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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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Unfinished

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06.10.18

Unfinished

Unfinished

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

Nothing is ever really finished in Guatemala, as far as I can tell. For those who don’t know, I returned early this morning from a two-week study trip there. You may have seen some of what I witnessed in the news. Last Sunday, the country – which has more volcanoes per square mile than any country in the world – experienced its worst volcanic eruption in a century. The city where my husband and I were staying – Antigua – was out of the direct line of fire. We were covered in a blanket of ash for a while, but that was it. The real damage happened in the surrounding villages. The victims were disproportionately poor. Those who had a means to leave did; those who didn’t were trapped or buried. Forget this or that earthly tent being destroyed; entire villages disappeared.

The volcano, Fuego, is known to be active. Just two nights before, Mike and I watched with awe as red-hot lava flowed down its side. No one in town seemed concerned. As long as Fuego did what it had always done – in the lifetimes of those affected at least – we’d be fine. The question came to mind more than once this past week – how do you build a life’s work when you’re surrounded by volcanoes? How can you be confident you’ll finish anything you start?

You can’t help but ask this in Antigua. The city was the capital of Guatemala until a 1773 earthquake left most of its colonial glory in ruins – the Cathedral, seemingly countless monasteries, convents and churches, government buildings. Over 200 years later, none of the buildings look exactly like they did before. Some have been rebuilt in part for their original purpose; many of the churches are still places of prayer. Others have been repurposed as hotels, museums, tourist attractions. And some appear as broken and purposeless as they must have seemed two centuries ago.

Why bother rebuilding at all? The essential geology of the place hasn’t changed. While builders have gotten wise in the art of what they call “earthquake chic,” there’s always an awareness that it can change in an instant. There have been at least 20 notable earthquakes and 14 significant eruptions since 1773. It might not be completely reasonable to rebuild or repurpose in Antigua, but I’m glad that people did. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Antigua is beautiful precisely in its brokenness – in all the room it creates for imagination, in the new life – the grass, the flowers, the trees – that can’t help but rise from its ruins.

What does any of this have to do with us here in DC? I could talk about the English-speaking Episcopal church I found there – another St. Alban’s, believe it or not – and muse about our interconnectedness as the body of Christ. I could stress the humanitarian needs for food and medicine and trauma counseling, or the structural problems that left the poorest of the poor so defenseless in the first place. But all this implies that they’re the only ones who struggle with incompleteness – that none of us have built our houses or life stories on potentially shifting sand. Today’s Scriptures, in one way or another, all show that’s not the case.

Take Samuel in today’s first reading. We are eyewitnesses as he watches his life’s work crumble before his very eyes. He’s spent his entire adult life as Israel’s last best judge – treating rich and poor alike with justice and integrity. But that kind of leadership doesn’t pass automatically from generation to generation. His sons drop the mantle spectacularly, and there’s no obvious successor waiting to pick it up. So the people demand that Samuel give them a king instead. After a brief wound-licking session with God, Samuel warns them and then agrees to give them what they want. Someone else will have to rebuild the relationship with God they’ve just destroyed, though. He’ll do his part, but he can’t see what they’re building anymore. From now on, it will be someone else to finish the job.

Who exactly would that be? Any bets on Israel’s kings soon prove themselves foolish. Eventually the people’s hopes rise again for a new kind of king – a Messiah who will fight their battles for them and finish the work of rebuilding Israel. For the record, Jesus wasn’t what any of them had in mind. He too in today’s Gospel had to wonder who could carry on his work of kingdom building. By chapter 3 of Mark’s Gospel, the religious leaders have already turned on him. Even his family suspects he’s out of his mind. But rather than close the circle and concentrate on his likeliest prospects of success, he opens his circle unimaginably wide and says that whoever does the will of God – whether they know that’s what they’re doing or not - is welcome to help him in his work. Looking back on this moment, it’s hard for me not to ask – if Jesus’ work of building the kingdom of God isn’t finished 2000 years later, then how can any of us expect to see completion in our own life’s work?

We could follow the road Paul starts to lead us down in our reading from 2nd Corinthians. We could focus not on our earthly tents, but on “the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” That sounds good at first, until you realize what cold comfort that must be to Guatemalans whose family members and homes have been buried in lava and ash. It’s one thing to know theoretically that tomorrow isn’t promised; it’s another to have it snatched away so violently. Jumping too quickly to the eternal denies the very real suffering of fellow children of God and is itself a kind of violence. But that doesn’t mean we can just dismiss Paul here for pie in the sky thinking. He’s subtler than that. What he says here is that there is more to our lives than what we can see. The tangible is not the only measure of our worth. It’s when we start reducing ourselves to what we own that we really get in trouble. Paul reminds us that the renewal God has in mind for us starts right here and now – day by day.

What does that renewal and rebuilding look like? For me, it looks a lot like the faith expressed in today’s psalm. I’ve been struggling all week with what to say today, and I keep coming back to the last verse of Psalm 138. After affirming what he trusts to be true of God – that God is love and faithfulness, that despite any appearances to the contrary God does care for the lowly – the psalmist ends with an astounding faith claim: “The LORD will make good his purpose for me.” Other translations say it like this: “the LORD will fulfill his purpose for me,” “the LORD will perfect that which concerneth me,” or most intriguingly, “the LORD will finish (or complete) me.” It doesn’t promise a particular time frame or even that we’ll be there to see it. But I still see it as incredibly good news.

Why? Because it’s not entirely on us to finish our life’s story. We don’t have the first or the last word on our lives; both belong resoundingly to God. We don’t have to finish our own narratives or decide in the end what our lives mean. We can leave that work in God’s hands. In the meantime, we can mourn whenever an earthly tent is destroyed, we can share our lingering fears, and then by the grace of God – we can find beauty in our brokenness and rejoice in the new life that can’t help but rise from our ruins. In the silence that follows, I invite you to consider what is unfinished in your life and how you might offer that to God to rebuild, repurpose or create something entirely new. In the Name of the One who is faithful to complete the work already started in us – Amen.