This is my search section here
  • Welcome
  • Service Times
  • Directions
  • What to Expect
  • For Your Kids
  • The Episcopal Church
Close X


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 

Weekly In-person Sunday Service Schedule (Please note: Service times may be changed during the seasons of Christmas and Lent and during the summer. Please refer to our calendar to confirm the times.):

8 a.m. (English) in the Church
9 a.m. (English) in the Church
11:15 a.m. (English) in the Church
11:15 a.m. (Spanish) in Nourse Hall (same building as the Church)

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. 

Weekly Live Sunday Services are live-streamed on our Youtube channel (St. Alban's DC) at 9 a.m. every Sunday, as is our Spanish service at 11:15 a.m. 

Evening Prayer Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. via Zoom, join us for a time of reflection and sharing at the close of your busy day. Contact Paul Brewster for the link. 



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, we believe that a child’s spiritual growth is just as important as their physical and intellectual growth. Our goal is to help children name and value the presence and love of God in their lives. We do this through a variety of means – by providing stable and consistent adult mentors, encouraging strong peer relationships, and supporting parents in their families’ faith lives at home.

Worship: This Fall, Children's Chapel meets during the first half of the 9:00 a.m. service in Nourse Hall (a spacious parish hall in the same building as the main worship space.) Kids and families join "big church" at the Peace so everyone can receive Communion together. To learn more, contact the Rev’d Emily Griffin.

Education: We've resumed our formation programs for the 2022-2023 period. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Sunday School and Youth Group Classes are from 10:15 to 11:05 a.m.
  • Nursery, 2s & 3s, PreK to 1st Grade, 2nd to 3rd Grade, and 4th to 6th Grade all meet upstairs in Satterlee Hall. Youth classes meet downstairs in Satterlee Hall.
  • If you haven’t registered your child or teen yet, it’s not too late. Register in person at the start of class or click here

Questions? For children, contact the Rev’d Emily Griffin at . For youth, contact the Rev’d Yoimel González Hernández at .

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.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.

I'm New
St. Alban's
Header Image

The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Filter By:

The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Series: Pentecost

Speaker: The Rev. Deborah Meister

18 October, 2015                                                                  Rev. Dr. Deborah Meister
Job 38:1-7; Ps 104: 1-9, 25, 37
Heb 5:1-10; Mark 10: 35-45 

            A few years ago, I took a two-day trip to Alabama to visit my god-daughter and her family. While I was there, I set out to visit my friend Louie in Montgomery. Now, Louie is a gifted priest and poet, but he lacks some of the basic skills in life. Turns out, navigation is one of them. I set out on the highway as he instructed. I began to pass businesses of the sort you don’t see too much in Washington, DC: the feed and seed store, the gun and pawn shop. Gradually, the classical station faded out and I began to listen to country music. I passed through Gordo, a town which seems to have three churches per residents. Then I came upon a sign which said, “Welcome to Mississippi.” Hmm, I thought, that’s odd. I figured maybe it was a brief loop through Mississippi en route to the rest of Alabama, then I realized that, as shaky as my mental map is, I recalled that border between Alabama and Mississippi as being straight. As in, vertical. No loops. So I got on the phone: “Louie, why am I in Mississippi?” There was a drawn-out moan from the other end of the line: “Oooohhh! I told you to go West, didn’t I??? I never can keep east and west apart!” Sometimes, the only thing to do is turn around and head the other way.

            We’ve all been there. We’ve all come to those points in our life -- a relationship gone wrong, a bad career move, a moral failing;  we realize that we are nowhere near the place we want to be any more, and the only thing to do is turn ourselves around and try again. The words Jesus is handing out today are hard medicine. They are hard to preach in DC, which calls itself the most powerful city in the world. They are hard to preach at St. Alban’s, a congregation of many leaders and few followers. It is not easy to accept that Jesus is asking us for a complete reversal of the way things are usually done: that instead of dominating, we serve, and that even service does not necessarily lead to power. But when we look at the condition of our city, of our country, of this world, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that perhaps we need to turn ourselves around and try again.

            James and John come to one of those points this morning.  They know where they want to go, what kind of messiah they want to follow. They want to be seated at the right and left hands of Jesus in his glory. They believe that the way to get there is to stick with him, to hover close, to beg him for favors and to cut out their rivals. In other words, they behave like junior staffers in the presence of Senators; that’s the only model they know for leadership. They are so convinced that this is the way Jesus must be planning to lead that they even manage to ignore all the evidence to the contrary: that he eats with the wrong sort of folk, doesn’t seem to curry favor with anyone, values children more than rich people, and keeps saying he’s going to die. They are walking down the road beside Jesus, but they do not know where they are going.

            But this morning, they come to the moment of reckoning. They ask Jesus to fulfill their dreams, but instead of agreeing, he turns to them and says: “You do not know what you are asking.” He points out that their truth and his are not congruent. They do not understand him at all. This is the God who speaks of his crucifixion as being “raised on high,” of his death as the time when he will be “glorified.” The places at his right and his left are already marked out -- not by thrones -- but by two empty crosses, where a pair of thieves will die beside him. They are not for James and John (although they will find their deaths). But Jesus does not leave it there; rather, he invites them to turn around and begin again: “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” he asks.

            The question Christ asks James and John is the question he asks us each day. Are you willing to go where I go, to live as I live, to begin again? Once, a seeker went to an ancient monk and asked him, “Teacher, is it possible to begin again each day?” The holy man replied, “If you wish, you can make a new beginning each moment.” That is the freedom of Christ: the freedom to refuse to be bound by our past errors, our old habits, or false choices. At any moment, we can begin again, by the grace of God. The keys to the kingdom have unlocked the iron gates of time: we can go through them in both ways, and be born anew in the image of God. The church calls it metanoia: holy transformation.

            There’s only one catch: It ain’t easy.

            To begin again, you need to begin to see where it is you must go. At the moment of his conversion, St. Paul went blind. He spent three days in darkness; then another believer came to him, laid hands on him, and (Scripture tells us) “immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored.” (Acts 9:18) It is a remarkably accurate description of what it is to change your life. When you first realize that the road you are traveling will not lead you where you want to go, you are profoundly disoriented. The truths you trusted to guide you have led you wrong, or the inner strength you relied on has failed, but they are all you know. In terms of finding a way out, you might as well be blind. You need to see with new eyes. You need a new kind of baptism, one which washes away the scales from your eyes and lets you see anew.

            The novelist Annie Dillard once came upon the results of a scientific study which documented the experiences of people who had been born blind, but who had had their sight surgically restored. Apparently, the physical healing of the eye is the easy part; once it has been done, the patient needs to engage in a process of radical reinterpretation of the world if she is to be able to learn to use her new capacity. Dillard writes, “In general, the newly sighted see the world as a dazzle of color-patches. They are pleased by the sensation of color, and learn quickly to name the colors, but the rest of seeing is tormentingly difficult” [because the newly-sighted have no understanding of how to link the color-patches to their previous experiences of size, solidity, temperature, or texture.] ...The mental effort involved in these reasonings proves overwhelming for many patients. It oppresses them to realize, if they ever do at all, the tremendous size of the world, which they had previously conceived of as something touchingly manageable...A disheartening number of them refuse to use their new vision” at all.[1] Like James and John confronted with the teachings and presence of Christ,  they choose to remain in their old world, closing their eyes and then moving around by using the old, familiar senses. They are given the key to a new world, but are too frightened to turn it in the lock.

            A few, however, mostly the young ones, find the ability to walk through the door. They are not yet so set in their ways that they cannot learn to experience the world anew. Like children climbing back into the womb, they have the courage to be born again. When Jesus tells the disciples,“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs,” this is what he is pointing toward. (Matt 10:14) “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child will not enter it,” because only one who is willing to become like a child again can relinquish his former competence enough to learn to live anew. There are two actions in metanoia: letting go of the person we have been, and growing into the person God created us to be. Between lies terror.

            But beyond it grows a beauty we can only begin to imagine. When one of the little girls in the study was taken to visit a garden for the first time, she was “astonished.” She “stands speechless in front of [a] tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as ‘the tree with the lights in it.”[2]   Before, she had known the tree by touch. Now, she can see it in all its grandeur, sheltering her in its leafy embrace, and the light of God shining through the branches. It is the vision which awaits James and John, which awaits all of us -- you and me both -- when we set aside our former understandings and learn to see the beauty of the cross: the tree with lights in it, the tree which brings the light of God.

            In that light, in the light of Christ’s loving sacrifice, to world takes on strange forms and distant majesty. In that baptism, the baptism in which Christ restored our vision, we begin to see the dim outlines of the kingdom of God.  In that saving act, we begin to know where we are going, and that, somehow, the road we had always feared, the sacrifice we were afraid to make, will bring us, not annihilation, but the healing of God, entry to a world whose ordering is utterly unlike our own. A world in which self-assertion gets us nowhere, but where we yield to one another with reverent joy.

            The poet R. S. Thomas writes:

It’s a long way off but inside it

There are quite different things going on:

Festivals at which the poor man

Is king and the consumptive is

Healed; mirrors in which the blind look

At themselves and love looks at them

Back; and industry is for mending

The bent bones and the minds fractured

By life. It’s a long way off, but to get

There takes no time and admission

Is free, if you purge yourself

Of desire, and present yourself with

Your need only and the simple offering

Of your faith, green as a leaf.[3]


                Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? Christ asks. And James and John reply, “We are able.” And they are. They do not know what they are asking, but by the time they do know, they are ready. In that simple act of assent, they turn their feet around and begin again, walking not in the light of their own understanding, but in the light of Christ.

            What’s called for is not extraordinary ability, but the dawning awareness of trust. When we look at a person we love and say “I believe in you,” we do not usually mean that we are convinced that they are real and in the world. Rather, we are saying: I trust you. I have confidence in you. I believe that even though you are walking through a hard time, you have within you resources that will allow you to make it through. I have faith in you. We are speaking not of a movement of the head, but of the heart. Even so, when we learn to have faith in Jesus, we are offering our heart, “green as a leaf.” We are choosing to place our trust in his life rather than in our own.

            You can make that choice today, now,  in this instant. Each of us is called make that choice, choosing, minute by minute, the way of peace, of freedom, of faithfulness, and of healing. These are the choices that set us on the road, the choices that peel the scales from our eyes and allow us to begin to see the approaching kingdom of God. They are the ways we open our soul to the grace which surrounds us, leading us, luring us, urging us on, until we can begin to see that it is all grace: life, health, friendship, even apparent defeat, becoming a single, shining strand which draws us home. 


[1] Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, pp. 29-30.

[2] Ibid, p.31.

[3] “The Kingdom”