LOOKING AHEAD TO HOLY WEEK
March 29, 2020
Given that we’re still not able to gather together physically, we have had to make numerous changes to our Holy Week services this year. Many of you who have made service during Holy Week part of your spiritual practice – whether by singing, acolyting, setting the altar, arranging flowers, serving as lay readers, or helping people to and from their pews – won’t be able to do so this year. For that, we are deeply sorry. There is no substitute for the community gathered in person in prayer. We know that.
But we will still do what is most important as we follow Jesus on the way of the cross through death to new life this upcoming Holy Week (April 5-12). We will say our prayers. We will hear Scripture and meditate on its meaning for our lives. We will listen to sacred music and draw closer to the holy.
We will post virtual worship services online each day of Holy Week at 8 a.m., starting with Palm Sunday. (For those who will miss getting up early on Easter morning, we will post our modified Vigil at 6 a.m.!)
More details to come in next week’s email.
CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC RESPONSE
March 22, 2020
We are slowly adjusting to life in the age of coronavirus. Our vestry has met via Zoom, as have enquirers’ classes, GIFT and other groups. We are slowly becoming more adept at using technology, but we live aware that it can all come to a halt when one or more of your clergy and staff have to self-quarantine.
For this week we have added music to our English liturgy posted on the website and will be adding a platform--our YouTube channel--that might work better for those of you without strong WiFi connections. We are thinking ahead as to what we can offer for Holy Week, Easter and beyond. As you know, per the Bishop's instructions we are now closed until at least May 16 unless something changes.
We are looking at financial models for ensuring our continued ability to operate going forward, making sure that our giving continues and that our people are paid.
We encourage you to support organizations in which we have been engaged but cannot serve as volunteers. They welcome financial support and in-kind donations during this challenging in-between time:
As we all adjust to these extraordinary days, please do let us know of any needs you have which your parish community can meet. We have a team of healthy volunteers ready, able and willing to help.
MARCH VESTRY NEWS
by Senior Warden Ken Patterson
The Vestry approved the Parochial Report, an annual report to the Diocese regarding the number of parishioners, our income and expenses.
Vestry members praised the recorded Eucharists in Spanish and English that were made available last week. The merits of airing a recorded service vs. a live-streamed one were discussed, as were current plans to possibly add music. Emily Griffin plans to explore recommendations that a children-friendly service (such as a recorded Godly-Play lesson) be offered. More to come, particularly as to efforts under development to provide for as meaningful a slate of Holy Week services as can be made possible in our current reality.
Finally, Geoffrey announced that the refreshing of Trenbath (painting, floor refinishing, etc.) previously funded by the Vestry would not be delayed by the church closure. The contractors stand ready to begin. In addition, this refurbishment will somewhat smoother given that Trenbath is currently not in use by IONA or other groups. We anticipate that the water infiltration work will also be able to begin while the church is closed.
In closing, one observation that threaded throughout the meeting was how much we missed seeing one another and all of you. Please take care of yourselves and each other. On that note, Jim Quigley remarked how many folks have already volunteered to help meet the needs recently arising from fellow parishioners. We are surely all in this together.
Expanded summaries of this and previous Vestry meetings can be found here.
Our J2A youth group cooked up two massive batches of delicious chili, both meat and vegetarian, for Super Bowl Sunday. Thanks to them for their handiwork in the kitchen and to all members of the parish who bought or donated quarts of chili and cornbread. More photos are in this gallery.
The proceeds from the annual chili sale helps to fund the J2A pilgrimage. Stay tuned for this group's decision on where they plan to go in 2021.
The following were elected by voting members of the parish on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Trevor (Ted) Swett III
Vestry Members (three-year terms)
Carol A. Aschenbrener
We are deeply grateful to these parishioners and to all who agreed to stand for election.
HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE
It looks as if we will have the minimum 20 pilgrims necessary to make our journey to the Holy Land May 21 - June 1, 2020. The Rev'd Jim Quigley and the Rev'd Luis Leon will lead the trip.
Several of us will also participate in a pre-pilgrimage to Jordan, departing the U.S. on May 18th and visiting Petra, St. Savior's School in Zarka and the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Salt.
We can accommodate up to 35 pilgrims for the main pilgrimage and the deadline for registration with a $500.00 deposit is Thursday, January 30th. Non-members of St. Alban's are welcome.If you are interested in learning more contact the Rev'd Jim Quigley.
Our entire St. Alban’s community is invited to worship together on January 26 following our annual meeting. What better way to demonstrate our essential unity across differences as the body of Christ?
We will pray and sing in both English and Spanish. Don’t worry – the bulletin will be in both languages, and we are not going to say everything twice.
Join us after we conclude the business of the parish by worshiping as one parish in two languages.
PLEDGE CAMPAIGN UPDATE
by Walker Carter & Suzy Mink, 2020 Stewardship Chairs.
Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have made a financial commitment to St. Alban’s for the New Year. Each and every pledge is vitally important to our parish life. We’re pleased to report that the 2020 pledge campaign crossed a significant milestone this week: We’ve topped last year’s campaign! Dollars pledged for 2020 stand at $1,325,340, which is 2% more than last year. This is very good news. Thank you so much for your generosity!
But there is still work to be done. We’ve heard from 274 households so far but we need to hear from 30 more to match the 304 pledges from last year. If you haven’t yet pledged, please consider doing so today. There are many ways to pledge: Pledge forms are available on the pledge table in Nourse Hall; you can pledge online on the church’s website or you can or call Doug Dykstra, our Director of Finance. Also, if you’ve already pledged and are considering increasing your pledge, please let us know. So far, of those households who were able to increase their giving, the average increase is an astonishing 18%! We’re very excited about 2020 at St. Alban’s and hope you are too. Please make your pledge today.
2020 pledge envelopes are available for pick-up in Nourse Hall. As you know, on the first Sunday of each January pledge envelopes are available to those households that have made a pledge and requested envelopes.
Our annual celebration and community dinner was full of joy and beauty, from the faces of our guests and our many volunteers to the gorgeous flowers and uplifting music and inspiring preaching that filled the sanctuary. Thank you, thank you to all who played a part, and especially to dinner organizers Tricia Pinkard, Suzy Mink and Phoebe Jane Winthrop and to our flower guild.
Our Advent forum series, "Waiting with Mary," brought English and Spanish-speaking parishioners together for a wonderful potluck lunch. Parishioners brought a favorite image of Mary and shared why it is meaningful to them. The images included pictures and statues from various home countries represented in our parish as well as from classical art. We've posted photos in this gallery.
Many thanks to Karina Rodriguez and the Rev'd Emily Griffin for coordinating the event.
Recordings of the forum series, which looks at Mary in the Gospels, in music and in art, are posted here as they become available.
Did you volunteer at the Op Shop or buy something there or bring in donations this year? Look at the good you did!
In 2019, WSA awarded $209,200 from Op Shop proceeds to the following 35 agencies: A Wider Circle, Calvary Women’s Services, Charlie’s Place at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Cornerstone Community, Downtown Cluster of Congregations, Downtown Cluster's Geriatric Day Care Program, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Five Talents USA, For Love of Children, Friendship Place (Aim Hire), Hope and a Home, Hope House, Housing Up, Hyacinth’s Place, Iona Senior Services (Active Wellness Program), Joseph’s House, Jubilee Jobs, Loaves and Fishes at St. Stephen and the Incarnation, Mary House, Miriam’s Kitchen, New Endeavors by Women, Nomis Youth Network, Pregnancy Aid Centers, Project Knitwell, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, Seabury Resources for Aging (Age In Place), St. Philip’s Childhood Development Center, Suited for Change, The Family Place, The Lorton Art Program, The Welcome Table at The Church of the Epiphany, Thrive DC, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, Transition Assistance Program at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, and Voices for a Second Chance.
Thank you for your continued support of our Op Shop.
The annual Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by St. Alban's this year and it was a huge success. We had 50 to -75 more people than past years for a total of 240 or so diners (so I've been told). We had blessings in Spanish, Hebrew and English by the priests and rabbi. And our guests came from a wide range in our community: from homeless people to Muslim refugees, rich to poor, Latino to Anglo, elderly to young.
Even though the bigger numbers meant we ran out of turkey at the end, it also meant we strengthened the ties in our community among disparate populations. It was wonderful to see it all in action, and I feel lucky to have spent the day with all of these folks. My day was made when a homeless man gave me a hug and told me he felt spoiled by the warm meal and hospitality, as he walked out the door with leftovers. Success... at least for a day!
Your offerings of time, food, love and prayer made it all possible. This day was a gift to many and I thank you for being a part of it all.
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