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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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The First Sunday after the Epiphany: the Baptism of our Lord

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01.10.16

The First Sunday after the Epiphany: the Baptism of our Lord

The First Sunday after the Epiphany: the Baptism of our Lord

Series: Epiphany

Speaker: The Rev. Deborah Meister

Tags: baptism, christian, episcopal

10 January, 2016                                                                       Rev. Deborah Meister
Isaiah 43:1-7; Ps 29
Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

 

            “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you…: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.”

 

            This is a hard morning at St. Alban’s. As many of you have heard by now, our Director of Music, Sonya Sutton, who has brought transcendent music to this church for twenty years, will be leaving our community next week. Many of you are understandably saddened by the news; others of you are angry; some are frightened. Yesterday, we had a long vestry meeting which two parishioners attended as observers. When I gave them the chance to speak, one of them stood up and said she was there to figure out “what on earth was happening in this parish,” which she loves. I am sure that many of you feel the same way. I had the great pleasure of singing under Sonya when the choir went on pilgrimage to Wells, and I experienced her there as an encouraging, patient, spiritual leader who consistently taught us to sing together better than we thought we could, and who was gracious even when we did not. This is a real loss for our parish, and particularly for our singers.

            But this is also good day at St. Alban’s. Down the road at the Little Sanctuary, our Spanish-speaking members are jubilant about our decision to call Debbie Kirk as a part-time Assistant Rector to pastor them and to help us all continue to form rich relationships with one another even through our language difficulties. And it is a joyful day at St. Alban’s, because C.C. Butcher, one of our teenagers, has chosen to be baptized today. C.C. has been discerning this decision for three years in conversation with Matthew, whom she has asked to be her godfather, and with her fellow youth, who have shown her the best that Christian community can be.

            C.C., what I want to tell you this morning is this: Christian community is a good, strong, joyful thing, and it is also the hardest thing on earth. It will stretch you and challenge you and push your buttons and make you gasp with joy and bring you to your knees. You’ve experienced the deep trust you and your friends have in one another, and how you’ve had to work for it because even though all of you are great, none of you is perfect. And you’re old enough by now to know that it is possible for good people, acting under the best of intentions, to get things wrong, and then you end up with a roomful of tears. But it is still better than not having having Christian community. It is still better than not having Jesus and not having the people who love him. Like you, I made my decision to follow Jesus when I was old enough to choose for myself, and in the twenty years since, I have seen hard things and beautiful things and painful things and miraculous things, and I would not trade any of it, not even for all the world.

            Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, and so we find ourselves back with John the Baptist, the wild-man who comes roaring out of the wilderness, dressed in stinking hides and popping locusts into his mouth, to call the people of Israel to serve their God. I want to spend some time with him today, because of all the people who knew the blessings and the weight of community, the prophets of Israel knew it best. The prophets were the lovers of Israel. They were the men and women who were so close to God that they saw the beauty even of a faithless people, and who saw the brokenness even in a beautiful people, and who had to say the hard, good things that would bring them home.

            And so John the Baptist goes to the people, talking about threshing floors and winnowing and unquenchable fire. Do you think those were easy things for him to say? Let me remind you: the prophets were the lovers of Israel, and it is never easy to say hard things to those you love. They are the people who see the the suffering of their fellow human beings so acutely that they are no longer able to be silent about the indifference which allows it to continue. Over and over, they thrust into our faces the unpleasant realities that our relationships are broken, our communities are being damaged, and that we need to name those things, repent, and find a different way forward. That is what we are doing when we decide to be baptized: We are renouncing the callous ways we too often treat one another, and we are setting our feet into the path of Christ.

            That is what has happened here this week: Over the course of the last four years, Sonya and I have been unable to find a way to work together that is fruitful for our parish. The tension and dysfunction in that relationship have damaged the staff  and are actively degrading the quality of our community, undercutting both our ministries and our trust in one another. The decision that Sonya would leave is deeply sad, and I have cried over this situation for years, but it is necessary for us to be able to reclaim healthy ways of being together, joyful ways of doing ministry together, and deep ways of trusting one another.  There was no other path forward.

            But the prophets remind us that with God, all things are possible. There is always a way forward. It may involve going through some deep water;  it may involve walking through pain as great as fire; but God is with us, God’s light is in us, God’s spirit is working in us, and God’s way is to bring new life out of death, new growth out of our hard losses, new hope our of even our darkest hours. In the words of the great rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, there is “an eternity of love hovering over moments of anguish; at the bottom there is light” — and, I would add, the darkness does not overcome it.

            When we go to the waters of baptism, we promise that we will seek that light, come what way. We will seek the light of God, who is already seeking us. We all know that it is hard to see when we’re in a dark place. But it is equally hard to see when you leave the dark room and enter into a place where bright sun is pouring in. It is possible to be blinded by the light, to be surrounded on all sides by the deep and abiding love of God and not be be able to see it. But it is there; it has always been there, and it always will be.

            When Jesus went down into the waters of the Jordan to be baptized by that hairy, smelly prophet, the Holy Spirit came down upon him and he heard a voice saying, “You are Son, my Beloved.” C.C., when you step up to the font in few minutes, when Matthew pours water over your head, listen for those words in your heart. Open yourself to the Holy Spirit; open every pore of your being to the Holy Spirit — because God is pouring himself upon you in love.

            It’s not likely that the heavens will visibly open for you. It’s not likely that the roof of this church will be torn off (and the property committee is really grateful for that). But the heavens are open for you today; there is no gap between you and God today, and if you look around this roomful of people, you can see the very faces you will see gathered around God’s altar in eternity. Because there is only one altar, and only one God, and only one beloved community, and whether we are here at St. Alban’s or far away, we are never far from one another or from God.

            That does not mean you will never face a hard thing; in fact, it makes it more likely, because the people of God are people of courage, who face into what is broken in order to bring life. I was talking yesterday with Felicia Ball, a young woman who grew up here, just like you, and who’s now a college student in Syracuse. She told me she hadn’t given much thought to the city itself when she was looking at the college, and when she got there she discovered it is one of the poorest cities in our country. And she told me about how the university functions as a bubble, a place where most of the students live comfortable lives and do not interact with the surrounding community. But Felicia and her friends did not want to stay in the bubble. Instead, they have started a youth mentorship program, recruiting students to go out into that scary city and work with teenagers one on one, and keep them in school, and out of harmful practices, and listen to problems they don’t even know how to begin to solve, but to show those kids they are not alone. That’s what a disciple does: they go where the pain is, and they make it better.

            And it is always a choice. There is a verse from Deuteronomy which echoes as a refrain through the service on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deut 30:19) God sets before us a life of mixed experiences: life and death, blessings and curses, good things and bad. We seek to ensure that we will see more of the good than of the bad: we fatten our savings accounts and wear seatbelts and run genetic tests on our unborn children. But, C.C., in spite of all our careful preparations, we cannot really choose what we will confront in our lives, or when. We can choose how we will respond. We can blame others, or we can ask forgiveness. We can reach out to our fellow parishioners in anger, or in friendship. We can dwell in bitterness or we can choose to live in such a way that we get back our spiritual friendships tenfold.

            This day, as any other, God sets before you the choice: life and death, blessings and curses. C.C., you are choosing the way of blessing, but for all of us, that choice is not a one-time thing. God’s choice is irrevocable. But we have to choose that path each day, sometimes, even, each hour. Jesus came to be our way, our truth, and our life. It’s up to us to walk in that way, to proclaim that truth even when it takes us to difficult places, to live that life, come what may. But you will have the Holy Spirit to guide you, and from now on, when you still your heart and make it quiet, you will be able to hear again the words God said to us this morning:

 

   When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

            and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

   when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

            and the flame shall not consume you…

   For I am the Lord your God,

            …you are precious in my sight,

            and honored, and I love you. (Is 43:2-4)

 

            Amen.