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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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Christmas Eve

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12.24.15

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Series: Christmas

Speaker: The Rev. Deborah Meister

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see -- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day...a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

 

            A number of years ago, I was speaking with a woman whose life was wreck. She was telling me about the last time it had been a wreck. She’d been involved with a man and had become what the Bible calls “with child.” He left her, and there she was, a student living on almost nothing, trying to finish her degree, trying to get a job, trying to deal with the fact that she was about to be a mother, and had not wanted to be one. And she said to me, “It was a dark time, both in my life and in our nation. I was desperate and all the news was bad. But then in December, in the middle of it all, right at the darkest time of the year, there was this baby, and I knew everything was going to be all right.” Listening to her, I realized I was hearing the voice of Mary: “and then, in the middle of it all, there was this baby, and I knew everything was going to be all right.”

            The story of Christmas is a story of joy snatched from terror, of the light that shines in even the deepest darkness, the light of God that cannot be put out. The Bible wastes few words, so when St. Luke writes, “But the angel said to them,” we need to pay attention. That one small conjunction, “but,” tells us everything we need to know about the work of God in this world. It tells us that God does not come because we have deserved it. It tells us God does not come because the world is ready to receive him. (Are we ready?) It tells us God does not come because of how we have lived or what we have made or how much we have earned. It tells us that we were not ready; we had not deserved it; we were not prepared to receive him -- and God came anyway. God. Came. Anyway. Not because the world was a fair and just place, but because it was a wreck and because it needed light. God came because we needed good news, because we needed joy. God came, not because of who we were, but because of who God is: God is the One who brings light in the darkness, come what may. God’s goodness is never just grace: it is always, “Grace, anyway.”

            The whole story of God’s people is one of grace squandered and grace received. Jesus even told a story about it (later, once he was a man grown). He told about a man who had two sons. And one day the younger son came to his father and said, “Old man, you’re in my way. Give me right now the stuff I’ll inherit once you’re dead, so that I can leave you and live my life on my own terms.” Think about that. It’s easy to miss the sheer cruelty that’s buried in the younger son’s request: not only greed, but the meanness with which he treats the one who has given him life. But (there’s that word again), but the father does it: he takes his assets and divides them and entrusts half to his younger son, and the man goes away and squanders it all. And when a hard time comes, when the son has nothing to eat and is living like an animal, he remembers that he once had a home, and he decides to go back to his father and beg to be allowed to return. But (hear it?) but when he approaches the house, he sees a distant figure running toward him, and with a lurch in his stomach, he recognizes his father. And his father comes to him and embraces him and kisses him, while the son is still stained with travel and mired in the dirt of his shame. And while the son tries to stammer out his unworthiness, the father is already dressing him in fine robes, calling for a feast, placing his own ring on his son’s hand. Grace squandered and grace received. Grace, anyway.

            Jesus can tell that story because he has lived it: not as the prodigal, not even as the father, but as the robe and ring. Jesus is the gift God gives us even though we have wrecked our world, the gift God gives us because we have wrecked it. Because we need good news. Because we need a savior.

            That baby lying in the manger is God’s sign to us that God’s promise will never be broken.  No matter how far we have wandered from home, no matter how deeply we have buried our best selves, still, God is with us, working to save us, even from ourselves. Jesus is the robe that clothes us in grace, hides our sins, and makes us lovely again. And Jesus is the ring that binds us to God, the shining symbol that we are sought out, not forsaken, eternally beloved.

            I think that's why, in all the pictures, the stable is dark, with all the light gathered on the face of the child: because this world is a troubled place and always has been, but the love that moves the moon and the stars is gathered in one place in that manger. And if we gaze upon him long enough, if we look at that tiny, wrinkled face and those fists like flowers and the astonishing toes on each miniature foot-- and if we come to him honestly, as we really are,  trailing the dust of world with all its beauty and all its broken dreams -- what we see is that it is all gift: Jesus, this world, our life, our faith, the hope that rises in our hearts, the grace that comes in spite of everything. It is all gift, lavish gift poured out upon us by a God who loves us, even as we are, of a God who loves us too much to leave us as we are, but sends us a robe and a ring, sends us truth and and a way and life, lifts us from the dust and makes us new. Grace, anyway.

             And we, like the shepherds, have to go and see what God has done for us. When you think about it, it's amazing that they went. They had their work, their responsibilities, their conversation. They had a fire, probably, to keep them warm through the night. But when the angel proclaimed that there was good news, they got up on their feet and went to see it, because they knew they needed good news. Because if there was great joy anywhere in this world, they wanted to be part of it. And maybe, just maybe, they knew that the flocks would be all right that night, because there was a true shepherd now and all the world would be safe in his hands.

            I bet they told that story for the rest of their lives. I bet they told it to their children and grandchildren, saying, “It was a dark time, both in my life and in our nation. I was desperate and all the news was bad. But then, in the middle of it all, there was this baby, and I knew everything was going to be all right.”

            And that story is ours to tell, as well, and that gift is renewed each Christmas. So let us even now go to Bethlehem, and gaze upon that child, that baby, that promise of grace. Let us kneel at his feet and touch his tiny hands, and let us open our hearts to the gift we have been given: the gift of God's eternal love. Let us look at the light that streams from his face, and watch as it brightens, gathers strength, gleams on the face of oxen and cows, gilds the dusty straw, as it seems to reach beyond the doors of the stable, and out into the cold night and a darkness that already seems just a bit less dark.

            Tomorrow, we will bear that light into all the corners of our life, just as Christians everywhere bear it into the far corners of this earth. We will wake with a new confidence that the forces of hatred and division have already been conquered by God's quiet, mighty work of peace and love. And we will show mercy and speak out against cruelty and we will welcome the stranger and care for those in need, and we will be agents of contagious joy. But tonight is for wonder, and tonight is for joy, and tonight is for accepting that all our life is gift, and this Child Jesus, most of all.

            Have a blessed and joyful Christmas.