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
  • Holy Innocents

    Holy Innocents

    Holy Innocents

    I remember when my young friend John died – in a car wreck.
    I remember rushing to the hospital to join his parents and grandparents.
    I remember praying the last prayers he’d ever hear.
    I remember presiding over the packed funeral - where we all brushed up against the elephant in the room - who was wearing a huge T-shirt that said; ‘Why God?’
    Parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids – they’re not supposed to make coffins that small - where’s the justice?  Where’s God?

    Every December Christians commemorate the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  It’s based on a Bible story about jealous King Herod.  In an effort to eliminate the newborn baby Jesus, King of the Jews, Herod ordered a mass slaying of all children 2 years old and younger.  It is a story of dubious provenance, yet one that is true regardless of whether or not it ever happened – because every day you and I witness to the same thing – the slaughter of the innocents.

    Our world abounds with flagrant and unspeakable injustices – evil tyrants who murder, bosses who cheat, spouses who betray, close family members who insult and backstab.  Our losses drive us to lament like the mothers of the Innocents as quoted by the prophet Jeremiah;

    “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.  Rachel… refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

    Our misery consumes us.  There is no daylight.  We wait for the dawn to break –and when it does we wonder:  But are they really ‘no more?’  Might there be a purpose?  Might there be a Presence somehow lingering, preparing, and pointing?

    Jeremiah continues “Thus says the LORD: Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for there is a reward… they shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future.”

    My friends, what has been taken shall be restored.  What has been wronged shall be righted.  What has been lost shall be found. 

    What are we grieving today?  What stolen innocence is stewing inside of us?  The Lord says we will be restored, things will be made right.  Can we put it in Jesus’ hands?  Can we move toward living as if this were true?  Can we accept His peace – and walk in the confidence that through it all, God is with us?


    God is Not Good - Christopher Hitchens
    The Liturgical Year - Joan Chittister
    Crush It! - Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Christmas


    It is Christmas once again – that wondrously rich Christian holiday that’s always meant different things to different people.

    For example, many little kids take it literally; leaving cookies out for St. Nick, dressing up as angels in the Christmas pageant, and even singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

    Teens often take it pejoratively; like one churlish adolescent who changes the words on Christmas Eve from, ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’- to Christ has lied, Christ is in prison, Christ will come at 10.

    Then, there’s us adults – who have survived all that – and who still choose to commemorate this holiday - not seeking to take it literally or pejoratively, but seriously.

    These past four weeks of Advent have taken us on a journey of preparation and readiness to look for the Christ Child. And when that little porcelain baby is placed into that crèche on Christmas Day, we are reminded of the central message of the season: that this child is with us – Emmanuel – God is with us.

    There is no place we can go where God is not. Every situation we encounter, no matter how random or haphazard – is part of an endlessly complex orchestration – and has not happened by accident. Every person we meet, as tempted as we are to chalk it up to the accidental or arbitrary, is part of a divine plan to reconcile all of Creation.

    And it all starts with that little baby – God permeating creation - and it continues with our quest -
    For we realize that every person we meet has that presence in them – and the wonderful thing that happens when we treat others as if Jesus is in them, is that Christ becomes more present in our lives as well. When we take care to intentionally look for Christ in every person - we will find Christ in ourselves.

    And there’s no better Christmas present than that.

    God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens
    Made in Detroit – Paul Clemons
    God is Back – Micklethwaite and Wooldridge
  • Rear View Mirror

    Rear View Mirror

    Ever wonder why rear view mirrors only take up a small part of the windshield?

    Carmakers know that the driver’s most important view is what’s ahead.  They make sure drivers can see the road clearly - to the side, and even above and below so that the road in front, is most obviously seen.  While the view of what’s passed is important, the view of what’s ahead is the most significant.

    On the Fourth Sunday of Advent we hear the story of Joseph as he gets the news that his fiancé, Mary, is pregnant – and not by him.  Joseph has a choice.  The Bible calls him a righteous man, one who knew the well-established laws and traditions of his faith and obeyed them.  So now Joseph can follow the rules he’s known all his life, dismissing or even exposing Mary, opening her up to severe punishment.  Or Joseph can obey an incredible vision that’s opening up right before him.

    Should Joseph seek the security of the seasoned faith of his forebearers, which he can see clearly in his rearview mirror – or might Joseph trust what’s unfolding right in front of him – a dream - that God is doing something amazing and new?

    Every day you and I meet people and run into situations that we want to quickly categorize and stereotype – we want to judge what’s in front of us through a lens that’s behind us.  We forget that every person, every encounter is new – and has never come across our path in the same way before.  When we look at new things through old lenses we rob them of their distinctions – and we block out what God is trying to say to us – and the world.

    Trying to move forward by looking behind us has its obvious difficulties – which is why Advent calls us to lift up our heads – and look, in watchful expectation – to see anew at what’s unfolding before us.  And as tempted as we are to stereotype - and to think that this Christmas will be just like all others – it won’t be.  When we pay attention to every store clerk, slow driver, and unfavorite relative – with the expectation that God has put them in our lives for us to value, respect, and love – we can find gifts more precious than anything that fits under a tree.

    So let’s move on toward Christmas with hope and expectation, valuing what’s behind us, but wholly embracing the magic, the mystery, and the wonder that’s before us.

    God is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens
    Made in Detroit – Paul Clemens
    Changing the Conversation – Anthony Robinson

  • When God Disappoints

    When God Disappoints

    I remember getting fired from a job.

    I was just out of college, and I worked as a personal assistant for a rather difficult man.  He was gruff, demanding, and could be rather rude.  I didn’t know at the time that he had gone through personal assistants like paper towels – unfortunately not treating them much better.

    My naturally naïve and affable demeanor meant that I had gone a few months before actually being offended by my boss.  And the work got harder.  That’s when I unconsciously started to do what most people do.  I pulled back and distanced myself.  I thought I was doing my job – I had certainly continued to do what was expected in the job description.  But I was disconnecting – and before I knew it, I was stunned to find out I was out of a job.

    "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" asked John the Baptist in this Sunday’s Gospel reading.  John had started his ministry, which we heard about last week, calling people to repent.  Entire towns turned out to be baptized.  We remember John’s harsh predictions that the Messiah would chop down trees that don’t produce, and burn away chaff with unquenchable fire.

    This is what John was expecting Jesus to do.  But this wasn’t what Jesus was doing.

    So cold, hungry and awash in disappointment, we imagine, St. John, as he tried to figure out what went wrong.  How could God have failed him?  You and I, in the comforts of 2,000 years of hindsight, can see the disconnect – we can see where John went, and where Jesus was going.  And we know well from personal experience – when God fails to meet our expectations, perhaps its time to ask ourselves how well aligned we are with God.

    Are we looking for a God who will do what we want and not what God wants?  How do we open ourselves up to the Lord in a way that doesn’t surprise or disappoint us?  Easy, we get on board with God’s program.  So how can we use this Advent season to do that?

    God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens
    Radial – David Platt
    God is Back – Mickelthwait and Woldridge
  • Abandon Yourself (Advent II)

    Abandon Yourself (Advent II)

    The greatest Christian who ever lived was a man who simply pointed to Jesus.
    John the Baptist was not known for his great intellect.
    He wasn’t known for his money or possessions.
    He wasn’t known for his buff body, clothes, or cracking good looks.
    John was known for putting himself aside and letting the Lord take center stage.

    The Church has always held the highest esteem for those who do this –
    who abandon themselves, letting God take over, throwing off the
    security blankets of wealth, family, safety, political correctness,
    and public approval – acknowledging that of all the Christian virtues,
    this is the most admired - and least imitated.

    What John did for Jesus, is so hard for us to do today – awash as we
    are in our acquisitive and narcissistic culture – that brainwashes us
    into thinking that our deepest fulfillment lies in focusing on our own
    keep. But the message of the season is that living a good Christian
    life is difficult but not impossible. We can cut through the things
    that bind us. We can get a fresh start. We can go down into the
    River Jordan and come back better.

    This Second Sunday in Advent is about the power of abandonment. We
    see a man – a bedraggled and undernourished heckler – whose only
    concern was for the One who came after him. This is what made John
    great. The source of his power was his weakness. The place of his
    exaltation came in his lowliness. How ready are we to abandon
    ourselves – to step aside, and let the Lord take center stage?

    God is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens
    The Sorrows and Pleasures of Work – Alaine de Boton
    Matthew – Donald A. Hagner
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430