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
  • Is Going Legit Worth It?

    Is Going Legit Worth It?

    I boarded a jet to Texas the other day and sat next to a man named Roy.

    He was a young entrepreneur from Kansas City on his way to buy a 3rd truck for his growing tow truck business.

    Not long into our conversation he opened up about the difficulties of growing up in a poor neighborhood, turning to drugs, then dealing, doing time in prison, and returning to the same neighborhood.

    Roy talked about his faith in Jesus and the constant temptation he faces to revert to his previous lifestyle and the difficulty in building a legitimate business with limited skills, contacts, and support.

    He wondered if going legit was worth it.

    On Sunday we will hear Jesus talk about denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following him.

    Roy and I talked about this and how it means putting away thoughts of an easier, lucrative, but lifeless profession, doing the difficult work of pursuing the good, and following that path not for power, profits, or prestige, but for the betterment of humanity.

    I told Roy I was in absolute awe of his work - his skill, grit, and daily determination in the way he was following Jesus.

    That’s how our brother in Kansas City is doing it. How about us? 
  • How to Arrange a Pulpit Exchange

    How to Arrange a Pulpit Exchange

    For those who lead churches, an invigorating practice can be to switch pulpits with another minister, giving both congregations a chance to hear a different voice of proclamation. I've been doing this for the last year with my congregation, St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield, MI and it's really helped us learn, grow, and appreciate.

    Here are some tips...

    1) Pray and see if this would be appropriate for you to do so and ask leadership what their thoughts and concerns may be.

    2) Determine which Sundays in the upcoming calendar year work. For example, I found 8 Sundays that worked in 2018.

    3) Get a list of people, along with their emails (or phones, they still work...) with whom you'd like to switch. Do consider other local clergy from other faith traditions - like the Rabbi, the Lutheran pastor, or someone else in your community.

    4) Issue the invitation, either by email, phone, or in person and keep track. An Excel spreadsheet can be helpful as it can be helpful to note contact information, time and dates of communications, and the gist of them.

    5) Keep an overall log of who's coming when, and make sure others in your church are appropriately informed.

    6) As the date of the switch approaches, make sure you both have copies of each other's bulletins and nail down the Scripture readings and themes of the day so your sermons can be appropriate.

    7) On the day of the switch, assign someone from your congregation to greet, accompany, and show the new preacher the ropes. It's always the same soup, but recipes vary widely...

    8) Follow up with the person with whom you switched passing along any pastoral care information or helpful observations.

    Let me know if I can be of any other assistance!
  • Lent: The Medieval Cure to Modern Distraction

    Lent: The Medieval Cure to Modern Distraction

    A neighbor called needing a ride to a doctor’s office.

    Unfortunately the call came when one child was hitting the other, the teapot was whistling as I was trying to get breakfast on, and I was rushing to plug a leak that had developed from the ice dam above the guest bathroom - all in the 15 minutes before we hurried off to school. 

    In other words it was not a good time to talk with someone in need. 

    Unfortunately I wasn't as kind or helpful on the phone as I would have hoped I would have been. Instead of responding with kindness and assurance (in my seasoned pastor’s voice) I was rather short and curt. So after things had settled down I called my neighbor back, but by that time another ride had been arranged.

    Certainly life’s overwhelmings get to all of us, but I can’t help thinking that had I exercised a bit more self control things would have turned out a bit differently.

    It’s incidents like this that have me looking forward to Lent.

    It’s the one time of year we’re asked to participate in small exercises of self restraint.

    And we know that small doses of self control can improve our overall self control.

    Time and again researchers confirm our suspicions that self control is like a muscle that can be trained and strengthened. When we beg off things we want, be they donuts or department store sales, we contribute to strengthening our ability to restrain and control in larger arenas. Refrain from demonizing opponents instead of really trying to understand them; Refrain from assuming impure motives instead of better ones; refrain from sending that flaming email we probably would not have sent had we summoned the strength to wait until morning.

    In other words, we need Lent now more than ever.

    May our humble exercises of Lenten discipline - no matter how big or small - give birth to greater strength and stamina that we might more completely live into our vocations as reconcilers of the world to Christ. 
  • You Forgot the Cranberries

    You Forgot the Cranberries

    Sure, you remembered the brioche for the stuffing, the heavy cream for the sweet potatoes, the garlic stuffed olives, and the 99 other items that were on your list for the big holiday dinner. But the cranberry snafu means these will not be on the Thanksgiving table. And you will hear about it.

    How long should you hang your head?

    Or you’re a bookkeeper who forgot to add in the December receivables. Rookie mistake, and it caused the boss to look a bit stupid when he passed on your year end report to the higher-ups.

    Or you’re a bartender who over-served a customer who went out and caused a wreck.

    How long should we feel the the guilt, blame, and even trauma of an oversight, bad decision, or honest mistake?

    In Sunday’s gospel, the disciples suffered their own trauma, of seeing Jesus and Elijah and Moses upon the holy mount. They were terrified - traumatized - and told not to speak of it.

    How long should they allow to get over it?

    Not long.

    Life is too short to fret over missed opportunities, rookie mistakes, or even really bad lapses in judgment. We can’t take the past back. Or hit rewind.

    We should, instead, realize life’s brevity and put things in perspective. Jesus is about to go down to Jerusalem and die, the disciples only have so much more time to be with him. Their mistakes in recognizing him pale in comparison to the glory to be revealed. We only have a short amount of time to marshal our resources to do good, let’s not use them to make ourselves feel bad.

    The world is better because you’re in it. Now dust yourself off, forget the cranberries, and bring your best self to the game. (HT Seth Godin)
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430