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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 

Weekly In-person Sunday Service Schedule (Please note: Service times may be changed during the seasons of Christmas and Lent and during the summer. Please refer to our calendar to confirm the times.):

8 a.m. (English) in the Church
9 a.m. (English) in the Church
11:15 a.m. (English) in the Church
11:15 a.m. (Spanish) in Nourse Hall (same building as the Church)

Communion in one kind (i.e. wafers) will be offered at the main altar, although we will happily bring communion to those for whom steps are challenging. 

Weekly Live Sunday Services are live-streamed on our Youtube channel (St. Alban's DC) at 9 a.m. every Sunday, as is our Spanish service at 11:15 a.m. 

Evening Prayer Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. via Zoom, join us for a time of reflection and sharing at the close of your busy day. Contact Paul Brewster for the link. 



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, we believe that a child’s spiritual growth is just as important as their physical and intellectual growth. Our goal is to help children name and value the presence and love of God in their lives. We do this through a variety of means – by providing stable and consistent adult mentors, encouraging strong peer relationships, and supporting parents in their families’ faith lives at home.

Worship: This Fall, Children's Chapel meets during the first half of the 9:00 a.m. service in Nourse Hall (a spacious parish hall in the same building as the main worship space.) Kids and families join "big church" at the Peace so everyone can receive Communion together. To learn more, contact the Rev’d Emily Griffin.

Education: We've resumed our formation programs for the 2022-2023 period. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Sunday School and Youth Group Classes are from 10:15 to 11:05 a.m.
  • Nursery, 2s & 3s, PreK to 1st Grade, 2nd to 3rd Grade, and 4th to 6th Grade all meet upstairs in Satterlee Hall. Youth classes meet downstairs in Satterlee Hall.
  • If you haven’t registered your child or teen yet, it’s not too late. Register in person at the start of class or click here

Questions? For children, contact the Rev’d Emily Griffin at . For youth, contact the Rev’d Yoimel González Hernández at .

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.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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Lord Have Mercy

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Lord Have Mercy

    Lord Have Mercy

    Series: Pentecost

    Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

    Tags: mercy, parable, pharisee, prayer, tax collector

    Imagine a beautiful gold box placed before you. It looks like a gift, a present. Our Sunday School kids would recognize it right away; they’d tell you there’s a story inside. Some might be able to tell you that it’s a parable from Jesus. You see, that’s what parables look like in their classes – gold boxes with lids. They’re gold, because parables are valuable like gold, and they have lids, well, because you never know what you’re going to get with a parable until you open it up and look inside. Sometimes the lids are hard to remove. No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get inside and understand. Not so with today’s parable, or so we think. We’re pretty sure we know who we’d cast in these roles.

    In this case, there’s a tag on the top of the box. It reads: “To: The Self-Righteous and Contemptuous.” A little on the nose, don’t you think? Are we sure this one’s meant for us? UPS must have gotten the address wrong. It must be meant for that church down the street, or for those who are home right now watching the morning shows grousing about the election. If ever an election season inspired self-righteousness and contempt…but I digress. Why is this box here if it’s only meant for “other people”? We might as well try to see what’s inside.

    The temple is busy that morning. All sorts of people are bringing their offerings, saying their prayers. For whatever reason, we find ourselves drawn to two men – both there to pray. The first walks in confidently and boldly. We know him right away as the Pharisee. He scans the crowd, registers another man hovering near the door, breaks stride for just a second as if he’s about to say something snarky, but then thinks better of it and proceeds proudly to his place. We try not to eavesdrop, but he is speaking rather loudly, almost anxiously filling up the space with words: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people; thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of my income…”

    He continues, but we get the gist of it. Our eyes go back to the other guy. Come to think of it, they don’t look so different after all. The clothes are different, of course; but the faces are strikingly similar; they must be related somehow. They at least know each other. We wouldn’t have known what the man did for a living if the Pharisee hadn’t told us. Yet unlike the Pharisee who seems to take his place for granted, the man we’re now watching stands far off – in what would be the back pew if temples then had back pews. He’s looking down so we can’t see his face, but we can hear him: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

    We’re told that it’s the tax collector who returns home in right relationship with God. That would have been scandalous in Jesus’ time. Tax collectors were today’s sleazy politicians, the equivalent of ambulance chasers and pawn brokers – those known for exploiting the desperate to line their own pockets. For a tax collector’s prayer to be lifted up as faithful was a tough pill to swallow – made easier, of course, when we take the Pharisee down a peg or two.

    So what about the Pharisee? Too easy a target, in my opinion. Most of us know enough of those smug, overly pious, holier-than-thou types that we smile a little too quickly at Jesus’ distasteful depiction of them. You know the ones I’m talking about – those who make a point to let you know that they never eat fast food and always buy organic, who’ll never admit to being bored or distracted in church, who measure their righteousness by all the things they don’t do. It’s so easy to be contemptuous of such “Pharisees” that we forget that they were the ones who did much of the day-to-day work of the congregation, who pledged fully and faithfully every year, who maintained the worship space others took for granted, who were so devoted to God that they hadn’t given up on being holy. Let’s put ourselves in the Pharisee’s shoes for a minute.

    If anyone had earned the right to walk confidently and boldly into the temple, it was he. He had worked long and hard to be right with God, and he just wants God to notice. He wants God to confirm that he isn’t like everyone else. Fasting twice a week is difficult; tithing all your income seems near impossible. Why shouldn’t he be rewarded? It’s only fair. They’re not working as hard as he is; how could they? He’s dancing as fast as he can.

    What image of God must he have? The Almighty as overzealous soccer coach, the micromanaging CEO, the eternal stage parent who’s never satisfied with second best – who keeps pushing until you have the perfect game, make every sales quota, hit every note just right. No wonder he’s so focused on everyone else’s sins. It’s easier than facing his own inevitable failure. When divine acceptance depends on success, nothing is worse than failure. Failure is unspeakable.

    At a clergy conference several years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called this the clearest evidence of original sin that he’s ever seen. I suspect he’s right. Nothing seems more deeply ingrained in us than our constant need to prove ourselves, to earn our place at the table, to ingratiate ourselves to God – often at another’s expense. We forget constantly that God is not the eternal stage parent, the punishing boss or angry coach. We don’t have to perform for God or succeed at all costs. God loves us unconditionally. There’s nothing we can do or think or feel that can put us outside of God’s love.

    What does that mean in terms of how we treat each other? Well, it means that we don’t have to constantly distinguish ourselves, to prove that we aren’t like other people - which is a good thing, because we can’t. We can’t, in the end, separate ourselves from the rest of God’s creation because, like it or not, we are like other people. We’re made of the same flesh and blood, the same breath of life, the same vulnerability to shortsightedness and pride. We’re all sinners saved by grace, and we’re all in need of forgiveness – even if it’s for the presumption of assuming we can earn it with our good behavior. True forgiveness cannot be earned. It can only be received as a gift.

    What we have in this beautiful gold box of a parable is a gift, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first. And it’s good news for all people – not just for the smarmy, but the smug too. God’s grace is sufficient for us. Period. Think about the implications of that. When we can finally rest in God’s love and acceptance, then perhaps we no longer have the need to regard each other with contempt. We don’t have to carry all that resentment and blame anymore. We don’t have to fear competition for God’s good graces. It’s not a zero-sum game where some of us need to be right and everyone else has to be wrong. We can stop keeping score for God’s sake and get onto something more useful.

    One thing that encourages me about this parable is that, despite their legitimate differences, both the Pharisee and the tax collector go to the same place to pray. Where else would they find each other on equal footing as fellow children of God? Where else but from a place of prayer would true dialogue or healing even be possible? What other institution is based on the giving and receiving of mercy? The truth is – the Pharisee and the tax collector need each other. Or as St. Paul might say, the eye can’t say to the hand “I have no need of thee.” They’re part of the same Body. They might even be the same person, depending on the day. The Pharisee in all of us needs to be reminded of our own need for mercy, and our inner tax collector needs to know that we can live more holy, less self-centered lives. We’re not stuck playing whatever role someone else has decided we should play. In reality, we all have our Pharisee and tax collector moments, and we don’t get to decide who is cast in each role.

    Some of you might be wondering what I’m doing spending all this time on a Bible story when there are hotter fires burning out there,  seemingly bigger, more important fish to fry. Yes, our parish is in transition; we don’t know exactly what the future will hold, and no, we don’t like feeling that way in the middle of a stewardship campaign when we’re called upon to give in hope anyway. And to top it all off, no matter who we choose, we’re about to elect someone for President that at least half the country doesn’t trust yet. On that last topic, I’m not sure how much my words will add to the onslaught of opinions we face every day. I don’t need to tell you the dangers of demonizing those with whom we disagree – or the self-righteousness and contempt that are just about inevitable when we do. Nor do I need to remind you of the perils of assuming that everything will just sort itself out. It won’t. This is DC; we know the stakes are too high to keep our convictions to ourselves. We need to speak up; we need to vote.

    In terms of our own place of prayer, our own community based on the giving and receiving of mercy (a pretty beautiful idea, when you think about it), I take comfort in the fact that I don’t need to be right all the time – and neither do you. I don’t need to justify myself or prove my worthiness to be here, and I certainly don’t need to do it anyone else’s expense – and neither do you. I can speak the truth in love as best as I see it and accept that others will see that truth differently – and so can you. And I can admit that all of us – all of us - fail to live up to our better angels at least some of the time – and yes, so can you. So here’s the good news today: in these uncertain times we are all at God’s mercy, but that is the best possible place for us to be. We couldn’t be in better hands. Amen.