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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

Beginning on Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021, worship will be open to anyone without pre-registration or distancing requirements. We will continue requiring that worshippers be masked for now. 

Our schedule of services will remain the same throughout the summer:

 - 9:00 a.m. (English) in the church

 - 10:30 a.m. (English) in the church

 - Noon (Spanish) in Nourse Hall

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. 

Masked hymn singing both indoors and outdoors will be permitted, and music will be supported by a soloist and organ. 

On-line worship services in English and Spanish are available on Sundays beginning at 8:00 a.m. on our YouTube channel.

 

 

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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Palm Sunday 2021

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03.28.21

Palm Sunday 2021

Palm Sunday 2021

Series: Holy Week

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

It wasn’t a rhetorical question. Third graders don’t ask rhetorical questions. If they ask a reasonable question, they expect an answer. Exhibit A: this question left in my office mailbox several years ago by a confounded Sunday school teacher: “How does Jesus dying relieve our sins?”  One of her third graders had drawn a cross and wrote this question on top. The child expected more than silence in return. My teacher didn’t know what to say, so she pivoted to me.

Children aren’t alone in their unanswered questions. All sorts of questions are met with silence in today’s Gospel, including the most haunting of them all: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Let’s be honest – if the Passion is nothing more than the story of a misunderstood hero meant to stir up our compassion – while it might be instructive in an Amnesty International kind of way, it doesn’t bring salvation. If all it does is reacquaint us with our loneliness and pain – while it might be cathartic, it doesn’t bring hope. If all it does is confirm our complicity in state-sanctioned violence, our own silence and paralysis in the face of torture – while it might force honesty, it doesn’t bring forgiveness. I guess my question, and I suspect yours, is the same as that of my 3rd grader. How does Jesus dying bring us any kind of relief, much less salvation or forgiveness or even hope?

The only one who appears to be saved, in this text anyway, is Barabbas, the violent felon who was set free in Jesus’ place. Maybe that’s a clue to what is going on here. Perhaps it’s more than just an outrageous miscarriage of justice, although it is that too. There’s no evidence outside of the Bible for such a seemingly ridiculous practice – the releasing of a known criminal in the middle of a festival. Perhaps the very ridiculousness of it could be part of the point.

Earlier in Mark, Jesus told his disciples: “For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” In Jesus’ day, one was expected to rescue relatives from debtor’s prison by offering a price or a ransom for their freedom. Usually, it was money that was given, but it was only expected from members of your family. Who else would care that much? Here Jesus breaks any reasonable definition of family, and any question of deserving or reciprocity is thrown out the window.

In his silence, in his refusal to define his goodness at another’s expense, he ends up giving what cannot be paid back – his life, and because of him, someone who does not deserve it is set free and given hope for a different future. Barabbas, whose name means “son of the father,” is no longer held captive by his very evident failures. He’s now released to live a different life. At the end of any kind of human love, beyond the realistic limits of our forgiveness, beyond what is reasonable or even just, in the cross – we have Jesus setting another son of the Father free.

Any other clues we’re given at this point are hidden at best. Mark won’t give our 3rd grader easy answers. Here we have no open tombs as in Matthew, no spoken promises of forgiveness as in Luke. The only signs we’re given are darkness and a torn curtain. It’s not much to go on, but it’s something. The sun goes dark at noon, and for three hours, Jesus’ identification with us is complete. Whatever else the cross might mean (and, yes, it means more than we can say right now on this side of Easter), it means that we have the relief of knowing that we will never be truly alone again. In the Passion, Jesus experiences what we think God can’t possibly know – the horror of a body this fragile; the loneliness of someone who needs his friends and family close and has lost them; the grief of one whose work has seemingly come to naught, and most troubling of all, the utter silence of the One who was never supposed to leave or forsake him. (Of course, silence is not the same thing as absence; it’s just hard to know that at the time.) It’s said that compassion is entering into the suffering of another for the sake of relieving it. If Jesus is who he says he is, then he’s just revealed to us in his Passion the very heartbeat of God – namely, boundless, unreserved, unmeasured, unreasonable compassion.

And then there’s the Temple curtain – that barrier separating us from the Holy of Holies. It’s ripped open once and for all. That means we have unmediated access to God, and God, even despite us, has access to us. So, we can stop trying to protect God from our most painful questions. We can stop bargaining with God for favors with our paltry faithfulness and the weight of our sacrifices. We can stop looking for scapegoats and act like the responsible followers we’re called to be, admitting the depth of our sin and brokenness, our need to be forgiven. Because in the cross, Jesus has thrown all questions of deserving and reciprocity out the window. Through the love and integrity displayed on the cross, we are set free and given hope for a different future – a future that’s not dependent on the depths of our compassion or the limits of our forgiveness, but on a God in Christ who has truly loved us to the end and given us a love worth living for. And if that’s not at least a relief, I don’t know what is. Amen.