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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

                        Teen Fellowship Service (Little Sanctuary)

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 10:15 to 11:05 a.m. for children under 3 who aren't quite ready for our 2s and 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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Humility and Courage

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09.03.17

Humility and Courage

    Humility and Courage

    Series: Pentecost

    Speaker: The Rev'd Geoffrey M. St J. Hoare

                I have been enjoying Alex Ryrie’s book called Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World. It touches on all the great figures but is really more of a history of Protestantism as a movement from Reformation to our own day. One of the points he makes in his introduction, and which is borne out throughout the book, is that Protestantism has proven enduring by virtue of its flexibility and adaptability in varying historical circumstances. The downside of this flexibility and adaptability is that all too often Protestant theology has been used in the service of violence, world wars, racial purity, slavery and apartheid to name a few. We have heard some Protestants declare natural disasters to be God’s judgment on this or that. God spare our friends in Texas from that kind of nonsense. It is also true that Protestant theology has been in the forefront of challenging the very evils espoused by others and frequently instrumental in bringing about their end. Certainly, that was true of William Wilberforce and the evangelicals who brought an end to the slave trade. 

                Here is how it worked in the instance of apartheid in South Africa. The Afrikaner National Party developed, in part, to secure and promote Afrikaner identity which was threatened in some respects by the British conquest of South Africa and subsequently by the fall of the Nazis (somewhat admired by many Afrikaners) at the end of the Second World War. Ryrie acknowledges that “Apartheid was of course more about money, power and fear than it was about religion.”[1] The white minority that controlled most of the land, industries, mines and cities feared that if they loosened their grip, the result would be that they would be swept away in a tide of resentment. But they also needed to believe at some level –as is true of all of us-- that what they were doing was right and good and holy. Apartheid was justified theologically based on the clear and obvious Biblical principle that diversity is God’s will. The Hebrew Scriptures not only make that obvious but also implies that the primary unit of that diversity is the nation. Ryrie writes: “A nation is a spiritual entity, defined by its common culture and way of life. It is easy to conclude that not only nations themselves but their cultures are created by God, and it is their duty to preserve those cultures to the glory of the God who created them.”[2] It was a small step for the threatened Afrikaner “nation” to see the Bantu or South African blacks as a separate “nation”. The principle was enshrined in the Dutch Reformed Church by a group of theologians from Stellenbosch University who saw themselves as promoting Christian values including a ban on interracial marriage. Ryrie comments: “It was possible to say, with a straight face, that none of this was about racism.”[3]

     

                I share this because it is all too easy for us to condemn such thinking with hindsight while being blind to the theologies that are in the air we breathe and which shape our responses to all manner of challenges today. One of those is sometimes called the ‘myth of redemptive violence’ or the idea that violence is somehow part of God’s plan and purpose for the world. The violence I am talking about takes many forms from bullying and coercion to capital punishment and war. Certainly, the Hebrew Scriptures are filled with examples of how God allegedly used bloodshed to bring about godly purpose. But it is also the case that we can see theological development over the historical periods covered by our Old Testament in all kinds of ways, some of them finding their culmination in the story of Jesus. Today we read: “Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering…and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” It is that ‘must’ about which we have to be careful. I suspect that the majority of our co-religionists hear the word ‘must’ as meaning that Jesus’ suffering and death is somehow desired by God, planned by God or otherwise brought about by God in order to secure some greater good. This is the theology that hears “Jesus died for our sins” as “Jesus died in our place to save us from the consequences of our sins.” Somehow the proper response of God to sin is understood to be violent punishment and death. This theology believes that God brings about this ghastly story as the means by which we can have eternal life and avoid the eternal punishment we deserve because Jesus took the chop for us at Calvary. If you believe this and believe that such a God is worthy of worship, then it is a very small step to justifying all manner of violence as somehow right and good and holy. 

                I do not believe that the word ‘must’ in our gospel implies that what has to happen is of God. I believe that ‘must’ is an inevitable consequence of Jesus’ life of absolute integrity (which our tradition calls being ‘without sin’). Jesus’ confrontation with the powers that would keep the poor in their place and govern who and what is righteous will lead inevitably to his violent death as a kind of scapegoat at the hands of the authorities. Part of what happens in the story of Jesus is that our violent ways of managing our anxieties are unveiled or shown for what they are and so part of our salvation because we are freed from the necessity of continuing the cycle of believing the violence can ever be redemptive. ‘Jesus died for our sins’ becomes not ‘died in our stead as a substitute for us’ but rather ‘died as a consequence of our sins as a participant in our lives making possible a new way of living.’ 

                The God revealed here is the same one shown to Moses from the burning bush: Yahweh which means something like ‘I am who I am’ or ‘I am who I’m becoming’ or ‘I’m becoming who I am.’ In other words, God is shown to be a God that cannot be governed or controlled or used as a tool in our theological justifications that make wrong into right. This is the God, the motivating and Holy Spirit behind the Anglican resistance to Apartheid under the leadership of Trevor Huddleston in the 1950s and Desmond Tutu in the 1980s.  It is that same Spirit that led the Dutch Reformed Calvinist colleagues throughout the world to get clear about the evils of apartheid, with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches declaring in 1982 “that apartheid is a sin, and that the moral and theological justification of it is a travesty of the gospel, and in its persistent disobedience to the Word of God, a theological heresy.”[4] 

                Resistance to norms that seem acceptable to so many requires both the courage of our convictions and, at the same time, profound humility in the recognition that we too could be wrong. Both courage and humility are necessary for those who would “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow in the way that Jesus has led. The implications of this understanding of the gospel are many and are the stuff of sermons yet to come, classes yet to be taught and books yet to be written. For now, in our time of silence for prayer, can we recommit ourselves to the way of non-violence whenever possible and determine anew to act on our most cherished beliefs with both courage and humility in the days to come. In silence and in response to the gospel, let us pray…

     

    [1] Alex  Ryrie, Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World (Random House 2017) p. 568 in the electronic version.

    [2] Ibid., p.569

    [3] Ibid., p.573

    [4] Ibid., p.589