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
  • Highway to Heaven

    Highway to Heaven


    The highway to heaven has a lot of exit ramps.

    Here we are driving along, and all of a sudden up pops a project, a hobby, a relationship, etc. And it becomes so absorbing we have to pull off the highway and check it out. This can take a few minutes, a few days, a few years...

    Stay long enough and we form new habits, opinions, and even lifestyles that keep us preoccupied, distracted, and off the highway - so that our pursuit of Christ - which is our heart's desire - gets sidelined.

    Been there, done that?

    But while the highway to heaven has a lot of off ramps, it also has a lot of on-ramps.

    These are the invitations we get to come back to Christ - which is what Lent is all about - to pray, ponder scripture, choose Godly influences, and pursue acts of goodness and kindness to others.

    God is nudging us, inpiring us, and encouraging us in all sorts of ways to take the on-ramp and get back on the highway.

    So where are we?
    What gets us off the highway?
    What gets us back on?

    And how might we better stay focused so that we don't get off that road in the first place? 
  • Rejoicing in the Joy of Others

    Rejoicing in the Joy of Others


    I once had a boss who, at every staff meeting, called out and commended a specific member of the team. His intention was to encourage and inspire us fellow workers, but all too often the results were petty jealousy and envy, as we looked at one another and muttered under our breath, "Why did they get called out this week? Doesn't the boss know I'm doing good stuff too?"

    I'd often have to stop myself and say, 'Why can't I be more generous? Why can't I be happy when somebody else succeeds? Am I that insecure?'

    Our failure to rejoice in the joy of others often stems from our outlook on the world.

    And it starts at a young age. You may remember in school every time somebody got an 'A' on a paper, it was one less 'A' to be doled out to the rest of us.

    We are programmed to look at the world as a zero-sum game, a place of scarcity, where there's only so much to go around and when somebody else gets it, I don't! Instead of looking at the world as a place of abundance, where there is plenty to go around, which is where Jesus takes us in Sunday's gospel.

    That's when we will hear that iconic  story of the Prodigal Son, the youngster who demands his Father's inheritance early, then goes and blows it on loose living, only to return when it dawns on him that the loving home that he left behind was actually what he was looking for all along.

    When his older brother hears about his father's acceptance of this Prodigal Son, he becomes furious, jealous, and consumed with the same feelings we often feel when someone else gets a gift that we don't.

    And what the older son does not understand is the Father's generosity, the abundance of God's love, that the loving home now shown to the younger son has been there all along for everybody.

    I wonder how often God is telling you and me to chill out, because there's enough for everybody, everything's going to be okay, your time will come, for we are always, always, in the loving hands of our heavenly father.

    So next time something good happens to somebody else, and those feelings of petty jealousy and envy come knocking, let's find a way to put things in perspective and look at those feelings as reminders of God's grace, God's goodness to all, and let's find a way to bless that other person, just as God does, knowing that God's abundance isn't just for that person, but for everybody. 
  • Heal Thyself!

    Heal Thyself!


    My friend Rita was home from college and went to visit her elderly grandmother.

    Noticing a messy kitchen, she got busy cleaning up by opening the dishwasher door and emptying it, walking around the kitchen putting things away.

    That's when Grandma walked in, not noticing the open dishwasher door, tripping over it, falling to the ground, and getting ambulanced to the hospital with a very serious head injury.

    Already a bit crotchety, Grandma immediately heaped blame on Rita, scolding her and telling family members it was all her fault. Family attitudes toward Rita got even worse when Grandma died of that head injury.

    Confused, ostracized, and broken, Rita came looking for answers. And the place we began was with her. Rita was traumatized. This series of events had carved an impression in her brain, and created very sticky images she couldn't get away from - that continuously told her she was a careless, reckless, person and unworthy of living because she had taken another life.

    We got Rita a therapist. And we came around her with words of truth to combat the negativity, assuring her that she was a good person and that she did well not to define herself by the worst thing she'd ever done.

    In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus takes up a similar issue when he's asked, 'Why do deadly, random accidents happen? Who's to blame? God? Us? Someone else?'

    And like Rita's friends, Jesus doesn't start there, instead, Jesus starts with them. We can't change what happened and we don't know how it did. What we can do is change ourselves - working to heal ourselves. Events like this can be used for transformation. We can take steps to minimize the damage and reverse the Negativity Train that seeks to shatter us and flatten us.

    The suffering that surrounds us - from personal trauma, to COVID, to the war in Ukraine, we are all affected, some of us are traumatized. How are we tending to that? Are we taking our roundedness seriously? How well are we listening to ourselves - treating ourselves - and what does that look like?  How are we being invited to use these occasions to do God's healing work in the world - and in ourselves? 
  • A Peaceful World Evolves Not From Vice, But From Virtue

    A Peaceful World Evolves Not From Vice, But From Virtue


    I watched a woman pull out a Kleenex and dab a tear from her eye as she read the latest update on the tragedy in the Ukraine.

    I saw a post from a pastor on Twitter garner thousands of likes earlier this week when he lobbied for an end to U.S. imports of Russian oil.

    And I heard the news reports of unprecedented unity in our congress, especially these days, around legislation poised to constrain the aggressor in Ukraine, as well as aid war victims.

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine has set off a barrage of strong emotion, and not simply vengeance, violence, and retribution, but of sympathy, compassion, empathy, and heartfelt lament.

    Putin's flagrant power grab has revealed an amazing depth of worldwide compassion and care for others that we must highlight and build upon.

    The outrage we are feeling against Injustice and innocent suffering must be channeled to build the peaceful world that Jesus asks us to bring down from heaven. And that world is not built by selfishness, greed, and taking from our neighbor something that isn't ours.

    It is built upon the shoulders of our better angels, mutual respect, honesty, and a determination to work for the common good.

    A peaceful world, a compassionate world, a world that I want to live in, evolves not from vice, but virtue.

    So, in this second week of Lent, our season of studying and mirroring the virtues of Christ, what does this say to us?

    How are we being called to resist selfishness and division, and to not resist a generous, empathetic, and compassionate urge?
    What does that look like for you and me? What can we do, today, to obey those inclinations of generosity, care for others, and empathy not just for Ukraine, but for our own worlds, our own daily lives?

    We know that love is inside us, how are we going to let it loose? 
  • The Deal with Fasting

    The Deal with Fasting


    (Image: The rock on a mount near Jericho where Jesus allegedly stood during The Three Temptations)

    Sharing a pizza with a friend the other day I asked him if he wanted a third slice. He said he really did, but he refused because he was sticking to a new diet.

    I asked him why he was dieting, and he said that he'd recently been to the doctor and the doctor had noticed some health markers were off and said that if he wanted to stay healthy he'd stick to this new diet.

    So my friend said he was going to alter his diet because he wanted to be around for his wife and kids.

    Today, Ash Wednesday, many of us will hear the familiar words of the prophet Isaiah who had similar reasonings when he chastised Israel for fasting solely for themselves, and not fasting for other people: Is this not the fast that I choose -  to share your bread with the hungry,
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;

    The true fast, Isaiah says, is done so that our discomfort benefits other people.

    Today many of us are altering our diets, in the Episcopal Church fasting is recommended twice a year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. And in our individualistic and narcissistic world we're tempted to think that fasting is just about us, our own spirituality, our own personal Jesus - and we can forget that God's plan is not about one of us as much as it is about all of us.

    So as we go through this sacred, holy day and season of awareness, sanctification, and commitment, how is God calling us not just to improve ourselves through our spiritual practices, but in the next 40 days, how can we improve the world we live in?

    May our fasting be intentional, inspiring, and even joyful, as we seek first not our own well-being, but the well-being of others. 
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430