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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

Beginning on Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021, worship will be open to anyone without pre-registration or distancing requirements. We will continue requiring that worshippers be masked for now. 

Our schedule of services will remain the same throughout the summer:

 - 9:00 a.m. (English) in the church

 - 10:30 a.m. (English) in the church

 - Noon (Spanish) in Nourse Hall

Communion in one kind (i.e. wafers) will be offered at the main altar, although we will happily bring communion to those for whom steps are challenging. 

Masked hymn singing both indoors and outdoors will be permitted, and music will be supported by a soloist and organ. 

On-line worship services in English and Spanish are available on Sundays beginning at 8:00 a.m. on our YouTube channel.




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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Faith Talk - Fierce Love: Week Two

Fierce Love: Week Two

Posted by The Rev'd Deborah Meister on

This Lent, Jim Quigley and Deborah Meister are collaborating on a series of forums that use poetry and the visual arts to explore spiritual themes of Lent. Because there will be no forum this week, and because we fell in love with the material and did not want to have to cut any of it, we are sending this week’s meditation out in the form of a Daily Cup. 

The Coming

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows; a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

R.S. Thomas was born on March 29, 1913, in Cardiff, Wales. Thomas was an Anglican, a parish priest, and although he died thirteen years ago his extraordinary work lives on. Largely religious, Thomas’ poetry often speaks of God but does so, initially, by depicting God’s absence rather than God’s presence; Deus Absconditus – the hidden God. David E. Anderson contends that Thomas’ poetry is slowly becoming recognized as among the best and most important religious poetry of the twentieth century. Like the century in which he lived, writes Anderson, Thomas’ poetry reflects “the pull of doubt that defined those decades for many, including believers, and as such stands outside the mainstream of the dominant, God-affirming, sacramental poetry that looks back to Gerard Manley Hopkins’ affirmation that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” And yet, as Anderson notes, Hopkins was also the author of the terrible sonnets, – bitter spiritual laments that Thomas himself described as ‘but a human repetition of the cry from the cross’: My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? Rowan Williams has written that R.S. Thomas was – like one of the poet’s spiritual mentors, Soren Kierkegard – a great articulator of an uneasy faith.

The Rt. Rev. Lord Harries, in a lecture on Thomas given at Gresham College in 2009, said that the language of Thomas’ poetry is largely non-lyrical, unlike some of his early influences like W. B. Yeats, because he was suspicious of the capacity for language to convey a certain eloquence that a seduces us away from the truth and harshness of life. Perhaps Thomas’ view of life was influenced by the fierce landscape of Wales, from his observing the brutal life of Welsh farmers whose lives he said were “mortgaged to the grasping soil” or from his own asceticism.

The honesty and audacity in Thomas’ poetry reminds me of the work of theologian Rowan Williams. In a sermon titled The Dark Night Williams describes how it’s ‘easy to go round and round the paths for a long time.’ The paths he describes are the circular journeys of piety, radicalism or conservatism in the church – the ways in which by affiliating God to our particular perspective we fall into a delusional and religious game designed to comfort and justify the style of religious life we have found congenial. These are, Williams writes, divine projections and wish fulfillments, the source for all of the unkind things psychologists have always tended to accuse religion of… God is a word or a concept with a well-defined function in the way we order our life, and when we have explained that function, we have explained God. Neither William’s theology nor the poetry of R.S. Thomas allow us to define God with such neatness, if at all. The only defense religion has or ever will have against the charge of cozy fantasy is the kind of experience or reflection normally referred to by Christian writers as the night of the spirit, writes Williams. The night of the spirit is a religious experience that, if we have the honesty to look at it, is emptiness; it makes nonsense of all religion, conservative or radical, and all piety… The dark night is God’s attack on religion and if you genuinely desire union with the unspeakable God then you must be prepared to have your religious world shattered. If you think devotional practices, theological insights, even charitable actions give you some sort of purchase on God, you are still playing games!

R.S. Thomas’ poetry urges us to go not to where we believe God to be but rather into the depths of God’s mystery. In The Coming, God holds in his hand a small a globe. “Look,” God says to the son. “Far off, as through water, the son sees a scorched land of fierce colour. The light burned there; crusted buildings cast their shadows, a bright serpent, a river uncoiled itself, radiant with slime. The son sees, on a bare hill, a bare tree saddening the sky. Many people held out their thin arms to it, as though waiting for a vanished April to return to its crossed boughs. The son watched them. Let me go there, he said.”

In The Coming Jesus is compelled to enter the globe not because it’s safe or pretty but only because he knows that all of the world is of God – the scorched land of fierce color, the light, the serpent, the river and the slime, the bare tree on a bare hill with crossed boughs to which people reach their arms hoping for Spring. This is no sending, it’s a showing, and without knowing, the son begs, “let me go there.”

R.S. Thomas said that he was content to call himself a Christian because the Christian belief that God has taken suffering into himself is the most profound and satisfying answer to the great problem of suffering. He poetry is a theology of an untenanted tree. I can think of no better answer to the question of Good Friday, of Christ on the cross, than Thomas’ image of reaching into a form on a hillside left by a missing hare and finding the warmth of what is no longer there – that in the wake of God’s absence Jesus discovers the place God has already been. With Christ, let us go there, to the cross, where will find the warmth and love of a God already gone.

I have chosen The Coming for our second week for many reason, but among them is that the window in Nourse Hall has always reminded me of this poem.




Salvador Dali, Christ on the Cross

I looked in vain for a large image of this; the original is about seven feet by four feet. In other words, it dominates the viewer, who encounters in it a Christ who is on the same scale as he is. Hanging on a cross in a dark sky, Christ hovers over the waters of Port Lligat, where Dali was living at the time. To the viewer, of course, it looks like the cosmic Christ is hovering over the world, the watery scene evoking the first verses of Genesis, when the spirit of the Lord hovered over the face of the deep and brought forth life.

Dali painted this in 1951, but it draws heavily upon an image four hundred years older. In 1550, St. John of the Cross (whom we 220px-John_of_the_Cross_crucifixion_sketchmentioned in last week’s forum, and who exerted a strong influence on Eliot’s poem, Ash Wednesday) had a vision of the crucified Christ and immediately rushed to draw what he had seen. The striking thing about John’s image, of course, is the angle: this is the crucifixion seen from above, as it could only have been viewed by God. The tormented Christ, the writhing limbs, the fragile hands pinned with enormous, oversized nails, the drops of sweat that fall from the failing flesh — these are viewed with all the awful clarity of a father who must watch his son perish, and accept that the son willed it so.

Dali, too, dreamed his image, but it was different. There are  no nails, no sweat, no blood. This is the cosmic Christ, the Pantocrator, hovering over and offering himself for the creation he loves.

Below, all is “so clear, so calm, so bright” (George Herbert) — utterly unlike the war-torn wreckage of Europe. It must have been an act of supreme faith to stand amid the carnage Europe had inflicted upon itself and to imagine this. It must have taken deep conviction to reach, not for the broken Christ, but for the universal one, to hear for the first time the words “Final Solution” and to hold fast to the belief that God was still God.

Perhaps that’s why, at first, big-222-athis world seems empty of humanity: because we had marred it so. Upon closer examination, one man stands in the foreground, looking out. It is hard to escape the suspicion that this is the world Jesus died to create — a world of perfect tranquility. The serene figure on the cross imparts his peace to the war-torn world, redemption made flesh in more ways than one. It invites us to say, with the Christ of Thomas’ poem, “Let me go there.”

And then we realize that, by God’s grace, we already have.