Choir Notes: Holy Spirit, Truth Divine

by Clarence Zuvekas

Sunday, June 9 — This Sunday’s anthem is Holy Spirit, Truth Divine, by the English composer Andrew Carter (b. 1939). It is set to a text by Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892), younger brother of the more famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Carter attended Leeds University, joined the York Minster Choir as a bass, and founded the Chapter House Choir at York Minster (York Cathedral) in 1965. His compositions include organ and choral works.

Carter was invited to compose a mass to celebrate the 300th anniversary of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1997. As a choral director, he has traveled widely in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Our New Pet Memorial Grove

On June 2, after the 10:15am service, the congregants joined the clergy outside for the blessing of the new St. Alban’s Pet Memorial Grove. It’s a peaceful area on the church grounds for members of the St. Alban’s family to place the ashes of their dearly-departed furry friends (or finny or scaley, as the case may be).

Photos by Barbara Hallman

A Growing Epidemic of Evictions in Fairfax County

In the 1980’s, I worked at a shelter for families and single adults who were returning to the community after hospitalization for mental illness. It quickly became clear to me that many are only one or two paychecks away from having to make difficult decisions about paying for housing, for food or for medication. Over 30 years later, this is still true.

Our health and well-being are directly related to numerous factors, including stable housing. Fairfax County continues to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness, but income levels aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living in several areas of the county. Evidence suggests that there is an increase in evictions in our county, especially among people of color and our most vulnerable neighbors.

Alliance for Human Services

On June 13, the Fairfax County Alliance for Human Services’ annual meeting will feature a panel discussion, “There’s a Knock at Our Door: The Growing Epidemic of Evictions and Housing Instability in Our Community,” at 7:30 pm at Little River United Church of Christ, 8410 Little River Turnpike, Annandale. Light refreshments will be served. The meeting is open to the public.

Speakers will discuss how evictions affect the lives of county residents and Virginians, and lead a conversation about what we, as caring citizens, can do to stem this increase. Presenters include: Dipti Pidikiti-Smith, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Legal Services of Northern Virginia; David Levine, President and CEO, Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services, Inc. and senior staff from the RVA Eviction Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, who have conducted important research on the effect of evictions in Virginia. I invite you to join me at the panel discussion and to consider exploring this issue and its impact on our community.

What’s Up @ St. Alban’s (June 2, 2019)

This Week’s Readings

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

This week’s serving schedule.

Check out our calendar of events.

Download this week’s Wired Word.

Next Week is Pentecost, Plus Blessing of Graduates

Next Sunday (June 9) is Pentecost Sunday. Don’t forget to wear red!

Plus, we will conduct a Blessing of the Graduates at each Sunday service on June 9. If your child is graduating and you would like them to participate, please contact Fr Paul by Thursday, June 6.

Annual Parish Picnic on June 23

It’s time: The annual St. Alban’s Parish Picnic will be held on June 23 following the 10:15 service. The picnic will be catered by Red, Hot and Blue, but please bring a side dish or dessert to share, and a chair for the lawn. (Drop off your dish in the Parish Hall kitchen prior to the service.)

Last names A – L . . . please bring a side dish!
Last names M – Z . . . please bring a dessert!

As always, there will be fun for everyone, including a Moon Bounce and lawn games! We will need some help with set-up and clean-up — the set-up will begin around 8:00 AM. Please email info@stalbansva.org if you can help.

Ain’t No Party Like a Sunday School Party

Next Sunday, June 9, starting at 9:15am we will be hosting our year-end Sunday School Party! We will have lots of treats and activities, and a Pentecost theme.

All children and parents are welcome. Parents may bring a snack to share, but it’s not required. Come help us thank all of our students and teachers for a great year.

It’s Time for VBS

2019 VBSVacation Bible School is happening from July 29 to August 2. Go here for more information about VBS at St. Alban’s.

Registration forms are now available in the narthex, and you can also sign your kid(s) up online here.

Plus, volunteers needed for VBS . . . Join us and become an Actor, Artist, Builder, Costumer, Decorator and/or Designer! Contact Melanie Jillson or Ann Gates to learn more.

Serving Our Community: How You Can Help

We love Annandale and our surrounding community! Here are some ways you can help serve our neighbors, and demonstrate our faith in Christ, this month.

Stuff a Backpack on June 2
Between services this Sunday, come to the Parish Hall and help us stuff backpacks with healthy food for our Belvedere Backpack Ministry.

Adopt-a-Highway on June 15
Our next trash pickup on Sleepy Hollow will be Saturday June 15th at 9am. Meet at the church parking lot and bring gloves. Orange vests and bags will be provided. Children must be at least 10 to participate! RSVP to Elizabeth Howton.

Collecting Toiletries Until June 16
St. Alban’s is collecting toiletries for our partners at Samaritan Ministry until June 16. Learn more and see what items we need here.

ACCA Food Pantry Expanding to Saturdays, Needs Help
The ACCA Food Pantry is testing a new expansion and is seeking volunteers able to work Saturdays from 9am to noon. Learn more about this new opportunity here.

ACCA Food Pantry Seeks Volunteer Food Shoppers
Food buyers cover one week per month, working 6-10 hours that week. You will be responsible for purchasing and re-stocking the food inventory at the pantry that week. (A list of food will be provided.) To learn more, contact Tuan Nguyen at 703-563-1456 or 607-727-8915.

“Fill the Wagon” on June 2
The Mason Station has partnered with the Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads and the Annandale Giant grocery store for a “Fill The Wagon” food drive on Sunday, June 2, from 10 am- 4pm. Help fill a police patrol wagon with non-perishable food items which will be donated to a local food pantry. Bring such items as spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, bags of dried lentils, bags of dried red beans, canned fruit, fruit cups, canned tuna, and canned beef stew.

Episcopal 101: Week 5 and Counting . . .

Episcopal 101 started as a four-part series, but now there’s no end in sight — join us at 9:15am on Sundays for a lively discussion about our faith and faith practices.

Each session focuses on a different topic, but we never know where the conversation will take us. Come join us in Room 11!

Caregivers Workshop on June 8

Join Pete Shrock, nationally known grief and crisis responder, for a special workshop in Alexandria on June 8. The event is free of charge, and sponsored by AARP Virginia, Fairfax County, George Mason University, and other organizations. Learn more and register here.

ACCA News for May

Check out the May 2019 newsletter for ACCA (Annandale Christian Community for Action).

Your Giving Makes Everything Possible

Check out the Giving page on our new website for info on how to donate electronically. Our myE-offering system is a simple way to manage your annual pledge, or to offer one-time donations for such items as flowers, Christmas and Easter offerings, birthday contributions, etc.

On that page you can also learn more about the Birthday Fund, a special fund which helps cover costs for kids and youth to attend Shrine Mont. Learn more here, and thank you for your commitment to our parish.

The June Issue of The Word

Check your mailbox for the latest issue of The Word, the St. Alban’s print newsletter — or feel free to download a PDF copy here. (If you’d like to be put on our mailing list, just use the contact form here to tell us you’d like to receive our mailings and be sure to include your complete mailing address.)

In the June 2019 issue . . .

Father Jeff on change, in our lives and in church: “When change affects your most intimate and personal space, it can be unsettling, and I believe that’s why churches are so reluctant to change. Isn’t God supposed to be unchangeable, unmovable? So the Church shouldn’t change, right? Well, we know that isn’t true. But by its very nature, changes at Church often push us well out of our comfort zone.”

Father Paul on Christian identity: “What if our faith was something that marked us, outwardly, so that every time we went to the bank, the laundry, the pool, people knew we were Christians? What if every time we went to the bank, the laundry, and the pool, we knew we were Christians?”

What We Do With What We Give: “This month, though, we turn our attention all too briefly to where most of our financial giving goes—clergy and other paid staff. . . As the clergy goes, so goes the parish. Plain and simple.”

Plus tons of photos from the May 4 relief concert, the May 5 trip to the National Cathedral, the youth group outing, and more!

Download the PDF here.

Choir Notes: Thy Perfect Love

by Clarence Zuvekas

Sunday, June 2 — London-born John Rutter (b. 1945) has written a large body of sacred music: anthems, carols, a Requiem and other choral works, as well as orchestral and other secular music. He has also has made significant contributions as an arranger and editor.

Rutter studied at Cambridge and stayed on to found The Cambridge Singers in 1981. He still conducts this ensemble, which records on its own label, Collegium. For his services to music, Rutter was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Music by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1996, and a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2007.

Some “hoity-toity musical gurus” and avant-garde composers have not considered Rutter to be a serious composer, because his music is too tuneful; but how many people listen to the music of Pierre Boulez? On June 2, the St. Alban’s Choir will be singing Rutter’s anthem, Thy Perfect Love, the text of which dates from the 15th century.

What’s Up @ St. Alban’s (May 26, 2019)

Evensong is Sunday at 7pm: Evensong is a rich English choral tradition, based on monastic prayer offices, in which nearly everything is sung. Evensong is cherished by singers and music-lovers alike. During our Evensong, the St. Alban’s Choir will sing works by John Stainer and William Harris.

The psalms are at the heart of the service, sung in traditional Anglican chant as well as Gregorian plainsong. We sing canticles, such as the Magnificat: Mary’s song of acceptance of the will of God and the knowledge that she will bear Jesus, the Son of God. We also hear the Nunc Dimittis, in which the high priest Simeon rejoices after he first sees the child Jesus in the temple. Both canticles are taken from the Gospel of Luke, and are chanted in Gregorian modes.

We will hear readings from Scripture, sing Evening hymns, and pray for the state of the world and the Church, interceding for those we love as well as those we don’t know.

We hope you will join us for this beautiful and meditative worship experience, Sunday, May 26, at 7pm.

Opportunities to Make a Difference: Don’t forget that we are currently collecting toiletries in a drive for Samaritan Ministry, and the ACCA Food Pantry is still seeking volunteers for a special Saturday pilot program.

Year End Sunday School Party: Help celebrate the end of a great Sunday School year (and thank all of our students and teachers) on Sunday, June 9, at 9:15am. All kids and parents are welcome! (Parents are welcome to bring a snack to share, but it is not required!) We’ll have lots of treats and activities and a special “Pentecost” theme. Join the fun!

2019 VBSGet Wild with VBS, July 29 – August 2: Time to sign your kids up for Vacation Bible School. This year, St. Alban’s and our friends at Peace Lutheran will be co-sponsoring this special program to introduce children to the basic concepts of Christian faith and living. It’s going to be a fun time for all, but you need to register now. Learn more and sign up.

VBS Volunteers Needed: Actors, artists, builders, costumers, decorators and designers needed to help with VBS (happening July 29 – August 2).  Email Melanie Jillson or Ann Gates, or contact them in person.

The ACCA Food Ministry Seeks Volunteer Shoppers: As a food buyer, you will cover the pantry for one week per month; it will take approximately 6-10 hours per week. On the week you’re in charge, you will be responsible for the food inventory at the pantry, the purchase, and re-stock of fresh food such as milk, cheese, egg, orange juice, carrots, potatoes, hot dogs, etc. (a list of food will be provided).
For more information please contact Tuan Nyugen at 703-563-1456, or 607-727-8915.

Caregivers Workshop on June 8: Join Pete Shrock, nationally known grief and crisis responder, for a special workshop in Alexandria on June 8. The event is free of charge, and sponsored by AARP Virginia, Fairfax County, George Mason University, and other organizations. Learn more and register here.

ACCA May News: Read the latest newsletter from our friends at ACCA (Annandale Christian Community for Action).

Readings for May 26, 2019

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Bishop’s Reflection on Abortion & Women’s Health

On May 21, Bishop Susan Goff released a reflection on abortion and women’s reproductive health. It is reprinted below:
Diocese Coat of ArmsWith renewed national attention to issues of abortion and women’s reproductive health in recent weeks, I’ve been asked by people from across our Diocese about the position of The Episcopal Church on these matters. I write this reflection in response to those questions and in hope that it will be helpful as we think, pray and act as individuals and as a Church community.

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34

These words from the Gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday of Easter shape our most basic motivations as Christians. Following Jesus’ commandment to love one another animates who we are and what we do. Our commitment to love stands front and center as we hear and respond to recent legislation about abortion, reproduction and women’s health in our highly politicized era.

The Episcopal Church has held our arms of love wide open across the decades in the midst of political and moral debate about these matters. We assert without equivocation the sanctity of human life. “All human life is sacred,” we affirmed at the 69th General Convention in 1988. “Hence, it is sacred from its inception until death. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God.”

In a series of statements over the decades we as a Church have fleshed out our understanding of the sacredness of human life, the lives of women as well as the lives of the unborn. We have declared “that we emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.” We have also declared our “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and act on them.”

At our most recent General Convention last summer we resolved that “equitable access to women’s health care, including women’s reproductive health care, is an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being.” A complete summary of General Convention resolutions on abortion and women’s reproductive health can be found here.

Our statements about abortion and women’s reproductive health are bound together by our unshakable affirmation that all life is sacred and all human beings are worthy of abiding love. As a woman, as a child of God and as a bishop, I hold my own arms wide open in love to support women in making informed decisions about their bodies and their reproductive health. I reach out with pastoral care toward those women who chose to end a pregnancy and to those who choose to give birth in difficult circumstances. I call on our legislatures to provide access to adequate health care, education, safety and freedom from violence for all who are born. While honoring the sanctity of life for all people and upholding our Church’s teachings about the seriousness and “tragic dimension” of abortion, I will do what I can to keep our society from returning to an era of backroom abortions in which the lives and health of women are threatened. With arms held wide open in love, we can reach out to people on the many different sides of these issues without becoming polarized. God bless us all as we navigate these waters in the love of Christ Jesus.

The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Choir Notes: Rise Up, My Love, My Fair One

by Clarence Zuvekas

Sunday, May 26 — Healey Willan (1880-1968) was born in England but came to Canada in 1913 to head the Theory Department at the Toronto (now Royal) Conservatory of Music. He is often referred to as the dean of Canadian composers.

Although he wrote more than 800 works in a variety of genres, Willan is best known as a composer of church music, including the Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena (S-91, S-114, S-158, S-202 in our Hymnal, parts of which we have sung when using Rite I).

From 1921 until his death, Willan served as organist and choirmaster at Toronto’s Church of St. Mary Magdalene, an Anglo-Catholic congregation, where he “waged constant war on mediocre church music.” Our anthem for today is Willan’s Rise up, My Love, My Fair One, the last of the Three Motets in Honour of Our Lady.

What’s Up @ St. Alban’s (May 19, 2019)

One Week ’til Evensong: Next Sunday, May 26, St. Alban’s will host a special Evensong for the Sixth Sunday of Easter at 7pm. This is a special meditative service of readings, choral anthems, hymns, chanted psalms, and prayers.

Evensong is also a great opportunity for folks to temporarily join our choir — if you’ve ever wanted to be a part of it. but aren’t able to make the year-round commitment, you are welcome to join us for this special Evensong service. Simply come to Thursday evening rehearsal this week at 7:30pm.

Year End Sunday School Party: Help celebrate the end of a great Sunday School year (and thank all of our students and teachers) on Sunday, June 9, at 9:15am. All kids and parents are welcome! (Parents are welcome to bring a snack to share, but it is not required!) We’ll have lots of treats and activities and a special “Pentecost” theme. Join the fun!

Get to Know Your Church and Faith: What began as a four-part series has morphed into a stimulating conversation (with no end in sight!) about our faith and our faith practices.  Join us on Sunday mornings in Room 11 as we tackle tough and interesting topics, and maybe even answer the questions you have always pondered:  What does it mean to be an Episcopalian? What does it mean to be an Anglican?  How do we differ from other Christian denominations or faiths? What do we believe? Why do we worship the way we worship?  We’ll tackle these, and all your questions, during these classes. We never know where the conversation will take us!

ACCA Food Pantry Seeks Saturday Volunteers: The Food Pantry needs help as they begin a test program of serving the community on Saturdays.  Volunteers would work from 9:00 am to noon on Saturday, May 11, May 18, and June 1, and help with a variety of tasks necessary to keep the Food Pantry running and in order (tasks may include disposing of spoiled or expired food, serving as a food deliverer, helping with inventory, cleaning the pantry, stocking shelves, etc.) To learn more or volunteer with this Saturday program, please contact David Donahue.

2019 VBSGet Wild with VBS, July 29 – August 2: Time to sign your kids up for Vacation Bible School. This year, St. Alban’s and our friends at Peace Lutheran will be co-sponsoring this special program to introduce children to the basic concepts of Christian faith and living. It’s going to be a fun time for all, but you need to register now. Learn more and sign up.

VBS Volunteers Needed: Actors, artists, builders, costumers, decorators and designers needed to help with VBS (happening July 29 – August 2).  Email Melanie Jillson or Ann Gates, or contact them in person.

Samaritan Ministry Toiletries Drive: St. Alban’s is helping collect toiletries for Samaritan Ministry through June 16. Below is a list of the toiletries that are currently being requested, but we are not limited to these. We just ask that all items be new.

  • Body wash
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Disposable razors
  • Face cloths
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion (small and medium sizes)
  • Non-alcoholic mouth wash
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shaving cream
  • Soap
  • Sun Screen
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes

For more info, please  email Debbe Hughes or call (703) 507-7338.

What’s Happening: Don’t miss out! Keep track with our Calendar of Events.

Serving Schedule: Here’s the current two-week serving schedule.

Readings for May 19, 2019

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.