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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 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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The Hidden God

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12.03.17

The Hidden God

The Hidden God

Series: Advent

Speaker: The Rev'd Jim Quigley

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN

Today we begin the astounding season of Advent in the church.  I say astounding because Advent is a season when we wait for nothing less than the miraculous.  Advent is the season we pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom in this world – thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!   We hope and we pray that God will finally break in.  That God will finally break through!  I can’t think of a better place to begin the journey than with our reading from Third Isaiah.  When I teach about the book of Isaiah I remind people that it’s a book written by three distinct authors writing about the ways of God in three distinct historical contexts.   The book of the prophet Isaiah took 232 years to write!

First Isaiah was a castigator, writing to the people of Israel around 700 b.c.e when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was annexed to the Assyrian empire.  The message of First Isaiah was a prophetic condemnation written to a people gone astray from the ways of their God, a word declaring the fall of the Northern Kingdom as God’s punishment for Israel’s apostasy. 

Second Isaiah was a comforter, a prophet whose message was pure consolation.  The message of Second Isaiah is a love letter written to the people of Israel a couple hundred years later, just before the fall of Babylon to the armies of Cyrus, King of Persia (October 29, 539 b.c.e).  Second Isaiah addresses a people in exile, those longing for deliverance from captivity: “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.  Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice is calling, Clear the way for the Lord in this wilderness; make smooth in this desert a highway for our God!”

Third Isaiah was a questioner.  Third Isaiah wrote a decade or two after Second Isaiah and the message of his was neither condemnation nor consolation but lamentation. “We all have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.  We fade like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away… for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity...  And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.”

The lament of Third Isaiah is part of a larger unit that begins in chapter 63 with a recollection of God’s deeds in the past, God’s fiery presence as a redeemer, the mighty One who delivered the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt.  Taken together in this larger context, the opening verses of the passage we read today are Isaiah’s pleading for that saving presence to come again: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!”  Isaiah is calling on the God of ancient history, the God of the Exodus, the God who “heard the cry of God’s people” and intervened on Israel’s behalf.  But in Third Isaiah’s day, the God of the Exodus was in hiding.  Where are you, Lord?  The hidden God of third Isaiah is like a parent practicing tough love, this time refusing to rescue Israel from their distress.   Theologically speaking the lament of third Isaiah raises profound questions about the very nature of God’s ways in the world.  Does God act one way at one moment and differently in another or is God the same yesterday today and forever?

I can’t imagine that there are any of us here this morning who have not wondered the very same.  Third Isaiah is a frustrated believer looking for a reasonable and holy hope, putting it mildly.   He’s searching for answers and desperately trying to reconcile the God of his tradition with the seemingly absent God in the present.  Is God strong to deliver?  The question of third Isaiah is like that of the young of Elie Wiesel at a concentration camp in Buchenwald, who when seeing a Jewish child hanging from the gallows asked,  “Where is God now?” O that you would just come down!  God saved the Israelites from Pharaoh so why not Hitler?  How can we remain faithful if our own suffering and the suffering of our age seem beset with a God who’s gone AWOL?   

As Elie Weisel saw a fellow Jew hanging on those gallows in Buchenwald Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his jail cell in Tegel: “God would have us know that we must live as men who manage our lives without him (Letters and Papers from Prison).”  That’s a rather remarkable claim, but it’s part of the reality of what it means to be in relationship with the God of Israel and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachtani?  “Before God and with God we live without God,” Bonhoeffer writes.  As incarnate in our savior Jesus Christ, “God let’s himself be pushed out of the world and onto the cross.  [God] is weak and powerless in the world and that is the way, the only way, [God] is with us and helps us.”  That’s the astounding end to the Advent of God in history, in the redeeming of our time.  Remaining faithful in the midst of adversity is not as much about understanding what God might or could do as much as it is about understanding what God doesn’t, or will not do.

I’m deeply engrossed in Volume One of Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology.  It’s an extraordinary work that paints a picture of God’s nature through the lens of Holy Scripture. In it she reaches back to biblical texts that we don’t pay much attention to, like the book of Numbers, reminding us that we will not travel far in the school of scripture if we don’t wander the wilderness road of the Old Testament; if we dismiss these ancient texts as ‘primitive religion’ soon to be supplanted by a more favorable rationalism or scholasticism or progressivism, a God of Wrath now thankfully supplanted by a New Testament God of Love.  “Such cheap reading of the Bible can never undergird a serious theological encounter with the Word of the Lord,” she brilliantly writes. If I understand what she’s trying to say I think that she comes to the same conclusion as Bonhoeffer:  God’s power lies in God’s weakness in the world, or said in another way in God’s vulnerability to the world.  The way of God is the way of vulnerable, non-coercive love – humble, wise, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and surpassing glorious love.

In the midst of his lament Third Isaiah hints at the same kind of understanding.  After a plea for the all-powerful God, the God of Israel’s past, to tear open the heavens and come down so that the mountains would quake at God’s presence in the face of Israel’s adversaries, he shifts his position and admits that despite what he wants, God is the Father.  And not only is God a Father but God is also a potter.  An artist.  A maker.  I read that transition in the text as a call to obedience akin to the words of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane:  “Despite what I am hoping for, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay and you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand, mold us, teach us your way.  Shape us!  Not our will but yours be done.

We’ll end with a prayer:  Heavenly Father, in our customary time in response to the gospel we invite you, our maker and our redeemer, to remold us in new way.  In your way, as you will.  May your hidden word guide us and reshape our hearts and minds, and all to the glory of your name.

Amen.