4321 Eastgate Mall, University City
Pastor: Father Chris Chase
Born: Boston, MA
Formation: University of Nottingham, England; Boston University School of Theology
Years Ordained: 16
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Father Chris Chase: The subject I am most comfortable with, and it finds itself in my sermons with some frequency, is that God has created us each wonderfully. In making us wonderfully, He’s calling us to be heirs to the kingdom of heaven and to own our own priesthood. Everyone needs to know they have a calling — a meaning and a purpose — and we’re all made in many ways of the stuff of God. God was the one who made and created us out of the dust that He also created. That’s our essential nature — the promise of the kingdom and we will be resurrected into this kingdom. I could preach on that subject from now until I go.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
FC: My main concern is that — and I’m sure you’ve read the recent Pew report [on the poll indicating that fewer Americans identify with a specific religious creed] — we’ve become more detached from that [salvation] story as a culture…. It concerns me that whether the church is swimming against the culture or lost its relevance or ability to tell the story, I don’t know the causes and I don’t know if anyone does. But it saddens me that people are losing touch with who they are — the children of God they were created to be.
SDR: Why Episcopalian?
FC: I like the flexibility we have in our denomination. I’ll be honest — I don’t know how much more life denominations have, given the shifts in the culture. But I like that flexibility which can be high church Catholic and yet it can be incredibly Low Church Protestant and Presbyterian at the same time. It gives you the flexibility to create liturgy and styles of liturgy, depending on where a community is, either geographically or in their spiritual journey….
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
FC: I don’t know how it happens or what it looks like, but I know we are returned to the God who called us into being, and this God welcomes us with a loving embrace. We may have to be accountable for what we failed to do more than for what we’ve done. My guess is it is a gentle accountability…. I will realize then that I had that potential to live out that rule to love my neighbor as much as myself and missed it because I allowed myself to be distracted by all the shiny, glittery things that the world can throw at us. God really wants to be in a relationship with me; but my greatest fear is that I wasted my life. To be honest, I’ve been so many places in this world and so many situations that are so awful, I can’t imagine hell being worse than what some people experience in this life. Whether there is a physical hell or not, I just know people who have walked through hell in this world, and the grace and mercy of God gets them through the hell to walk into a future. God reaches each of us as the Good Samaritan pulling us out of the mire will certainly be the God who is there at the end of my life pulling me into communion of saints.