This is my search section here
  • Welcome
  • Service Times
  • Directions
  • What to Expect
  • For Your Kids
  • The Episcopal Church
Close X

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

Please note: In-person services are temporarily suspended.

We invite you to join us for on-line worship on Sundays beginning at 8:00 a.m., in English and Spanish on our YouTube page

 

 

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.

I'm New
St. Alban's
Header Image

I Saw Satan Falling Like Lightning

Filter By:
07.03.16

I Saw Satan Falling Like Lightning

I Saw Satan Falling Like Lightning

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: Diana Gustafson

Now may the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, my rock and my redeemer.  Amen. 

I have been looking for an emoticon -- one of the little symbols, like smiley faces, used in emails -- that represents laughing and crying at the same time. I want to find an emoticon that signifies what the character Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream calls “tragical mirth.”  It should capture that sense of experiencing something so sad it is unbearable until someone makes a joke about it and then you laugh too hard.  That’s what happened when I first saw the front of this week’s New Yorker Magazine.  The cover is a watercolor drawing of Monty Python’s John Cleese in a bowler hat doing a Silly Walk.  You remember this sketch from the Monty Python Show in the 1970s?  Except in this case, the English Civil Servant, as portrayed by Cleese, is silly-walking right off the Cliffs of Dover.  Britain in voting to leave the EU, this suggests, has silly-walked itself headlong over the edge, into a pit of ethnic vitriol and economic chaos.

There is some evil afoot in the West as citizens of Britain, Shakespeare’s “sceptered isle,” spit on their Muslim neighbors and post street-signs declaring “No more Polish Vermin.”  This feels all wrong.  For better or worse, the United Kingdom is a country I was brought up to revere.  It is the country that fought the long, lonely fight against Hitler in World War Two.  It is the Britain of winged playwrights, soaring cathedrals, and hallowed rock ‘n roll bands.  And now, in the Twenty-First Century, it is the England where many are driven by fear and loathing. You could say England represents any of us when Evil creeps close.

We watched in horror this week the terrorist bombings in Turkey and Bangladesh.  Across much of Europe and the United States as well, we are reeling from eruptions of violence and hatred.  Fifty men and women were gunned down at a gay nightclub in Orlando three Sundays ago by an American claiming allegiance to Islamic terrorists. 

Four weeks ago my husband, Tom, and I flew into Istanbul for a ten-day study tour.  The first thing we saw when we arrived at the airport was a colorful kiosk that sells shelf-upon-shelf of candy and rows of pink, yellow and brown stuffed animals.  Above the display of animals and sweets is the store’s name: JOY SHOP.  The naïve bluntness of this is endearing: is joy so simply obtained?  But it is not far from this little purveyor of happiness that dozens of tourists were murdered last week.

For Tom and me, Istanbul was a portal into a different world.  Many things looked familiar – there were street signs in English and Starbucks Coffee shops everywhere. But despite Istanbul’s recent history as an aggressively secular city, it is difficult to avoid signs of human faith in the divine.  Minarets punctuate the skyline like exclamation points.  Young university women walk to class with colorful headscarves twined round their faces. 

Faith is visible and high-decibel. Across the street from our hotel was the Prince Mosque, a towering house of prayer whose domes turn blue in the early dawn. Islamic prayer is a loudly public business, and I wore earplugs to bed to soften the 4 am call to prayer that blasted from the mosque next door.  Even the cabinet drawer above our hotel minibar – this was the irony of faith expressed in a secular society – held a sign with an arrow pointing toward Mecca, so observant Muslims would know which way to address their prayers.

Turkey is a country of contradictions: joy and violence, secular and divine, good and -- evil.  Turkey was like the emoticon I’ve been looking for: Happy Sad --- Tragical Mirthful --- Joy Pain. Evil and goodness coexist.

Here in the US we often want to be happy all the time. We like smiley face emoticons. We think of evil as something outside ourselves. As in Britain, we hear calls for the building of walls at the borders and airports. In my pastoral work, I have met parents -- African American, Latino and Muslim -- who tell me their anxious children beg them to move north to Canada where they hope they will be safe.

If only evil were easy to avoid. In today’s world, we cannot run by crossing a border. We cannot hide behind walls.   Evil is around us.  We must see it, we must name it, we must find the strength to address it. God offers us that strength and guidance.

Satan is not part of our 21st century pantheon of spiritual beings.  We embrace love, generosity, even vulnerability as Christian virtues.  We see a force for good, a force for compassion and generosity in others – in Doctors without Borders, for example. These qualities are the essence of divinity embodied in Christ.  But we have a harder time acknowledging Evil.  We squirm a little at the thought that Evil might be a Noun as well as an Adjective.

Perhaps in our daily lives we acknowledge Evil’s existence -- but not in ourselves. Maybe I am a little impatient, irritable, we say to ourselves as we sit in our cars, but I’m not evil. Evil isn’t wishing the man jabbering on his cell phone and driving 50 miles an hour in front of me on 495 would suddenly explode. Right? Evil is only shooting people up in a café. Isn’t it? But Evil lives in that seed watered on 495. Recognize it in yourself. And then ask yourself instead, how is that person in front of me suffering? Everyone you meet is suffering from a tragedy you know nothing about.

It is difficult to recognize that the thing that moves us and our fellows toward mean-spiritedness, hatred, and even violence could be a force. A force, the way there is a force for Good. Or that this force might have a concrete and fully-formed being in something called Satan or Evil.

But this is how Jesus talks about evil.  His world is full of demons.   

The seventy sent out by Jesus to proclaim the coming Kingdom of God in today’s Gospel find demons and report, with joy, that “in your name even the demons submit to us.”  Jesus responds that he “watched Satan fall from the heaven like a flash of lightening.”  He has given the seventy power over the enemy. But that is not the main thing.  Zapping demons is cool, but not the point.  “Do not rejoice at this, that the sprits submit to you,” he says, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus is asking us in this morning’s gospel to step through another portal, into a new world that is the Kingdom of God.  To enter this world, we must seek joy, even where there is violence, see the divine amidst the secular, search out the evil that is in others and within ourselves, so that we might bring God’s love to the parched and hungry.  If the portal is blocked and we react with hatred and violence – if like John and James in last week’s reading, we firebomb the Samaritans who reject us and whose otherness we fear – we will not reap the harvest God has sown.

To reveal the Kingdom of God we walk through a portal, over the debris of violence, to a new world of radical welcome and vulnerability.  Entering this Kingdom requires many of the skills of the traveler.  We look for welcome – a taste of God’s Kingdom – and we extend peace.  To the seventy sent out, Jesus says, “When you enter a [stranger’s] house, first say ‘Peace to this house.’” Stay at that house, he says – do not move around from stranger to stranger – until you have shared their days with them – until you know their names.  Until you know your own name, as a person of Peace and Welcome. 

We enter this new world almost naked.  ‘You will be like lambs among wolves,’ Jesus says.  You will have none of the accoutrement of daily living that like walls at the border keep uncomfortable experiences at bay.  Leave behind your purses, your sandals.  Be vulnerable and be strong to the good and evil you meet.

Our portal to a new way of being in the world comes here, today, as Jesus sends us out with the 70 to do his work. This new way of being is one of welcome even amid fear – of compassion amid violence – of naming who we are and naming our brothers and sisters as Children of God -- when everyone else is jumping off the cliff of hatred. Jesus asks us to turn toward Jerusalem – recognizing the hatred and fear that linger there at the place of the crucifixion, but moving on toward the Kingdom of God.

AMEN

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost                                                                         
St. Alban’s Church, Washington, D.C.

2 Kings 5:1-14; Galatians 6: 1-15; Luke 10: 11-1, 16-20