Father Jeff

Father Jeff

The Rev. Jeff Shankles came to St. Alban’s in 2005 as assistant rector, and eventually became rector in 2013. He and his wife, Kate, have two adult children, Audrey and William.

Cloth Masks for Annandale Healthcare Center (AHC)

Annandale Healthcare Center has experienced a large number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. They have asked for reusable, washable cloth masks. This is a great chance to help the residents and staff stay healthy. Deacon Theresa will offer contact-less pick-up from your home or from church. Email Deacon Theresa to arrange pick-up. We’ll deliver masks to AHC beginning July 13. We encourage you to pray for who will wear them as you sew.
Don’t sew? Consider purchasing masks made by refugee women working with Lutheran Social Services.
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area is connecting refugee seamstresses with the Northern Virginia community. Support local refugee women and families during these difficult times by purchasing homemade face masks. Masks are $8/each (cash preferred), with optional tip, and 100% of the profits go directly to the seamstress who made the masks. Contact-less pick-up and delivery of finished masks is available, and orders are generally completed within 1-2 days. For all questions and order requests, please email Netra Anand, Refugee Health Liaison.

An update from Second Story

St. Alban’s is a long-time supporter of Second Story, a youth services organization based in Northern Virginia that offers children, youth, and families hope for brighter futures by providing counseling, shelter and neighborhood-based support. Check out some of the work they are doing in the midst of COVID-19 through the eyes of one of their volunteers and donors here:

ACCA Food Pantry Collection

The food needs at Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) are constantly changing. Donations of food or cash are always welcome. In order to provide complete meals to families, a team of shoppers checks the inventory at the pantry then goes to several stores to get what is needed most at the lowest price. To assist with this, monetary donations are always welcome. A check can be written to ACCA Inc. and mailed to

ACCA
7200 Columbia Pike
Annandale VA 22003

We will continue to collect donations on Saturday mornings from 9 am. – noon through July 25 at the food pantry located at 7200 Columbia Pike (trailer separate from the day care center) in Annandale. Weekday food collections will take place from 1-5 p.m. Pantry volunteers are following social distancing guidelines while volunteering at the pantry and we encourage visitors to keep the health and safety of our volunteers in mind while donating.

These are the most-needed items right now. Please share with your friends and neighbors.  Follow ACCA on Facebook for the latest needs.

Sacred Ground: A Film-Based Dialogue Series on Race & Faith

St. Alban’s is pleased to offer Sacred Grounda film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. The 10-part, facilitated series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. Designed specifically to help white Episcopalians build a stronger foundation to engage in ongoing interracial dialogue in other spaces, the series is open to all.

St. Alban’s Sacred Ground circle is scheduled to start on Zoom the week of July 8. Commitment to the full series and preparation before each session is expected. We ask that you pray and discern if this is the right time for you to participate in this dialogue. Contact Deacon Theresa by July 1 to discuss the program or to register to participate.

Participate in the Episcopal Justice Assembly – June 20

On Saturday, June 20, you are invited to participate with The Episcopal Justice Assembly for The Poor People’s Campaign Moral March on Washington Digital Gathering. Register using this link to receive more information. The Poor People’s Campaign is a non-partisan, interracial, intersectional, gathering of impacted people, religious and social justice partners building on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign. Learn more about the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival. Questions? Contact Deacon Theresa.

A Letter from the Bishops of Province III of the Episcopal Church

June 4, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

It has now been over a week since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

We have seen this before. And, as leaders in a predominantly white denomination, our responses are all too familiar.

We write letters and make public statements. We hold vigils and pray for reform. We urge our clergy and people to become better educated concerning the realities of institutional racism and implicit bias. We reach out to black community leaders and express our sorrow and our solidarity.

Then, gradually, we get busy with other things, until the next murder, the next video, the next spasm of racial violence, when we repeat the cycle.

And nothing changes.

We are heartbroken and angered by this pattern, by our complicity in it, above all by the thought that we might let this moment pass us by without responding with vigor, zeal and persistence to its challenge.

We are determined, with God’s help, not to let this happen again. And yet, we need the participation of our communities in Christ to join in the movement of transforming our society with its sinful way of oppression, into Jesus’ loving, liberating and life-giving Way of Love. Our baptismal promises compel us to act.

As bishops of Province III of the Episcopal Church, we resolve:

To seek, first, the guidance and wisdom of people of color as we look for ways to dismantle racism in our dioceses.

To formulate a plan, each in our context, to build relationships with leaders in the black community offering our support, committing to partnership, and working together to address racial injustice in our localities.

To offer ongoing support to leaders in communities of color, local politicians and local law enforcement, in building a healthy culture in our police departments, ensuring safety for all our citizens and fostering trust between police and people in all our neighborhoods.

To name the reality of systemic racism in our own dioceses and local contexts, and to recognize and address the white privilege imbedded in our Episcopal Church culture.

To be fervent in prayer for the coming of the day when all of God’s children are free.

In all of this, we pledge ourselves to the work of overcoming the sin of racism.We ask for the prayers of our fellow bishops, and of all the people of God, that this resolve may remain strong for as long as it takes to bear fruit. May God help us all.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Assistant Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knusden
Assisting Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Washington

The Rt. Rev. Kevin S. Brown
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Delaware

The Rt. Rev. Santosh K. Marray
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Easton

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez
Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Kevin Nichols
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem

The Rt. Rev. Susan B. Haynes
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ilhoff
Assisting Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

A Virtual Prayer Vigil for Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace

Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dear Friends in Christ,
When people of faith are thrown into the wilderness of hurt, fear, anger and pain, one of our first impulses is to pray. Our biblical witness is full of the cries of God’s people, some of them quite eloquent, some little more than inarticulate screams from the heart.

God, help us!
How long, O Lord?
Answer me when I call, O God!
Give ear to my cry, O Lord!

We pray because God puts it into our hearts to do so. God desires to be in deep communion with us, and prayer builds that communion. Prayer draws us close to the beating heart of God.

We pray because we have seen and experienced that prayer is concrete action for the sake of the world. God hears our prayers, and God answers. Our words do not return to us empty, but prepare a way for God to do in the world all that God intends.

We pray because at times we can do no other.

We pray knowing that it is risky to pray. God may well answer our prayer by sending us out to be what we want to see in the world. God may well choose to change us and use us according to the prayers we have uttered.

We take the marvelous risk of praying for justice in our world now, opening ourselves to God for the sake of a world so in need of God’s presence, God’s love, God’s transforming power.

I am grateful to the community of Deacons in the Diocese of Virginia for calling us to this 12 Hour Virtual Prayer Vigil for Justice, Reconciliation and Peace. It is part of the role of a Deacon in worship to call God’s people to prayer, and our Deacons are faithful in calling us from our individual congregations to a wider community of prayer together.

There are a variety of ways to participate in the vigil:

    • You may sign up for 30-minute prayer slots. There is no limit to how many people can sign up for a single time slot. The more people praying together, the better!
    • You can set a time to pray alone or with members of your household.
    • You can host an online prayer vigil for your small group, congregation or faith community.
    • You can tune in to the prayer time live on the Diocese of Virginia’s Facebook page Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

The diocesan Deacons have composed this prayer booklet for use as a resource during the vigil. Use whatever is helpful to you. Add a song as you are called. Read some of the Psalms, which are quintessential cries of the heart. Follow the ways that God is leading you.

May God’s blessing fall richly upon you as you share in this time of vigil. May God bless us all as God works in and through us in the power of prayer.

Your sister in Christ,


The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority

An update from the Music Search Committee

The music search committee has been meeting online since the stay-at-home order began. Our most recent work has involved the paring down of candidates based on their resumes and, in some cases, based on sample video clips they have submitted. The resumes we received from many of the candidates were very impressive, which made the “paring down” process challenging, but our search committee has reduced the pool to ten candidates. For the search committee, the most important part of our search process will be the in-person audition, where our finalists in the search will demonstrate their qualifications. In addition to keyboard skills, we also plan for each of the finalists to spend time with our choir in a rehearsal session to get a sense of how they work with people.

It was my intent to move forward with hiring our Minister of Music/Organist until the recent release of a report by a joint commission of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In this report, the commission outlined the heightened risk of the spread of COVID-19 infection by singers. Apparently, singing has become risky business in this environment.

Hopefully you all are aware that for the foreseeable future, sacred music as part of our gathered worship will be dramatically different than what we are accustomed to, and the pandemic will certainly sideline most choral groups for some time. Because we don’t have clarity about when or how choral music can return as part of our worship together, I do not believe we can protect St. Alban’s staff, volunteer singers, and our parish family from COVID-19 infection. Because of the current environment, I have reluctantly decided to suspend our search for a full-time choirmaster/organist.

I am determined to move forward with this process when there is a clear path to doing so safely and long-term. I have reached out to each of the remaining candidates to assure them that my intent is to resume the search process at such time as hiring a full-time musician becomes feasible. Of course, I will keep our parish family up to date on the activities of the music search committee when we are reactivated and are able to continue our work.

Morning Prayer, March 15, 2020 – 10:00 am

Please join us for the office of Morning Prayer live at 10:00 am on our Facebook page.  To follow along, the liturgy is available for you in pdf format here.

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians that we are all one body (Ephesians 4:4).  Even though we are separated, we are still one body in Spirit as disciples of Jesus, and one way that Spirit is manifested is through our worship and through our common life of prayer.  I hope you will join us.

If you are not able to be with us at 10:00, the video will be available for delayed viewing soon after the service ends.

St. Alban’s response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic

Dear St. Alban’s Family,

Join us on Sundays at 10am as we livestream Morning Prayer via YouTube. Access the livestream and archived video recordings here.
Weekdays at 8am we offer Morning Prayer via Zoom online conferencing. Click here for access details and link.
Check your email! We are sending regular updates and messages, including scheduled Zoom social events for our church family. If you’re not on our email list, please contact us and request to be added.

I hope you have seen the pastoral letter recently sent out from Bishop Goff in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the letter, Bishop Goff relates that she met online with the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia and, as the Ecclesiastical Authority, directed that there will be no public worship at churches in the Diocese of Virginia through March 25. If you are aware of someone who might not have received her email, please pass it on to them.

Bishop Goff made it very clear that churches are, at the moment, not closing, and staff will be reporting for work. What does that mean for our parish family?

While Bishop Goff mentions “physically gathering for public worship,” I take her directive to mean that, in addition to our Sunday worship, there will be no church sponsored, or church-sanctioned, gatherings. This includes choir rehearsals, Lenten programming, Education for Ministry (EfM) sessions, Tuesday Eucharist and Bible Study, Chatting Fingers, Sunday School, Youth Group gatherings, Vestry and any of the other varied ways we gather.

While the doors will be closed for public gatherings and worship, we plan to continue live-streaming our daily office of Morning Prayer from the downstairs chapel, and are making plans to provide some kind of livestream of worship (either Morning Prayer or Eucharist) on the two Sundays we are apart. We will be reaching out to those we are aware of who live alone, to check in and make sure everyone is OK.

I hope you will take advantage of the technology with which God has enriched our lives to stay connected through our online worship and to stay connected with each other – checking on friends, neighbors, fellow parishioners and the most vulnerable among us.

I am grateful for Bishop Susan and Bishop Jennifer’s leadership in this difficult and challenging time. While we might be inconvenienced in the short term, not gathering in numbers helps to mitigate the spread for the community-at-large. In our conference call it was clear that this was a tough decision for them to make, but it was the right decision to make.

During this two week period, please do not hesitate to reach out to your parish staff and clergy if you are in any need, are feeling anxious, frightened or need someone to talk to. As Bishop Goff said in her pastoral letter, “do not be afraid. God is good.” Hold each other up in prayer. Now, as always, God is with us.

Faithfully,

Fr. Jeff