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Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.


  1. lol. I am glad and I know you were relieved that the PW could “read” your facial expression and gestures! It’s nice that everything worked out in the end.

    1. Gigi — a glance at the screen was all she needed to remind her — and maybe the fact that half the congregation was looking over their shoulders at her.

  2. LOL- u r sooo far ahead of my church! A friend called me to see what time the midnite Mass started. No one had changed the answering machine. He checked the website- last update? April ……2008! So no audio-visual stuff here.

  3. That’s the stuff real memories are made of, right?

    I’m sure it was a beautiful and meaningful service in spite of, or perhaps even because of, the minor A/V glitches.

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    1. Alastair — were you there? That comment sounded like an echo of pastor’s message, which he titled, “Fixing Broken Things”.

  4. We have one of those new-fangled contraptions, too. Now that the remote control is so tiny, I can never tell who is holding it so we don’t know to whom to give “the look!” 😉
    I’ve only had the job once, and once was enough for me!

    1. Karen — your machine must be more high tech than ours. I have to sit at the computer screen and click the mouse. We use Presentation Pro software, which I love. It makes Power Point look like Kid Pix.

  5. I seem to make these types of blunders weekly at my church. There is always a typo in the bulletin, or change in the calendar that someone neglects to tell me about. Good thing our church members are very forgiving, as I’m sure your’s are as well.

    1. CL — I proof the bulletin for Torrey and she proofs the newsletter for me. It has cut down our blunders, but not eliminated them.

  6. For the first time we’re attending a church with information up on screens during the service. I especially like words to the songs up there — it’s nice to be facing forward instead of head down in the hymnal. But it does always bring a smile when there is an Operator error. 🙂 I wouldn’t be the operator for anything — there would be many more errors than normal if I was!

    1. Barbara — the worst is when the operator has a song programmed and then they change it — decide to add or leave out a verse. Other than that all I have to do is follow along and push buttons.

  7. Our little church plant is just getting started in a new location and Christmas Eve was our “Grand Opening.” We had more glitches than we had people in attendance….but still the message showed through and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

  8. .
    Wow, Quilly! Neither you nor the PW are perfect! Goodness! 😉

    Good for you in running the AV stuff. We have a screen for the song words too. And other stuff. There is a large screen hanging beneath the balcony for the choir to read too. 🙂

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