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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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When Gratitude Isn’t Enough

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11.26.17

When Gratitude Isn’t Enough

    When Gratitude Isn’t Enough

    Series: Pentecost

    Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

    “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” This quote, often if not accurately attributed to 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart, is a lovely thought, worthy of the most tasteful inspirational poster; but in light of today’s Gospel, I’m not sure it’s accurate. There’s nothing quite like the threat of eternal punishment to shake us out of our Thanksgiving stupor. If only we could leave things as they’re left in today’s psalm, if only these were our only instructions: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; give thanks to him and call upon his Name.” Why? Because “the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his faithfulness endures from age to age.” If gratitude is all that’s required of us, then maybe it’s not so bad to be the sheep of God’s pasture. There doesn’t seem to be much ground for judging between sheep – until Ezekiel bursts our bubble.

    We might not naturally think of ourselves as the fat sheep from today’s first reading, but I’m guessing most of us are on the well-fed side. What do we do then with this vision of a God who destroys the fat and strong, who feeds us alright – but with justice? Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen quite a few of the mighty among us fall hard. Politicians, actors, legendary journalists have seen their careers vanish within a matter of days over how they’ve treated those they’ve perceived as weaker. Justice, as most might identify it, has been swift and merciless – and, let’s face it, unequally applied. There are still plenty of fat sheep out there pushing with flank and shoulder, butting at the weak with their horns, trampling the pastures and muddying the waters for those who come after them.

    That’s part of the appeal of our Gospel reading, I suppose. We social justice types love this story at first – with its clear mandate to care for the “least of these.” We know it’s our job to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked and care for the sick. People of good will across the political and religious spectrum can actually agree on this one, even as we might disagree over how to go about it. Nevertheless, most of the time, if only to be polite, we do try to cut the reading off before the king turns from the sheep to the goats.

    It’s fine with us for the sheep to inherit the kingdom; but what about the goats? You see, we know the truth (about ourselves, anyway) – that we’re both sheep and goats, depending on the moment. We can be both at the same time. For every time we give away a bag of clothes to the needy, there’s at least a couple more times we buy more for ourselves instead – without considering who made those clothes or how well they’re clothed or fed. We might welcome a stranger as long as we’re here in church, but we’re just as likely to stick to those we think of as our own. While we might find ourselves praying for prisoners, few of us actually go out of our way to visit them. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes we do listen to the better angels of our nature, but there are just as many times when we’re too scared or overwhelmed or just plain greedy to be generous.

    Even if we wanted to meet every need we see, we know we don’t have the resources to pull it off. That’s where prayer comes in – because it’s hard sometimes to know how to give effectively; we need more than our good intentions and knee-jerk guilt. We need discernment; we need prayer. So we pray about what to do next and, when we get it wrong, we ask for the courage and wisdom to get it right the next time.

    Perhaps that’s all we can do – throw ourselves on the mercy of the court and keep trying. It seems preferable to the other options. I suppose we could try to take charge of the almighty sorting hat and decide for ourselves who goes where. But if this passage makes anything clear, it’s that the role of judge does not belong to us. We can only hope we’re being judged by eyes more just and merciful than our own.

    In the face of overwhelming need, most of us take option #2 and pivot to gratitude instead. We decide that feeling lucky for what we have is enough. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful (in fact, it’s a central spiritual practice), but there’s something missing if our response stops there. Jesus didn’t say, “I was hungry, and you were thankful for what you had. I was thirsty, and you called yourself blessed.” As pastor and writer Lillian Daniel puts it, “when (we) witness pain and declare (ourselves) lucky, (we) have fallen way short of what Jesus would do…The hungry don’t get fed, the homeless don’t get sheltered, and the world doesn’t change because people who are doing okay feel lucky. We need more.”

    Those dissatisfied with doors 1 and 2 could try what’s behind door #3 instead: deny that there will ever be judgment for things done and left undone. Bank on God’s mercy; forget about justice. The problem with that is that it makes God indifferent to human need. Do we really want a God who has no intention of ever setting things right? Most of us would welcome a world where we’re not held captive to the criminally greedy anymore and those who wreak havoc on the fragile are made to pay.

    The problem, of course, is that we don’t know how to hold justice and mercy in the same hand. Most days, we feel forced to choose – and most often, we decide on justice for others and mercy for ourselves. We rail at the mighty who’ve fallen among us and find it all too easy to dismiss the accomplishments that made them mighty in the first place. Especially in times of high emotion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to hold two seemingly irreconcilable things at the same time – that we as humans can be both generous and selfish, simultaneously sheep and goat. Thank God we serve a Savior who can hold justice and mercy together. Praise God - we follow a Shepherd who laid down his life for both sheep and goats, for those on his right and those on his left. We can rejoice today because we do have a God who holds us accountable - but whose mercy is also everlasting at the same time. God’s justice is part of God’s faithfulness to the weak; it’s how it endures from age to age. We’re here on Christ the King Sunday because we’re offering our allegiance to the One who exercises power not by lording it over us but by sharing it with us – calling us to seek him in the needy and then keep serving them whether we’re able to see his face in them or not.

    In the silence that follows, I invite you to consider the hungry, the thirsty, the people who need clothes in your circle of influence; the strangers, the sick, the imprisoned people you know and how you might seek and serve Christ in them. If you can’t think of anyone who fits into any of these categories, how might you reduce the distance so you can see their faces again? Once you have those folks in mind, you could pray on how we might hold two things in our minds and hearts at the same time – what might justice for them look like? What might mercy look like, and how can we be a part of it? In the Name of the One who is worthy of thanks but who wouldn’t think of letting us stop there, Amen.