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 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

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.

The 255th Diocesan convention

Today and tomorrow (November 15 & 16) your clergy and three delegates are seated on the convention floor at our annual convention, representing you as our St. Alban’s delegation.  It’s awe-inspiring to think that we are part of a tradition that has continued for over 250 years.

Fr. Paul and Maddy at Convention
Fr. Paul and lay delegate, Maddy, engaged in the business of the Church

Our convention is an annual gathering of clergy and lay representatives from all 180+ parishes in the Diocese of Virginia.  So, what happens at our annual convention? It begins with an inspiring pastoral address by our bishop, this year by our suffragan bishop in the absence of a diocesan bishop.  Typically there are addresses by guest speakers, too.  This year we heard from Mr. Brian Sellers-Petersen, Agrarian Missioner from the Diocese of Olympia in Washington, who spoke about care of creation.

An interesting part of convention is hearing “stories of the diocese,” inspiring stories of how parishes, big and small, are engaging with their community, reaching out, bringing new life to their congregation by carrying out Jesus’ Gospel imperatives to serve others.

At Convention we elect representatives to Standing Committee, a 12-member elected council of advice to the bishop who also can serve as the Ecclesiastical Authority in the absence of the Bishop.  We elect delegates to our triennial national General Convention and hear reports from different diocesan committees and task forces. Essentially , we conduct the business of the church as an assembled council.

For me, the highlight of Convention is the Eucharist – where we all gather in worship, sing the praises of God, and share in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Convention is a great opportunity to see the Church in a new way and in a new light, and it looks very different than Sunday morning at St. Alban’s.  Every March we call for nominations for lay delegate to Convention.  Delegates are elected by the Vestry, and must be pledging members in good standing of our parish.  If you are interested in serving, you don’t need to be nominated by someone else… let your clergy or a member of the Vestry know.

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.

Celebrating the Communion of Saints

One foggy evening, when I was stationed in West Germany, I was driving through a fairly rural part of the countryside, when I noticed a rather eerie glow off to the right side of the road. As I got nearer, I realized that I was approaching a cemetery, and each grave was marked by a burning candle. I had passed that cemetery any number of times, but I had never seen it so beautifully illuminated. I later discovered that a local tradition was to place a lighted candle at the grave of loved ones on November 2nd – The Feast of All Souls’, or as we Episcopalians now call it, “The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.”

Two venerable and beloved Church feast days happen this week – The Feast of All Saints’ and The Feast of All Souls’. All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day, is one of the principle feasts of the Church Year, and is set aside as the day when the Church remembers the saints of God – known and unknown. It is one of the few Feast Days that, when falling on a day Monday through Saturday, can be moved to Sunday (and, incidentally, it is one of the four Sundays especially appropriate for baptism.)

While the origins of All Saints’ Day aren’t known, its roots probably go back to the 4th Century, when a feast for all the martyrs was observed in May. It wasn’t until around 735 that Pope Gregory III declared a Feast of All Saints on November 1. While the Feast of All Saints’ celebrates the saints of God, known and unknown, who have died, All Souls’ Day celebrates relatives and loved ones (the “rest of us” faithful whose lives do not merit a day on the Church Calendar) who have died. All Saints’ and All Souls’ became inextricably connected – sometimes being called Allhallowtide or Hallowmas season, being observed on November 1 and November 2, respectively.

The Western Church began their observance of All Saints’ with a service of Vespers on the evening before, which would be All Saints’ Eve, or All Hallows’ Eve. It isn’t much of a stretch to see how simple, superstitious and pagan folk might embellish a commemoration of the departed with stories of tormented souls of the dead, demons and other evil spirits – becoming the festive day of Hallowe’en we’ve come to know and love.

The Feast of All Saints’ is especially important in the Episcopal Church. We often speak of “the Communion of Saints,” and All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day remind us of our belief that all Christians that ever lived, are living, and will ever be, are bound together in one Communion – the Body of Christ. All Saints’ and All Souls’ celebrates this bond as we continue the ancient practice of praying for the saints who have gone on before us and acknowledge that those saints in heaven are praying for us.

Please join us for our observance of The Feast of All Saints’ on Sunday morning, November 3rd, at 8:15 and 10:15. We will be observing The Feast of All Souls’ with a solemn Evensong on the evening of November 3rd at 7:00 pm. All are invited to attend this beautiful sung service, and to bring photos of loved ones who have departed this life and light a candle as a silent and visible prayer for them.

Shrine Mont Weekend 2019

Our annual Parish Weekend was held September 27-29 at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia. It was a time of relaxation and fun with new friends and old, in a beautiful mountain setting. Some folks hiked, some folks fished, some folks read, some folks napped, some folks even attended a program or two, but everybody came together for conversation, music, and a chance to enjoy the company of our parish family.

Here are just a few memories from the weekend (photos by Duncan McBride). We hope even more of our fellow parishioners will enjoy the weekend with us next year!

Get Ready for the Bazaar!

2019 Christmas Bazaar - Nov. 23, 9am - 2pmFor over 60 years, the St. Alban’s Christmas Bazaar has been a highlight of the year for our parish and our neighborhood. This year’s Bazaar is happening Saturday, November 23 from 9:00am to 2:00pm. At the Bazaar, you’ll discover a cornucopia of gifts and treasures, including toys, jewelry, books, decor, tools, baked goods, and more.

The Bazaar is an excellent place to make new friends, reconnect with neighbors and friends you haven’t seen in a while, do a little shopping, and enjoy delicious food at the café. The kids can enjoy face painting, a visit with Santa, and the moon bounce (weather permitting). Best of all, proceeds from the Bazaar go directly back into the community as we use all the funds to support our many outreach ministries and programs.

Join the Fun, Make a Difference

The Bazaar is one of our biggest annual programs and is only possible with the enthusiastic support of dozens of volunteers. From donation of goods to set-up and take-down, from decoration to promotion, we rely on the entire St. Alban’s family to make this event possible.

For additional information, please contact Nancy Calvert at billandnancycalvert@verizon.net, Sue Mairena at mairena75@verizon.net or one of the many area leads — view this document for a complete contact list.

Why do folks volunteer and help out with the Bazaar? 

“I participate in the Christmas Bazaar to get closer to all those St. Albanites I don’t see that often. The best way to get to know people is to work together.” (Ann Gates)

“I like participating in the St. Alban’s Bazaar because of the sense of community I feel while I am there. Not only from our St. Albanites – but also from the neighbors and friends that participate!” (Camille Stern)

“I was new at St. Alban’s when I first volunteered at the Bazaar. It was such a great way to get to know people that I did not hesitate when I was asked to be a co-chair a couple of years later. Working with so many fellow parishioners on the wide range of bazaar activities showed me how much everyone does to make St. Alban’s the friendly, welcoming and supportive place that it is.” (Betsy Anderson)

“I love working with our church family at the Bazaar! It is so much fun to see everyone put their best efforts in for the community of people who come to shop, eat and take in the day with us. Working at this event is a fantastic way to get to know my fellow churchmates.” (Ivy Kilby)

See even more testimonials and stories from volunteers in the October issue of The Word.

Please consider joining our band of enthusiastic volunteers! Our next meeting is Wed, 10/30 @ 6:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Everyone is welcome!

Donations Welcome!

The Bazaar closet is open for your donations! Please place items in boxes or sturdy bags marked with a description of the contents. As you choose which items to donate, please consider the sorts of items that you or others would like to buy.

All items should be clean and in good condition. Please make sure any battery‐operated items have a battery, so the customer can see that they work. For more information about donations, please contact Nancy Calvert or Sue Mairena.

Raffle Prizes Needed!

Our raffle is one of the most popular items at the Bazaar, but its success depends on the prizes being offered. Please consider donating a raffle prize, such as sporting event, theater or concert tickets; an offer of professional services (such as decorating a special cake or raking leaves or detailing a car); or gift cards, which are always popular!

To donate an item (preferred value of $75 or greater), please complete this form (you can also use the form to upload a photo, if possible). Actual prizes can be delivered to the church now or during the event set-up. Please contact Chris Peck or Stephanie Lightner for more information about the raffle.

Day three of the Youth Mission Trip to Hurley, VA

Breakfast on day three was courtesy of Harry’s team.  Harry and crew delighted us with biscuits and gravy and fried June apples.  Landon and MacGregor picked the apples the day before during some down time on their worksite.  Most of the kids ate cereal.

Harry’s team continued their work on the bathroom project, redoing some old plumbing and working on a shower surround.

George’s team (with Allison and Liv) began working on a wheelchair ramp and plans to have their work finished Thursday.

Meanwhile, the painting crew finished scraping (thanks to Darius’ dogged determination to get every last loose bit of paint off the house!).  Unfortunately, an afternoon downpour slowed their worked considerably.

After an hour break under the shelter of the front porch, the crew was able to put a coat of paint over the entire house but weren’t able to finish the project.

Pearl, the owner of the house, was very pleased with her freshly scraped and painted house.  Today (Thursday) may be a short work day as part of our team (Ted and MacGregor) are helping load a shipment of USDA food that they’ll be delivering to the Center around noon, and all hands will be necessary to unload the truck.