Sermon Archives

Sunday, May 22, 2016
Trinity Sunday, Year C
Robert Whitaker, Avery Platt and Vickie Blaine
Senior Sermons 2016

Robert Whitaker

Hello everyone! My name is Robert Whitaker. I’ve been coming to Christ Church for 15 years. I sang in the Boys choir for a total of 7 years including 1 international tour, and one trip to Washington D.C. This Church has been my home. As a child I ran around the church barefoot exploring the entire grounds. I can remember having incredibly intense bike races around the parking lot. I was a turtle in Noah’s flood. I was a probationer, a chorister, then finally a head chorister. The church has watched me grow. I’ve made many mistakes at church. Whether it be me being put into the hallway during Sunday school for refusing to remain on my carpet square, making the wrong move as an early acolyte, or the ever dreadful dropping of a leaflet out of the choir benches only to watch it float just out of reach of my foot. There was never rejection or judgment. The anxiety that the whole church saw your mistake is always there, but never feared. No matter what the mistake was every familiar face was waiting to tell you, “How you did such a good job!” or “How they were so proud of you!” It was relieving to have such tremendous support. The support wasn’t specific to me. It was for everyone in the community.

One of my fondest memories of our church took place about 7 years ago. Grosse Pointe South had an acting troupe that was going to perform The Laramie Project. The play was about a gay college student who was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming by a group men for being gay. This caused a major stir, causing members of the Westboro Baptist Church to make the trip to protest. I was called out of school in 5th grade so that I could join my family and many fellow parishioners make a human wall with linked hands across the corner of Fisher and Grosse Pointe Blvd at the front of the school. On the other side of GP Blvd were hundreds of hateful protesters lined all the way to lakeshore. They had signs covered in hateful language and taunts. We stood there, arms linked, with our backs towards them shielding our eyes and the students from them. Eventually, the protesters left, and the students performed the play. It was empowering and showed me the lengths my church would go for others.

Paul says to the Romans “ And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” There was a point at Christ Church when we only had 6 boy choristers. We became known as “The Six” for two years this community listened as a mere six boys, with the help of Mrs. Hanoian, Kate, and other professionals, sang the best we could every Sunday and every evensong. These were challenging times for the boy choir. Younger choristers had to sing well enough to maintain the integrity of the piece. The pressure was on. Mr. Hanoian expected us to perform to the standards of a full choir and I like to believe we did. We embraced the challenge, we took pride in the challenge. A few years later the boy’s choir built up some strength, and went on a tour of France and Italy. The last time the six sang together, was in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome.

I have experienced God’s desire for us to grow because of the love and support that this community has shown me and my family. God has been with me all along the way, up through today, as I graduate high school. I would like to believe that God will continue to be with me and my family as we transition on our move. For that hope I can thank this church and community. I hope to take all that I’ve learned onward into life as I leave the community for college, and with my family as we transition on our move. Thanks.

Avery Platt

Good morning, I am Avery Platt. Some of you may know me as one of the head choristers here at Christ Church, or the girl that is always at church. Yes, it is true I spend almost the same amount of time here at church as I do at home. I am routinely here five days a week or more. I love it here at Christ Church. I have grown up in this church not only in age but in character, maturity and faith. I have become who I am because of this church, its community and the choir.

Very early in my choir days it became apparent that this choir was very important to me. You may not know this but the yellow and blue ribbons around our necks are not just fashionable choir accessories but are symbolic achievements of our standing in the choir. As choristers we spend a year taking weekly music theory lessons before or after choir practice. At the end of the year we take our yellow or blue ribbon test. These lessons are not easy and the tests are difficult. There is a lot of pressure to pass each test to earn your ribbon. I will never forget how worried I was in eighth grade. We were working on obtaining our blue ribbons. I would carry my scale book and music theory materials with me everywhere I went leading up to the test. I was constantly scribbling down scales and trying to memorize the “circle of fifths” to prepare. Once I finished my test I had to wait a week until the final evensong to see if I passed and would receive my ribbon. I could have asked Mr. Hanoian if I passed but the thought of him telling me face to face that I failed was way scarier than the stress of waiting a few more days. The day before the final evensong we had a rehearsal. During that rehearsal the trebles were messing up notes, Mr. Hanoian finally asked us to name the note interval we were having trouble with. I took a wild guess and after I gave my answer, Mr. Hanoian smiled and looked at me and said, “Avery you can’t mess up simple interval questions now that you have passed your blue ribbon test.” The choir cheered and burst into applause, the choir was aware of how stressed I was for my results. I can honestly say I didn’t stop smiling all day. This choir has taught me that hard work is rewarded. If you are passionate about something and willing to work hard you will succeed.

The hardest part about leaving this fall is leaving this community. The girls and boys in the choir stalls behind me are my best friends. Not only are the people behind me so dear, but the older choir members who have moved on still stay in contact and continue to inspire and mentor me. To my current choir friends, you did an awful job t peeing my house on your last attempt. We have been through it all. One of my favorite memories with the choir was during my first Lesson and Carols girl’s sleepover. As tradition we played sardines throughout the whole church. The game is where one person hides and then everyone must find them and hide with them until the last person comes to find everyone hiding together. My partner and I during the game finally found the hiders underneath the pews. We stayed under them and hid while more and more girls joined us. After 45 minutes of all of us trying to not burst out laughing we finally realized that we were all there the whole time. We spent 45 minutes under those pews you’re sitting in waiting for no one.  We cried with laughter as we scooted out and returned downstairs. At that moment I felt such a connection and belonging with the choir girls. I will honestly miss all our adventures.  Countless Lux runs, TBCY runs, sleepovers, high school musical jam sessions, traveling, choir camps and so much more. To the professionals in the choir I am always in awe of you. Thank you for your constant kindness and patience towards me for the past seven years. I am so impressed that all of you have adult lives full of jobs and families but you always made time for your passion of our choir. You are all a truly inspirational. Mr. Hanoian you have always expected and demanded more of me. You helped me grow in confidence in my ability in what I could achieve. I will always remember my choir community and the memories we made and how those experience shaped who I am today.

Some of you who know me well are aware that I ask a lot of questions, especially Mr. Hanoian. But when I had questions about my faith Christ Church was always there to help. In my conformation classes last year and my Christ Church high school Wednesday night classes it was always very clear that my many opinions and questions were welcomed. I was always conformable asking questions there, and many times I would ask questions about our faith that I was having difficulty understanding. The teachers and volunteers in those classes helped me tremendously in creating a strong faith; they helped and guided me into finding and shaping my own opinions on the answers. Because of Christ Church I have a stronger faith and relationship with God.

In Romans 5:15 it is stated, “Endurance produces character and character produces hope…” It is the hope that the character I have developed here at Christ Church will carry me into my new experiences. This Church community will always will have a permanent place in my heart. Because of Christ Church and the many wonderful people here I feel confident in my near future at college and all its opportunities and beyond that to my adult life and all the adventures that lay ahead.

Vickie Blaine

Hello, my name is Vickie Blaine or as some of you might know me, Mary K’s oldest daughter.

Throughout the passage Paul is talking about Gods path for us and how that path will bring us closer to him.  Paul was an advocate for everyone to love one another no matter what their background was.  Whether you were Greek or Jewish Paul’s message was clear, God’s love was for everyone. Keep it for everyone.

However in one part of Paul’s letter to the Romans that we read today he is not talking about loving one another but God’s love and how our suffering through life will bring us closer to him.  The people in this church have all been down paths of suffering at some point in your life and look at where it has led all of you.  Here in this church listening to the words of God.

With suffering we are made into the people God wants us to be.

Suffering can take on different meanings to each of us.  Whether it is the loss of a friend by death or fight; a bad test grade; a loss of a big game.  As a 17 year old born and raised in Grosse Pointe I haven’t really endured physical suffering. I have been blessed with amazing friends and family and I guess an ok sister.  Sure there has been loss a including the loss of a friend and an uncle.  I have had some failures, but I know I will have to endure some more trials in order to become the person God wants me to be. I know that there will be more loss and definitely some more failures but it is all to become closer to God and a better Christian and to give me the opportunity to challenge myself to grow. 

As I go through the next chapter in my life I will look back and think how Christ Church has taught me to endure suffering.  Christ Church has taught me to rely on myself, my generous spirit, my community and prayer.  My experience here has taught me how to be a part of the greater church community and how to that it is ok to grieve the past but also on how to it is ok to move on and look to the future with great excitement.

Christ Church has brought me many opportunities, including going downtown on a Sunday to Crossroads and serving those less fortunate some lunch and a smile. Giving back to my community I have always tried to make a priority and being able to see the smiles on people’s faces has lifted my spirit in so many ways. It has showed me that even in the worst of times there are still reasons to smile. Seeing the kids run around the dining hall, talking to kids my age that are there to be fed, and are so happy to just talk and act like a normal person, and not someone in need. We could talk about sports, school or even how good the chili is. It showed me that even in the worst of times God is still there, and He has a plan. We as Christ Church going there and serving the downtown community is us working for God to prove that he is there and has a plan, and that is what Paul has been saying this whole time. Yes, there is suffering, but God is there and when we reach our point we will rejoice because we will see how God’s love has been given to us to make us the people he wants us to be. Going forward in my life, I will think of those people at Crossroads and how if they can have a smile on their face, so can I.

God has a purpose for us. We might not always know what it is, but through our faith we know that in the end God’s purpose will reveal itself, and his love for us will show. Thank you.