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!

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.

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)

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.

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.