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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

Beginning on Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021, worship will be open to anyone without pre-registration or distancing requirements. We will continue requiring that worshippers be masked for now. 

Our schedule of services will remain the same throughout the summer:

 - 9:00 a.m. (English) in the church

 - 10:30 a.m. (English) in the church

 - Noon (Spanish) in Nourse Hall

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. 

Masked hymn singing both indoors and outdoors will be permitted, and music will be supported by a soloist and organ. 

On-line worship services in English and Spanish are available on Sundays beginning at 8:00 a.m. on our YouTube channel.

 

 

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, 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: Children’s Chapel meets at the start of the 9:00 a.m. service. Starting in September 2021, Children’s Chapel with Communion will be held outdoors on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 9:00 a.m. To learn more, contact the Rev’d Emily Griffin.

Education: All church school classes resume the Sunday after Labor Day with our annual Open House. Instruction starts the following Sunday.

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.

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What We Want for Christmas

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12.13.20

What We Want for Christmas

What We Want for Christmas

Series: Advent

Speaker: The Rev'd Emily Griffin

What do we really want this Christmas? I suspect most of us have the same things on our wish list this year. We want human contact with someone outside our household, a shared meal around the same table, a gift or two that we don’t have to buy for ourselves. We want the seats that will be empty this year to be filled with their rightful occupants. We want to keep the traditions that tell us who we are and hold us together. 

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but for many of us – it won’t all be possible. The need to keep each other safe may outweigh what we have every right to want. For those of us in nursing homes or hospitals, or those whose families already live far away, our exile might not end by Christmas. We all know more about exile this year than we ever wanted to, more about the pain of being far from the people and places we love. Many of you have been exiled from this worship space for close to a year now, and for good and practical reasons that might not end soon either. And, of course, for those of us who have lost loved ones to COVID or for any other reason, no amount of effort on our part will bring us all the comfort we long for. 

So, let’s be honest - does it even matter what we want? Since when is wanting something a spiritual practice? Grown-ups aren’t supposed to want things. We should practice gratitude and be content with what we have, right? We all know the argument, even if it never quite works. There are billions of people who lack the basic necessities that we in this country take for granted. Who are we to complain about what we want when they don’t have what they need? And yet, this season of Advent is not just about waiting or repenting or preparing. It’s also about what we long for, what we yearn for –and yes, what we want. What we want tells us something critical about who we are and who we’re becoming.

Take the hymn that’s been our connecting thread these last few weeks. In the verses each week, we hear words like: “O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here…disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadow put to flight…bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace…” These words from over a thousand years ago not only express our longings; they give our yearnings shape and substance. They point us away from greed and pride, from our obligations and our obsessions with achievement; they point us toward the things in life that are worth wanting. 

That’s part of what the prophets are about too – folks like Isaiah and John the Baptist. They do more than just curse the darkness. In the words of today’s Gospel, they also “testify to the light.” Of all the prophets, perhaps none gives us better language for our longings than Isaiah. When Jesus, centuries later, was looking for words to name what he yearned for, he borrowed today’s words from Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me…” 

In the case of Isaiah’s first audience, they knew in their bones what exile felt like. They had been taken against their will to a foreign land. In the process, they lost their homes, their businesses, their temple, all the gathering spaces they knew and loved. The places and institutions that told them who they were as a people were all in ruins. And yet here, Isaiah does more than just name their yearning. Yes, they’re oppressed by their situation, their hearts are broken, they’ve been held captive for far too long. But there is more to them than that. They’re neither victims in God’s eyes nor objects of pity. No, they are, in Isaiah’s words, “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.” 

Here Isaiah promises comfort to all who mourn –not just to his first audience, but to all of us who follow. What makes these promises more than just words? Well, a few things. First, note that comfort here is not the result of their effort, their wishing, their remembering. It’s a gift from God – one that comes in God’s time and in God’s own way, often through the actions of God’s very imperfect followers. Any comfort that comes merely from what we can talk ourselves into doesn’t sound like comfort to me. I personally need the peace that passes all understanding to come from somewhere other than my diligence, and that is what is offered here. 

But there’s more to it than that. Look at what these oppressed, broken-hearted captives do next. We’re told that they are the ones who will repair the ruins, raise up the former devastations, rebuild the ruined cities. In other words, their pain, while real, doesn’t disqualify them from what happens next. Perhaps it’s in the rebuilding that they – and we – will find our shared meaning and purpose again. Perhaps this is how they - and we - will honor all that’s been lost in this time of exile. 

Finally, I’m comforted by the image of growth that Isaiah leaves with us. We might end up being “oaks of righteousness” someday, but oak trees don’t look like oaks at first. Their initial appearance as acorns is no measure of their power or their worth; it can take years, even lifetimes for what they really are to be revealed. Perhaps there is more strength and beauty and resilience within us too than anyone can imagine. What we truly are has not yet been revealed either.

So, my prayer for all of us this Advent: May we take the time to discern what we really want this Christmas. May we let the ancient words of our hymns and our Scriptures shape what we want – and may those yearnings shape who we are and what we’re becoming. In the Name of the One who planted more within us than we can see or imagine – Amen.