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.

Morning Prayer, March 15, 2020 – 10:00 am

Please join us for the office of Morning Prayer live at 10:00 am on our Facebook page.  To follow along, the liturgy is available for you in pdf format here.

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians that we are all one body (Ephesians 4:4).  Even though we are separated, we are still one body in Spirit as disciples of Jesus, and one way that Spirit is manifested is through our worship and through our common life of prayer.  I hope you will join us.

If you are not able to be with us at 10:00, the video will be available for delayed viewing soon after the service ends.

St. Alban’s response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic

Dear St. Alban’s Family,

Join us on Sundays at 10am as we livestream Morning Prayer via YouTube. Access the livestream and archived video recordings here.
Weekdays at 8am we offer Morning Prayer via Zoom online conferencing. Click here for access details and link.
Check your email! We are sending regular updates and messages, including scheduled Zoom social events for our church family. If you’re not on our email list, please contact us and request to be added.

I hope you have seen the pastoral letter recently sent out from Bishop Goff in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the letter, Bishop Goff relates that she met online with the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia and, as the Ecclesiastical Authority, directed that there will be no public worship at churches in the Diocese of Virginia through March 25. If you are aware of someone who might not have received her email, please pass it on to them.

Bishop Goff made it very clear that churches are, at the moment, not closing, and staff will be reporting for work. What does that mean for our parish family?

While Bishop Goff mentions “physically gathering for public worship,” I take her directive to mean that, in addition to our Sunday worship, there will be no church sponsored, or church-sanctioned, gatherings. This includes choir rehearsals, Lenten programming, Education for Ministry (EfM) sessions, Tuesday Eucharist and Bible Study, Chatting Fingers, Sunday School, Youth Group gatherings, Vestry and any of the other varied ways we gather.

While the doors will be closed for public gatherings and worship, we plan to continue live-streaming our daily office of Morning Prayer from the downstairs chapel, and are making plans to provide some kind of livestream of worship (either Morning Prayer or Eucharist) on the two Sundays we are apart. We will be reaching out to those we are aware of who live alone, to check in and make sure everyone is OK.

I hope you will take advantage of the technology with which God has enriched our lives to stay connected through our online worship and to stay connected with each other – checking on friends, neighbors, fellow parishioners and the most vulnerable among us.

I am grateful for Bishop Susan and Bishop Jennifer’s leadership in this difficult and challenging time. While we might be inconvenienced in the short term, not gathering in numbers helps to mitigate the spread for the community-at-large. In our conference call it was clear that this was a tough decision for them to make, but it was the right decision to make.

During this two week period, please do not hesitate to reach out to your parish staff and clergy if you are in any need, are feeling anxious, frightened or need someone to talk to. As Bishop Goff said in her pastoral letter, “do not be afraid. God is good.” Hold each other up in prayer. Now, as always, God is with us.

Faithfully,

Fr. Jeff

Lenten Programming at St. Alban’s

  • Our custom at St. Alban’s is to change some of our practices, most often around our common worship life, to reflect the penitential significance of Lent. We will continue some of those changes at our 10:15 service to the more penitential prayers of Rite I (beginning on page 324 in the BCP).  This year, to provide more choice, our 8:15 service will be using a rite from the Church of England’s supplemental “Common Worship.”  The sense, intent and meaning of the words are essentially the same as Rite I used at our 10:15 service, only in contemporary language. The first Sunday in Lent our worship will begin with a solemn procession around the nave as we pray the Great Litany (the first Latin work from the Roman Catholic Mass translated into English by Thomas Cranmer).  The remaining Sunday morning services in Lent will begin with a recitation of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) or the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11)
  • During Lent we will be introducing a practice of lay-led healing prayer during Sunday morning worship. Individuals from a team of lay people in our parish who feel called to a ministry of healing prayer will be stationed in the back of the church near the blue candle and Mary of Jerusalem icon. After receiving Communion, our prayer team members will be happy to pray with anyone who would like prayers for support, strength, courage, healing or for any need. In the season of Lent, lay-led healing prayers during Communion will take the place of healing prayers that have been offered by the clergy during announcements. If you would like a clergy person to pray with you at another time, please contact them to make arrangements.
  • We continue our tradition of a Lenten Wednesday Evening Program – this year a study of the Book of Hebrews (click here for more details). Wednesday evenings at St. Alban’s will offer:
5:00-6:00 pm Private Confession in the downstairs chapel
6:00-6:30 pm Stations of the Cross in the nave
6:30-7:00 pm Soup and salad dinner
7:00-8:00 pm Presentation on the Book of Hebrews

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.