COVID-19 and Our Kitchen Campaign

With everything going on related to the pandemic and “social distancing,” we’ve had lots of questions about the Kitchen Campaign — and yes, things are still moving! Below are answers to some of our frequently asked questions about the new kitchen related to COVID-19 circumstances (and you can see all of our FAQs here).

Is the kitchen project on hold due to the Coronavirus?
Thankfully, no! The Kitchen Committee is working hard on the project, meeting biweekly and making decisions about equipment and infrastructure. However, with Virginia on a stay at home order through June 10, there are still a lot of unknowns at this point.

What is the current stage of the project?
As of March 31, the project is in the Detailed Drawing stage. The architects and engineers are working on the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing designs.

What is the next stage?
The architects plan to submit the drawings to the County for permitting very soon. As of March 31, the design is not quite ready.

Will the County permitting process be slowed by the Coronavirus?
Not necessarily. Drawings are submitted electronically, and our architects have informed us that they have received feedback from the County on other projects in their pipeline. However, the time it takes for permits to be issued is unpredictable, even without a pandemic.

Has the Committee chosen a general contractor?
Yes. The Committee chose Whitener and Jackson, a local firm that has been in business 73 years and has extensive experience with church projects, including several Episcopal churches in our area.

Do we have a bid on construction costs?
No. Since the General Contractor will seek bids from subcontractors for work on the various trades, we decided to hold off on the bidding process until closer to the time the permit will be issued.

Will St. Alban’s have a choice of subcontractors?
Yes. The General Contractor will solicit pricing from a minimum of 4 subcontractors in every trade. The General Contractor takes an open book approach to reviewing pricing and will work with the Kitchen Committee to select the best, most responsive subcontractors for the scope of our project.

Are we still on track to do construction over the summer?
It is hard to tell. When we met with the General Contractor on March 9, Vice President Kevin Jackson cautioned us that our timeline was optimistic. We knew that our start date would depend on when we get the permit. Since March 9, the world has changed. We don’t know yet how the availability of supplies and labor will affect the timing of our project. Our approach is to move forward, in faith that God is calling St. Alban’s deeper into our mission of food in our community, and to move forward with diligence so that we are ready to start when circumstances permit.

COVID-19: ACCA Needs Your Immediate Help

During the COVID-19 crisis, ACCA is continuing to help our low-income neighbors with both food and rent assistance. The fastest and safest way to help their great efforts is to donate to ACCA on-line. ACCA will use your donation to provide rental and food assistance to your needy neighbors.

Please follow these steps to donate online to ACCA:

  • Go to ACCA web site – https://accacares.org/
  • Click on the blue “Donate Now” button at the top of the home page.
  • This will bring you to ACCA’s donation page on the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy website. The Catalogue is a nonprofit partner that processes donations to ACCA through PayPal, and no cost to you or ACCA.
  • In the box next to “Amount $,” please enter the amount you wish to give.
  • For now, please do not designate a specific donation category, so that it is easier for ACCA to apportion your donation quickly to the greatest need, as this crisis unfolds.
  • If you wish to become an ongoing (“recurring”) online donor, then please click on the blue text that says ”Dedication? Anonymous? Recurring?” Then select how frequently you wish to automatically donate.
  • Click on “Add to Cart and Proceed to Checkout” and finish your payment process on the secure page.

Of course, you can always donate to ACCA by sending a check to:

ACCA, Inc., 7200 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003

Thank you for continuing to share Christ’s love in your community.

Lent Madness – The “Saintly Smackdown” Returns!

“What are you doing for Lent?” In the run-up to the church’s holy season of repentance and renewal, this question echoes in parish halls and dining rooms, pews and study halls.

One exciting answer to the proverbial question is … “Lent Madness!” That’s because, for the eleventh straight year, people of faith the world over are filling out brackets and gearing up for the 2020 “Saintly Smackdown.” 

With its unique blend of competition, learning, and humor, Lent Madness allows participants to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saintly souls across generations and cultures. Throughout Lent, 32 saints will battle to win the coveted Golden Halo. Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament of a similar name, this online devotion pits saints against one another in a bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout this penitential season.

Here’s how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at www.lentmadness.org about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about, and then vote, to determine which saint moves on to the next round. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; 8 advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

This year, Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. This year’s saints include heavyweights such as Patrick, Harriet Tubman, Clare of Assisi, Hildegaard of Bingen, Joseph, and Jude, along with many lesser known yet equally inspiring people of faith. The competition kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” February 27, with an epic battle between Thomas More and St. James the Less.

The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website and, while not necessary to participate, we have copies of The 2020 Saintly Scorecard in the St. Alban’s narthex. This companion guide includes biographies of all 32 saints, a full-color bracket, and information about how to fully participate.

Why focus on saints during Lent? Like us, their vision may not have been perfect — and they had their share of blind spots. But what binds them together, is a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a willingness to serve him amid the circumstances of their own day. They saw the face of God with perfect clarity and shared God’s love for the world in their own ways. If we allow them into our lives, the saints can serve as a deep source of spiritual inspiration. 

This year’s Golden Halo winner will join illustrious company. Previous winners were:

  • George Herbert, 17th century English poet, 2010;
  • C. S. Lewis, 20th century British writer and theologian, 2011;
  • Mary Magdalene, disciple of Jesus, 2012;
  • Frances Perkins, 20th century American public servant, 2013;
  • Charles Wesley, 18th century English preacher and hymn writer, 2014;
  • Francis of Assisi, 13th century monastic and advocate for the poor, 2015;
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 20th century German theologian and activist who was killed by the Nazis, 2016;
  • Florence Nightingale, 19th century nurse and social reformer, 2017;
  • Anna Alexander, the first African-American Deaconess in the Episcopal Church, 2018; and,
  • Martha of Bethany, the Biblical sister of Mary, 2019.

If you’re looking for a Lenten discipline that is fun, educational, occasionally goofy, and always joyful, join the Lent Madness journey. Lent needn’t be all doom and gloom. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically set aside to get closer to Jesus Christ?

Blood Drive Participation Survey

We would like to host a Sunday morning blood drive at St. Alban’s, but would need at least 30-35 donors to make the drive successful. If you would be interested in participating as a donor, would you please complete and submit the below online form?

This isn’t a firm commitment on your part, but if we have enough interest then we will schedule a drive in the very near future. We will also reach out to our neighbors and invite them to give as well. Thank you!

  • I am interested in participating in a blood drive at St. Alban's Episcopal Church if they hold one in the near future.

Chili, Cornbread *and* Brownies? Oh, My!

Dust off your crock pot and your recipe book because the Annual Chili Cook-off is coming up Saturday, February 1st, starting at 5pm in our Parish Hall. This annual St. Alban’s tradition promises a good and tasty time for all.

Anyone can enter, but if you’re not a chili or cornbread chef, come anyway and try some amazing chili and awesome cornbread – everyone helps judge the competition!

New for 2020: there are our usual chili and cornbread categories, but we are also adding a new prize for Best Brownies — so get ready to wow us with your best baking skills.

It’s easy to enter: just send in your name along with the name of your chili, cornbread, or brownie entry to Tammy in the parish office at info@stalbansva.org. But hurry, there is limited space available! We look forward to seeing everybody there (invite your neighbors and friends!), and big thanks to our Parish Life Committee for hosting the annual feast.

A Successful Campaign, Thanks to You!

by Bill Calvert & Linda Cummings

Throughout our capital campaign, we have been overwhelmed by the love displayed by our fellow members for St. Alban’s and its role in our community and our lives. We have seen that love in your passionate conversations, your willingness to serve, your eager hopes and plans for the future — and yes, your incredible generosity during this special time of need.

Last month, during our Commitment Weekend, we received new pledges totaling $68,000, which helped secure a generous $50,000 challenge match from an anonymous parishioner. This means that we have raised, as of this writing, just below $1.4 million from over 100 pledges — exceeding not only our minimum goal, but our stretch goal of $1.3 million!

Campaign Update: December 1, 2019

As of December, we have documented 111 pledges totaling $1,389,878.

That exceeds our minimum goal of $1.1 million and our stretch goal of $1.3 million!

Please download the last Campaign bulletin here.

If you haven’t been able to make a pledge yet but feel the call to do so, please contact either of us, or anyone else on the campaign committee. Every amount helps. If you are only able to support us with your prayers, we completely understand and are deeply grateful for your support.

As we move forward, the focus will move to the Kitchen Committee and the work they can now do as a result of our successful campaign. We are all committed to keeping communications open — so look for regular updates in your email, on our website, and on Facebook throughout the entire process. And please, always feel free to ask any questions, of us, the committee, the vestry, or the clergy.

We would also like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on, and with, the Campaign Committee — including Harry & Delores Baisden, Charles & Debra Becker, Nancy Calvert, Jo Hodgin, Jim & Ivy Kilby, David & Jane Lesko, Debbie Rosse, Donna Tildon-Archer, Tom Tycz, Fran Walinsky, Rick & Karen Weinberg, and David & Kitty Wildes, plus all of the other committee liaisons, Vestry members, and everyone else who helped make this a successful campaign.

Thanks to every single St. Alban’s parishioner for your love and your support for our parish — and for your time, and for your prayers. Here’s to an exciting 2020 of blessings for all of us!

December 8 is Commitment Sunday

As of December 3, the Campaign for St. Alban’s has reached $1.23 million in pledges, thanks to the generosity of our parish members — and we still have more parish families to visit. The success of the Campaign is laying the groundwork for a revitalized St. Alban’s that will serve Christ in our community for decades to come.

This Sunday, December 8, Father Jeff and the Vestry will ask that each parishioner make a sacrificial pledge (payable over 5 years) toward this important effort. While we have met our minimum goal, there is more to do — and we need everyone’s participation.

Every dollar raised before the end of the year will allow us to complete our renovations, revitalize our capital reserve, and ensure the vitality and stability of our parish for future generations.

Campaign Update: December 1, 2019

As of early December, we have more than 83 gifts raised by 19 volunteers.

We still need to hear from around 80 of our active parish families.

Please download the December 1 bulletin here.

As Fr. Jeff wrote in the newest issue of our newsletter:

Our initial goal of $1.1M is the minimum we believe we’ll need to complete the project God has called us to, but until the actual work is begun and the old kitchen floor is jackhammered up, we may not know exactly what kind of work we are faced with and the cost could be higher than we estimate. And, because I have absolutely no desire to run a Capital campaign again in my career here with the saints of St. Alban’s, this is our one chance to raise the funds that will be needed to take care of some physical plant issues and potential problems looming ahead of us.

The entire exterior of our building, including the rectory, desperately needs to be scraped, cleaned and repainted. Ironically, our smooth, new parking lot now makes our building look ill-cared for. I have recently learned that the mini-split air-conditioning units in the parish hall are operating with a coolant that will be banned in the next couple of years, meaning that sooner or later, those systems will have to be replaced as they won’t be maintainable.

Did you know that your volunteer mowing teams literally mow the hill on the north side of Columbia Pike with one foot on the curb, and one foot on the extremely busy asphalt surface of Columbia Pike? I wouldn’t ask anyone to do put their lives in danger like that, but yet, our mowers do that weekly. That hillside needs to be cleaned up and replanted with low- or no-maintenance plantings so that our fellow parishioners don’t needlessly put their lives at risk to maintain the beauty of our campus.

These are just a few of the reasons we need to continue forging ahead with our Capital Campaign. In the season of Stewardship, we must be mindful not only of the financial needs of our parish community, but also of the need to maintain and improve our lovely home here at St. Alban’s.

Our Capital Campaign is entering into its final weeks. If you haven’t been approached to give yet, I pray that you respond to the call with generosity. If you’ve already given, thank you! If you are not in a position to financially support this important project, I hope that you will support us with prayer and share the excitement about the possibilities of new ministries and programming.

The work we do today will ensure that there is a St. Alban’s in Annandale tomorrow – a place where Jesus is known and where his love shines brightly.

Campaign Update: Above & Beyond!

by Bill Calvert & Linda Cummings

As you know, the Capital Campaign Committee plans to meet with every family in our parish to discuss the campaign and to hear firsthand everyone’s thoughts and hopes for the future of St. Alban’s. We are thrilled at the response so far, and the generosity of our fellow parishioners.

As of this writing, we’ve met with about half of all the families, and we have documented pledges for the campaign totaling nearly $1.2 million. Your level of commitment is putting us on a path to improved infrastructure that will benefit our ministries for decades to come!

Our minimum financial goal, to complete the renovated kitchen and adjacent facilities, was $1.1 million. Having exceeded that minimum, we can now focus on revitalizing our capital reserve fund. This will enable us to complete a large number of long-overdue and necessary projects like:

  • Fresh repainting of the entire exterior of the church & rectory
  • Improving the lighting and cooling in the choir loft
  • Upgrading the speakers in the nave so that all can hear
  • Replacing the boiler, long past its lifespan
  • Clearing the overgrowth along Columbia Pike and replanting the hillside with low-maintenance plantings to ensure the safety of our volunteer mowing team

What is the Capital Reserve Fund and why does it matter? The Capital Reserve has been used to fund several important (and expensive!) projects that otherwise might have required capital campaigns of their own. These included such projects as the resurfacing and relighting of our parking lot, structural repairs to the sacristy, and the replacement of the HVAC system.

By replenishing the Capital Reserve, and refurbishing our aging structures, we also contribute to the long-term financial stability of the parish. Did you know that 80% of our annual income comes from parishioner pledges? While your annual pledge generosity  is needed and appreciated, it will be easier for your vestry to plan from year to year if we added more revenue from other sources, such as facility rentals. All of this improved infrastructure will make that possible!

We are only halfway toward our goal of meeting with everyone, and we hope to achieve parish-wide participation in the campaign. If that happens, your vestry will be able to consider even more improvements that have long been requested by our fellow members, such as:

  • Upgrading the electrical throughout the facility, including charging stations in all rooms
  • Upgrading the parish office air conditioners
  • Replacing signs on Gallows Road and Sleepy Hollow Road
  • Eventual need for asbestos removal from classrooms and sacristy
  • Redesigning Room 1, including removing closets, repainting, and appropriate furnishings

It’s been a blessing for those of us on the committee to meet with so many parishioners and hear of how much you love St. Alban’s and what its ministries mean to you. Every single one of you is a vital part of this parish, and we can’t wait to meet individually with each of you. Please, when you are contacted by a member of the committee about meeting, say yes! 

And if you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact either of us, or anyone on the committee. There are also a complete set of Q&As, and regularly updated information, on our website at https://wearestalbans.org/campaign/. Thank you!

Christmas Bazaar: Please Spread the Word and Lend a Hand

The Christmas Bazaar is next Saturday, November 23! We hope you’ll drop by and join in the fun. If you’ve never attended, it’s an excellent place to meet new friends, reconnect with neighbors and friends you haven’t seen in a while, do a little shopping, and have delicious food at the café. The kids can enjoy face painting, a visit with Santa, and playing in the moon bounce (weather permitting).
Have a few hours to spare? Volunteer opportunities this week include:
11/19/19 (Tuesday) 6:00 to 7:00 pm – Set up Jewelry Room
11/20/19 (Wednesday) 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm – Put Christmas decorations and Toys in Parish Hall, Decorate parish hall & set up Café
11/21/19 (Thursday) 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Bring books and all remaining items out of the attic. Full access to all rooms/stands
11/22/19 (Friday) Beginning at 9 AM – Finalize all rooms (if not already complete)
11/23/19 (Saturday) from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm – Bazaar (volunteers report at 8:00)
11/23/19 (Saturday) from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm – Breakdown the bazaar!
Note: Food and drinks will be provided on Wednesday 11/20 and Thursday 11/21.
Please contact Nancy Calvert or Sue Mairena with any questions.

Campaign Update: 96% of Our Minimum Goal

On October 20, “The Campaign for St. Alban’s” officially launched — and thanks to our committed fellow parishioners and several early gifts, we have a big head start toward meeting our goal! There’s still a way to go, and we need everyone’s support, and, especially, prayers.

As we’re sure you’ve heard by now, the Vestry launched this campaign after years of prayer, discussion and discernment. At the heart of our project is a major renovation of our Parish Hall facilities — including a new kitchen to help enhance and expand our food ministries, parish family events, and rental revenue; new restrooms, required to comply with county codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act; and a new shower and laundry area to improve our hospitality offerings such as our hypothermia program.

In fact, you could say that “Hospitality” — to our neighbors and community, as well as our parish family — is the theme of this entire project.

The goal of the Campaign Committee is to ensure that personal meetings are held with each and every one of our nearly 200 member families. We want to discuss the goals of the campaign with each of you personally, hear your feedback, and answer any questions you may have about it. When you are contacted by a fellow parishioner about setting up a personal visit to discuss the campaign, please say yes to the visit! And we hope that all of you will continue to pray for our parish, and the success of our campaign.

Campaign Update: October 24, 2019

As of October 24, we have written and verbal pledges adding up to 96% of our minimum goal!

We have met with 63 of our 191 parish families.

Please download the October 24 issue of our campaign newsletter here.

What Do We Mean By Minimum Goal?

That minimum goal represents the least amount of capital that we believe we need to conduct the kitchen and adjoining facilities renovation. We will need everyone’s help in order to reach that goal — and, hopefully, exceed it.

By exceeding our initial minimum goal, we will be able to replenish our capital reserve — which will contribute to the church’s long-term stability and allow us to fund a number of expected capital replacements over the next few years. A full list of potential projects can be found on our campaign webpage. Please visit that webpage frequently as we will keep it updated as we go along! It also includes lots of other background information and resources, including Frequently Asked Questions about the campaign.