Chris Yaw

I am a Christ Lover

Chris Yaw

I know, I'm kind of messy - but here goes... I’m an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Metro Detroit... With a passion for gun safety... A zest for online Christian formation... A zeal for video blogging... A constant writer... A heart for those who have unintentionally harmed... A commitment to workforce housing... A love for marrying people... And an amazing wife, three kiddos and a cat named Sparrow... If you have interests in any of these areas I'd love to connect with you.


Contact Details

  • St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan, 48076, USA

  • +011 248-557-5430


St. David's

I have served as rector of St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield, MI for 16 years, join us Sundays in person or via zoom.

Trinity Gun Disposal

Working on the issue of unwanted gun disposal, we've made some real progress in helping rid the U.S. of unwanted firearms.


Since 2013 we have been helping people learn more about faith through our online learning courses at ChurchNext.

Oakland Housing

Helping middle income families get better housing is a challenge that Oakland Housing has been addressing for 75 years.

Hyacinth Fellowship

Because hurting others hurts us, the Hyacinth Fellowship organizes support groups and reminds us that we are not our worst mistakes.

Yaw Wedding

I have been officiating weddings for more than 20 years and continue to find joy in helping couples build lifelong relationships.

U.S. Guns Produced Today
Americans Accidentally Killed Today
Homeless Americans
Weddings Performed
  • We Are the 70!

    We Are the 70!

    Bolstered by our baptisms – strengthened by the Sacraments - sent forth in faith! To the far off and the far flung! Off to every place where he himself intends to go -for there is no place where He isn’t!
    He’s in our car drive, our food drive and our hard drive

    Look at the fields! So ripe for harvest! There they are, peeking out through the unstable soils of these lost and disorienting times –
    Did anybody really think a Russian spy might live next door?
    That a high-ranking general would give the benefit of the doubt to Rolling Stone?
    Or that Larry King would ever retire?

    So there they are! Thrusting forth gentle shoots seeking truth and stability and a peace which passeth all understanding. Bearing a countenance of innocence - of the just-born, beaming with new inquiry reaching for the heavens – stretching and searching for nourishment, fulfillment and the answers to life’s most pressing questions.

    “Off to the fields!” is the command, as we pair up, two by two – forming a community just like God’s - community personified, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    We cast off worries about where we will stay, what we will wear, what we will eat, and how we will ever be able to do such a thing – for the One who sends us knows what we need well before we do. Consider the lilies.

    Then, surprise, surprise, success!
    We are welcomed beyond our wildest dreams!
    And when evil, doubt, and distress are sent packing our churches fill up, we break ground for another addition, and build a steeple that touches the sky. Then we are reminded that this is not our reward. For the One who sent us does not pay us with property or cash, always subject to foreclosures and Great Recessions. But we are paid back by something we already have.

    The message is clear: rejoice. Cast off the worries, refuse to glory in anything more than the Promises, and keep our eyes peeled on those endless waves of golden grain.

    Explosive Preaching - Ron Boyd-MacMillan
    Healing Light - Agnes Sanford
    The Slate Roof Bible -Joseph Jenkins
  • 7 Habits to Feed Your Spiritual Life this Summer

    7 Habits to Feed Your Spiritual Life this Summer

    Deciding to get more serious with spiritual life? Looking for some good habits to bring you closer to The Light? Wanting to draw closer to Jesus? Thanks to an old pal from Seminary days, Scotsman Ron Boyd MacMillan, who offers a form of these to preachers, but they're helpful to all of us who are looking to jump start our spiritual lives.

    1) Make up your own 'daily liturgy.' No matter what your Christian heritage, you have a certain way of organizing your daily quiet time, why not begin your renewal by mixing it up a bit? Sure it'll contain the usual bits, Confession, Praise, Reading, Praying etc., but set it out in your own words - perhaps including poetry, fine art contemplation and meditation on sacred music. Write it down, give it a go, adjust as necessary.

    2) Write down a 'verse of the week' and meditate on it for seven days. Choose a text that has made a particular impression on you. Use a notebook or PDA to jot it down and return to it frequently throughout the week ruminating on why it has particular resonance with you at the moment.

    3) Find suffering people to teach you the faith. When Jesus said 'the poor will always be with you' he very well could have been saying that the mark of Christ-followers is that they will recognize the value of 'the least of these' in becoming better Christians. Henri Nouwen had L'Arche, Mother Teresa had her homes for the dying. I regularly visit a homeless shelter. Don't do this to feel good about yourself for volunteering - you'll miss the point - but learn how they rejoice in their sufferings, how they gain Christ in the midst of pain. Encounter the suffering and you will get to know how the Christian faith works.

    4) Read a great book each week. Find a reading list of great books and work your way through it. Sure, start with the Christian classics, but include the great books of the world. Also, at the very least carve out an hour a week to do this. Intentionally say you are going to get through the book in that time period and you will be amazed at how much you can remember even if you have to skim parts of it.

    5) Take time to write. Even if it's 20 minutes a week. Even if it's just a paragraph. But choose a subject - an encounter with the book you just read, Scripture, a neighbor, your significant other and ask yourself these questions: How did the Lord speak through ________? What might God be trying to who me through it? You will be amazed at what fruit this can yield.

    6) Find a phylactery. Maybe it's a rosary, maybe it's a pocket cross - one rabbi keeps a piece of paper in each pocket, one that says 'I'm a desperately wicked sinner' and the other that says 'I'm a beloved child of God.' Yes, the body often forgets God which is why a tangible memento can be so valuable. What would yours be? What might it say?

    7) Build yourself a cell. Sure the contemporary 'man cave' may not be an update of the monk's cell, but the idea's the same; to find a retreat from the pressures around us. With the fast pace we're all pretty much forced to keep, we can lose sight of the fact that we serve a 3 mile per hour God (that's the pace of an average walker - remember, Jesus walked). Your cell can be a hut in the garden or a corner in a room, but make it a time of nothing but silence. You'll only share your cell with one other - the Lord. Use this time to listen, not for the earthquake, the fire, or the wind - but the stillness of God's presence. Out of this kind of practice unparalleled inspirations appear.
  • Summer: Time to Consider Change

    Summer: Time to Consider Change

    For many of us summertime is the best time of year: vacations, free time, catching up on reading, home maintenance, videos, sports, gardening and friendships. We finally get a break from our increasingly complicated, busy and changing world. It’s time to recharge our batteries (re-creation). And I would suggest we also take some time to look at some ways we can remain steady and even flourish in our increasingly chaotic society – that we might learn anew how to grow in our Christian faith and make significant progress in Christ’s work of reconciling all things to Him.

    First, let’s take some time this summer to consider, or reconsider, our relationships with technology and new media – the Internet, Facebook, blogs, Twitter and wireless communications. As we all know human knowledge is increasing exponentially. Our brains and our waking hours are not. How do we keep up with it all? How do we manage this information in ways that feed, inform and nourish us rather than confusing, frightening and frustrating us? Information technologies help us do that. They help us search, retrieve, collect and manage this new information like nothing else. While critics bemoan these innovations as brain-altering and attention-span-shortening, this is not the case. As Harvard’s Stephen Pinker argues, “Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart.”

    Second, let’s take some time to look at how we’re honing the skills we need to keep steady – like self-discipline, self-control, and concentration. While distraction is nothing new, we have more things by which to be distracted and those same skills we learned in grade school - of organization, prioritizing and boundary-setting - are becoming more and more valuable. Temptation is taking on new forms. The solution is not to demonize technology, but to put it in its place. Only check email at certain times of the day. Turn off Twitter when you work, put the cell phone away at dinner. It is much less productive to criticize iPads and Google Voice than it is to hone our skills of critical thinking, deep reflection and intellectual rigor.

    Third, let’s do some thinking about ‘change’ - life’s only constant. We rarely like change because it means we take on something new and trade in the old. And many of us liked the old. So with change there is loss, grief and often, conflict. It is both bittersweet and inevitable. But change also means possibility. When we welcome change we open ourselves to new things that may fulfill us in ways we never dreamed of. The Scriptures describe God as a 'consuming fire' which paints a picture of morphing movement, drama, and uniqueness. So change means acknowledging and grieving the loss, then handling the conflict, before finally assessing the new landscape and deciding how best to fit in, chart a new course, and open ourselves to newness.

    Finally, let’s take this summer to reaffirm the greatest asset Christians bring to a changing landscape, perhaps best put by St. Matthew when he quotes Jesus’ final words, “And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 29:19) We do not sail through uncharted waters alone. Someone has gone before us and remains with us. In the midst of the swirling chaos that surrounds, we have peace and Presence. It is a Presence that has a plan, and is working in amazing ways to bring it to fruition. So relax, we go through this storm griping a steady hand. And we ask ourselves how we might more deeply cling to the peace of Christ, the conviction that Jesus is at work in and around us, and more intentionally focus on how He is asking us to be His hands and feet in a broken world, in deep need of healing.

    Can Our Church Live? – Alice Mann
    Explosive Preaching – Ronald Boyd-MacMillan
    Healing Light – Agnes Sanford
  • I Love You Just the Way You Are

    I Love You Just the Way You Are

    When you look in the mirror do you absolutely love what you see? Are you satisfied with every aspect of who you are? Have you finally reached perfection?

    Of course not.

    We all spend the majority of our time and resources trying to improve ourselves. Many of us want to live healthier, get smarter, look better, make more money, and push ourselves into newness - discovering and fulfilling our deepest beings.

    One of the things that compels us is our dissatisfaction with what we see in the mirror. It can drive us to do devastating things (as illustrated in the above photo, courtesy of a bulimia foundation). The theological pothole this can create is it can alter our understanding of God’s love. Since we are not satisfied with who we are, we can think that God isn’t either. We forget that God loves us just as we are, not as we should be.

    We see this in Sunday’s Gospel when Jesus is having dinner at a Pharisee’s house and a ‘sinner’ comes to the door. She is obviously enamored with Jesus. She washes his feet with tears, dries them with her hair, and anoints him with perfume. Jesus’ host objects. He doesn’t understand what’s motivated her – that it’s the miraculous revelation that God loves her just as she is. Despite her sins and shortcomings God is willing to forgive and accept her for who she is.

    The Pharisee, who is the one I most resemble, is stuck in the erroneous thinking that God somehow favors him because he does religious things – dressing, talking, socializing, praying and behaving in certain ways. We do well to remember a former Archbishop of Canterbury’s wise words, ‘It is a great mistake to believe that God is chiefly interested in religion.’

    What God is chiefly interested in is love. In loving you, me and all of creation relentlessly, completely, and unceasingly. God is chiefly interested in healing, restoring and reconciling. This is what Jesus did and who Jesus is. Faced with this reality, what would we do if Jesus suddenly appeared before us? And what do we do knowing that Christ is present - especially in the needy and marginalized around us?

    Can Your Church Live? – Alice Mann
    Miracles of Kathryn Kuhlman – Harold Castroph
    In Memoriam: A Guide to Modern Funeral and Memorial Services – Edward Searl
  • The Blessings of Church Size

    The Blessings of Church Size

    It’s been said that the person who belongs to a small church lives in a much larger world. Seeing the same people week after week leads to friendships, many times with folk whom we wouldn’t ordinarily get to know – indeed, whom we might initially have so little in common with that we would’ve never met anyplace other than at church. This diversity can be rewarding. It can open our minds and make us deeper, more thoughtful and less rigid human beings.

    Small congregations force us to get along with one another. They compel us to understand where other people are coming from and civilly settle our differences, which can be of immense value in the larger world.

    Small congregations keep us accountable. You can’t miss too many Sundays before someone calls or drops by just to make sure everything’s OK. We think twice about skipping Sunday services – not just because we miss out on worship, but because of the people who will be disappointed if we’re not there.

    Large churches get this - as attested by their emphasis on small groups. In fact, the biggest trend in the mega-church world is multi-site congregations – the establishment of much smaller satellite campuses that promote intimacy and closer relationships.

    The Episcopal Church is a small church haven. 80% of our congregations host 150 people or less on Sunday mornings. The vast majority of Episcopalians are converts (70%), and a great many of us came from much larger churches. Many of us joined because of the size. We realize we are created for relationships. We were made for deep, intimate and sacred relationship, not just with the Lord, but with each other. Christianity isn’t just about me and Jesus. It’s about me and Jesus and you.

    This is not to say that small churches are meant to stay small. The Great Commission teaches otherwise, plus we were created to grow in all sorts of ways. Some churches grow and stay together, others plant new congregations so that size remains manageable. The key is to understand our community, whatever the present size may be, as a gift from God to draw us all closer to the Lord. In what ways do we take advantage of our size to build the kinds of relationships, with Jesus and others, that might draw us closer to Him?

    Can Your Church Live? - Alice Mann
    Blood and Thunder - Hampton Sides
    The Heart of Christianity - Marcus Borg
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430