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.