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.

Me

Contact Details


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


  • +011 248-557-5430


  • chris@stdavidssf.org

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.

ChurchNext

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.

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U.S. Guns Produced Today
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Americans Accidentally Killed Today
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Weddings Performed
  • Harnessing the Power of Connection to Bring Hope

    Harnessing the Power of Connection to Bring Hope

     


    My sister ran into an old friend at a restaurant.

    He'd been out of town for years pursuing his career and had recently moved back to care for an aging relative.

    After exchanging pleasantries my sister asked how he was doing. And he made the very brave decision to answer honestly.

    "Not that well," he said. And he went on to explain how Covid had ruined his career, how his siblings were being less than helpful with their sick relative, and how he longed for an end to the raging destruction of this pandemic.

    My sister asked if they could get together for a meal soon, he agreed and they adjourned only to take up these topics again soon.

    Talking to a grave digger at a funeral this week, he told me about his job moonlighting as a check-out clerk at a grocery store. “It’s frustrating," he said, "Why do people have to be so angry? " 

    He explained how he tries to understand that people are bearing heavy loads, and much of the rudeness from customers is displaced pandemic frustration.

    So he takes it in, and resolves to come back with words of assurance, and encouragement. He says he is often met with apologies and thanks for trying to understand and not retaliate.

    What we see here is the power of connection to Inspire hope. 

    In both these scenarios there's a decision to engage with compassion.

    This holiday weekend, as you and I gather in tiny pods of friends and relatives for our stripped down Thanksgivings, we see opportunities to build hope through connection.

    Bravery and compassion are what’s needed to go beyond conversations about weather and sports - to create safe spaces where we can be honest - knowing our vulnerability only deepens our connections.

    When we ponder Christian discipleship during Thanksgiving, few things bring the Kingdom to our doorsteps more than courage and compassion. 
    May we be brave.
    May we be strong.

    May God bring us the grace to connect with faithful assurance that all will be well.
  • Should We Close the Church?

    Should We Close the Church?



    Take a look at this graph.


    It shows church attendance over the last 17 years. It’s a steady trend that shows America is going to church less.

    Then COVID hit.

    And we in the church business learned, as Carey Nieuhoff puts it, that crisis is not just a disrupter it’s an accelerator. 
    This means that our churchgoing trend has been accelerated as congregations have scrambled to put in place alternate worship and ministry models - and as many churchgoers consciously or unconsciously have thought, ‘Well, the building’s closed, so the church must be closed too.’

    So today, as we all wait with hope for a vaccine, increased testing, and a world that goes ‘back to normal,’ in the back of our minds we know that, ‘back to normal’ will never happen.

    Just look at these major industries that COVID has changed and ask:
    Work - Do we really think everyone’s going to go back to a rented office?
    School - is it ALL going to be in person again?
    Fitness - Will everyone quit working out in the basement and return to the gym?
    Dining - Will take-out and drive-thru disappear?
    Shopping - Will everyone really close their laptops and go back to the mall?
    Church - Do I really need to go in person to get my spiritual needs met?

    This make us think: What will get people to offices, classrooms, gyms, restaurants, malls, and churches?
    It will be a clear and compelling reason for making the effort.

    This Sunday you and I will hear Jesus talk about Judgment Day - when those who talked a good game are separated from those who actually played a good game.

    This is a stark challenge for the Church to get out and play the game - and to play a game worth watching.

    Churches that are truly making a difference in people’s lives - who are feeding the poor, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and effectively helping people deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ - those are churches that will ‘make it.’

    This is also true on the granular level - when we are people who are feeding the poor, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and effectively helping ourselves and others deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ - this is how we make it.

    So let us be challenged, encouraged, and comforted to BE the church - knowing that every act that we take to move outside of ourselves and to heal the world, not only helps our hearts - but the heart of Jesus’ movement - the Church. 
  • The Winner of the Presidential Election Is...

    The Winner of the Presidential Election Is...




     Never has America seen such a large cadre of lawyers descending upon state capitals looking to count and recount and investigate an election as we're seeing today.

    While polls tell us that the 2020 presidential winner has been decided for most people, there is a significant minority for whom this conclusion is not so definite.

    This means that the insidious divisiveness and period of not knowing is lengthened, indeterminate even, and now causing a social dis-ease that, combined with an increasingly scary pandemic, simmering racial injustice, and a still unpredictable economy, has more of us taking pills, calling psychologists, and simply feeling burned out, edgy, and unhappy.

    When we open our Bibles and look at the lives of the early Christians and see the social and economic dynamic they faced - an unstable nation with oppression on many sides - we can understand why Jesus' message was as important back then as it is today.

    It is in unstable times that our faith was birthed and finds fruition. Accordingly, we are urged to be hopeful, encouraged, and aware of the many promises God makes to take care of us.

    Time after time, Christians in the most threatening circumstances of economic instability, political unrest, and personal trauma are assured by Jesus that they are not forgotten, that God is with them, that the trials they are going through will not end in defeat, and that there is work to do even as the world around us crumbles.

    And so the challenge for you and me is to use this time, this precious and precarious time, to put things into perspective, re-stake our claim to Christian hope, do our best to toss aside the flaming arrows and negative temptations and draw nearer to God, God's peace, and God's rest.

    Our challenge is also to stand for unity. This is a time for peacemaking, something dear to the heart of Jesus, looking first to do our part with our family and friends. Healing a divided nation begins by healing divided families and communities.

    Finding this peace in ourselves and making peace with others is our goal and our challenge.

    We do this and we win the election.
  • What to Do When an Election is Over... Or not.

    What to Do When an Election is Over... Or not.

     


    My friend, the hospital chaplain hears one complaint more than any other.

    On her rounds to visit those asking for prayer and encouragement, she often finds people in pain because of surgeries or disease.

    But the most common form of suffering she encounters is not caused by scalpels or sutures, but by the mental anguish of waiting.

    When will I be wheeled down to the operating room? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever regain full use of my faculties?

    Coping with the results is often the easier road, because as Tom Petty iconically put it, the waiting is the hardest part.

    As you and I awakened this morning, the day after an election day that garnered the most participation of any US election in history, exposing our deep divide as a nation and putting ourselves in that same uncomfortable position. 

    How long until the race is decided? What will it mean to my daily life? What will it mean for our country?

    And while we can't speed along the results, there are a few things we can do.

    First, find a way to talk about your feelings. Not in a destructive, condescending, or judgmental way, but authentically, about how we're feeling and about what may be ahead. Vocalizing our emotions helps put us more in touch with ourselves, keeps us from the negative effects of bottling things up, and opens us up to the comfort offered by others.

    Second: Get outside, go for a walk, find a distraction, endlessly dwelling on something we can't do anything about Is detrimental to our health.

    And Third: Draw nearer to God. Times of uncertainty often motivate us to reconnect with that which is at our core. Pray, read scripture that puts things in perspective, and we discover that no election in the world can change God's love for us, God's provision for us, and God's promise never to leave us.

    I've compiled some of those scriptures below, please feel free to use them in your time of prayer and meditation.

    When it feels like there's nothing to hold on to, there's always God, and there are always God's people. Call me, call a parish member, if I know anything about our wonderful congregation, we are here for each other in stable and unstable times.


    Isaiah 41:10

    Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    John 16:22

    So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

    Matthew 6:25-34

    Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

    Philippians 4:6-7

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

    Matthew 11:28

    Come to me, all who are weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    John 16:33

    I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

    John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    James 1:2-3

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

    Deuteronomy 31:8-9

    The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

    1 Peter 5:7

    Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

    Matthew 19:26

    But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'

    Proverbs 3:3-6

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

    Psalm 46:1-3

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

    Romans 8:38-39

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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    ADDRESS

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

    EMAIL

    chris@stdavidssf.org

    TELEPHONE

    +011 248-557-5430