convocation: 1387, from L. convocationem, from convocare "to call together," from "together" + com-vocare "to call," from vox "voice."

I love that etymology. I often fail to conjure up my latent Latin skills (if you can call them that), but during opening worship on Saturday it hit me what a beautiful word convocation is when you consider the original Latin.

is the regional version of Quadrennial. It's shorter and more intimate, and instead of calling together the big name professionals to preach and teach and sing, our regional women have moved to a much more grassroots, homegrown kind of leadership. No one was flown in this time; all of the workshop leaders and musicians were members or pastors of local Disciple and UCC congregations. It was pretty amazing to witness the gifts that are right here. Every workshop I attended was either very good or downright great. I dabbled in areas outside of my ordinary comfort zone, including a session on healing touch ministry. I have a severe allergy to all things touchy-feely, but somehow the teacher made it anything but that. I really enjoyed it, so don't be surprised if I ask to assess your aura next time I see you. Just kidding. (I think.)

And, thankyoubabyJesus, I finished my sermon/speech thing late Friday night. I had worked myself into quite the tizzy. In seminary, I used to convince myself that whatever paper I had to write that week was absolutely the hardest thing I'd ever done, and that it was possible that it was, in fact, impossible. Though I've struggled with sermons, I haven't reverted to that hysteria in a while. This time I did. But it went well. The atmosphere is unique at these events; there's just a palpable energy that tends to get transfigured into lots of laughter and tears. There was so much laughing that I completely had to retool my pacing. It was a lot of fun, and so cathartic after days of hammering out the manuscript. It was essentially my testimony, or at least part of it. I posted the whateveryoucallit over at the SBCC sermon blog, but I have to warn you that it isn't nearly as funny on the page. It takes a room filled with 300 spiritually rowdy Disciple women to achieve that kind of magic.

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