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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 Light of the Prophets

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12.15.19

The Light of the Prophets

The Light of the Prophets

Series: Advent

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, we had John the Baptist in full prophet regalia out in the wilderness, speaking up for the outraged radical inside all of us. Anyone who has ever been angered at the Christmas industrial complex has a friend in John the Baptist. This week, though, he’s targeting Jesus with questions from his jail cell. How did that happen? Last week, he was enjoying his role as holy highway builder, brazenly scattering the proud in their conceit (to quote the song of his relative Mary) – calling out the leaders of his day as broods of vipers. This week, he’s living the consequences of speaking that kind of truth to power. It was prophets like Isaiah and yes, Mary, who shaped John’s imagination, who led him to believe that a reckoning was coming, who inspired him to light a candle in the darkness and stand up for truth out loud. If not him, who? If not now, when?

And yet, look where it landed him. Was there a quicker route to justice than the slow lane Jesus seemed to be taking? One can only wait so long for might to be made right before we start lighting fires of our own. In a sense, John’s rather pointed questions are ours too. “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” If anything, our viper pits have only grown since; our deserts are that much drier. So, what do we make of the prophets’ visions for justice and peace – are they merely idealistic pipedreams that slow down the path to realistic progress, or could they be words and images to live by?

I’ll give his mother Elizabeth credit - it couldn’t have been easy raising John the Baptist. Imagine trying to keep his shoes on, or trying to keep him quiet in church. He heard the words of prophets like Isaiah and didn’t tune them out as grown-up blather. The prophets were like movie stars or sports heroes are to our kids; they shaped who he thought he could be. His ears perked up at mention of the wilderness, of the freedom that was possible outside in the desert. John couldn’t reconcile the domesticated God of the temple with the God he knew out in the wild. Whatever his father Zechariah the priest was doing with all his ritualistic sacrifices for sin, they seemed not to be working. The people around him were no different after they left worship than before they came. Whatever passed from their lips didn’t seem to make it to their lives; their tactics, their budgets, their treatments of the weak and the stranger all remained the same. Or so it seemed to John.

Yet the prophet Isaiah talked about waters breaking forth in the wilderness. He talked about a God who would make a way through the desert when there was no way, where the redeemed could walk safely and not be afraid. This God didn’t settle for coping, not when change was possible. In Isaiah’s world, there is a path that leads to joy, and God has already cleared the way. All we need to do is keep walking. No wonder John chose to embody that message. It gave him direction in a world that otherwise seemed like a trackless waste. It gave his life’s story a plot and a purpose.

We can easily imagine John getting fired up by prophets like Isaiah, but we forget that they weren’t the only radical voices in his life. Think about the women who raised him. It was when Mary first visited John’s mother Elizabeth that we first hear Mary singing about God casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly in the Magnificat. It wasn’t just her song, of course. It mirrored the song of countless biblical women before her – Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith…and now it was Mary and Elizabeth’s song too. How many times must John have heard his mother or Mary singing about God filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty? He didn’t miss their prophetic edge. You see, John didn’t grow up with the baggage we have around Mary or her song. For him, she wasn’t the embodiment of unattainable beauty or purity. She wasn’t the model of perfect submission; she wasn’t saddled with a thousand Christmas carols insisting on her mildness. She was a prophet in her own right. She gave him a song he could live by.

Then what did this latest plot twist mean? He’d been thrown into prison for calling out the king on his unseemly marriage. It wasn’t enough to be right this time. He was at the whim of a tyrant now; his freedom depended not on what could be proven, but on the political winds shifting his way. That’s not the way the world is supposed to work. Laws, integrity, the truth – they are all supposed to mean something. John preached about the Almighty as an axe-wielder and a fire starter, but Jesus wasn’t bringing the fire fast enough. Healing on the Sabbath was hardly the spark of revolution that would set the world aflame, or so he thought. So perhaps in an attempt to send a firecracker of his own, he sends his followers to ask his cousin Jesus directly: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Sounds like a challenge to me.

In his response, Jesus hearkens back to the traditions they both shared; after all, the prophets were the heroes of his childhood too. Jesus uses Isaiah’s imagery about the blind receiving their sight and the deaf hearing and the lame walking to remind John that he knows how the kingdom of heaven comes near – not just by casting down the mighty, but by lifting up the lowly as well. There is more than one way to show strength. It’s not just about setting fires. We’re allowed and even encouraged to be angry about injustice; Jesus certainly was. We just kid ourselves if we think our responsibilities end there. Outrage does not fill the hungry with good things or make the promise of mercy real to the needy among us. We can have the most biting, incisive, even accurate critiques of the powerful, but they ring hollow if not accompanied by a willingness to share our own power and resources, to put our money where our values are.

Jesus reminds us here that we don’t need to invent another plotline for our lives; God has already given us a path and a purpose – a kingdom where God’s mercy forms the measure of our greatness. It’s a kingdom that should change our tactics, our budgets, how we treat the weak and the stranger among us. In the meantime, it’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK to push back on the traditions that have formed us and see how well they hold up. Prophets like Isaiah and yes, like Mary, give us visions worth living toward. They’re not pipedreams that slow down progress; they provide us the direction and the energy we need to make progress for all people. In the silence that follows, I invite you to think about the words and images and songs that you live by. How might Isaiah’s vision or Mary’s song or John’s questions be the firecracker you need to take your next step this Advent? In the Name of the One who gives us the prophets to help light up our night - Amen.