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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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What Kind of King Is This?

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07.29.18

What Kind of King Is This?

What Kind of King Is This?

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

Who wouldn’t want to be king? In today’s Old Testament reading at least, kings have a pretty good gig. They can choose to stay at home while other people fight their battles. As long as the country perceives itself as strong (which Israel did during David’s time), they can get away with quite a bit. They can get a blank check on sexual misconduct, it seems, stage elaborate cover-ups, and when those don’t work – they can sacrifice their supposed allies without doing the dirty work themselves. How could this story about King David possibly be the Word of the Lord? For better or worse, this passage is just a fragment in a much larger story. Don’t worry – David’s reckoning starts with next week’s reading. He doesn’t get away with it; the effects of his actions poison his family and weaken his nation. But let’s be honest - haven’t we had enough already of contemplating the seediness of our leaders? Whatever happened to lighting a candle instead of merely cursing the darkness? Is this really the best our faith can offer us?

Surely there are other reasons folks seek to lead others in the public realm. It’s not just about ego and sucking up air time. Political power also enables us to change lives for the better and have a far greater impact through the laws we enact and enforce. We Monday morning quarterbacks and Facebook pontificators have a lot to say; but unless we’re on the field and in the game, our color commentary doesn’t really do much. Individual efforts often lead to charity, which can help in the short-term; but harnessing a community or an entire country to combat hunger or poverty, for example - that can actually create lasting, generational change.

So, assuming that Jesus in today’s Gospel wanted lasting, generational change for the poor and sick who continually crossed his path, why wouldn’t he want to be king? For almost anyone else, feeding over 5000 hungry people would be the perfect campaign kickoff. But here we’re told, “when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” Why not ride the wave of his popularity and seize the moment? Perhaps because he knew it wouldn’t work. We don’t need to assume that Jesus was purely idealistic in his approach to changing the world; he had a pragmatic side too. A mob of desperate Galileans was no match for the Roman empire, and he knew it. Of course, it wasn’t right that Rome had colonized and overtaxed them – that their own government exported their best natural resources and made it harder for them to feed themselves. But sometimes it’s not enough to be right. You need to be right at the right time with the right people backing you. Maybe Jesus knew it wasn’t yet his time.

Or perhaps he knew that he wasn’t what this crowd really wanted. They wanted someone to lead them into battle and maintain their gains by military force. They wanted prosperity at home and to instill fear in their enemies abroad. They wanted to feel strong and in control - and a leader who’d be as ruthless as he needed to be to keep them safe. In other words, they didn’t want Jesus; they wanted a second David. So rather than being co-opted into a mission that wasn’t his, he stepped back so that he could reset the conversation on his terms. We’ll hear more of that conversation over the next several weeks, but for now – let’s look at what today’s Gospel says about his leadership and the example we’re asked to follow. Yes, this too is just a fragment; it’s not the whole story – but once we have this piece down, it might be easier to see how it fits in the larger frame.

Take this story on its most literal level. Hold for a moment all the metaphors we can (and eventually will) make about Jesus being the bread of life. Here in John’s Gospel (in some ways the most ethereal of them all), Jesus initiates the practical question of how they’ll feed the crowd gathered before him. Also in John’s telling - Jesus doesn’t delegate the task of feeding to the disciples; he does it himself. No matter how you think this happened – whether it was within the laws of nature or not, at least one point is clear. Jesus here cares about the crowd’s physical needs as well as their spiritual ones and addresses both. It’s not that he’s hogging the spotlight by doing all the work himself; the disciples still have important work to do. He tells them to gather up the fragments of what’s been shared, so that nothing may be lost. Food here isn’t merely an object lesson; it’s a precious commodity that has no business being wasted. Even on this level we can learn something about Jesus’ priorities.

And at least at this point, confining thanksgiving and the sharing of bread to religiously approved spaces is not one of them. We’re told that Passover is near, and yet Jesus is nowhere near Jerusalem. All Jewish men were supposed to make their way to the Holy City for the great feasts, and yet Jesus seems in no hurry to leave this region up North. Could it be that the Sea and the countryside reveal the God of the Passover in their own way – that any place can be marked by the presence of God if we let it? How freeing is that? John’s version of this story avoids even the more liturgical words that we find in the other Gospels. Here, we’re not told that he looked up to heaven, blessed the bread and broke it; we’re simply told that he gave thanks and shared what he had. It’s as if giving thanks and sharing what we have are in themselves signs of the kingdom of God, no matter where they happen.

One more thing to note for now. We learn something else about how Jesus leads by what he does in the second part of this story. Most of us have heard this one before, about him walking on water. Again, we can debate the mechanics of how this could have happened, but I think that misses the point. Jesus uses his power here to calm fears, not stoke them. He doesn’t lead by fear or use fear as a wedge to divide people; in fact, he goes out of his way to tell the disciples not to be afraid. He doesn’t make false promises of safety – that it will never get dark again or that the storms won’t return. In fact, in this version of the story, he doesn’t even still the storm. He simply joins them, gets in the boat and helps them get where they’re going.

We’re given two very different models of power and leadership today. In the silence that follows, I invite you to imagine a kingdom where the poor and sick aren’t left to fend for themselves – where their physical and spiritual needs matter and both are addressed. A kingdom where every fragment matters, where the whole story matters, and nothing is truly lost. Where have you seen glimpses of that kingdom – that kind of king? Or think about a moment when you found church outside church – where you gave thanks and people shared what they had and, for some reason, it felt holy. Where were you?  Was it on pilgrimage, a mountainside maybe? It could have been a soup kitchen, or around a kitchen table, even Christmas dinner here at St. Alban’s. How can we make our world more like that – individually and politically, where all the fragments matter and no one needs to be afraid? It turns out – we can do more than just curse the darkness. Our whole story as Christians offers us so much more than that. In the Name of the One who has already lit a candle and shown us the way, Amen.