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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 Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

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09.13.15

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev. Deborah Meister

Proper 19B; 13 September, 2015
Prov 1:20-33; Ps 19
James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38 

            Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in an incredible experience. Forty years ago, when the church was wrestling with the issue of whether women could be priests, those who favored it lost faith in the decades-long discussion and decided to take matters into their own hands. So, two sets of women were irregularly ordained: eleven in Philadelphia, and four women at St. Stephen’s and Incarnation, becoming the first of women ordained priests in (if not by) the Episcopal Church. Yesterday, the three surviving priests from St. Stephen’s were gathered in that church to tell their stories, to give thanks to God, and to exercise their ministries by consecrating bread and wine and offering it to us in the name of Jesus.

            And so I sat there in that church, looking at these women, whose courage had made it possible for me to live this life -- for me to live as a wholehearted human being. Alison Palmer was tiny and slender (even smaller than I am). Betty Powell was tall, with a cascade of white hair.  E. Lee McGee was nearly blind and in a wheelchair; she’s the one who helped pay my way to seminary. They were joined by Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church, and they each spoke of George Barrett, the bishop who had consecrated them, and who, twenty years later in Los Angeles, preached a sermon that opened my heart and let me know that God had made a home for me, a Jew, in the Episcopal Church. Most of us know that we stand on the shoulders of giants, but it is not often that you get to be in the same room with people who have risked everything to give you freedom, and to go up to them and say Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

            But as I sat in the pew and looked at the four of them: two women standing, one woman with a seeing eye dog, and one fiery black preacher, I realized that I was looking at the faces of people who had changed forever our understanding of who God is. Thanks to their lives and their ministry, when Jesus asks us, “Who do you say that I am?” our answer is different than it used to be. These women have given us new eyes and new hearts.

            It is easy for those of us who were not alive then, or were not Episcopalian then, to forget what it took to give us those eyes and those hearts, so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share a couple of the stories they told. Alison Palmer told her family to stay away from the ordination because she feared for their lives. Many of them saw her celebrate for the first time yesterday, forty years late. Lee McGee, who was actually from St. Stephen and Incarnation, asked the rector for permission to make the customary two-hour prayer vigil in the sanctuary before she was ordained, and saw him turn away. He said, “We didn’t want to have to tell you this,  but the police will go through the church that morning with bomb-sniffing dogs, and then the building will be sealed until the service starts.”  The priest in the pew next to me, who had been there, told about sitting on the floor, because the church was so full, and having the man next to her jump up and object to the ordinations; it was good preparation, she said, for the objectors at her own. Alison Palmer told of later, when she was priest, and she was invited to help with Communion at a parish, and three women received from her, and the other hundred twenty people walked past her and chose the male rector.

            And then there was the cost. Betty Powell talked of living thirty years with PTSD from the threats. William Wendt, the Rector of the parish, was inhibited from exercising priestly office for a full year. George Barrett, the ordaining bishop, could not exercise his own office for seven.

            My point is this: we serve an incarnate God, and who we say God is is not a matter of words alone. It is written in the living flesh and blood of men, women, and children who have risked their reputations, their jobs, their families, and their very lives to show us who God is. So when Jesus asks us, as he asks each of his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, he’s not asking about words. He’s asking, “How do you live that I am?” How is your life different because I lived and died for you? What risks do you take, because you know I am with you? Whom do you honor because you believe I want you to? And what does your life show my other children about me?

            The church year begins in winter, in the darkness of Advent, but because we also follow the school calendar, the Sunday after Labor Day always feels to me like the beginning of a new year. People are back from vacation (or from pretending that they are on vacation); the kids are in class; the formation offerings begin; books are waiting to be read; service opportunities to be seized. And so it is a good week to take a moment and sit with that question: How do you live that I am?

            Here at St. Alban’s, we show who we believe God is in numerous ways. We show it in a congregation that is young and old, drawn from many races and nations, Spanish-speaking and English-speaking, gay and straight and even celibate. We show it in the presence of men and women behind the altar. We show it in the tenderness with which we raise our children in faith, tenderness which extends beyond our walls to the children at the Harriet Tubman School and Bishop Walker School in DC and at schools in South Sudan and in Jordan. We show it in the unconditional support we give our youth, and in the way we raise them to spread that love by repairing homes in Appalachia and serving food on the streets of DC. We show it by praising God in traditional hymns and in Negro spirituals and in the rich complexity of Bach and of Brahms and in Latino music, and even, from time to time, in jazz and African drums and first-century chant. We show it, above all, by the fact that every ministry by which we nurture our own community’s life also spills outside our walls and nurtures the life of those in need (which, sometimes, are ourselves). And when we say we are a mission-driven church, we do not mean that we are a church that does some work for other people who are not here; we mean that everything we do is aimed at nurturing the people of God, both those within our walls and those outside them, because God makes no distinctions. That’s how we show who God is.

            But what about you? You, sitting in that pew? How do you live who God is?

            St. Alban’s takes great joy in welcoming people at all points in the walk of faith. We welcome you who are seeking something in which to believe. We welcome you who glimpse God in snatches and then doubt what you have seen. We welcome you who believe, at least right now, until God shakes your faith to the core and pushes you to open your eyes and your heart ever wider. We welcome you -- each of you-- because every single one of those places is part of a genuine life of faith; if we do not doubt the ideas we have received and the ideas we have learned so far, we will never be able to transcend them and grow into the fulness of God.

            But, here’s the thing: the God who relishes an honest struggle does not welcome a flaccid faith. We may all be struggling toward the light -- and some days, that light is hard to find -- but we do not have the option of sitting pretty and drinking tea and pretending that we have all the answers. Because God’s ways are higher than our ways, and if we think that we understand our God, God will make a monkey of us.

            There’s an astonishing reversal in today’s Gospel: in one breath, Peter is proclaiming for the first time that Jesus is the Messiah, and in the very next breath -- the very next one! -- Jesus is calling him Satan. You see, once we think we know who God is, we are sorely tempted to think that God should act in ways we can predict. We try to pin God down like a butterfly on velvet, but God is living and active, and refuses to be pinned down. God refuses our categories, resists our certainties, gathers together a people more motley and strange and holy than we can imagine, and then pushes us to do miracles: to make God’s children more alive.

            We gesture toward God in the creed, but we taste God in bread and wine. We let God into our flesh; we let God transform our flesh; because if we are ever going to know God, it will be in the flesh -- ours, and that of other people. Because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; if you would seek him, seek him there.

            How you do live that I am?