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.

No matter how far apart two sides are, there are effective strategies to bring people together…

How many of us have ever prayed, ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace,’ then found ourselves in complex and polarized situations that made peace seemingly impossible?

Make Me an Instrument of Peace is a 5-week course designed to help us bridge the divides that keep us from moving forward.

Designed by the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church, and combining conversation, discussion and short videos, this course is ideal for those who want to take dialog between polarized people or parties seriously.

The first session will begin on Sunday, October 4 at 9:00am and run for about 50 minutes on Zoom. The remaining sessions will be held on October 11, 18, 25 and November 1 (all at 9:00 am). Each session will be led by St. Alban’s clergy, but will be ‘taught’ by a team of experts in civil discourse. This course includes these five sessions:

If you would like more information about the program, please contact Deacon Theresa or register below (we ask that you register so that we can send you the participant’s guide):

Diocese-wide Worship Service – Sunday, September 6, 2020

Mark your calendars for an online worship service with the 60,000+ members of the Diocese of Virginia, and many friends, families, saints, and seekers. Your St. Alban’s Clergy encourage you to join in this historic worship service led by your bishops on Facebook and YouTube. In unity with the 180+ parishes of the diocese, this service will be held in lieu of our usual Sunday morning YouTube worship offering on September 6th. I hope you will all take advantage of this rare opportunity to be part of something much bigger than ourselves, and certainly much bigger than St. Alban’s!

Click here for more information.

It is a Christian obligation to vote…

Our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, reminds us that, as Christians, we have an obligation to vote.  Bishop Curry goes on to say that we must cast our vote, not on a partisan basis, not based on our biases, but based on our values – the values of human dignity and equality.

Vote the values of the rock on which this country was built. Vote.

With the ever-looming threat of COVID-19 hanging over everything we do, please begin thinking now about how you will vote this year.  If you are concerned about being in a crowd, or don’t want to stand in line, I encourage you to vote absentee, either in person or by mail.  You no longer need a reason to vote absentee in Virginia.  Please note these important dates for absentee voting for the 2020 General Election:

  • September 18: First absentee ballot mailout
  • September 18: Early voting/absentee in-person voting begins at the Office of Elections, 12000 Government Center Pkwy., Fairfax, VA
  • October 13: Voter Registration Deadline (In Person/By Mail) 5:00 p.m.; online: 11:59 p.m.
  • October 23: Deadline to apply to receive an Absentee Ballot by mail, fax and online: 5:00 p.m.
  • October 31: Final day to vote absentee early/in-person, 5:00 pm
  • November 6: Deadline to return your absentee ballot to the Office of Elections: 12:00 noon. Ballot must be postmarked by November 3

Other times and locations in Fairfax County for in-person absentee voting have yet to be announced.

Helpful links:

Loving God, we give thanks for the right to vote. Help us to hold this privilege and responsibility with the care and awareness it merits, realizing that our vote matters and that it is an act of faith.  Amen.

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