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Welcome

Welcome to St. Alban’s Church! Every Sunday, and most days in between, people gather in this place to worship, to learn, to grow, to share the joys and struggles of our lives, and to seek God’s grace in the midst of our lives. We do not come because we have it all figured out, but because we are seeking light on the way. We come as we are and welcome one another.

On this website, you can find information about our worship, our classes for people of all ages, membership at St. Alban's, and about how we seek to make a difference in this world. We warmly encourage you to join us for a Sunday service or for some of the many other events that happen here. You belong at St. Alban’s.

Contact us with any questions. Call (202) 363-8286 or email the church office.

Service Times

SUNDAY SERVICES (after Labor Day through May)
8:00 a.m.       Holy Eucharist: Rite I (spoken)

9:00  a.m.      Holy Eucharist: Rite II

                        Children's Chapel

11:15 a.m.      Misa in Español (Little Sanctuary)

11:15 a.m.      Holy Eucharist: Rite II (Rite I during Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter)

WEEKDAY SERVICES
Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday, 9:00 a.m.  Daily Morning Prayer

Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.                                    Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Directions

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church is located next to the Washington National Cathedral at the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in the northwest section of the District of Columbia.

From either direction on the north loop of the Capital Beltway/I-495 follow signs for Route 355/Wisconsin Ave south toward DC. St. Alban’s is located on the left just before the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW. Make a left onto Lych Gate Rd before you reach Massachusetts Ave. As you enter the drive, the church will be on your left and Satterlee Hall and the Rectory on the right. Stay on Lych Gate until it becomes Pilgrim Rd.

From any Virginia main in-bound thoroughfare (George Washington Memorial Parkway, I-395, Route 50, I-66), follow signs to Rosslyn and take the Key Bridge from Rosslyn north across the Potomac River into Georgetown. Go right on M St, left on Wisconsin Ave. St. Alban’s is located on the right just after the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW. Make a right onto Lych Gate Rd after passing Massachusetts. As you enter the drive, the church will be on your left and Satterlee Hall and the Rectory on the right. Stay on Lych Gate until it becomes Pilgrim Rd.

Parking is available on Pilgrim Road Monday-Friday after 3:30 pm and all day Saturday and Sunday. Parking is also available in the Cathedral’s underground garage for a fee Monday- Saturday and for free on Sunday.  You may also park on neighborhood streets according to DC parking signs.

What to Expect

Visiting a church for the first time can be a bit daunting. So we have tried to put together the answers to some of the questions you’re likely to have and to ensure that you find a warm welcome here. Click on the questions to learn more.)

How do you worship?

What time are services on Sunday morning?

How long do services last?

Where can I park?

Do you offer programs for children?

What should I wear?

Do you have provisions for the differently-abled?

For Your Kids

Children’s Ministry

At St. Alban’s Parish the formation of our children is a high priority.  While we know that a significant amount of a child’s faith comes from the home, we aim to provide excellent children’s formation throughout the year to complement the formation that is ongoing in a child’s life.  Our goal is to help children easily point to the love of God in their lives.

Worship: Children’s Chapel meets at the start of the 9:00 a.m. service in Nourse Hall. Children join the congregation in "big church" at the Peace, in time for Eucharist.

Education: All church school classes resume the Sunday after Labor Day with our annual Open House. Instruction starts the following Sunday. 

Nursery care: Child care is available from 9:00 to 11:05 a.m. during the program year (September to May) for infants and children under 3 who aren’t quite ready for our 2s & 3s class.

Learn more about Children's Ministries


Youth Ministry

Four teen groups participate in formation classes at St. Alban’s on Sunday mornings.  We use the nationally recognized Episcopal curriculum “Journey to Adulthood," or J2A.  J2A has two guiding principles: 1) Manhood and womanhood are gifts of God; and 2) Adulthood must be earned. This is a strong program with over 50 youth participating, many of whom engage in a wide variety of ministries at St. Alban’s. Two or three adults mentor each of the groups for two years, sharing their own faith journeys and forming strong bonds of fellowship with the participants. 

Worship:  St. Alban’s Teen Service Fellowship starts at 9:00 a.m. and is a separate service just for our teens held in the Little Sanctuary at St. Albans School. This interactive service offers teens time to talk about life, the Gospel, and to celebrate Eucharist together.  The teens return to "big church," before heading to their classes at the conclusion of the 9:00 a.m. worship service.  Friends are always welcome.

Learn more about Youth Ministries

The Episcopal Church

As Episcopalians, we follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe God is active in our everyday lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and with each other in Christ. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love. The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all of its members.

We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer. We believe the Holy Scriptures are the revealed Word of God. In worship we unite ourselves with one another to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God's Word, to offer prayer and praise, and to celebrate the Sacraments. The Celebration of Holy Eucharist is the central act of worship in accordance with Jesus' command to His disciples. Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion with 70 million members in 165 countries.  The word "Episcopal" refers to government by bishops. The historic episcopate continues the work of the first apostles in the Church, guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church. Both men and women, including those who are married, are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. 

We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person. We welcome all to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.

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Boundary Violations & Border Crossings: Talitha Cum!

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07.01.18

Boundary Violations & Border Crossings: Talitha Cum!

Boundary Violations & Border Crossings: Talitha Cum!

Series: Pentecost

In hearing the pair of healing stories in today’s passage from Mark’s gospel we might be tempted toward asking a profoundly existential question:  Can Jesus heal me?  The need for healing is ubiquitous.  Personal, physical, spiritual, emotional, communal or societal, our need for healing, or salvation, abounds.   Can Jesus heal us?  These healing stories also raise a pastoral dilemma for people seeking God or faith whether in first century Palestine or any time in human history:  Why are some healed and others not?  Jesus healed Jarius’ daughter so why not mine?   Why the woman with the flow of blood and not my husband?  Is God really a healer, or not?  Jesus told the woman with the flow of blood that it was her faith, not him, that made her well.  So, if that’s really the case, does my own suffering or the suffering of others come as a result of a faith that is lacking?  Yes? No? Maybe so?

While keeping in mind the cognitive dissonance that miracle stories like these and others throughout the bible evoke within us and while being pastorally sensitive to how a preacher might as easily provoke dread as much as hope in the hearts of the faithful by attempting to answer these types of questions, a more nuanced understanding of the scripture before us might be in store for us today.  A slower, or maybe a quieter reading of the text, and our listening for what the story might be trying to tell us or teach us about how God’s Kingdom was made manifest in Jesus’ day, and as a corollary how God’s Kingdom might be made manifest in our own, might be revealing.  That slower reading, to be sure, won’t answer any of our existential questions but might well lead us to a more faithful or bolder or riskier witness in God’s world.

So here goes.  We need to do a little unpacking.  At this point in Mark’s Gospel Jesus is on the move.  Today’s scripture passage begins as a great crowd gathers around him after he “had crossed again to the other side.” He’s been casting out demons and curing the sick and that’s what has garnered all of the attention, but he’s also been crossing boundaries.  Going back and forth between Jewish and Gentile, or non-Jewish, regions.  This morning he’s back in his own territory when Jarius, a leader in the synagogue, fall to Jesus’ feet while repeatedly begging him to come and lay hands on his daughter so that she may “be made well – sozo - and live.”  So, Jesus goes.   Along the way the woman with the hemorrhage comes.  Given where they are she’s likely Jewish.  She’s been bleeding for twelve years without a cure.  Her condition and her orthodoxy declare her unclean, impure, alienated from family and friends, untouchable and unable to touch.  Which means she’s also desperate, unnoticed.  Desperate and unnoticed people do desperate things and so she violates, or reaches past the purity codes, seeking her salvation.  She makes her way through the crowds, grabs the tzitzit dangling from Jesus’ robe and immediately she feels as if she’s been released from her bondage. 

I don’t want to get too far into the weeds here but the next thing that happens in Mark’s story seems a little strange.  After being touched, Jesus, immediately aware that “Power had gone forth from him,” asks, “who touched me?”  His disciples’ response to him is ironic: “Who touched you, you ask?  You see these crowds; don’t you mean who didn’t touch you?”   But the boundary was violated.  And Jesus knew it.  The unclean had touched the clean.  An offense, a violation, had occurred.  Jesus was now ritually impure.  Which means that now he can’t touch anybody either.  Not without a few ritual baths and a few days outside the tent.  Purell can’t fix this.  And we remember what he was on his way to do.  To touch Jarius’ daughter so that she too, could be saved.  The woman, this time, not Jarius, falls at Jesus’ feet, in fear and trembling, and confesses to Jesus “her whole truth.”  The boundary violator confesses to the boundary keeper, and the boundary keeper responds with compassion, not separation.  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your dis-ease… your citizenship as a beloved child of God and your membership in the beloved community is restored, welcome to the Kingdom of God!”

And of course, the story goes on from there, gets thicker.  By the time Jesus gets to Jarius’ house the girl is dead.  She was only… twelve.  The woman suffered for twelve years and the girl was only twelve years old.  Hopefully we’ve all been engaged in scripture long enough to know why Mark uses that number.  Twelve sons of Jacob.  Creating the twelve tribes.  Jesus calling the twelve apostles.  Twelve, twelve, twelve.  I’m not a numerology guy but some do say that twelve is the result of three – representing the divine – and four – representing the cosmos – meet.  When temporal governance reflects God’s justice and loving-kindness.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… Talitha cum. 

As Ched Meyers, my favorite interpreter of Mark’s Gospel summarizes this healing story – or salvation/sozo narrative – Mark’s story shows that only when the outcast is restored to true daughterhood can the daughter of the synagogue be restored to true life.  This is the faith that the privileged must learn from the poor.  That the citizen must learn from the alien.   And it’s a story that summarily might be rendered as the reality that only when the last are first will God’s Kingdom come.  Only when the outcast is restored to true daughterhood can the daughter of the synagogue be restored to true life.

In Mark’s story, Jarius, the leader of the synagogue is, metaphorically at least, the leader of a nation.  His daughter is dying and this daughter is, undoubtedly for Mark, a symbol.  Not only is the synagogue dying but so are its children.  Jarius was the overseer of a body politic that so badly needed repentance and “res-torah-tion”.   By the end of the pericope not only the woman with the hemorrhage but Jarius – and we might add Jesus too – all violated their own orthodoxy in the name of compassion or necessity.  The Kingdom came.

When writing this sermon and reading Mark’s story, I couldn’t help but to remember Rosa Parks and the day when after years of suffering as an African American woman she just got tired and decided to touch Jesus’ cloak and take her seat on the front of that Montgomery bus, inspiring a nation to repentance, to healing, to salvation.  So many years later – fifty or more – our body politic is guilty of not heeding her witness.  Still later when reading a recent issue of The Christian Century I read a commentary on the passage from Mark’s Gospel appointed for this week by Willie Dwayne Francois III, senior pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pleasantville, NJ:  “Resilient, rebellious reaches threaten the logic of exclusion and the politics of purity.  Harriet Tubman built an underground railroad.  Nannie Helen Burroughs reshaped education for black women and girls.  Jarena Lee preached the gospel in a sexist church.  Ida B. Wells exposed the atrocities of American Lynching.  Fannie Lou Hammer, who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” changed the Democratic party…. We have to keep reaching for moral high ground and for justice.  Your next reach may shift the history of the world.”

In the name of God, and in our customary time of silence in response to the Gospel, we remember all who pray, or beg, for healing and restoration or repentance.  We pray for the leaders of this land.  We remember friends and loved ones and all who suffer, especially those whose lives demand the desperate crossing of the many human boundaries that prevent life and salvation for all.   Help us Lord, to preserve the boundaries that keep us whole and to break down those which only divide.  We repent of the evil we have done and the evil on our behalf.  In your mercy, Lord, heal us, whatever your healing and salvation means for each of us.  Inspire our next reach and help us shift the history of the world.  

Amen