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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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Dare to Respond

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12.20.15

Dare to Respond

Dare to Respond

Series: Advent

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

4th Sunday of Advent - The Rev. Emily Griffin
St. Alban’s, DC – 12/20/15
Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:46-55, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-45 

We all know where we’re going, don’t we?  The road we travel this week as Christians is no mystery. There’s no last minute plot twist. We’ve been making this trip in our imaginations at least for the last 2000 years. It’s no spoiler alert to say that by week’s end, we’ll be with Mary and Joseph and the baby in the little town of Bethlehem. And in case we’ve forgotten where we’re headed, we have the prophet Micah from our first reading to remind us. He doesn’t know exactly who he’s waiting for or how long it will take, but he knows that Bethlehem is the place.

And in that respect, he has a leg up on Mary – at least where we find her today. In today’s Gospel snapshot, she’s just made a journey – but it’s not to Bethlehem. In Luke’s telling of the story anyway, she’s just found out via heavenly messenger that she’s going to be the mother of the Most High, and rather than break the news to Joseph right away (a difficult conversation, to say the least), she beats it out of town for a few months and heads south to her older cousin Elizabeth instead. We think of Mary’s trip to Bethlehem as the great journey of Christmas, but really for her it starts with this step – the first time she shares with someone else the call she’s heard from God, someone who might not believe her.

Then again, if anyone has a shot at understanding what Mary’s facing, it’s Elizabeth. In some respects, Elizabeth fits the profile of your typical biblical heroine better than Mary does. Elizabeth, like Sarah and Hannah before her, is an older, so-called “barren” woman who’s been waiting for a child her entire adult life. And like her ancestors before her, she’s endured the pity and scorn of those who expected her to have a baby already. She’s put up with her share of speculation, of nosiness, of a shame she didn’t earn but had to live with nonetheless. It’s no wonder that she’s kept to herself these last several months of pregnancy – waiting to meet the one God has, for whatever reason, chosen her to raise. We think raising Jesus must have been a challenge for Mary; I’m guessing it wasn’t a picnic for Elizabeth either. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing about John the Baptist, the wild man in the desert preparing the way of the Lord, wearing camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey. Now imagine being his mother.

Imagine trying to keep shoes on his feet or helping him to eat a balanced diet. Imagine teaching the one who went around calling religious leaders “broods of vipers” how to respect his elders and be polite. As I’m sure Elizabeth would tell you, even when we think we know what we’re waiting for, it’s almost never what we expect.

It turns out Mary’s instincts were spot on. Elizabeth provided the softest possible place to land. She could have said anything when she heard Mary’s greeting. She could have barraged her with advice; she could have tried to give her a morals lesson on the foolishness of youth and the dangers of not waiting; she could have filled up all the time talking about herself. But she didn’t.

In perhaps the most uncredited quote in history, she offers Mary a blessing instead: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” For thousands of years, men and women alike have been quoting Elizabeth as they’ve said their Hail Marys, as they’ve sung their Ave Marias. (We should know who we’re quoting; that’s all I’m saying.) But it’s not just for her role as soon-to-be mother that Mary is blessed; Elizabeth our theologian rightly points out that it is not Mary’s child-bearing capacity that makes her special; it’s her faith. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” 

And no, Elizabeth is not speaking about herself here in the third person. You see, Elizabeth never got the angel visit, the holy heads up; her husband Zechariah the priest did. He got the annunciation straight from Gabriel’s mouth about the birth of their long-awaited child. Elizabeth was never told anything; she had to pay attention to what was happening to her and draw her own conclusions about God’s movement in her life. And so she did.

What does this ancient story have to do with us? Mary draws out some of the political implications in the Magnificat (our Canticle for today), but I’ll leave exploration of that for another time. Let’s focus on Elizabeth for a moment. This is the only time we hear from her in three years of Sunday readings. She’s worth a second look. Like her, most of us aren’t graced with visits from heavenly beings foretelling our futures. Our signs from God are more like the ones Elizabeth read; we feel them with our bodies. We sense them in our spirits. We meet them in the faces and voices of those who come to visit us.

And when we dare to respond, we take on roles we never expected to fill. Her husband is the priest, and yet it is Elizabeth who’s the prophet here – the one filled with the Holy Spirit. It is Elizabeth who blesses Mary and gives her the room and space to pray. It is Elizabeth, the lay person, the clergy spouse, who offers the human voice of comfort and reassurance when Mary needs it most.

I found myself thinking this week about the Elizabeths in my life. With the funeral of Mary Wade this past week, I’m guessing some of you have been too. I’ve been thinking of the people (both men and women) a few steps ahead of me in the life of faith who gave me shelter and a soft place to land when I needed it. The mentors who saw my vocation as a priest before I did and greeted it with joy while I was still scared, or the friends who were gracious with me when I was anxious (and overly talkative, no doubt) about my relationships, or the colleagues who helped me to be OK with the fact that we never really know what’s coming next. I also found myself wondering who my Marys might be – who might be looking to me for understanding and calm. Perhaps that might be your point of reflection too. Who are your Elizabeths? Who are your Marys? Whether they’re physically with us this Christmas or not, perhaps it’s time to thank God for them and who they’ve stretched you to become.

Or maybe your focus is a bit closer at hand. I’m guessing that many of us will be entertaining visitors over the next several days – family or friends who’ve become family to us.

Or if you’re not receiving visitors at home, we most certainly will be hosting folks here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I wonder what it would look like if we received them the way Elizabeth receives Mary – if we offered to everyone who visits us a blessing and a soft place to land. Please hear me - I’m not saying that we can’t draw boundaries when we need to; there are times when we can’t give strangers or even loved ones everything they want from us. But perhaps we don’t need to lead with unsolicited advice or a morals lesson; perhaps we can lead with an open mind and an open heart instead and let God do the heavy lifting.

Sometimes this is easier with strangers than it is with our own families; when it comes to our parents or children especially, we think we know what we’re in for. We know how they’ve judged us in the past, how they’ve narrowed their visions of us to their own selective memories; what we don’t always realize is that we’ve probably done the same to them. If they haven’t let us grow, perhaps we haven’t let them grow or change either. I wonder what would happen if we followed Elizabeth’s and Mary’s examples this Christmas – if we reached out across the distances of age and experience and dared to talk about the calls we’ve heard from God, if we learned to greet the unexpected not just with fear – but with wonder and joy because we know the God who calls us, if we trusted that what is in store for all of us is worth waiting for.

Then again, when it comes to waiting, Elizabeth and Mary don’t have a corner on that. Frankly, they have nothing on Micah from our first reading – the one who pointed us to Bethlehem so many centuries before. He writes of an ideal ruler to come from that little town – one who will be of peace. Mind you, as he’s writing, it has been at least 300 years since King David was born in Bethlehem, and nothing remarkable had happened there since. It will be another 700 years before Jesus puts it back on the map. Whether we think this is a messianic text or not, Micah received this word of hope in the 8th century BCE, having no idea when it would be fulfilled – only that the One who made the promise was trustworthy…so he passed it on to us.

My point? When you think about it, Bethlehem wasn’t even on Mary’s itinerary at this point in her journey. As far as she knows, she’ll eventually leave Elizabeth and go home to face Joseph, her family, her community back in Nazareth – and God only knows what their reaction will be. She can’t see much past that. By Christmas night, of course, she’ll be in Bethlehem – but she won’t stay there long either. Before long, she and her little family will be refugees on their way to Egypt escaping Herod’s death threats. It will be years before she’s finally home again.

But maybe it’s OK that she doesn’t know all of that just now. Maybe, as her son will say decades later, “today’s troubles are enough for today.” And today, what she has in front of her is an impossible call from God that she somehow believes and words of comfort from an older, wiser friend. She doesn’t know where the journey will take her any more than we know where our lives will take us, but she does trust that the One who promised to be with her will be with her every step of the way – no matter how long it takes to get there. Maybe for today that’s enough for us too. Amen.