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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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No More False Choices

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07.21.19

No More False Choices

    Series: Pentecost

    Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

    Do we really have to choose between Mary and Martha in today’s Gospel – who follows Jesus correctly and who doesn’t? Isn’t it hard enough to be a woman in the Bible without being heckled from the cheap seats 2000 years later? But there’s a larger issue here. Personally, I am sick of being pushed into false choices – whether that’s between action and contemplation, or between justice and mercy – as if we’re only allowed to choose one, as if God only wants us to have one and not the other. We’re told that we need to choose between, say, immigrants and veterans – or between the police and people of color – that loyalty to one necessarily means rejection of the other, that we can’t create room or justice for both. But what if that’s not true? What if that’s just another lie, designed to divide and conquer? Let’s start by seeing how this either/or thinking works in our Gospel and then see what it might mean for larger questions.

    On the surface, it’s hard to see what this small scene between Jesus and two sisters has to do with justice or equality. Issues of honesty and greed are addressed more directly by Amos in our first reading and then by our psalmist. Maybe we should focus there instead – because like Amos, we too witness the needy being trampled every day. And like the psalmist, we’re constantly forced to listen to those who love evil more than good and lying more than speaking the truth. The problem is that it is a little too easy to define ourselves as the heroes in these settings and our enemy as anyone who disagrees with us. Most of us can’t imagine ourselves as the ones being targeted for judgment here as cheaters or tyrants; it’s a little too convenient for us to use these texts as weapons against our perceived enemies and forget that the Bible’s ultimate aim is good news for more than just us.

    Today’s Gospel is different. Most of us can identify with either Mary or Martha depending on the moment and can easily imagine ourselves in their place. Like Martha, we’ve all found ourselves distracted by too many tasks; and like Mary, we’ve all been accused of not doing our share. Because we could be on either side, we want to know who’s right and who’s wrong here. We want a clear guide for how we can be fruitful and useful to God, but that’s not exactly what we get.

    Just to recap, we begin with Martha welcoming Jesus into her home. While her sister Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him, Martha gets distracted by everything that’s on her plate – and so she asks Jesus to take sides on her behalf. She wants Jesus to make Mary help her. After pointing out the obvious – that she is worried and distracted, Jesus seems to take Mary’s side instead. He says: “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

    Before we start taking sides ourselves, let’s remember how much we don’t know here.

    We don’t know what’s distracting Martha. She may have more on her mind than what’s for dinner that night. To assume that her tasks are trivial says more about us – and our perception of “women’s work” - than it does about her. We also don’t hear what Mary and Martha may have said to each other prior to this moment; in fact, we don’t hear what Mary says at all.

    We can read all kinds of things into the gaps left by this story. Perhaps we’ve been in Martha’s place far too often, and when we’re honest, what we read into Jesus’ words is condemnation, the callous response of someone who’s been taken care of by women for so long that he takes their service for granted. Or maybe, like me at an earlier phase in my life, we identify with Mary as one eager to learn and study, all too ready to leave the practical work to someone else. We might decide that Jesus’ approval of Mary is an elevation of women – that we too are welcome to sit and learn as disciples.

    But we need not automatically settle on any of these thoughts. To insist on taking either Mary or Martha’s side forces us into a false choice. Can’t Jesus be for both of them? Can’t we?

    We can applaud Mary for paying attention to her guest, for actually listening to him. And yes, we can applaud Martha for her own hospitality, for welcoming Jesus into her home in the first place. We can also applaud her willingness to speak up for herself, to dare to let Jesus into what she was really thinking and feeling instead of suffering in silence. And while Jesus does point out her distraction, he’s not pitting her against her sister. She’s the one who invited the comparison; that may never have been his intent.

    In his answer to Martha, Jesus creates room for more than one response. In his typically indirect way, Jesus upholds both Mary’s choice to listen and Martha’s right to protest. He doesn’t tell Martha to stop doing whatever truly needs to be done; he just names her distraction for what it is and gives her room to respond differently. It turns out - we don’t need to denigrate Martha in order to elevate Mary, and we don’t need to exalt Mary at Martha’s expense. It’s not an either-or choice. We don’t need to take away anything from either of them.

    So how is this good news for us 2000 years later? Well, on one level, it means that we don’t have to measure our worth by comparing ourselves to others – what they get versus what we think we deserve. God doesn’t grade on a curve. We don’t need to elevate ourselves at anyone else’s expense in order to be valued by God. And we don’t need to equate loyalty to some with a rejection of others; we can embrace whatever any of us is willing to bring to the table for the common good. As the writer of Colossians points out, there is room for all of us under the cross – in all of our varied ways of welcoming God. We don’t need to choose between action and contemplation, or between justice and mercy. God is big enough to want it all for us.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t name evil for what it is. Amos and the psalmist are quite clear about that. It just means that we can spend less time demonizing our enemy and more time discerning our own response to the injustice we witness in the world. For myself, I like where the psalmist ends. Rather than simply diagnosing the problem, he offers a solution – for himself anyway. He says that he’d like to be like a “green olive tree in the house of God.” I love the openness of this image. It creates room for more than one way to be fruitful, more than one way to be useful. As long as we’re rooted in the mercy and goodness of God rather than in our endless comparisons to others, there are lots of ways for us to be like a “green olive tree,” to offer nourishment and shade and hospitality to others.

    We can serve and listen. We can offer welcome to the stranger without neglecting those who’ve been with us all along. We can value those protect and defend us without being blind to their excesses or prejudices. And most importantly, we can stop limiting God and ourselves with false choices. In the silence that follows, I invite you to think about what being fruitful and useful to God might mean for you – and who that might allow you to welcome into your life, into your community, into your heart. In the Name of the One who has created room for all of us, Amen.