Tension Breaker, Had To Be Done


This past Saturday ABCNJ held their Annual Session. This event, as I described in my last post, takes up about six months of my professional life. By the time Saturday morning arrives I’m a fidgety wreck, who is really not fit for human companionship 1.

Because I’m an introvert who also has ADD 2, being in the midst of a large crowd for many hours creates a high level of stress. Add the stress of directing the visual media to my already stressed disposition and… let’s just say the world inside my brain gets more interesting than usual.

I must break the tension, or I’d run from room screaming. As tension is best dispersed among friends, I use whatever tools I have at my disposal to get the crowd breathing with me.

At Annual Session, I have control of the screens 3. This allows me to display comment slides, based on what happens at the podium.

When my ten years of service on the ABCNJ staff was honored, my boss mentioned that I was up in the projection booth and couldn’t come to the stage. And so I felt compelled to make a comment.

The Wezlo is watching, always.

When we were celebrating the creation of a new sister camp partnership with our partner denomination in the Philippines, I added some comments to the slide which displayed the moment the documents were signed. As our boss is named Elmo, I added a speech bubble which read, “Welcome to Elmo’s world!” Our partner from the Philippines then had a speech bubble pointing to him which read, “I love your goldfish.” The animation came to a conclusion when a crayon bounced on to the slide. This slide, much to my delight, was officially approved by Elmo. But because people like to get offended on people’s behalf I made another comment.

That slide was officially approved. It surprised me as well.

And when we took time to announce Miriam Méndez as the candidate for ABCNJ’s new Senior Regional Pastor and Executive Minister 4 I looked down and saw a lot of people who had already known 5. So… comment.

OK, show of hands. How people already knew this?

People actually raised their hands 6.

The weird thing is, people think I’m clever. I’m not. I’m just stressed out of my mind and need to blow some steam. Though this year I’m kicking myself for not highlighting Mötley Crüe as ABCNJ’s official band 7. It keeps me on my toes, and helps people be a bit more loose as the program unfolds.

I’m also weird.

  1. This year I was up in a projection booth, it’s really the best place for me. 
  2. Did I just describe the majority of writers? 
  3. I’m surprised ABCNJ hasn’t figured out this is probably not a good idea, but after a decade I suppose folks are used to it. 
  4. Elmo is an interim, though he’s been an associate for about fifteen years. 
  5. The staff and council were told, and were sworn to secrecy. 
  6. That’s nothing, in 2017 I actually got a pastor to lead the Hokey Pokey from his table. I’m not kidding. 
  7. Location joke. You had to be there. 


  1. Jamison says:

    Love the Elmo’s world one. That’s awesome

    1. wezlo says:

      I was very proud of that.

  2. Wes, please continue to be you! I honestly don’t understand your stress, but deeply appreciate your humor and wonderful communication wisdom that you so freely bless us with throughout the year and at Annual Session. In today’s world humor is hard to find. We need a good laugh, a smile, and a real “Amen” and you have given ABCNJ this over the past decade plus. Keep us all smiling, laughing and surprised!

  3. Dude, you and my dad would have gotten on SO well. This is just the sort of thing he’d do, much to the consternation of circuit pastors and other Lutheran brass. Doesn’t everyone know God’s got a sense of humor? 🙂

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