Diving In to a New Job


My niece Emily just finished her second year at Virginia Tech and she absolutely loves it. Leaving home was a little intimidating at first but Emily quickly found her niche at her new school. The main reason she chose Tech was for its Animal and Poultry Science (APSC) program. Emily’s ultimate goal is to become a veterinarian, and getting a Bachelors in APSC would help her achieve that goal. One of the classes she took her first semester was Intro to Animal and Poultry Sciences; a very basic class that acquaints students with the nomenclature and general basics of livestock and the livestock industry. The class had a lab that went along with it. Every week in lab they dealt with a different species: swine, sheep, horses, cattle, etc. Emily’s most memorable lab was during the third week in, where they were working at the beef center with the calves. The point of this lab was to show the students the basic protocol for calf management. This includes giving proper shots, tagging or tattooing their ears, and, for the males, castrating.


Yup, they taught the students how to castrate a bull calf. The professor asked for two volunteers to pin the calf on the ground to keep him from kicking and wiggling around. The professor took his scissors and performed the initial step in the castration process.  He then turned to the class and asked for another volunteer to do the actual castration. Everyone else in the lab was pretty hesitant so as Emily describes it, she “manned up and raised her hand.”  Emily went on to share with us, her horrified family, that the actual castration was a relatively simple process. Emily shared – in great, anatomical detail – how she approached the calf and accomplished the task, ending with, “… It pulled right off! Someone else volunteered for the second testicle and then the calf was on his way! This was by far the most fun lab I have had thus far!”  (I will spare you the technical details here, but, if you’re interested, next time you see me feel free to ask!)

So, if you’re still with me, your mouth is probably as wide as ours were! We screamed when we heard this story. You need to know Emily was raised in an average middle-class family in suburban Burke Virginia where I can assure you she never laid a hand on a cow or calf or swine or sheep or horse – and certainly not with any intent to castrate anything! But ya have to admire Emily for diving in deep! God bless her.

Compared to Emily’s foray in to the APSC program at Tech, my early days at Emmanuel seem tame! But, that’s not to say I haven’t had some challenges as I dive into this new position. In the past few weeks, I have

  • learned a new rite in both the original Old English (think ‘thee’s, ‘thy’s and ‘thou’s!) and a more modern rite,
  • worked with a committee to select a new pre-school director and another committee to select a new music/choir director,
  • replaced one huge air conditioning unit in the church which has made for a rather warm church these past few weeks (fortunately, once we replace it, we ought to be good for another ten years or so),
  • had dinner with dozens of our parishioners,
  • and am still getting to know people, staff and systems while trying not to feel like I am drinking from a fire-hydrant. Wish me luck!

It’s good to be back in priestly ministry. Good to be preaching again. Good to continue the God-talk with folks as they seek God. I Love it. God is so good.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by for a visit.

And most importantly, if you are looking for a church, please stop by and if you like what you see, hear and experience, please stay forever.

Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine as well.

Peace friends,


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  • Marianne says:

    You are so incredible–and clearly courage to try new things runs in your family!
    Emmanuel on High is a wonderful place to worship, filled with friendly people.
    I do believe they know what they have in you. I love being able to hear you preach again. And to see you smile:)

  • Joann says:

    Chuck, it’s these kinds of conversations that I miss most of all at GS! I remember your first homily “This is Church” years ago. Maria was 8 and you talked about everything you had been involved in your first week – everything from the routine to the special caring. And how you said that this is what Church, and following God, was all about. I hope the folks at Emmanuel on High know what a gift they have in you. And tell Emily to “rock on”! 🙂

  • Jim and Roni Wright says:

    Congratulations Chuck!!! So happy for you (and the very lucky parishioners at Emmanuel!!!).

    May God be apparent, abundant and alive every day at Emmanuel!! Love the visual of taking a sip from a fire hydrant. LOL Keep it up!!!

    Love you!

    Jim and Roni

  • Barbara C. says:

    Glad things are going well.

  • Ruta Bilafer says:

    So happy for you Chuck! Funny reading about Emily. She sounds like a strong determined young woman like our Stephanie. : ) Hugs from Geo & me!

  • Sean says:

    Happy for you…..

    not sure I needed to hear about Emily!?! LOL

  • Terry says:

    So happy for you Chuck .. love how you are always sharing the important stuff !!!

  • Rose says:

    Hilarious to say the least! A joy to worship with you this past Sunday and see you back in religious ‘mufti’ –

  • Paula Polglase says:

    OMG – “You need to know Emily was raised in an average middle-class family in suburban Burke Virginia where I can assure you she never laid a hand on a cow or calf or swine or sheep or horse – and certainly not with any intent to castrate anything! But ya have to admire Emily for diving in deep! ” I was crying laughing!

    Glad to hear your transition is going well and is gross-out-free (at least up to now).

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