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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
8:00 a.m.       Holy Eucharist: Rite I (spoken)

9:15  a.m.       Holy Eucharist: Rite II

                        Children's Chapel

                        Teen Fellowship Service (Little Sanctuary)

11:00 a.m.      Misa in Español (Little Sanctuary)

11:30 a.m.      Holy Eucharist: Rite I

WEEKDAY SERVICES
Weekdays, except Tuesday, 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 9:15 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 10:30 to 11:30 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 9:15 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 9:15 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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Moral Injury

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03.05.17

Moral Injury

Moral Injury

Series: Lent

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

Tags: lent, ritual

            I know that many of you have participated in an excellent series in recent weeks that has included our own David Wood addressing what he calls ‘moral injury’, “a jagged disconnect from our understanding of who we are and what we and others ought to do and ought not to do.” [1] He began his book by telling the story of a twenty-two year old Californian infantryman called Nik Rudolph. In Afghanistan, and in the heat of battle Nik shot and killed a boy of twelve or thirteen who was spraying bullets at U.S. soldiers from a machine gun. What was a righteous and even laudable action in battle, saving the lives of others by killing the enemy was nonetheless a bruise on his soul, according to Wood, when he returned to civilian life where killing a child is against everything that civilized people hold dear. Moral injury is distinguished from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome which is a biological response to a perceived threat, starting at loud noises or being terrified in a crowd. It can go along with moral injury but doesn’t need to. In the same way, many of us can suffer from moral injury without fighting in a war, but war is a source of moral injury like no other. It occurs when we begin to reflect on what we have done and start thinking of ourselves as a bad person rather than as someone who has done a bad act. Moral injury according to David Wood is characterized by symptoms of “sorrow, remorse, grief, shame, bitterness, and moral confusion –What is right?—“ He goes on to reflect on multiple situations and what is involved in healing moral injury, including recognizing ancient practices of cleansing rituals for soldiers returning from war. 

            Rituals are not magic, but they can be ways of signaling and naming truth as we navigate difficult stuff. Sage, my lady wife who you will meet in due course, (and about whom I share with her explicit permission) – Sage tells of how helpful she found Episcopal liturgy following a horrible diagnosis of an inoperable malignant astrocytoma or brain tumor and the premature death of her father, a time when she did not know how to pray or what to say. 

            When Jesus  was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, he was tempted or tested by the devil. With each temptation, he is asked to betray himself, to be something other than the person he was to be. He was not going to take short cuts to addressing his hunger. He was not going to do anything silly or self-destructive as though it did not matter and he was not going to worship idols. What our tradition calls his being ‘without sin’, I call his being the human of absolute integrity, the wholly integrated person who unveiled the multitude of ways in which we damage ourselves and one another in a compromised world even at the cost of his own life. (More on that as we live together towards Easter this year.) 

            Our sins might be clues as to our own disintegration or they might grow to the level of moral injury, but in God’s grace we have rituals and ways of naming truth without pretending that we do not live in a compromised world and without declaring ourselves morally pure. Our baptism is much more about drowning, --dying with Christ and being raised with him as we come up from the waters—than it is about bathing or cleanliness (not that there is anything wrong with bathing, of course.) 

            The first time I was aware of coming to terms with this truth of the compromised world in a theological sense was one day in the refrectory or dining hall at Divinity School.  (it was in the dining hall that much of the real education took place!) I was at a table where we were having a conversation about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s participation in the German resistance and the attempts to murder Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was a brilliant young and brave theologian who was arrested and executed in a concentration camp just before the end of the Second World War. He is one of my pantheon of Saints and you will hear more about him from time to time. On that day as we ate lunch, one friend was arguing that killing was always wrong and that the only way for Christians to resist evil and bring about change was with techniques of non-violence. She pointed to Gandhi and MLK Jr. to make her point. Another friend responded by saying that attempting to kill Hitler was clearly the right and good thing to do given the slaughter for which he was responsible. He referred to Bonhoeffer’s own question—something like: “If I see a madman driving down a crowded shopping street, is it my duty as a pastor to comfort the wounded and dying or should I not try and wrench the steering wheel from his hands?” 

            I realized that what I believe is that joining the resistance and attempting to end the leading fascist’s life was clearly the right and good and best thing to do in the circumstances, and at the same time to acknowledge that killing is wrong and subject to confession and absolution. I‘m not here talking about cheap grace—‘do whatever you want and don’t worry because God will forgive you.—but rather costly grace that recognizes the real human cost of moral injury and the need every one of us has for grace and forgiveness if we are to taste the first fruits of the abundant life of the gospel. It is this reality that has allowed me to escort a parishioner past vile and ugly protesters into a clinic for an abortion. It is this same reality that allows me not to be destroyed by the many moral compromises that come with living in the land of the free, including the fact that we are better off with some of our brothers and sisters being imprisoned and behind bars. It is this same reality that allows me to celebrate the love between two people of which the sign is often a diamond ring that is steeped in human blood. 

            Naming our specific sin can be helpful in acknowledging our fundamental sinfulness and so coming to accept forgiveness and its closely related healing of moral injury so that we are not forever limited to categorizing ourselves and others as miserable sinners. 

            This season of Lent provides ample opportunity for ritual in which we address and focus on all that is deathly in our lives including the temptation to take short cuts, doing anything to satisfy our appetites even when our actions harm us or others; including the temptation to do something silly like drive recklessly, to use pornography, to drink in order to deaden our feelings or the like; including the temptation to make idols out of our families or our church or to allow our self-esteem to be bound up with grades or metrics, or organizing our lives around some material object or objective. All such sin leads to our disintegration and today in particular we are reminded that what really matters is that we not live by bread alone; that we remember the word and the trustworthiness of the Love who made us for Love, not putting God to the test; that we worship and serve only that which is life-giving. 

            I’d like to invite you today and every week from now on, to take a minute or two of silence for our own continuing to respond to the gospel. Some of you will it too long at first but I expect that before long I will hear that you would like the silence to last longer. Use it in any way useful for you, but today consider both the reality that we live in a world of moral compromise, maybe offer a prayer for our troops and our veterans and perhaps give thanks for the abundant grace of God by which we live. In silence and in response to the Gospel, let us pray….[1] David Wood, What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars. (Little Brown, 2016) p. 8