The last two days have been so full of marvels, blessings, gifts, pearls and gems of insight, brilliant creativity, radiant hope, anticipation and inspiration, that it’s difficult to know where to begin, or how to begin to collect and reflect on it all.
By now, we at the Women’s Center should probably be prepared for the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture and related events to turn us inside out and blow us away, since this is the third time we’ve sponsored this lecture. (If I had an APPLAUSE sign, I’d hold it up now, for THIRD – since if doing it once was sign, and twice a wonder, we are by now well and truly on the terrain of the miraculous, considering the size of our budget and staff, and considering that the Women’s Center is the sole sponsor of the event.)
But when have we ever been prepared, really, for the inexplicable unrepeatable impact of the actual, concrete reality of the live human event when it takes place? When have we ever really remembered what a difference it is going to make when suddenly uniquely incarnate life arrives at the moment, the placeandtime, for which all our palely abstract anticipation and routine preparation was serving as a place-holder – a reservation, an appointment? I never have, anyway.
So, the third annual, the 2008, Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture turned us inside out and blew us away, several times over, over the past couple of days. I hope I will shortly be able to say a little more about:
Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas’s dramatic lecture, her admixture of hellish reality and resurrection possibility, and her direct appeal to a rising generation;
what will surely be one of the all-time memorable worship services, a cool-blues womanist prophetic poetry through which Rev. Dr. Teresa Snorton transformed the visual and vocal image of preaching with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, and Angela Smith-Peeples gave us a newly musical paradigm-template for “calling for justice”;
lunch Chez Women’s Center, and the crowded, effervescent, spirited, altogether joyous and altogether serious spontaneous outpouring of practical theology, ethical reflection, pastoral praxis, interfaith dialogue, transformational conversation – with a breathtaking, visionary service of worship at the end that proved profound is all about wisdom, not time;
the remarkable consultation on globalization and cultural diversity that is just beginning;
Dr. Maura Toro-Morn’s illumination of migration patterns, revealing the gendered contexts, the ethical dimensions, the complexity and the rich humanity that inhabit the lived reality of what have become abstract headlines for too many of us;
the meaning of grace, as preached in the graciousness of the ministry of pitching in and getting the job done, undertaken by so many, to such welcome and happy effect.
But for now, our deep and heartfelt thanks go out to our guests, Dr. Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas, Rev. Dr. Teresa Snorton, and Dr. Maura Toro-Morn, wise women from far away who brought us the precious gifts of their experience, words, and presence, and to all the members of the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture committee, whose months of patient planning and labor, meeting and meditating, struggling and schedule-juggling, bore, over these past two days, such beautiful and delicious fruit.