Christ Church (Episcopalian) of Coronado
- Contact: 1114 9th St., Coronado 619-435-4561 www.christchurchcoronado.org
- Neighborhood: Coronado
- Membership: 200
- Pastor: Father Michael Tinnon
- Age: 70
- Born: Lexington, KY
- Formation: University of Kentucky, Lexington; Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY
- Years Ordained: 43
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Father Michael Tinnon: I always draw people’s attention to God’s love and grace – his unconditional love, and that he loves us despite our faults. We’re flawed as human beings; we mess up and miss the mark and say things we don’t mean. I try to draw people’s attention to the fact that God loves us despite ourselves, and that God’s amazing grace reaches us at the point of our need. From what I’ve experienced, people carry a lot of baggage through life and it’s hard to forgive themselves for things they’ve done. It’s important to know God created us in his image and we’re unique and special.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
FT: Our mission is more outreach focused. We do a lot with veterans, since the church is made up of a lot of retired military from all the branches. The Navy is huge here. We have a couple retired admirals who attend, and many retired captains. But they’re not wrapped up in themselves. Our mission is to be disciples of Christ and go out into the world and make a difference.
SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?
FT: As an U.S. Air Force chaplain, I had gone to Iraq and Afghanistan, and although typically the Air Force chaplains would stay within the wire, because it was such a joint effort over there, chaplains were tagged to go different places. So every now and then I would go outside the wire, to the fields, to do worship services. I remember going to an austere site in Iraq. My chaplain assistant and I drove a Humvee out there and got to the site. We set up on the hood of the Humvee, the holy communion – the bread and wine. I preached a generic message about God’s grace, and we probably had 40 troops gathered around the Humvee. It was just before dusk, and we were about to distribute the holy sacrament. As I handed the bread to this one sergeant among the troops, he had tears running down his face, recalling that special moment God spoke to him. So I discovered that God can certainly be anywhere and, at that moment, he was a very real presence for that young man, as he certainly was for me as well. It was quite remarkable when and where God decides to show up.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
FT: I don’t see life ending, whatever we consider life. It’s a spiritual dimension, and certainly we read in scripture a lot about heaven and hell. When you think of good and evil, it’s hard for me to fathom that some people could lead a life in such a horrific fashion, to never have experienced forgiveness and to continue to live that way – hurting people, robbing, stealing, killing – and there not be some kind of judgment. When we think of heaven we think about looking up, and when we think about hell, we think about looking down, but I always believed it was more a spiritual dimension. The Apostle Paul says we see through a glass dimly – which means we don’t know what these things look like. But we all have hopes and aspirations of what will happen after this life.