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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Homeless Americans
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Weddings Performed
  • Looking and Leaving

    Looking and Leaving

     


    What Are You Looking For? 

    What Are You Leaving Behind?

    These are the first two questions pilgrims to the Holy Land are frequently asked: what did we come to Jerusalem seeking? What are we hoping to leave behind here?

    As Christians, what we’re looking for is Jesus. We are looking for love. Pilgrims are looking for the footsteps, the fingerprints, the vestiges of God’s presence in the place God once walked. And we find it in a myriad of places. We see it in the sacrifice Jesus made to devote his life to others - to heal, teacher and organize for justice. And we see it in the way he gave himself to us — to go off to torture and death, unjustly killed for facing off with injustice. And we are looking for ways to imitate and embody that love. We come seeking love.

    What are we hoping to leave behind? All that keeps us from loving. Selfishness, personal ambition, idolatry, misaligned priorities, anger, disunity, and distrust. We come hoping to shed those filters and blinders that detour and distract from loving others. All of our biases, fears, and hesitations that keep us from being the force of love and reconciliation to which we are called, we seek to cast off and leave behind.

    However these questions aren’t just applicable to pilgrims, but to everyone. When we awaken in the morning, can we ask, ‘What are we looking for?’ I find this a really effective way to frame the day’s journey — it helps me prioritize and to think more deeply about what I am hoping to accomplish. 

    And when I ask myself each morning what I want to leave behind, I am inspired to think about why I’m doing the things I’m doing: should I be spending my time in the meetings, on the calls, and engaged in the activities I’m undertaking?

    What would tomorrow look like if we asked:

    What am I looking for?

    What am I leaving behind? 
  • Claiming Your Voice

    Claiming Your Voice

     


    Like most of the sacred sites in the Holy Land, believers through the centuries have marked these places by building churches over them.

    This is the case with the synagogue, or local church, where Jesus worshiped here in his hometown of Nazareth.
    The synagogue is only a stone’s throw from where I’m sitting right now - and it's where a Malkite church now stands.

    This Sunday, when we head to worship, we are going to hear about this synagogue.

    Our gospel will tell us the story about Jesus when he went there, unrolled the scroll from Isaiah and announced that Isaiah's prophecy would be fulfilled in him.

    This is a story about Jesus coming into his own, Jesus finding his own unique voice.

    2,000 years ago, the overwhelming response of those people in that local synagogue was to reject Jesus, question his authority, not believe in him, even to try to kill him.

    Subsequently Jesus hiked a day and a half over to Capernaum, where he moved, to launch his public ministry. That's where he found people who believed in him, that's where he found people who would support him.

    And so what if Jesus hadn't done this? What if he had based his success on the opinions of those first hearers of his first sermon, just how far would he have gotten?

    Not very far!

    I think this teaches us something very important about how you and I are to live.

    Be careful about how much public opinion we internalize.
    Pay close attention to our hearts are telling us.
    Listen to and respect our own unique voice.

    Going against public opinion for you and me is no less controversial today - it means being hopeful, being understanding, negotiating, and turning the other cheek - it means loving our neighbor as ourselves.

    In our divided and anxious society, this behavior is laughed at and scorned.
    And this is why we need the same thing Jesus needed to move forward with our unique gifts of reconciliation and love.
    May God give us courage, patience, and strength to carry out our call.

    I'm here in Nazareth this Sunday so I won't see you, but I will miss you. 
  • Do Whatever He Tells You

    Do Whatever He Tells You


    A question I get quite often, is, 'Why did you leave the religion of your youth to become an Episcopalian?'

    Because Jesus called me.

    Why did you leave sunny Southern California to take your first call as a clergyman to go to Battle Creek Michigan?

    Because Jesus called me.

    Why am I serving the same beloved parish in Southfield, Michigan for 13 years now and counting?

    Because Jesus has called me.

    Today I celebrate the 20th anniversary of my ordination into the Episcopal priesthood. And if there's anything I have learned through all of my mistakes, failures, and foibles, is to do my best to follow Jesus - to trust Jesus, to prioritize my attempts to imitate his example and heed his call.

    We see a shadow of this in Sunday's gospel, which tells the story of Jesus' very first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding reception. The story features an interaction between Mary and Jesus in which Mary gives probably the best instruction in Christianity I know of when, referring to Jesus, she tells the gathered servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

    I realize how difficult it is to discern God's voice, especially amidst the noisy environment of social media, digital technology, and an increasingly fast pace of modern life; we live distracted lives.

    I also realize how imperfect we are (I am!) at figuring out what God wants us to do at any specific point.

    But how much more important it is for you and I to follow Mary's advice and 'do whatever he tells you.'

    How might we do that?
    What does that sound like in your life today?

    See you Sunday - and thank you for your terrific support!

  • What do you do with a flower?

    What do you do with a flower?

     


    What do you do with a flower?

    Does your scientific curiosity overwhelm you, and one by one you remove each petal, making note of stem and the stamen, in a quest to truly understand the beauty before you?

    Or does your sense of wonder get the best of you as you gasp in admiration of its beauty, finding the perfect vase then the perfect place to set this wondrous item to further your sense of sacred respect and awe at what is before you?

    It is in this latter tradition that the Magi from the East teach us as they come not to interrogate or dissect the manger scene before them, but to bow down in adoration and worship of the beauty they have discovered.

    What a mystical story this is! 

    The magi, from where we get the word magic, pin their hopes on a star, pack their bags to go God-knows-where, and are rewarded for following their intuition, their inner conviction, they're innate, God-given senses, by making the greatest discovery in the world.

    Here is where you and I are prompted to do the same - to take that word in our heart, that inner voice, that intuition, and to go for it. Trust it. Take action on it.  Get up and go, as the old preacher says, ‘God can’t steer a parked car.’ 

    What does that mean to you? Where’s the hesitation in your life? What are you waiting for?

    Ours is a religion of faith and action - so let us trust, let us follow as the Magi did, believing that something truly incredible awaits us.
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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