This is just one of the many "long words" from over the last few days. When I was anticipating going to the IASYM conference I rather suspected that it would feel rather too full of long words and academic posturing. I was so pleasantly surprised!
The conference was a fantastic three and a half days of wisdom tempered with love; of passion-filled commitment to resourcing youth ministry to the best of their abilities; of wonderful creature of God engaging all their abilities of mind and Christian ministry in a synthesis of heart and head.
I was privileged enough to hear Pete Ward not only speaking eloquently about his latest publication but also playing some gorgeous blue grass interpretations of some traditional hymns. I also met so many wonderful people from Norway, Australia, South Africa, The Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, Northern Ireland and America with fantastic stories and reflections on their work.
A few weeks ago, the chair of the association had also asked me to respond to the final keynote of the conference this morning. Daunted as I was by the prospect, I accepted and was delighted to respond to a colleague from the Netherlands on the subject of communications in children's work, linking that in to our own work with young people.
As well as all the brilliant sessions, there was some good down time too - well-lubricated book launches, great chats of the amazing food provided by the Cambridge college staff, a great jaunt into Cambridge University Press and other bookshops in the city (not to the pipe tobacco shop unfortunately as the branch closed on Christmas Eve - sad news for my best beloved!) late night chats putting the world to rights and a great shindig of music from lots of different members.
One thing that has already come out of it for me is the decision that, having discovered that academia and youth ministry can blend so well without detriment to either ministry or mind I will be looking again at my medieval studies and see what comes of that!
I'm still distilling it all and hope to reflect further over the next weeks.