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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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Getting Mouthy with God

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10.28.18

Getting Mouthy with God

Getting Mouthy with God

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

How mouthy are we allowed to get with God? In the case of Bartimaeus with Jesus in today’s Gospel, speaking up seems to pay off. He keeps shouting over a crowd that orders him to be quiet. Jesus calls him over, asks him what he wants and gives it to him immediately. He’s not punished for being presumptuous; in fact, he’s seemingly rewarded for his faith. This all sounds great, until you consider how this might sound to Job in today’s first reading. Speaking up didn’t exactly pay off for Job, at least not in the ways he anticipated. After losing his property, his children and his health for no good reason, he gets exquisitely mouthy with God. He questions God’s justice more eloquently than perhaps anyone ever has – but it’s only after he backs down that the tide of good fortune turns again. Which is it – do we shout or keep silent when we’re suffering? Is it even possible to steer God’s mercy and healing our way?

We might say that it depends on the God we’re dealing with – the compassionate God revealed in Jesus or the uncontainable God depicted in Job. Personally, I prefer a non-binary approach. We get a fuller picture of God when we look at all of it and see how these stories speak to each other.

You could say that the Gospel is about Bartimaeus and his good choices. He’s never seen Jesus, but he’s heard enough to believe that mercy’s a reasonable ask. He knows what he’s blind to and has the courage to say simply what he needs. He trusts in the consistency of Jesus’ character, and in case we needed proof that his faith is legit, he doesn’t leave when he gets the healing he came for. He uses his sight to follow Jesus on the way. We could make Bartimaeus the hero of this story, but I’m not sure that’s really good news for us. It’s Jesus we’re asked to trust. How does he fare here?

Well, at this point in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has just told the disciples for the third time that he’s about to be executed - just days from now, in fact. And how does his inner circle respond? They ignore him completely and start jockeying for position. He could have centered in on his own pain and isolation at this point, but he doesn’t. He has mercy and healing to give, so he offers it. And while he’s at it, he lifts up something positive in Bartimaeus and names it out loud. He’s not about rewarding Bartimaeus’ good behavior any more than he’s about punishing the disciples for their failures; he offers healing because that’s who Jesus is.

If the folktale and poetry of Job have been successful at anything over the centuries, it’s been dismantling the whole edifice we’ve constructed around divine reward and punishment. We might not know what to build in its place, but we do know it’s not that simple. We can’t force God’s hand with our obedience any more than we can make God reject us with our disobedience. God is not bound to any of our rules. That’s part of Job’s problem.

It’s tricky to track the first part of our reading today, in part because Job uses some of his air time to quote God back to him. He’s finally having his day in court, sort of. He’s been begging God to show up and make the case against him. He knows he hasn’t done anything to deserve these losses. After railing against God and his friends for chapter upon chapter, Job at last encounters God in a whirlwind. But instead of getting answers, he gets more questions. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?...Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” Today we have Job’s final response. He readily admits God’s power and his own ignorance, but it’s his last line I want to focus on.

Unfortunately, our translation gets it wrong. Normally I don’t get into the tall weeds like this in a sermon, but this is too important. We read, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Do we really need to despise ourselves in order to reconcile with God? I don’t question Job’s repentance, his turning from his own constructs of right and wrong to the God who cannot be contained by our limited sense of justice. Nor do I question his acknowledgment of his own mortality. Compared to God, we are all dust and ashes. That’s not self-abasement; it’s realistic.

It’s the first part of the line I can’t accept. The phrase “I despise myself” – there are lots of ways to translate it. The verb could mean “to despise or reject,” but it could also mean to yield or recant. And no direct object is given in the Hebrew. We’re not told what he’s despising or rejecting. The fact that our translators chose “self” as the object perhaps says more about them than it does about the text. Job has just been talking about his own ignorant words; maybe that’s what he’s rejecting. Or maybe he’s simply yielding to God’s power and hanging up the gloves for a while. I don’t see how anyone who encounters the incalculable beauty of creation as Job does here, who’s told repeatedly by God that he is part of that stunning picture, who finally sees whatever is to be seen of God - could then despise himself as a result with God’s apparent approval. Job learns something far more profound and freeing here than self-hatred. As biblical scholar Samuel Terrien once put it, Job learns that he can’t turn “his morality into a lever for securing ultimate autonomy.” In other words, we can’t argue our way out of our dependence on God, nor can we use our own behavior to force God’s hand.

Of course, God leaves many of our questions about divine justice on the table. We don’t get many answers. I like how Robert Frost phrases it in “A Masque of Reason,” his “midrash” on Job. In the poem, Job tells God: “We don’t know where we are, or who we are. We don’t know one another; don’t know You; Don’t know what time it is…Oh, we know well enough to go ahead with. I mean we seem to know enough to act on.” He wants more than that, of course – but I wonder this morning if that might be enough.

In Job’s case, what does he do with his newfound knowledge? He starts by taking himself out of his own spotlight. He prays for his friends, the very ones who gave him bad advice chapters before. If, as Geoffrey says, an antidote to anxiety is giving and an antidote to anger is serving, then perhaps an antidote to self-pity could be prayer – prayer for those in our lives who don’t know what God’s doing either. But Job doesn’t stop there. He welcomes the brothers and sisters who have seemingly been absent up to now, and he lets them comfort him. He even lets them give to him, when I’m guessing pride might have stopped him before. And then - you knew I was going to point this out – he gives his new daughters an inheritance along with his new sons. That wasn’t done at the time; back then, daughters would only inherit if there were no sons. But perhaps his own experience of random injustice made him more sensitive to when others were getting a raw deal.

But let’s be clear - Job doesn’t pray, serve or give here to earn a reward; he does it out of gratitude for the God who refuses to play that game, who’s just fine with us being mouthy, and who ends up offering mercy and healing because that’s who God is. In the silence that follows, I invite you to consider what you know enough about today to act upon. Who needs your prayers, your service, your generosity? How might they help you step out of your own spotlight? In the Name of the One who’s both compassionate and uncontainable, Amen.