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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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Channeling Mary

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12.23.18

Channeling Mary

Channeling Mary

Series: Advent

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

Who are we to sing Mary’s song? Our canticle for today, better known as the Magnificat, is the song we’re told that a poor, young, pregnant Mary offers in response to her cousin Elizabeth when they meet up in today’s Gospel. The song of Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been a song of the church pretty much ever since – chanted by monks in monasteries, sung by choirs at Evensong, given orchestral settings by ambitious composers. One wonders, though, how many have paid attention to the words. “He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Pretty spicy stuff. Makes you question why our carols keep insisting she’s mild.

Martin Luther once said that we sing the Magnificat for three reasons: to strengthen the faithful, to comfort the lowly, and to terrify the mighty. On the last front at least, it appears to have worked. Guatemalan authorities in the 1980s actually banned its use in public worship. Yes, they banned Scripture in church because it sounded too much like revolution. Which begs the question - how comfortable are we putting these words in our mouths? More to the point, how comfortable should we be? Whether it’s as individuals who frankly lack Mary’s faith, or as a church that’s historically silenced young women like her, or as a nation that’s telling her peers today fleeing poverty and violence that there’s no room for them (or their children) in the inn, I’m not sure we deserve to make her words our own.

To be fair, they’re not completely her words either. Whether she or Luke, her ghost writer, composed them – or, if as some suspect, this was already a popular hymn of the early church that Luke placed on her lips, its content isn’t all that original. It borrows heavily from the psalms and most directly from the Song of Hannah in 1st Samuel. Mary stands in a long line of biblical women of song, it turns out – Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith. Originality, though, isn’t the point. Words don’t need to be new to be true. In fact, if we’re communicating what’s always been true about God’s might and mercy, new words might get in the way. Assuming that this text that has nourished Christians for the last 2000 years might have something to teach us, that we haven’t outgrown the need for mercy (and judging by this past week’s news, I’d say we haven’t), let’s take a closer look and see if the good news of the Magnificat is good news for us.

The problem with old words, of course, is that their meanings sometimes shift over time. The song begins: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” When we use the word “magnify” today, we usually mean that we’re taking something small and making it look bigger so we can see it clearly. God’s not small, so for us, “magnifying” the Lord doesn’t make much sense. But that’s not what’s meant here. Back in the 1500s when this particular text was translated into English for the Great Bible, to magnify someone was to celebrate their greatness. Most of us can magnify God without too much of a problem; it’s no skin off our nose to say that the Creator of the universe is worthy of praise. It’s the next use of the word that’s problematic. “For he that is mighty hath magnified me.” We can believe that God might celebrate the greatness in someone like Mary who carried and raised Jesus, but we’re not so sure about God celebrating the greatness in us. Are we that kind of great? Likewise, we can buy all generations calling Mary blessed, but do we dare to say the same of ourselves? Honestly, do we have any business making this song our own?

I’ll admit my queasiness at hearing some of our brothers and sisters in the faith bandying about their “blessedness.” If their good fortune – their beautiful home, their successful children, their healthy nest egg - means that God is smiling on them, what does that mean for those who don’t have what they do? Are they somehow less blessed by God? Since when did we start measuring blessing by net worth?

Perhaps it’s to guard against this very tendency that the song makes its next turn. It’s mercy that’s available to all generations, mercy that forms of content of blessing, mercy perhaps that’s the measure of our greatness. Everything else seems to be up for grabs. As contemplative Richard Rohr points out in his reflection on this passage, our thirst for power, for prestige and for possessions are all on the line here. We are told that God “hath scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts.” “He hath put down the mighty from their seat…and sent the rich empty away.” For those of us with what we feel are justifiable causes for pride, who are fairly rich and mighty ourselves (at least compared to Mary), this doesn’t sound like good news.

But let’s stay with it a little bit longer. If power in itself is such a bad thing, why bother exalting the humble and meek? Why bring anyone up if we all belong in the gutter? Perhaps the first step is owning up to our own power. I remember getting hit over the head with this in seminary. I was interning for an AIDS foundation, where I was partnered for a year with an 8-year old boy with HIV named Curtis. I’d been so used to thinking of myself as young and female and without very much power. Revolution was easy to contemplate. But looking at myself through Curtis’ eyes, I saw that I was also white and educated and healthy – things that seemed to give me power in our society at his expense. I’ll never forget what my supervisor said as I struggled with what to do with this imbalance that neither of us had asked for. The last thing powerless people need, she said, is for us to pretend we have none; they don’t need us to throw away our ability to effect change out of some misguided sense of guilt. What they need is for us to share our power with them and use it effectively so that everyone might be fed with good things.

The song of Mary doesn’t demonize power, not by a long shot. It just reminds us of its true Source - and our accountability to the One who has shared the powers of creation with us in the first place. It’s when we start enjoying the view from on top too much and start thinking that others need to be down so that we can be up that we get ourselves in trouble and might need to be pulled down from our seats. When we think that our possessions are our source of strength or identity, that they’ll somehow protect us from mortality, when we allow them to isolate us from the hunger and need of our fellow creatures, when our hands are so full of our own stuff that we can’t reach out to God or anyone else – maybe that’s when we need to be sent empty away. When we’re knocked off our high horse and forced to unclench our fists, we might finally be free to receive the mercy that has been promised all along. We might finally be ready for the good news that was always meant for all of us.

I began this sermon by asking “Who are we to sing Mary’s song?” Given the truth and the hope that it holds for a world in desperate need of both upheaval and mercy, who are we not to? In the silence that follows, I invite you to sit with our not-so-mild Mary for a moment and hear her song again as we approach this Christmas. Let it ring in your ears at least as loudly as all the other voices claiming your attention. In the Name of the One who sees both our greatness and our need – Lord, have mercy. Amen.