Sunday, July 30, 2006

"No, we are NOT at a Sting Concert!"

Haha. I'm such a dork, but it's great fun. Today, I led worship because Pastor, some chaperones, and many youth went to camp. Overall, it was a good experience, but we were having some technical difficulties. Allow me to start at the beginning...

I got to worship, copied the minutes from this past month's Council meeting, (I'm the secretary) put them into peoples' boxes, talked with the people who were milling about before worship, and having a pretty good time. Well, it got closer to 9:00 a.m. so I went back to the sacristy to vest in the alb in which I always vest when I lead worship. So, I put the wireless mic on, and the prelude music started playing, so I let enough time pass for the acolyte to get the candles lit before I walked out. I went and sat in the leader's chair until the music ended. I stood up to give the announcements. I talked in the announcements about how we will be including several people in the prayers of the People for healing and wholeness as they deal with illness and recuperation. I also said we would be including a prayer for safe travel for Pastor, the chaps, and the youth as they go to camp for a time of refreshment and fellowship. Then I said, "I myself had a bit of a road trip yesterday as I went to the synod office for my Candidacy Interview. The Candidacy Interview is the last step as an Applicant to Candidacy. I was interviewed by a few people who will make a recommendation to the full Candidacy Subcommittee, and later apprise me of their official decision. Unofficially, though, you're looking at the newest Candidate for rostered leadership in the My Synod of the ELCA." Before I could even get that whole sentence out, the entire congregation just erupted into spontaneous applause. I almost started crying, and that's really something because I'm not much of a crier. Then I said, "I appreciate the support, encouragement, and prayers you've given me as we have been about discerning here, and I ask that you would continue to discern with me as we venture along this new path." Then at the end of my announcements, I could see the ushers gesturing from the back that they couldn't hear me. But, I had the power bar, the battery pack, and the switch on, so it should have worked. So, after I announced the first hymn, I went back into the sacristy where the sound equipment is housed because a few of the ushers were in there trying to figure it out. So, I think they turned it up or something, and I thought we were set. When the hymn ended, I went out to begin the opening dialogue, and I saw the ushers gesture that they still couldn't hear me. At that point, I really started to project my voice the best I could without shouting. So, we said the dialogue and the creed, and then we sang another hymn. During the hymn, I again went back to the sacristy (which, btw, is just off the side from the altar) because the same two ushers were in there. So, we changed the battery and thought we had it working. When the hymn ended, I came running out of the sacristy and said, "Sorry, we're having technical difficulties! Then, I flipped the switch that actually makes the leader's voice go through the mic and I got a whole bunch of feedback. Like a complete dork, I said, "No, we are NOT at a Sting concert." As if Sting would have feedback at one of his concerts. Does that guy still even make music? haha. At that point, it was Prayer of the Day time, so I just projected as loud as I could. Then, it was time for the first lesson, so I again went back into the sacristy with the ushers to try to figure it out. We realized that we couldn't get it working with me running back and forth, and with the parishioners ears falling victim to the feedback. So, I decided to not use the wireless today. I was trying to take it off and out of my pocket and off my collar (the alb has a collar to which we attach the mic, I would not even PRESUME to wear a clerical collar) when I heard the first lesson end. Well, today, of all days, we were actually reading the Psalm, so I ran out there and put the battery box on the pulpit because it was out of my pocket, but I still had the cord running underneath the alb and the mic was still attached to my alb. I said from the pulpit mic, "This morning, we will be reading Psalm... 145, no, 138, found on page 283 of the LBW. Let us read these verses responsively." The bulletin back says 145, but the inside said 138, so that's why I got mixed up. So, we did that and after the Psalm was read, I just sat down in the leader's chair, finished taking off the wireless, and breathed a calming sigh. After the second lesson was completed, I was glad that the lector forgot to bring me the big Bible from which we read the Gospel lesson because I just opened it at the lecturn and read the Gospel from there, instead of walking into the aisle to read where we usually read it.

After the Gospel reading, we sang another hymn, and I thought about how I would do the rest of the service, and I came to some conclusions. I would just use the pulpit mic for my sermon, although it doesn't work as well as the wireless works (when it functions properly), and I would project at the other places I needed to project. Fortunately, most of the "me talking to them" part was over. So, I preached from the pulpit mic, and I know that a lot of the older folks couldn't hear me very well, so I felt bad. I talked as loud as I could and realized what I was doing when I started to go hoarse. I didn't even realize really that I had increased my volume, but I'm glad I did. So, the sermon was over and we sang another hymn. Then, the offering was collected and the offertory was sung. It doesn't bother me ONE bit to not be able to be heard during the singing part, so we were all good. The Prayers of the People are read by the lector at the lecturn, except for the final petition which is pretty much always the same. Then, we all said the Lord's Prayer together, so it didn't matter that I wasn't being loud. Then, it was time for the Benediction. I walked down a little bit and projected as loud as I could. Then, we sang the closing hymn, and it was over.

Other than these mishaps, worship went well. As I was preaching, I looked out and saw who I thought was a great friend. I thought, "Is that Friend out there?" And then, someone swayed in their seat a little (Not THAT kind of sway; we're not that kind of church) and I saw Friend's husband, so I thought, "yay! That's really cool." When I went to the back of the sanctuary as the congregation was singing the last verse of the closing hymn, I looked up at the clock in the fellowship hall and it was 9:53. I was thrilled. That's the longest any of my services has ever lasted. Then, as I was shaking hands w/ people on the way out, one funny man said, "I always say that if you can't get it said in 15 minutes, you can't get it said in 25." So I said, "How long was mine?" And he said, "13 minutes. I timed you." So, I thought, "Yeah, baby!" Because usually my sermons seem REALLY short. But, I got a lot of "congratulations" and people wishing the best for me, and saying how proud they are of me. It was a good experience, even though a few people mentioned they couldn't really hear that well because of the lack of wireless mic. We'll have to mention it to Pastor. It's weird, but that thing almost always acts up when I'm leading. I only remember one time when Pastor had difficulties with it. Ah well. But THEN, I went to Pastor's other church, and when I walked in, the head usher said, "The sound system is acting up today."


So, he fiddled with it some, and I was standing at the back of the sanctuary when Usher said, "blow into it so we can see if it's working." So, I blew on it, and nothing. He did something else and I tapped it a little and it was working. So, I tapped it a little more, and it was still working. So I said, (quite excitedly) "Yeah! I think it's working." That met with some laughter from the congregants. It wasn't perfect, but it was at least functional throughout the whole service. Although, usually I flip the one switch on for when I talk, and off for when it is time for singing. I was afraid that would mess it up though, so I just sang REALLY quietly today. :)

My announcement met with the same applause there, and I felt very affirmed and loved. The people liked my sermon (or so they said) and worship again lasted for 53 minutes. I'm thrilled. The first time I actually make it to that hour point, I will be absolutely giddy. And now, this has been a very long post, so please forgive me, and thank you for reading. Bye.

1 comment:

Inheritor of Heaven said...

You certainly showed more patience with the watch fellow than I would have. I wonder if I would have had the guts to have asked him what better he had to do than listen to Jesus on a Sunday.
Blessings on your seminary search.