Pastor Carr Saves Weekend Retreat With Half Nelson

Bob Quall is a two-time United States Tennis Association national champion, and a former Merced County Superior Court judge. You can email him with comments or suggestions at:

It has been snowing in the mountains for several weeks. Great skiing this year!

Reminds me of the ski trip to Lake Tahoe many years ago. Henry TeVelde and I, and several others, took a group of high schoolers to Lake Tahoe for the weekend to ski. Was going to be great fun!

When we got to the rented chalet, it already had 10 occupants. We discovered that the landlord had double booked!

It was eight o’clock at night and we asked if we could share the quarters, since they were leaving the next morning. Nope.

“Beat it — we have squatter’s rights,” they said.

Their leader said, “We got here first.” and shut the door.

Henry and I, and the other drivers, turned tail and drove back about 30 miles before we could find a flea-bitten motel for the night. We drove back the next morning, skied all day and moved into the mountain cabin that night — all in a day’s work.

My Presbyterian minister in Spokane handled a “double booked” problem a little differently.

A. Vincent Carr (His real name is Adillio Vincenti Carducci) was a youth pastor before coming to my church home in Spokane in the late 1950s. He took a group of high school students to a beach house on Lake Michigan for a weekend church retreat.

When Pastor Carr arrived with his students, the large beach house was already occupied! Ten gang members from Cicero, Illinois, had solved the locked door issue and were inside getting ready to party  Their leader, a cocky man about 20 years old, told Carr to exit the premises.

Pastor Carr was not happy, but went back to where the students were standing, about 10 feet from the front porch.

He told his students to wait five minutes and then ring the door bell once again. The students, somewhat confused, waited the five minutes and rang the door bell. The gang’s leader opened the front door and approached the students.

Suddenly Carr, who had climbed up on the roof, jumped off onto the man’s back!

Within seconds, Pastor Carr had applied a half nelson on the man’s arm, and the gang leader was in extreme pain. Carr, as he had the man essentially disabled, calmly said, “You have two options.  (1) You can leave immediately with your gang and find a new place to party, or (2) you can agree to share this large house with us.”

The leader said, “Are you serious?”

Pastor Carr, said, “I am very serious!”

The “tough” gang leader said we will stay here and share with you.”

Pastor Carr pulled the man up off the ground, shook his hand, and asked him to get his friends to help the high schoolers bring in their gear. A few rules were discussed and both groups shared a meal prepared by Carr.

For the next two days, each group did their own thing and there were no problems. As a matter of fact, several of the gang members showed up at a couple of the devotional meetings — not all, but some.  I am sure that when the high school kids got home, they had a story to tell.

Don’t worry about me trying to emulate my pastor friend, I couldn’t even get up on the roof!  Oh, I left out a few minor details. Pastor Carr was the champion Golden Gloves boxer at the University of Illinois, undefeated as a matter of fact. Weighed in at 210 and was about 5 ft. 10 inches tall. He also must have known some wrestling holds.

When Pastor Carr came to Whitworth Community Church, it had 150 members. Within 10 years attendance was over 1,000. I assume the church was built on love and the Gospel, and not wrestling moves.

If a pastor acted like Pastor Carr nowadays, he would be preaching to his fellow inmates at the local county jail. They may let him off with an ankle bracelet!

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