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
  • Let's Stop Killing Jesus

    Let's Stop Killing Jesus


     Every year during Holy Week when we hear the story of Jesus's unjust trial, torture, and death I like to think that could never happen today in America.


    But then I think of Matthew 25 and that famous story Jesus told about the sheep and the goats. He sorts out good people from bad people based on how they treated others.

    At one point, the condemned ask, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, lonely, or naked and fail to help you?' And Jesus says, 'Whenever you failed to help somebody, anybody, in that situation, you failed to help me.'

    A prison reformer named Henry Brubaker once said that, "The treatment society affords its outcasts reveals the way its members view one another—and themselves."

    In other words, when we allow 4,000 people to be homeless in our county, half of whom are children; when we build a health care system that allows the poor and people of color a substandard level of care that increases their suffering and shortens their life span; when we legally kill the incarcerated, we're not just doing this to other people, we're doing this to Jesus.

    Friends, how we treat others is how we treat God.

    Holy Week isn't just about an unjust killing 2,000 years ago, it's about the George Floyds and Breonna Taylors of today - it's about how we love others as we love ourselves - personally and communally.

    The question Holy Week asks of us is, 'How are we treating others?' Is it 'me first?' Or is it 'God first,' which means 'Others first?'

    This week, Jesus was put to death in his quest to care about others, how can we go and do likewise?
  • Holy Week for the Weary

    Holy Week for the Weary

     


    If Lent 2021 barely made a blip on the radar screen of your daily life, I think I know why.

    It’s because we’ve been sitting here in Lent for the past year.

    Lent is when we give things up we like in order to suffer like Jesus - so we can strengthen ourselves against temptation, become more resilient, and live a more focused life of service.

    But we’ve been giving up things we like all year - and not because we’ve wanted to!

    No wonder our stamina is gone and our strength to withstand temptation has been zapped.

    So if you’re coming to Holy Week - which starts Sunday - and you feel tired and tapped out - I wonder if we can’t better understand how Jesus felt.

    On Sunday we mark the beginning of the end of his life-long journey to wake up a world that’s been hopelessly asleep to God's message of love, compassion, justice, and peace.

    Jesus spent three years grooming 12 disciples who still don’t get it. And he's about to run headlong into a crowd that celebrates his grand entrance into Jerusalem one moment, and then calls for his crucifixion the next.

    So when Jesus finally arrives at this week, the pinnacle week of his life and ministry, we can understand how tired and spent he is as well.

    And what Jesus does is what you and I are attempting to do. We are trying to summon our strength, center ourselves, and trust that just as God met Jesus in his valley, God will meet us in ours.

    If holy week is about anything, it's about God's faithfulness. God’s provision. God doesn't forget us. God turns our pain into purpose. And perhaps it's our knowledge of that that can help us get through this.
  • The Three Things to Say at a Funeral

    The Three Things to Say at a Funeral

     


    As a priest I’ve been asked, ‘What do I say at a funeral?' Or 'What do I say to someone who's grieving?'

    In fact, a big reason people don't like to go to funerals - or nursing homes, hospitals, or even call someone who’s going through something traumatic - is because we feel uncomfortable:

    What do we say?
    What do we do?

    People who are grieving you need to hear three things from us:

    First, they need validation - that what they're going through is bad - that this is a tough time - that their feelings of loss are not abnormal. A friend of mine got a load of cards in the mail when her husband died, and the only one she saved was from a 10-year-old girl that simply read, ‘Oh no!’ Grieving people need to know that their pain and hurt is okay.

    Second, grieving friends need to know that you care. You can tell them that you love them or that you care for them, but they need to know that you are concerned. Not visiting, not calling, not texting is a cop out. Find a way to express the fact that you care about them. 

    And third, grieving people need to know that you are here. That you’re present.  You can choose to be in a lot of different places, but you have chosen to be with your friend in their time of sadness. As the saying goes, grief shared is grief lessened.

    Those 3 things and that's it.

    Avoid the temptation to try to fix things - don’t say: ‘It could have been worse,’ ‘God needed another angel,’ ‘God’s teaching you something,’ or ’This happened for a reason,’ - the subtext communicated here is ’So stop feeling bad!’ 

    When someone’s hurting, of course we want to fix it - but we can’t - only God can - in God’s time and in God’s way. And so let’s channel God’s love  by offering validation, care, and presence.

    This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent, we’re going to hear Jesus talk about his upcoming death: and conversations about our mortality are as uncomfortable as they are inevitable: How do we cope? How can we help others who are coping? Be with us on Sunday and we’ll learn together. 
  • What Do You Mean, You Found Jesus?

    What Do You Mean, You Found Jesus?


    My friend Andy was raised in a Christian home.

    So when he returned from college one year and told his parents that he had found Jesus, they were puzzled.

    So his mother asked,
    "Did you find a different kind of church?
    "Is there a minister that you like?
    "You have grown up in our Christian home, what do you mean that you have now suddenly found Jesus?"

    What Andy articulated is at the heart of this Sunday's gospel. It's the difference between "believing", and "giving your heart over."

    We see this in that iconic Bible verse from John chapter 3, 'For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that whoever would believe in him would not perish but would have eternal life.'

    One theologian says we should substitute the word "believe" with the phrase "give your heart over to" - he says it's much closer to the author's intent.

    In other words, the biblical sense of believing in Christ is more than just ascending to some list of theological of doctrines, it's more visceral, more emotional, it means to give our selves - all of who we are - over to God.

    In one sense, it's the difference between saying I love you and will you marry me?

    And what we consider during this Lenten season, is that giving our hearts over to God is not something that we do once and never consider again. Rather, to use the marriage analogy again, it is not unlike successful couples, in which we continually give our hearts over to our beloved.

    What does that look like to you and me?

    In what ways have we agreed to believe but not given our hearts over?

    In what ways have we copped to the safe harbor of intellectual ascent, tending to the rituals putting up a good front, and avoided the much less predictable waters of heartfelt commitment to Christ?

    We do well to consider that God asks us to do this not for God's well-being, but for our own.

     


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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