World Convention, the every-four-year gathering of the churches of the Stone-Campbell Movement founded by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone, opened Wednesday evening at the Nashville (TN) Convention Center and continues through Sunday afternoon, Aug. 3.

Disciples pastor and preacher Cynthia Hale delivered a powerful message on Wednesday night. Read more about that here. Also, if you’d like to see more of World Convention, Ted Parks has posted photos on his Picasa site and will be posting more through the week.

I did not attend the previous World Convention in Brighton, England in 2004 and was not sure what to expect. Frankly, I was skeptical that the ‘unity’ would be little more than polite tolerance, and there have been moments these past couple of days where I’ve wondered about the relevance and purpose of World Convention.

But while there have been a few disappointments (like no Communion being served during the evening worship services, to name one) there have also been unexpected gems. Like hearing about a 95-year-old who came to World Convention this time (he’s the oldest registered attendee) and has been coming since the 4th World Convention, held some time in the 1940s in Buffalo, NY. Wow.

This morning, DisciplesWorld publisher and editor Verity Jones and I went to the Emmanuel School of Religion breakfast this morning to hear Paul Blowers speak on the “Emerging” Stone-Campbell Movement. Blowers acknowledged the chaos and division within our movement, and that we have a lot of work to do. Then he reminded his audience that God specializes in bringing order from chaos, and said he believes God is still working through our movement, with its strong personalities and its messy history, to do great things. It was quite a message, and convinced me that being here (as a Disciple, a woman, and a person of more than a few opinions) is the right thing.

Thank you, Paul Blowers. You made my day.