Father Paul

Father Paul

The Rev. Paul Moberly joined St. Alban’s in 2017 as Assistant Rector and in 2018 became Associate Rector. He and his husband, Gerardo, live in Annandale.

Facebook Live streaming of Morning Prayer services

If you’ve happened to be online the past two days, and missed the Facebook Live stream of the daily Morning Prayer service, it’s NOT YOU! For some reason, our Facebook Live capability — the interface we use daily — has disappeared from our post options. We are still searching for a reason and a solution.

We hope to be back up and running before long! Stay tuned…

Fr Paul

Election Day Donuts was a success!

This morning, Saint Alban’s Youth held a fundraiser for our upcoming summer mission to Hurley, VA. It was a tremendous success, and we had a lot of fun.

With receipts of just over $855, and costs of approximately $250, we raised more than $600 toward our Youth Mission budget!

Thanks to Robby Larson-Ensinger, Sophia DePasquale, Olivia DePasquale, Macgregor Bickel, Victor Zorin, and James Perina for showing up bright and early — and for showing our local voters some amazing Saint Alban’s spirit!

Thanks, too, to Harry and Delores Baisden, for arriving well before dawn to get the coffee started and the tables set up — while I drove to Route 1 (Alexandria) to pick up the delicious sugar bombs.

Thanks to our wonderful Saint Alban’s family, for supporting us in our mission efforts, and for stopping by to greet us this morning. We couldn’t do any of this without your prayer and support!

Fr. Paul

St. Alban’s Youth: Election Day Donuts was a success!

Election Day Donuts was a success!

This morning, Saint Alban’s Youth raised more than $600 to help fund our summer mission to Hurley, VA next July. We had receipts of $855.95, including cash and credit card donations. With costs for supplies factored in, it amounts to $600 (and change) toward our Youth Mission budget!

Thanks to Sophia DePasquale, Olivia DePasquale, Robby Larson-Ensinger, Macgregor Bickel, James Perina, and Victor Zorin for showing up bright and early to show our local voters some Saint Alban’s spirit!

Thanks especially to Harry and Delores Baisden, for being there long before dawn to start making coffee while Fr. Paul picked up the donuts.

Thanks, too, to our Saint Alban’s family for supporting us in our efforts. We couldn’t do it without all of you.

Fr. Paul

All Saints Day: “A tremendous yearning…”

“Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

“Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints…

“Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us.”

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

30 September: Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas, transferred from 9/29)

Icon of St Michael written by Zachary Rosemann, for St. Michael’s Church, Brattleboro, Vermont.

Today, Episcopalians observe the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, commonly known as Michaelmas. This feast is observed annually on 29 September by Anglicans, and others, around the world. (It’s transferred, by custom, and according to the rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer, to the next available weekday.)

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

The biblical word “angel” (Greek: angelos) means, literally, a messenger. Messengers from God can be visible or invisible, and may assume human or non-human forms. Christians have always felt themselves to be attended by helpful spirits—swift, powerful, and enlightening. Those beneficent spirits are often depicted in Christian art in human form, with wings to signify their swiftness and spacelessness, with swords to signify their power, and with dazzling raiment to signify their ability to enlighten. Unfortunately, this type of pictorial representation has led many to dismiss the angels as “just another mythical beast, like the unicorn, the griffin, or the sphinx.”

Of the many angels spoken of in the Bible, only four are called by name: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. The Archangel Michael is the powerful agent of God who wards off evil from God’s people, and delivers peace to them at the end of this life’s mortal struggle. “Michaelmas,” as his feast is called in England, has long been one of the popular celebrations of the Christian Year in many parts of the world.

Michael is the patron saint of countless churches, including Mont Saint-Michel, the monastery fortress off the coast of Normandy that figured so prominently in medieval English history; and Coventry Cathedral, England’s most famous modern church building, rising from the ashes of the Second World War.

Everlasting God, who has ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord is glorious in his angels and in his saints: O come, let us adore him.

(from Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018, Church Publishing.)

23 September: Thecla, apostle and proto-martyr among women, c.70

Today, we honor the memory of an apostle, Saint Thecla — a contemporary of Saint Paul who became an evangelizer after hearing his teachings.

God of liberating power, you raised up your apostle Thecla, who allowed no obstacle or peril to inhibit her from bearing witness to new life in Jesus Christ: Empower courageous evangelists among us, that men and women everywhere may experience the freedom you offer; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thecla was born to a rich family in Iconium, a town in Asia Minor. She was expected to marry, and marry well. In fact, her mother had a young man picked out for her. He had an excellent position and could offer Thecla a secure life. This was important in Thecla’s day because an unmarried woman could find herself with no support and no money. Marriage assured a stable place in society, with children to carry on the family name.

But something happened to Thecla that made her turn away forever from her mother’s dream. The apostle Paul, who had been in Antioch, traveled to Iconium and began teaching at a house near Thecla’s. She sat in her open window for three days and nights, listening as Paul spoke about the blessings of giving everything to God. Thecla decided not to marry and to devote her life to Jesus Christ.

Her fiancé Thamyris was furious and complained to the local governor that Paul was a bad influence. Because Thamyris was so prominent, Paul was arrested and imprisoned.

Late at night Thecla secretly went to the prison, bribed the guards, and stayed to hear Paul’s teaching. When her family found her, they turned her and Paul over to the authorities. Paul was driven from the city and Thecla was sentenced to death. Her mother was so angry at her daughter’s disobedient “madness” that she wouldn’t intervene.

Thecla was tortured, but God delivered her from death. She found her way to Antioch and soon met Paul there. She helped him preach, and together they did good work for the Lord.

But once again a powerful person, this time the city governor, tried to turn Thecla toward marriage. When she hurt his pride by refusing he denounced her to the authorities. She was arrested and sentenced to die in the arena. But the wild beasts wouldn’t harm her, and when their attempt to drown her also failed, the officials were so frightened that they let her go. She retreated to a rocky desert cave in the mountains near the town of Ma’aloula, Syria. Through her prayer she converted many and gathered other women monastics around her. She counseled people and healed the sick, never asking for money.

Even there, though, she was pursued. Jealous pagan doctors sent young men to harm the saint, now an old woman. But God heard her prayers and opened up a fissure in the rock of the cave. Thecla rushed into the space, which immediately closed up again.

Today you can visit Thecla’s cave, and see in it the still-running spring that provided water for her. The nuns who live in the Mar Thecla monastery there will tell you her story, and show you the fissure in the rock where this saint, “Equal to the Apostles”, left the world and joined her Lord in the Kingdom.

(Hagiography by the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America.)

St. Alban’s at the Acolyte Festival (National Cathedral)

ACOLYTE FESTIVAL at the National Cathedral

Saturday, October 12, 2019 | 9 am – 4 pm

Calling all acolytes – skilled or aspiring – and their families! We are organizing a group to go this year. There will be a grand procession, worship in the Cathedral, good food, lawn games, relays, and more. If you’re an acolyte, or ever wanted to be, this is a great way to see (UP CLOSE) all the things acolytes can do – and meet other acolytes from around the DC region and around the country!

More information: https://cathedral.org/acolytefestival

Cost: Free! (St. Alban’s will cover the cost.)

RSVP: by Monday, September 30, 2019 HERE

A note from Fr. Paul:

WE NEED YOU! Serving at the altar as an acolyte is both a huge responsibility and a huge privilege – the acolyte is an essential part of our worship heritage as Anglicans. Acolytes get a front row seat every Sunday! If you haven’t served at the altar before, perhaps now is YOUR time! Anyone (grade 3 and up) is eligible to serve. You don’t need experience, just a willingness to serve God and help our people worship Him in Spirit and in truth! Email Jane Lesko or Adam Huston, or a member of the clergy, for more information!

September 16: Ninian, bishop, and missionary to Scotland, 430

Today, September 16, the Episcopal Church joins the people of Scotland in remembering St. Ninian: “Apostle to the Southern Picts.”

O God, who by the preaching of your blessed servant and bishop Ninian caused the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we pray, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Ninian was a Celt, born in southern Scotland in about 360, and is regarded as the first major preacher of the Gospel to the people living in Britain north of the Wall–that is, living outside the territory that had been under Roman rule. He is said to have studied in Rome (note that he is contemporary with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine), but was chiefly influenced by his friendship with Martin of Tours, with whom he spent some considerable time when he was returning from Italy to Britain.

It is probable that he named his headquarters in Galloway after Martin’s foundation in Gall.  At about the time of Martin’s death in 397, Ninian built a church at Galloway, in southwest Scotland. It was built of stone and plastered white, an unusual construction in a land where almost all buildings were wood. He called it Candida Casa (White House) or Whithorn, presumably after Martin’s foundation at Tours. Archaeologists have excavated and partially restored his church in this century.

From his base at Galloway, Ninian preached throughout southern Scotland, south of the Grampian Mountains, and conducted preaching missions among the Picts of Scotland, as far north as the Moray Firth, He also preached in the Solway Plains and the Lake District of England. Like Patrick (a generation later) and Columba (a century and a half later), he was a principal agent in preserving the tradition of the old Romano-British Church and forming the character of Celtic Christianity.

Our information about him comes chiefly from Bede’s History (Book 3, chapter 4), an anonymous eighth century account, and a 12th century account by Aelred. Aelred is writing 700 years after the event, and is for that reason rejected as untrustworthy by many critics. However, he claims to rely on an earlier account, “written by a barbarian.” This suggests that he may have had an authentic record by a member of Ninian’s community in Galloway.

Hagiography by James Kiefer. Read more.

September 13: Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407

John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, is one of the great saints of the Eastern Church. The Episcopal Church joins the Roman Church in remembering him today, September 13.

He was born about 354 in Antioch, Syria. As a young man, he responded to the call of desert monasticism until his health was impaired. He returned to Antioch after six years, and was ordained a priest. In 397, he became Patriarch of Constantinople.

His episcopate was short and tumultuous. Many criticized his ascetical life in the episcopal residence, and he incurred the wrath of the Empress Eudoxia, who believed that he had called her a “Jezebel.”

John, called “Chrysostom,” which means the golden-mouthed,” was one of the greatest preachers in the history of the Church. People flocked to hear him. His eloquence was accompanied by an acute sensitivity to the needs of people. He saw preaching as an integral part of pastoral care, and as a medium of teaching. He warned that if a priest had no talent for preaching the Word, the souls of those in his charge “will fare no better than ships tossed in the storm.”

His sermons provide insights into the liturgy of the Church, and especially into eucharistic practices. He describes the liturgy as a glorious experience, in which all of heaven and earth join. His sermons emphasize the importance of lay participation in the Eucharist. He wrote,

“Why do you marvel that the people anywhere utter anything with the priest at the altar, when in fact they join with the Cherubim themselves, and the heavenly powers, in offering up sacred hymns?”

His treatise, Six Books on the Priesthood, is a classic manual on the priestly office and its awesome demands. The priest, he wrote, must be “dignified, but not haughty; awe-inspiring, but kind; affable in his authority; impartial, but courteous; humble, but not servile, strong but gentle … ”

A well-loved prayer attributed to him, “A Prayer of St. Chrysostom,” is offered as an option in Daily Office liturgies in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved son, that when two or three are gathered together in his name, you will be in the midst of them. Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come, life everlasting. Amen.

During his lifetime, he was twice exiled; and he died during the second period of banishment, on September 14, 407. Thirty-one years later, his remains were brought back to Constantinople, and buried on January 27 (when the Orthodox Churches honor his memory.) His relics may be visited to this day, along with those of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzus, in the Church of Saint George on the grounds of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul.

O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

(Hagiography adapted from A Great Cloud of Witnesses, Church Publishing.)

September 12: John Henry Hobart, bishop, 1830

John Henry Hobart was one of the leaders who revived the Episcopal Church, following the first two decades of its independent life after the American Revolution, a time that has been described as one of “suspended animation.” The Episcopal Church commemorates him today, September 12.

Born in Philadelphia on September 14th, 1775, Hobart was educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Princeton, graduating from the latter in 1793. Bishop William White, his longtime friend and adviser, ordained him as a deacon in 1798 and as a priest in 1801.

After serving parishes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Long Island, Hobart became assistant minister of Trinity Church, Wall Street (New York City), in 1800. He was ordained Assistant Bishop of New York on May 29th, 1811. Five years later he succeeded Bishop Benjamin Moore, both as diocesan bishop and as rector of Trinity Church.

Within his first four years as bishop, Hobart doubled the number of his clergy and quadrupled the number of missionaries. Before his death, he had planted a church in almost every major town of New York State and had begun missionary work among the Oneida tribe of Native Americans. He was one of the founders of the General Theological Seminary, and the reviver of Geneva, now Hobart, College.

A strong and unbending upholder of church standards, Hobart established the Bible and Common Prayer Book Society of New York, and was one of the first American scholars to produce theological and devotional manuals for the laity. These “tracts,”as they were called, and the personal impression he made on the occasion of a visit to Oxford, were an influence on the development of the Tractarian Movement in England. Both friends and foes respected Hobart for his staunch faith, his consuming energy, his personal integrity, and his missionary zeal.

He died at Auburn, New York, September 12th, 1830, and was buried beneath the chancel of Trinity Church in New York City.

Revive your Church, Lord God of hosts, whenever it falls into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders like your servant John Henry Hobart; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may awaken your people to your message and their mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Hagiography from Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018, Church Publishing.)