

The Association was officially launched in 1973 at Victory Heights Camp, Trinidad. It was then known as the Caribbean Association of, Bible Colleges (CABC). Representatives from 21 training institutions scattered over 11 different territories were Involved in the inauguration. These represented schools from the four language areas.

Two previous meetings held at Moorlands Camp, Jamaica, in 1971 and 1972, paved the way for the organization by setting goals for the Association and establishing the constitutional framework. The broad regional interest from the outset can be seen by noting the list of participants in the first planning meeting of 1971 held in Jamaica. Administrators representing 20 colleges came from 8 territories, representing 3 language areas.

Dr. A. Wingrove Taylor of Barbados was elected as president at the inaugural meeting and continued to serve in this capacity until 1989, when he retired and was succeeded by Dr. Clive Afflick of Jamaica who served until 1991. The current president is Dr. Dieumeme Noelliste who is the president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary and the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology as has been serving since 1991. The first Secretary-Treasurer was Rev. Bobby Clinton of Jamaica Bible College, the current Secretary-Treasurer is Rev. Errol Joseph of the Open Bible Institute in Trinidad and he has served in that capacity since 1993.

In 1985, the name of the Association was changed from the Caribbean Association of Bible Colleges to the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association to better reflect its broadening services of graduate education and accreditation at all levels.

Seminars, workshops and conferences are held in conjunction with the biennial meetings. These have served as catalysts for thinking through unique Caribbean theological educational problems and programs as well as Caribbean thought.

In 1980, CETA became one of the five regional founding members of the International Council of Accrediting Agencies for evangelical theological education. This Council operates under the sponsorship of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship. The regional associations are the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA), Asia Theological Association (ATA), American Association of Bible Colleges (AABC), European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA) and the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association (CETA).

The need for a graduate seminary for the Caribbean was expressed from the very founding meeting of CETA in 1973. However. it was not until the 1981 Association Meeting, held in Puerto Rico, that a committee was set up to do a feasibility study to determine the extent of this need. The study resulted in official action being taken during the following Association Meeting, in 1983, to accept the proposed Memorandum and Articles of Association for a new graduate school. It was in September, 1986, that this new Caribbean Graduate School of Theology. was launched in Kingston, Jamaica, in conjunction with the Jamaica Theological Seminary.

The Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association serves as the Theological Commission of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean. The Evangelical Association is a member organization of the World Evangelical Fellowship.