Our Stories:
News and Notes from Calvary

All Day Prayer Vigil: Thursday, June 21

Dear Friends of Calvary, Thursday, June 21, will be the longest day of the year. On Capitol Hill in Washington, the Episcopal Public Policy Network is holding vigil, because any day is too long to be separated from one's children. In solidarity with those in Washington and around the world who oppose our government's inhumane policy of separating children from families at our southern border, the doors of Calvary will be open Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for prayer... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Calvary to Hold Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation, Unveil New Historic Marker

by Tim Huebner In collaboration with Rhodes College, Calvary will unveil and dedicate a new historic marker at the site of the antebellum slave mart operated by Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis. The dedication of the marker will occur as part of a “Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation,” to be held at Calvary at noon on April 4.   An existing marker on B.B. King at Adams, placed by the Tennessee Historical Commission in 1955, only mentions that Forrest had a home... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Sunday, April 1, 2018

The power of secrets

by the Rev. Scott Walters We’ve known about the power of secrets since we were children, haven’t we? There was something thrilling about cupping a hand to my mouth and delivering a message just to the ear of a trusted friend, whether the subject was who had a crush on whom or who had cooties or what secret place we should meet in to exchange even more secrets when school was over.  And the power of secrets does not lessen in adulthood. The stakes occasionally just get... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Sunday, April 1, 2018

Holy Week: A chance to remember and understand

by Pat Morgan When invited to write a short piece for the Chronicle , I promptly responded: “Of course, I’d be glad to.” That’s a response I give far too often without thinking about it—plus it looked like a no-brainer to write about: 1) why all of the Holy Week services are important to me and 2) how they help prepare me for Easter. Actually, they weren’t no-brainers. They led me to do a lot of thinking and reflecting on my faith and Calvary’s role... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Thursday, March 29, 2018

Welcome to the Rev. Amber Carswell

Dear friends, I am thrilled to announce to the Calvary community that your next associate rector will be the Rev. Amber Carswell. Amber comes to us from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, where she currently serves as canon and director of program. At Trinity, she started a thriving arts outreach program with a local charter school, got young adults talking about life, theology, and everything in local pubs, and coordinated a lecture series that brought some of American... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dinner groups make a comeback

by Julie Shaw Our journey at Calvary began in the early nineties. Our son, Lane, was six and our daughter, Grace, had just been born. We soon found ourselves in the middle of everything that had to do with children. I was on the Youth Committee and served on the Altar Guild and Flower Guild. Billy was an usher. At that time, there were three Sunday morning services. One Sunday morning, while waiting for the class to start in the Great Hall, Barbara Christensen and I were discussing how to... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Thursday, December 7, 2017

Searching for rhythm

Driving an old truck has heightened my attention to rhythms. At about 60mph, my 1995 Chevrolet develops a soft rhythmic shudder in the rear end. The tires and suspension are in good shape, but the truck just doesn’t seem to like to move at certain speeds. So, I slow down or speed up just enough to bring the ride back into harmony. Or at least back into what passes for harmony in this particular vehicle. Our lives can develop shimmies and shakes from time to time, too. Something gets a... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Thursday, November 30, 2017

What is your heart's story?

by the Rev. Scott Walters In a discreet (I’d like to think) spot beside the steps to the backyard sits a big black toolbox made of an indestructible plastic resin. It slid around in the back of my truck, carrying extension cords and pneumatic hoses, for years. Among the things presently inside it are: an aluminum clamp light, a concrete trowel, a quarter bag of charcoal, Azalea/rhododendron food, and a strange bicycle seat that consists of two independent oval buttock pads (patent... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, October 17, 2017

For the love of books

I clearly remember the exact moment when the letters h-e-a-r, written on a chalkboard by my kindergarten teacher, formed the word "hear" in my mind. Suddenly I could read! It was an experience of pure joy, and I have been reading ever since. I love the feel of books, the smell of books, the way they look, all lined up in a row, on a bookshelf. I most especially love the thrilling adventures books have made possible for me.  Imagine my delight as Mary Baird and I cooked up a... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, August 28, 2017


Acolyte. Not just a name, but a duty. Not just a duty, but a part of who I am. As one who assists the clergy during the service, acolyting is one of my favorite roles and contributions to Calvary. My experience as an acolyte started when I was in sixth grade. Growing up, I watched my big sister Maggie carry the “big” cross down the aisle and lead her team, and decided that one day I wanted to do that, too.  “Mr. Raymond” Spence took me through training and... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, August 14, 2017


by the Rev. Scott Walters, Rector As I moved into my new office at Calvary and got the computer set up, I decided I should cull the website shortcuts I keep. They pile up over time. But as I did, I found a few links I didn’t recognize. One took me to instructions for making your own moss shower mat. I’m not making this up. A shower mat. Made of moss. As in the green stuff that grows on the north sides of trees in damp climates. There’s a website about how to make one. And... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Education for Ministry

by Claudia Haltom Going back to school was not my idea of a good time. As a matter of fact, after I passed the bar exam, I swore I would always keep my driver’s license up to date so that there would never be a chance that I would have to take an exam ever again. Well, Education for Ministry (EfM) has helped me keep that promise and still move forward with study, academic exploration, theological reflection and fantastic debate and discussion. The EfM program offered by the University... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, July 17, 2017

The Great Banquet

by Laura S. Trott   One of the great wonders and joys of Godly Play classes is that they never go as planned. They all have a certain energy to them that is enriched by all of the children’s personalities and their reflections on the lessons. Although the stories give us a framework, they are designed to invite the Holy Spirit into our midst to see what may be revealed in our hearts and small classroom community. In a recent lesson called The Great Banquet, our small community... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, July 10, 2017

Getting to know the Rev. J. Scott Walters

The Rev. Scott Walters and his family will be at Calvary on Sunday, July 9. Take a moment to get to know Scott a little better.    What is your favorite food? Ardelle's molasses cookies.    If you weren't a priest, what would you do? I honestly have no idea. But it occurs to me that if there's a common thread in my odd vocational life, it's a preference for jobs that have existed for a long, long time. So I guess that rules out software... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 26, 2017

Son of Encouragement

by the Rev. Paul McLain A spiritual practice I find helpful and recommend is selecting a particular saint who serves as a guide to help inform and deepen your journey in Christ. I found such a saint in Barnabas, whose feast day is June 11. His name means “son of encouragement.” He became my chosen saint several years ago when a mentor priest asked me to give the announcements for the first time at the parish where we were serving. After the service, I asked him how I did. He... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 19, 2017

Ministry Spotlight: Communion of Saints

by Elizabeth Crosby Calvary friends sometimes ask why I like serving as a Eucharistic Minister . I usually just quip that it’s like being an acolyte—only so much easier—and I adored being an acolyte at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, where I grew up. The longer answer, though, which is also why I loved being an acolyte, is that as an EM I get to experience everything going on in the service up close. I can smell the flowers; I can feel the air conditioning... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 12, 2017

Being Known

by Scott Walters, Rector Among the bad habits my parents attempted to undo in my brother and me (mostly me, to be honest) was overuse of the phrase “I know.” For a time it was the readiest answer I had for almost anything.  “Scott, it’s time for dinner.”  “I know.”  “Scott, please take out the garbage.”  “I know.”  “Scott, Grandma got drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round as a... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 5, 2017

Walk with Jesus: a Holy Week Reflection

I’ve been singing in an Episcopal Church choir since my youth, and I’m not sure I remember a time that I haven’t been involved in Holy Week services. Holy Week has always been a very special week to me, and Easter would not be the same without it. I can’t imagine resurrection without the rest of the story, and Holy Week provides me with some answers.  My favorite service of the year is Maundy Thursday. After the welcome that Jesus received as he walked into... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pentatonix films Christmas video at Calvary

When Pentatonix came to Memphis in early November, they stayed an extra day to film the video for one of the songs on their newest Christmas album. The video for "O Come, All Ye Faithful" was filmed in Calvary's nave and features members of the Calvary choir in the background. Take a look:  O Come, All Ye Faithful - Pentatonix Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Main-Court-4th-Washington Project

by Margaret Craddock On Oct. 23, 40 diverse, interested people gathered in the Mural Room to learn about Calvary’s immediate neighborhood and to consider what we might do to make large and small improvements that can attract larger investments. The group enjoyed a box lunch, heard Calvary parishioner Tim Huebner’s history of the neighborhood, saw the exciting plans for Calvary’s block, fanned out in five groups to walk sections of the area, and then reconvened for a... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Simple Gift

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right,  'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. The lovely Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts , was written by Joseph Brackett in the mid-19th century. A slightly different version is in our 1982 Hymnal . Part of its loveliness, it seems to me, is that you don't need a Ph.D. to understand its meaning. The... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"For we need a little Christmas right this very minute"

by The Rev. Buddy Stallings, Priest-in-Charge Writing on the eve of the 2016 Election, which is permanently seared into our consciousnesses as individuals and writ large already in the history of the nation, I am thinking of happier things: the coming of one of our holiest seasons and the vibrant state of our parish. If life continues after tomorrow (and I for one am assuming that it shall), the most wonderful time of the year is barreling full speed toward us! Despite the creep of cynicism... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, December 5, 2016

Caring for One Another

Regardless of the candidate for whom each of us voted, most of us today are at the least surprised; and, quite honestly, many of us are deeply saddened. As one of your priests, it is neither my responsibility nor my right ever to support in an official way one candidate over another. I have tried to live by that understanding. That said, no one has ever fallen off the barstool upon learning whom I supported in this election. My reasons were personal, deeply felt, and drawn from what I... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Crazy Logic of Giving

by Mimsy Jones, Archdeacon At age 16, of my own free will, (my parents did not ‘ship me off’), I left home to spend my last two years of high school at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia. In spite of having to wear ‘day’ AND ‘night’ uniforms, plus hats (yes, hats) and gloves (I’m not kidding; this was the mid 1950s) to church across the street every Sunday, I loved being at St. Catherine’s.  Looking back and asking... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, November 7, 2016

Parishioner Spotlight: Sharon & Edwin Thorpe

In 2001, Sharon and Edwin Thorpe were in search of an Episcopal Church with a “diverse congregation who genuinely seemed to be concerned about other members of the church and active in carrying out ministry within the community, and an atmosphere that was welcoming and loving. Calvary seemed to be a good fit.” Edwin was Catholic and Sharon was Episcopalian. They had been referred to Calvary by a friend who liked our then-associate rector, the Rev. Allen Robinson. Edwin remembers,... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, September 12, 2016

Holding the hand of God

by The Rev. Audrey Gonzalez, Assisting Priest It had been many moons since I walked through the bowels of 201 Poplar. I participated in the Hands Around 201 prayer effort outside a few months ago, and I often go in the upper part to the 12 th floor, where the police director and chiefs and the 911 operators do their vital work. But the prison section is below the street level. And it is dreary. My visit was after Noon, the time of a shift change, so county officers were going home after... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Facing a new beginning

Being named priest-in-charge at Calvary during this unexpected time of discernment and search for a new rector came at just the right moment for me. After being retired for a little over a year from St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, I was becoming more than a little antsy. Conceptually retirement is nearly perfect, and in fact, it truly is good. But it is not perfect. It’s safe to say that it is good for everyone in my immediate circle that I am going back to work for a... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Search Committee for New Rector Appointed

Dear Calvary Community, For those of you fortunate enough to be in church last Sunday, you were witness to the joyful welcome of the Rev. Buddy Stallings as Calvary’s priest-in-charge. It is evident that Calvary is in excellent hands with Buddy, and we are very fortunate that someone with his experience, skill set and demeanor is available and willing to lead us during our transition.  To quickly begin the search process for a new rector, the vestry has... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Rev. Buddy Stallings named as Priest in Charge

The Rev. F. M. “Buddy” Stallings has been appointed by Bishop Johnson and enthusiastically approved by the vestry as Calvary’s priest in charge during our time of transition. As priest in charge, Buddy will do the work needed to help prepare Calvary to call her next rector. A native of Mississippi, Buddy is the recently retired rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church in midtown Manhattan. At St. Bart’s, he was a beloved leader and prolific fundraiser, and... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, July 11, 2016

Finding Hope

Dear friends, In just the past few days, we have seen the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and last night, five police officers in Dallas. Whenever tragedy strikes, fear grips us all. Fear is a natural response, and so is anger. But it is essential to remember to ground ourselves in prayer because praying is so important. However, prayer is not enough on its own. Now, more than ever, we are challenged to hold on to one of the most difficult and profound messages... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Friday, July 8, 2016

Parishioner Spotlight: Alicia Anderson

by Ebet Peeples, Assistant to the Rector Alicia Anderson’s family started attending Calvary when she was about five years old. A few years later she was baptized and then confirmed. In high school she became heavily involved in parish life: she served as an acolyte, was active in EYC, traveled to Honduras with Calvary twice, and during her 12th-grade year helped with programming for middle school youth. She says of her Calvary upbringing, “I am immensely grateful for the... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 20, 2016

Sharing news of a call to new ministry

The Rev. Christopher D. Girata, the current rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, has been called as the new rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas . “To state the obvious, we are very sad to see Chris and his family depart Calvary. However, we will say goodbye with extreme gratitude to him for all he has done for Calvary and with pride that he has been called to lead one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Thursday, June 16, 2016

The faith to love with abundance

Dear friends, I write to you today after yet another tragic mass killing perpetrated by someone whose hate and fear overwhelmed them. Early Sunday morning in Orlando, Fla., nearly 50 lives were lost, more injured, and untold numbers of families radically changed forever. As I grieve this tragedy, I hope to reach out to you with a word of comfort and hope. That comfort starts with me. As many of you know, I grew up in a small city outside of Orlando and many of my friends still live in the... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, June 14, 2016

G2H ministry: an interview with Brennan Seltzer

by Hilary Chipley, Director of Children Ministries Since February 2015, Calvary’s children and youth have packaged and distributed to parishioners over 1,300 G2H (Give to Hungry) bags. This program, created by Calvary youth, continues to flourish. Bags of food are packaged and distributed by Calvary children and youth each month. Recently, a fellow parent asked me if I knew of Brennan Seltzer’s personal G2H program. I asked Brennan and her parents about this and learned that... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 13, 2016


by The Ven. Mimsy Jones, Archdeacon A good friend recently said that she telephoned a priest in our diocese, only to hear his recorded message: "Today is my Sabbath; please leave a message; I will return your call tomorrow."  “What does that mean?” she asked. “I thought we were always supposed to be doing the Lord’s work? I never take a ‘day off.’” Fortunately (for her) we were exercising together when she said this, because... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 6, 2016

Come away with me

by the Rev. Eyleen Farmer, Associate Rector I love the lilting melody of the Norah Jones ballad, Come Away with Me . The opening lines— Come away with me in the night/Come away with me/And I will write you a song —evoke a sense of longing for being alone with the beloved, untethered by the demands of ordinary life. Jones' lyrics speak, of course, of the longing of human lovers to spend time together. But regardless of the circumstances of our lives—single, partnered,... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Let your light shine

by The Rev. Christopher D. Girata, Rector In the past few months, I have been as proud of Calvary Church as I have ever been. Although there are so many reasons to be proud of what we are doing, such as our beautiful worship, our excellent formation offerings, and our community events, what has risen to the top for me has been our civic presence. We continue to take steps toward a public witness of faith, and that is critical to our calling as disciples of Jesus.  In the fifth... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, May 23, 2016

Welcoming the Rev. Neil Raman

I am so pleased to announce that Bishop Johnson has appointed the Rev. Neil Raman to serve as curate at Calvary Episcopal Church, beginning this summer. Neil will come to us from the Diocese of Long Island, where he has already been ordained to the transitional diaconate, and we anticipate that he will be ordained to the priesthood later in the summer. He will graduate from the School of Theology at the University of the South in the next few weeks, and we will welcome Neil to Calvary on Sunday,... Read More
Posted by Christopher Girata at Friday, May 6, 2016

Welcoming the Rev. Buddy Stallings

Rector Chris Girata has the great pleasure and privilege to announce that Calvary welcomes a new assisting priest, the Rev. Buddy Stallings! Buddy is a gifted preacher and pastor, having served churches around the country, most recently as rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City. On May 29, Buddy retired as rector of St. Bart’s and now will be living most of the year in Memphis with his partner, Molitor Ford.   A native of Mississippi, Buddy knows his way... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Family Retreat

Do you want to get away, but can’t spend the entire weekend away? Calvary’s family retreat is your answer! Spend the evening at St. Columba in Bartlett on Friday, September 25. Friday night will be full of fun and relaxing activities for parents, children, and youth. We will roast marshmallows, play flashlight tag, sing karaoke, and much more! Cost is $15. Friday Night, September 25   4:00 - 5:30 p.m. - Check in at Scheibler Hall  4:30 - throughout the evening - Art with Liz... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Calvary welcomes new associate rector

From Rector Christopher D. Girata:  I have the great pleasure of introducing Calvary Episcopal Church’s newest associate rector, the Rev. Paul K. McLain III. Most recently, Paul served as sub-dean and canon of Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock. In addition to his time in Arkansas, Paul has had wonderful experiences serving churches around the country, including Connecticut, Kansas, and New Mexico. Although his experience has been broad, he has always considered Memphis an anchor in his... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Friday, August 7, 2015

Calvary communications recognized

by Robyn Mauldin Banks, Director of Communications Several of Calvary’s communications efforts received awards at the recent Episcopal Communicators conference held in Maryland in April.  An ALS Ice Bucket Challenge photo (pictured left, top) received the Award of Excellence for visual arts - photography, news/feature. A baptism photo (pictured left, below) from last year’s Pentecost service at the Metal Museum won an Award of Merit in the same category.   The 2014 Lenten... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Serving in Honduras

by Grace Bethell After much prayerful reflection and consideration, I have decided to return to Honduras for five weeks this summer. I am so excited about this challenging mission opportunity that God has presented to me. I cannot wait to share God’s love with those with whom I come in contact.    For the past nine years, spending time in Honduras has been a gift and bright spot in my life. I am so thankful to Calvary for giving me my first opportunity to travel to Honduras in... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Guiding imaginative hearts

by Ginny Strubing Just after college, I began teaching first and second grades. Though in a traditional classroom at the time, Maria Montessori’s “The Secret of Childhood,” resonated in a way that traditional methods of teaching did not, and I went on to become a Montessori teacher. Teaching the four-year-olds at Calvary has allowed me to bring my teaching experience into the spiritual world.  Teaching Godly Play is very similar to the Montessori method. Though the teachers... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Ministry Spotlight: Godly Play

If you have walked down the education wing on the second floor of Calvary during formation any time over the last ten years, you have witnessed our young people engaged in Godly Play.   Godly Play is a Montessori-based curriculum developed by Episcopal priest, Jerome Berryman, who is a graduate of the Center for Advanced Montessori Studies in Bergamo, Italy. According to Berryman, Godly Play’s goal is to “use the language of Christian tradition to encounter God and find direction in... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Second Chances

by Kim Moss, Hospitality HUB CEO Great things are happening just next door at the Hospitality HUB. Calvary Episcopal Church has been the principle supporter of the HUB since its inception in 2007 and without this support, the HUB would surely not exist. But why does it exist and what are we doing over here?   We provide our guests with a second chance at life: a helping hand to move them to achieving success in their lives. We do this by providing a host of services such as... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Parishioner Spotlight: Chris, Nicky, and Maddie Hitching

Calvary is many things to many people, and for Nicky & Chris Hitching, who each grew up as Episcopalians, it is, among other things, a fulfilling spiritual home after many years of being lapsed. Nicky began attending Calvary (sometimes, then all the time), shortly after moving to Memphis in 1993 from Washington, DC. When Chris, a native of Chattanooga, met Nicky in 2000, he began attending services, too. Their marriage was officiated by the Rev. Bill Kolb in 2001.     “I had... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

Led by the Spirit

by Terry Johnson Before I moved to Memphis, I had never been south of Indiana. When I arrived, I was surprised when the first question people asked was not, "What do you do?" or, "Where do you live?" but, "Do you have a church home?" followed by an invitation to join them at their next service regardless of my answer. I lived in Chicago, New York and Detroit, all cities which embraced spiritual diversity, and although many of my friends and colleagues were churchgoers, an equal number were... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

New Journeys

It's Wednesday, May 13, 2015, and I just finished my last class for Education for Ministry (EfM). On the drive home I thought about the last four years and wondered about those that had taken this journey before me and where time had gone. To think it all started with me picking up the church bulletin and reading about EfM classes that would start in the fall. It caught my attention. When I got home I looked it up online and thought, hum, this is interesting.  Two weeks later, after church,... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015

In the beginning was the Word

Baptized at the age of one or so in the Episcopal Church, I grew up feeling quite confident that I had a good understanding of Christianity. I knew God was amazing and that God loved me unconditionally. I sang with gusto during worship services. The Nicene Creed fascinated me. I had the Prayers of the People and Eucharistic Prayer memorized and served diligently most Sundays as an acolyte. We had a dedicated youth group with close relationships and fantastic adult mentors to teach our Sunday... Read More
Posted by Robyn Maudlin at Monday, June 1, 2015