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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

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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Beginning Again

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01.07.18

Beginning Again

Beginning Again

Series: Epiphany

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

I wonder what a voice from heaven sounds like. Forty-three years into this life, I can’t say for sure I’ve ever heard one. I’ve known things in my bones without anyone needing to tell me – things like love and peace and joy. I’ve received guidance too wise to ever come from me, but an audible, unmistakably divine voice? Not so much. Apparently, this voice spoke back in the beginning, on the very first evening, but there was no one there to hear it. The ancient Israelites tried to imagine God’s voice in today’s psalm, and for them at least it sounded like thunder. They heard it in earthquakes, tornados, fires – it was a voice of sheer power, power to destroy as well as create. To paraphrase an old Bill Cosby line, the voice that brought us into this world could take us out. Nothing tame here, none of this shrinking down the Almighty into someone we can master or control. It’s a voice that reveals our mortality and vulnerability. If it doesn’t bring us to our knees, maybe it should. There’s a reason our Muslim brothers and sisters refuse to depict the One who speaks with this voice; any picture is bound to be limiting.

So imagine the surprise of our Gospel’s first readers to have the Spirit of the Almighty depicted like a dove. How did our image of the divine become so puny, so slight, so small? We’re not told what the accompanying voice from heaven sounded like. In Mark’s version of the story, it’s not clear if anyone besides Jesus even hears it. Other writers spend more time pondering why Jesus chose to be baptized; if it’s only about repentance and confessing sin, one wonders why a sinless Jesus bothered. Matthew at least has John the Baptist raise the question. But Mark’s not so interested in that, or in Jesus’ score sheet of sin prior to this moment. For Mark, this is where Jesus’ story begins. Either he doesn’t know about the manger and the wise men and everything we know about Christmas, or he doesn’t care. The new beginning starts now. Whatever baptism may have meant before, it means something more now that Jesus is involved. The Spirit of God is revealed in a new way. It’s not just about the threat of unquenchable fire anymore. The new face of God’s Spirit is a dove.

I’ve been sitting with this dove image for a while now. If God is going to bother tearing the heavens apart and finally “come down” as the prophet Isaiah pleaded so many centuries before, why show up this way? Why not make a bigger show of it? Scholars point out that for Mark, the Spirit descended “like” a dove – not necessarily as a dove. So how does a dove descend? Quietly, I’d think, at least when compared to a thunderstorm or earthquake. In Sunday School, we talk about the Spirit of God being like a dove, riding the invisible wind, coming to us whenever we need strength or power. But presumably, there’s a reason it’s a dove. As you can tell already, Mark doesn’t waste words. So why a dove?

Well, the last time a dove made a grand appearance in Scripture, it was back at the flood. In this story, Noah had already made it through the storm. He had witnessed God’s destructive powers firsthand; he presumably knew everything that could be taught by thunder. It was after the rain had stopped; the waters were slowly returning to their places. Noah already knew that his life would never be the same again; it wouldn’t return to whatever he knew before as normal.

That life was gone. But he did wonder where and when he’d land once the sea change was over.

So he sent out a dove - to see if it would come back or if the waters had receded enough for it to make a new nest. At first, the dove comes back. Noah waits seven days to send it out again, and this time – the dove returns with an olive leaf in its beak. New life is starting to emerge again. He sends out the dove a third time a week later, and this time it doesn’t return. It’s found a new home. This is the sign that Noah can finally start over again. The dove is a sign of hope – that a new and different future is possible, that life will continue after the storm – even if we can’t say what that life will look like just yet.

What does any of this have to do with us? In our increasingly fire and fury world, don’t we need a God who responds in kind? How useful is a God who comes quietly, like a dove? Later this morning, we’ll be baptizing two new members into the body of Christ. It’s worth pondering what we’re doing here. Baptism, particularly with infants, isn’t so much about confession of sin; they don’t have anything to confess yet. It may give the rest of us a chance to repent and return, but surely that’s not the only point. What are we doing then?

If we’re trying to protect these children from every possible threat, if we think that the waters of baptism will magically seal them from all harm, then we might as well be selling snake oil. We talk about being reborn by the Spirit of God in baptism, about being given the strength and power to love others in that Spirit. For these children, baptism is the first of many new beginnings in their lives. Among other things, it’s a promise that new beginnings are possible – not only that repentance is possible when we mess up, but that there’s new life on the other side of those losses we can neither prevent nor control. It’s not that we’ll never experience storms or that we’ll never lose a job or a home or people we love; it’s that we have this dove-like Spirit within us now to know that there’s so much more waiting for all of us. We can know that resurrection hope now in a new way without always having to be told.

Baptism gives us ears to hear all the different ways that God speaks. Sometimes, it’s through the words of Scripture that have seeped into us by years of reading and showing up here. – in the words and example of Jesus. Other times, it’s the wisdom of our loved ones that God uses to get us back on track. There have been times when I’ve found words of direction in what I’d call my conscience, and other times when the truth God wants me to hear can’t be contained by any words. It’s not a voice at all. It’s a taste, a touch, a vision. I know it in my body or my spirit before it ever reaches my mind. The Spirit of God is always with us, whether we know it or not; what baptism does, in part, is open us up to all our ways of knowing again. The seeds planted today, when nurtured and given time and commitment and a real chance to grow, can help us tap into our true sources of strength and power.

In the silence that follows, I invite you to think about a new beginning you might need in your life – whether it’s in a job or a relationship or in how you treat your own body maybe. Maybe you need to think about your country in a new way, or your role in making justice or peace happen. Let the dove-like Spirit be a sign of hope that such new beginnings are possible – and trust that the Spirit of God who brought you here will bring you through. In the Name of the One who loves us too much to speak to us in just one way, Amen.