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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.

Please fill out this welcome form to connect with us.

Contact us with any questions. Call (202) 363-8286 or email the church office.

 

Service Times

Please note: In-person services are temporarily suspended.

We invite you to join us for on-line worship on Sundays beginning at 8:00 a.m., in English and Spanish on our YouTube page

 

 

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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Alban Life - Making Music During the Lockdown

Making Music During the Lockdown

Posted by Matthew Steynor on with 3 Comments

A few days into April, it became apparent that singing in a group, large or small, would not be feasible for quite a while. Thankfully, in anticipation of increased social distancing, we managed to pre-record the lion’s share of the music for Holy Week and Easter Day by the end of March, with a handful of choir members standing far apart, singing in the sanctuary. But that arrangement couldn’t last. So how have we been making music since then?

The hymns have mostly come from the service recordings that the vergers and Charles Porter have archived for many years. The recordings of the anthems, however, usually have a lot of background noise, given the choir is singing during offertory and communion, and it is good practice regardless to ask singers before rebroadcasting an archive.. So, the St Alban’s virtual choir made its debut at our Easter Day service, and has become a feature of our online worship every Sunday since then.

It is, I am discovering, rare, to offer music on a weekly basis with a choir of more than a dozen regularly participating during this lockdown period.  We are truly blessed to have so many choir members who desire to keep singing on a weekly basis, even in isolation. How do we create the virtual choir?

Stage one of the process, whether a video or just audio, is to create a listening track to keep everyone together. The track is similar to what I might play on the piano in a rehearsal when we are singing through a piece for the first or second time and might include me talking as well. The singers all wear headphones and listen to the track while recording.

Arthur recordingArthur, recording a virtual chorister piece, using a model camera/mic set-up

I email the listening track along with the digital sheet music to choir members with several days’ lead-time. Some members have shared with me that they record many times before they settle on a recording they’re willing to contribute.

Then begins Stage Two of the process--combining the submitted audio files. You don’t hear the listening track in the final product, nor do you hear a sound that comes at the beginning of all of the recordings—a clap, emulating a clapperboard in film production. This short sharp sound saves a lot of time in aligning the separate audio tracks, as you can see in the screenshot of my mixing program.

The piano listening track is at the top of the image, with fourteen voice tracks below it for Hymn 208 (The strife is o’er) that we’re singing this week. Each horizontal bar represents one voice. You can see the first two words, both “Alleluia”, both followed by a quick break in sound. The final audio will begin playing from the point of the vertical white line (after the alignment clap), and the piano track will be replaced by the organ, which I’ve recorded.

Even with a listening track and a visible way to align the tracks, we may need to do more to make the singers’ combined tracks sound truly together, as they would be in a choir setting. For example, the word “Triumph”, in Hymn 208 this week, caused some issues because the length of the R can vary widely between singers, which resulted in the (very audible) T sound before it not being together. So some selective muting, or moving, snippets of sound also occurs before you hear the finished product. If there’s something that is comparatively easy for a singer to record again rather than me try to edit it, I’ll ask them to do so.

For the most recent professional recording that I made in Miami, I oversaw the addition of images to some of the audio tracks to make a more engaging experience for YouTube viewing. This is something that the clergy at St Alban’s have been willing to incorporate. Adding images and having the choir submit just audio files also makes offering music on a weekly basis more manageable for everyone (in part by limiting the amount of data transfer).

One new challenge of the virtual choir for some singers is that they have to learn the music by themselves rather than by listening to someone next to them. Even if they’ve sung the piece before, it’s a different experience to sing just your part, alone, and even more nerve-wracking to record it. Choir members also have to find a quiet space to record, and (for the videos) set up a decent camera angle while still reading the music but keeping the score out of the shot as much as possible. You can get a first-hand experience of some of these challenges by participating in the congregational video of the Doxology that we’re recording! Details were in the weekly St. Alban's email. 

We certainly miss making music together, but are grateful to live in an age where technology allows us to have an experience where the whole is still somewhat greater than the sum of the parts. That being said, the current experience of “the whole” pales  in comparison to when we are all singing in the same room, and we are all praying that that time can come again sooner rather than later.

Comments

Becca Tice May 15, 2020 10:40pm

Matthew's efforts to keep choral music a part of our St. Alban's services have been heroic and we're all grateful! We all so look forward to singing together in person again eventually but in the meantime, his detailed work, along with creative contributions from individual choir members, keep us connected. Just like the church is its people, not a building, so a dispersed choir remains a choir if it shares the necessary commitment, energy and supportive connection. We're blessed to enjoy that here!

Evanne May 17, 2020 1:58pm

When I heard that St. Alban's Choir was producing weekly anthems and worship music during the pandemic, my jaw dropped. By Matthew's explanation, and by word of many choral directors, this process takes hours, especially the editing process. What a devoted choir and director you have to do this for your services. He's a keeper!

David Brown May 18, 2020 8:11pm

The anthems have been wonderful additions to the online services. Many thanks to Matthew and our singers for their many hours of work to make our worship even more meaningful in this time of pandemic. Well done!

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