Do This In Remembrance Of Me

I love how, in the Jewish tradition, memory is not just individual but also communal. For the Jewish people, collective memory flows through ritual and recital. 

This past weekend the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb has a lot of similarities to the Passover seder.

Seder customs include telling the story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matza, partaking of symbolic foods, and reclining in celebration of freedom. The Seder is among the most commonly celebrated Jewish rituals performed by Jews all over the world.

On 9/11, the New York City Fire Department responded to the airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers. They rushed in as the office workers rushed out.

Elevators are generally tied to a fire detection system and are not available to occupants once the alarm sounds. So firefighters take to the stairs.

The importance of the Seder dinner is to relive Passover. You retell the stories, so you don’t forget and pass these traditions on to the next generation.

So Metro Atlanta Firefighters from various communities participated in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Sovereign Condominium on Saturday, September 10, 2022. The event is a fundraiser to help families when tragedy strikes a firefighter and they need help.

Some firefighters not only brought their children to witness the event but carried them while climbing the 110 stairs to remember. The children will see how taxing this is on their parents as those steps become more and more complex with each step.

What I love about the Passover Seder dinner is encompasses more than just the food. Each family adds to the first Passover stories, telling their family struggles through the years. They take what happened in the first Passover and connect their life story to it through their own families’ and communities’ stories.

Chaplain Dorie Griggs gives the invocation.

Dorie Griggs, my wife, and chaplain of the Roswell Fire Department gave the invocation for the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. In its simplest form, invocation is a prayer or request for the spiritual presence of God in a ceremony or event. So, she was asking for God’s presence in the ritual just as Jews say a prayer each Passover.

Eternal God of all the generations, we welcome this festival of freedom with joyful hearts. We have assembled together seeking Your presence. As You redeemed our ancestors from the slavery of Egypt and led them to the land of their inheritance, so have You been our Redeemer and Protector throughout the centuries. You have watched over us and guided us at all times.

Passover prayer for first night

We started the day with an invocation asking God to be present with us. Then, we told stories of firefighters’ families whose lives had benefited from the funds raised in the past 21 years since 9/11.

The widow of a fallen firefighter tells her husband’s story and how the funds raised in past years helped her family during this difficult time of loss.

I thought it was touching that the day ended with CW 69 reporter interviewing my wife. Sharing the importance of remembrance of 9/11 firefighters and also firefighters in our communities who are sacrificing for us. We must tell those stories.

A CW69 reporter interviews Chaplain Dorie Griggs.

Hobby or Profession? | Calling or Vocation?

photo by: Dennis Fahringer

“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”


Two groups in my life have approached this topic of vocation with one thing in common. Both groups ask themselves if they have the talent to pursue a profession.

These two groups are photographers and those in ministry. They both start in photography or church without pay. They are hobbyists or volunteers in these vocations.

As they grow in their knowledge and skills within these two professions, many will be facing deciding whether this will be a career or a hobby/volunteer.

How do you know if your calling to ministry is real?

  1. You possess the traits of a spiritual leader. In Paul’s letter, 1 Timothy 3, he describes the qualities of God’s shepherds.
  2. You have a genuine desire to serve God.
  3. Others are telling you’re well-suited for ministry.
  4. God is flinging open the door of opportunity.
  5. You’re spirit-filled.
National Geographic contributor Amy Toensing is a guest speaker at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 15, 2014. [X-E2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/17, ƒ/3.6, (35mm = 54)]

I believe hobby photographers asking if they should do this professionally ask the same questions.

  1. You possess the traits of a Photographer.
  2. You have a genuine desire to serve others with your work.
  3. People are asking to purchase your work or hire you.
  4. The door of opportunity is wide open to you.
  5. Photography fills your spirit with joy.

I have done both of these in one career.

I responded to being called to ministry in high school. My spirit was responding to God, wishing me to devote my life to serving in ministry full-time. They often become pastors, missionaries, nonprofit organization directors, and parachurch leaders. Over many years this calling would be merged with photography.

I took this photo of Hannah Baldwin during the Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshop in Togo, West Africa. [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/200, ƒ/8, (35mm = 24)]

Paying The Bills & Fulfilling A Call

I think those with a faith background may be aware of the Apostle Paul, who had a dramatic calling by God on the way to Damascus. You may or may not be aware that his occupation was as a tentmaker. This is how he paid his bills.

During those times, synagogues did not have a single leader who preached every week like a rabbi or pastor does today.

So the concept of full-time ministry as we think of it is more recent than when the Apostles lived.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff 2012 Clemson vs Auburn [NIKON D4, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 8000, 1/2000, ƒ/3.5, (35mm = 300)]

Part-time or Full-time or Hobby

Those called to the ministry and photographers familiar with others tell them they’re well-suited for that role.

You will find that all those who become professionals have an affirmation made by others.

Photographers will have people asking them to do photography for them. Those who feel a call into ministry will have a faith community asking them to serve in various roles.

If no one asks you to serve them, you will most likely remain a hobbyist or volunteer.

Now the difference between part-time and full-time is usually something that takes time.

As a person who pursued the call into full-time ministry, I first thought I would be going in the direction of a pastor. However, the church and my father, a minister, advised me to attend college and seminary. So while I was studying, I was doing other jobs and leading the church in volunteer roles.

My path with photography was similar. I first realized I needed education and did this with one-on-one learning with my uncle, a professional photographer. I bought lots of books and then spent almost all my free time in college doing photography. Finally, I got a part-time job working for the college paper and yearbook. These are paying positions. In my senior year, the photographer for East Carolina University quit their job and asked me to fill in until they found a full-time photographer.

During that time, the chief photographer for The Hickory Daily record saw my work and offered me a staff position.

At that moment, I could fulfill my calling to ministry with photography.

Earlier my uncle had introduced me to his mentor and former boss, Don Rutledge, who was doing photography for a missionary organization.

After covering President Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday School Class at Maranatha Baptist Church, Ben Gray, a photojournalist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is transmitting his photos from downtown Plains, Georgia, on August 23, 2015. [NIKON D750, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/500, ƒ/3.5, (35mm = 28)]


How do you know you should do something professionally? Regarding photography or the ministry, you must have others confirm that you are gifted. They will contact you and ask you to do photography, or if in church, they will call you and ask you to lead something in the faith community.

It would help if you spent time learning before you can be ready to work professionally.

These jobs don’t have to be full-time. You may find that your lifestyle for your family is better suited for you to keep your daily job to pay the bills and pursue your calling part-time.

You may find that you may need to pursue this full-time. However, I recommend that this is when you know this choice allows you to pay all your bills.