- Leonard Pitts, jr. Leonard is a brilliant writer, and he can bring it as a speaker, too! He offered the UCC encouragement and challenge. ""UCC, when news cameras do find you, may they find you in the service of humanity."
- Nuttin' But Stringz. Brothers Damien and Tourie Escobar lit up the stage with their classical/hip hop violin music.
- Christopher Grundy: I'm used to hearing Christopher singing. This time he offered inspired teaching for preaching. His words of wisdom included "A one-shot diatribe lets us off the hook by offering grace as a loophole instead of a relationship." (It was also a blast live tweeting during Christopher's workshop and connecting with a couple of twitterfriends in person afterwards!)
- "The Plugged-in Church: Staying Connected" workshop: I led this workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed it! In the words of a new friend, "It was great!"
- Widening the Welcome Booth: I've been a part of the Widening the Welcome movement and events since they began last year. I spent time sharing conversation with folks from the movement and folks interested in learning more.
- Dinner with dear friends: Great food. Great conversation. One of my biggest highlights in a highlight-filled day!
- Closing worship celebration with music by Amanda Powell and band: Amanda and the band showed not only what appeared to be endless energy, they sang with passion, vitality, and dare I say perfection? I learned new songs and celebrated with them on every song we sang! Some titles I remember, "Who Will Build the Church?" "May Peace Be In Your Heart" and "Sing a New World" (I think those are the titles, when I find more accurate info I'll post here!)
- We also celebrated the creativity we showed and the fun we had in inviting Ellen DeGeneres to come and speak at Synod. Ellen didn't come, (Lookalike Rev. Susannah Davis, pastor of Kirkwood UCC in Atlanta, Ga. had us thinking she had come though!) but it was fun to see, in the invitation montage, the videos I made get a little screen time. If you'd like to see the full versions, here's the "Oh Ellen, Won't You Please Come to Tampa" video and also the "Ellen, Please Come to Tampa!" clergy singalong.
It has been a great day! Tomorrow -- Sunday . . . committees and hearings . . . and Worship!