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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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So You Are a King?

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11.25.18

So You Are a King?

So You Are a King?

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

Welcome to Christ the King Sunday. Frankly, of all the images we’re given of Jesus, this one might be the most seemingly absurd. It might even beat the blonde-haired, blue-eyed “senior portrait” that hung for years in my grandmother’s living room. How did we get from a homeless Middle Eastern rabbi to a king complete with crown and throne? What do we gain by dressing him up in such fairytale garb? Perhaps this is a celebration we’ve outgrown, that we don’t do Jesus any favors by consigning him to “once upon a time.”

It’s a fair argument, except that today’s celebration isn’t some treasured old chestnut of the church. It’s not even a century old. The church didn’t start celebrating Christ the King Sunday until Pope Pius XI established it in 1925. Episcopalians only adopted it within the last several decades. And for once, this wasn’t about us baptizing our own hunger for power. With one world war already fought and another on the way, with the slow rise of fascism and the kings of this earth demanding exclusive loyalty, Pius took a stand by asserting Christ as King above all. Knowing the attractions of retaliation and violence when nations rise up against each other, he called us to our ultimate citizenship – which is not to country – but to a kingdom of every tribe and language and people and nation where a Lamb is seated on the throne.

I’m not saying this is an easy sell. I doubt even Jesus’ most celebrated ancestor, King David, would have recognized Jesus as a proper king. We’re given David’s last official words in today’s first reading, complete with the arrogance we’d expect from someone who was told repeatedly that he was “the favorite of the Strong One of Israel.” Regardless, he starts out alright: “One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.”

Setting aside David’s self-serving portrayal of his own legacy, this image says something about how God’s kingdom can work in this world – and the roles we can play. The power might not come from here, but it’s certainly felt here – in the form of warmth or light or in being washed clean. And as Jesus will later remind us, this kind of sun and rain falls on the just and the unjust. They cause new life to grow wherever they fall, and they cannot be confined to any one place or time or country. We can’t command the sun to shine just on us, or to make the rain fall here and not somewhere else. And yet, as strong as these forces are, sun and rain alone don’t make things grow. They need the right seeds, the right soil, and sometimes at least, the right human choices along the way to make things flourish. So it is in Christ’s kingdom. God might create the right conditions for us, but God won’t force us to grow. Some decisions are up to us, whether we want them to be or not.

David’s next images are undoubtedly harsher, but they hold some truth too. He compares the “ungodly” or unjust rulers to thorns. Personally, I think the comparison holds up. In the name of protection or “law and order”, thorns can end up choking life rather than preserving it. And unlike sturdier stuff like iron, thorns aren’t strengthened or purified by fire. Tests merely reveal their weakness. So it is with many of our earthly kings – and many of us. What we do as individuals or as a country in the name of protection or defense can sometimes do more harm than good. Out of fear of things that might test us, we are tempted to build walls that isolate us from others – when challenges can be exactly what we need to build and reveal our strength.

So where does this leave us? What do we do with a kingdom that isn’t defined by force and that doesn’t need to be defended with violence? And what does it mean for how we think about our country or homeland, to whom we also have loyalty? Pilate has a hard time with this in today’s Gospel as well. He doesn’t know what to do with Jesus. What kind of king rejects violence, even when threatened, and testifies to the truth, even at the cost of his own life? When we’re honest, we don’t know what to do this kind of king either. We want someone who will keep us safe – even if it means employing violence (especially when we don’t have to see it). We want someone who’ll promise to fix the intractable problems of our day, even when we know we’re asking too much of them – and too little of ourselves. And when our leaders inevitably fail to live up to the promises we’ve forced them to make, we want someone to blame – a target for our fear and our anger. A king works well in this capacity – whether it’s our earthly kings or the King of kings and Lord of lords. They keep us from looking at ourselves.

Where did we get this image of Christ as King, if it’s so misguided? I’m not sure it is, but we’ll get to that. I suppose we can blame Revelation for it, at least in part. It’s here in our second reading that we’re given the image of Jesus as the “ruler of the kings of the earth;” it’s in this book where the throne and crown imagery start to go into overdrive. It seems like a big leap from the convicted criminal in today’s Gospel to Christ as ruler of all. Here’s how I understand it:

If the crucifixion embodies the worst of what we can do to each other – and I think it does, if it’s the perfect expression of how the kingdoms of this world work when driven by fear – and I think it is, then the resurrection is God’s response to that. And if the risen Christ is the faithful witness to what God wants for us – namely, freedom from the powers of sin and death and fear, freedom to love and serve others beyond the interests of country, then he’s the perfect one to embody that hope and lead the charge. It makes sense for us to be loyal to that kind of kingdom and, yes, to call him our king.

For all its difficulties, the image of Christ as King can give us hope that now is not all there is, that the way things are is not as it’s meant to be, that there’s still something to work for and grow into; that despite all appearances, the arc of the universe really is bent toward justice. Christ as King can help us imagine a power that falls like the sun or rain – on the just and the unjust – a power that transcends oceans and cultures and national boundaries. His example is what motivates us to stand up for other people’s children – and their right to live free from violence and fear - when, otherwise, we’d only consider our own safety. His kingdom might not be from here, but it can be felt and experienced here – whenever we offer our ultimate citizenship to the One who commands love and compassion from us. This isn’t about enshrining the past or baptizing the present or committing ourselves to a fairytale; it’s about giving us a future worth living toward and a God who can be trusted to lead us there.

In the silence that follows, I invite you to consider what citizenship in the kingdom of God demands of us – in how we treat each other, in who needs our welcome, and in how we respond to anyone who claims that something else should come first. In the Name of the One who calls us to a love and loyalty beyond tribe or language or people or nation – Amen.