And at 6:45 the conference got underway, right on time (though my brain and my computer are still one time zone ahead).
After playing some instrumental numbers, including a very nice Irish reel, Keith Getty and his band led the crowd in “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” Immediately I noticed how different a sound there is between 6000 women and, as at Together for the Gospel, 5000 men; or maybe it’s as much the feeling as the sound. With men there is a boom when that many voices rise together–something you can feel through the floor and feel in your chest. And though the women sing beautifully, it is not a feeling but a sound.
Bob Lepine took to the stage after the hymn to welcome everyone to the event. He said that 6350 women had registered for the event and that there is at least one women registered from every one of the states but Hawaii and Vermont. There are women here from 8 foreign countries (does Canada count as a “foreign” country?) including 100 from Dominican Republic. He then introduced Nancy Leigh DeMoss who shared some of the purpose behind this event and opened in prayer. The Getty’s took over again, reading from John 1 and singing “In Christ Alone,” “Across the Land,” “Everlasting God” and “Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer.” The Getty’s have their touring band here–guitar, drums, bass and fiddle. Keith plays piano and sings backup on most songs while Kristyn leads. I love hearing them with their band–they are very tight and the fiddle adds such an important dimension to the Irish elements of their songs.
Though I’m sure many of the women here will be blogging about the event, Carolyn McCulley and I have been asked to blog the event in an “official” capacity. We’re sitting in the sound booth, about halfway down the hall, between the guy who says things like “standby for video…roll it!…nice! Very nice!” and the English-to-Spanish translators.
In just a few moments, John Piper is going to take to the stage and offer the conference’s first message.
Incidentally, if you’re watching the live video stream, you’ve got this guy to thank. I find it amusing that all those old(er) laptops arrayed along that shelf are the ones doing all the hard work of rendering the video in its various forms (high quality, low quality, Windows Media, Flash, etc). But it’s probably just the geek in me that is even noticing.