Choir Notes: Holy Week

by Clarence Zuvekas

Sunday, April 14

At the beginning of the Palm Sunday service, we will sing Ride On, Jesus, a traditional spiritual arranged by Jens Klimek (b. 1984), a prolific German choral composer and director. Our anthem will be O Mortal Man—the traditional Sussex Mummers Carol—arranged by John Scott (1956-2015). Scott spent 26 years at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, where he was named organist and director of music in 1990. In 2004 he moved to New York to occupy the same posts at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue.

Thursday, April 18

On Maundy Thursday we will be singing Anthems at the Mandatum, composed by Nicholas White (b. 1967) specifically for the foot washing on this day. Mandatum is the Latin word for commandment. The text of this composition is from the 13th Chapter of St. John’s Gospel and Psalm 85.

Born in London, White moved to the United States in 1989. One of his posts was assistant organist and choirmaster at Washington National Cathedral (1994-98). In addition to composing, White has been active as a conductor, singer, organist and pianist.

Friday, April 19

Our anthem for Good Friday is Crux Fidelis, the text of which is attributed to the Italian poet Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530/540-c. 600/609). The music is thought to be composed by King João (John) IV of Portugal (1604- 1656). When not busy seeking alliances (especially with France) to preserve Portuguese independence from Spain, John IV busied himself with hunting, music and other artistic pursuits.

The music for Crux Fidelis was edited by the English conductor and composer of church music, John Rutter (b. 1945).

Saturday, April 20

Christus Vincit (“Christ Has Conquered”), by Joseph Noyon (1888-1962). is our anthem for the Easter Vigil Service. Noyon served as organist and/or choir director at several Parisian churches and also directed the choirs of French Radio and Television Broadcasting. His Christus Vincit has been arranged by the American organist, choir director and composer, Gerre Hancock (1934-2012).

Sunday, April 21

Our Easter anthem is He Is Risen, by the English organist and composer Percy Whitlock (1903-1946). Whitlock’s goal was to be a cathedral organist, but as an organist in Bournemouth (from 1930), he is remembered more for “pops” performances in a municipal series than for his post at St. Stephen’s Church. Likewise, as a composer he is known mainly for “light” music, although he wrote a symphony for organ and orchestra and other more substantial works. As usual, we will close the service with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Sunday, April 28

The choir will take its traditional post-Easter break.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Episcopal Church

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 our Episcopal 101 series beginning Sunday, May 5th, and continuing through Sunday, May 26th. Episcopal 101 meets during Sunday school time at 9:15 in Room 11.

Whether you’re new to the Episcopal Church, or you’ve been around a long time and are still puzzled by what we believe or the way we do things (or wondering what everybody is doing up at the altar during the Eucharist), you’ll find these sessions both worthwhile and fun.

May 5, 2019
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” … prayer shapes our belief. An introduction to the Book of Common Prayer.

May 12, 2019
The Eucharist … spiritual food and drink.

May 19, 2019
What does it mean when we say, “Holy Scripture is the Word of God, and contains all things necessary to salvation … ”

May 26, 2019
The Anglican Communion … one big happy family?

Why Redo Our Kitchen?

“Your building is either advancing your mission… or a drain on it.”

That’s a quote from one of the architects who produced the design for our new kitchen. That architect very succinctly described our situation. I know that there are some who have concerns about the project – concerns about the cost, concerns about the complexity and there are, perhaps, other unvoiced concerns.

A member of the St. Alban’s Vestry, Jim Kilby, shared some thoughts on the project with me, and I’d like to share them with you. — Fr. Jeff

From Jim Kilby:

Jim KilbyOver the past few weeks, I have heard that some members of our congregation question the high cost and need to undergo the kitchen renovation project. While initially I shared this opinion, I now have a greater understanding of the scope of the project.

Much of this was gained through reading the Case for Support of the Kitchen Project, participation on the Capital Campaign and through talking to some of our primary kitchen users. I am now onboard, completely.

Simply put, our kitchen is not a commercial grade kitchen, but it should be.

If the sole use was supporting coffee hour, I might be swayed against the project. However, our kitchen is not adequate to support our mission of community outreach (Poe Middle School after-hours meals program, Belvedere Elementary weekend food program and Hypothermia Project), nor our larger parish meal requirements.

Furthermore, if we do anything to our kitchen, we need to bring it up to code. This will require significant below-foundation plumbing work as well as other modifications.

I believe the bathroom remodel is a related project which would be prudent to undertake in conjunction with the kitchen. I use the “I’m changing your water pump, so It would be smart to change out your timing belt since you are approaching 90k miles” analogy.

Finally, adding a shower and laundry will be a significant upgrade to help us in executing our Hypothermia Project Mission, as well as helping the Altar Guild with linens and other requirements.

In my life in the Navy I have found it useful to use a command philosophy to center the crew on “the main thing.” I’ve found an open discussion of the difference between “ownership” and “stewardship” is helpful in this regard.

Ownership vs. Stewardship

If I “own” something, I have choice to care for something as I am moved to (example: I don’t have to change the oil in my car, even though I know that I should). If I am a “steward” of something, I no longer have that latitude. I am entrusted with the care of that object. It is a matter of trust and obligation. It is different.

As members of St Alban’s, I believe we are stewards of our property, stewards of our mission that positively impact our community. It is truly a higher calling. I am committed to this project and strongly believe that this is a “must do.” I am optimistic that the feasibility study will determine that we have the congregational resolve and fiscal means to make this investment in our church. Let’s get to it!

Sincerely,

Jim Kilby
Member, St. Alban’s Vestry

Capital Campaign: Exciting Times for St. Alban’s

As Fr. Jeff has extolled, these are exciting times at St. Alban’s!

The Vestry has approved the hiring of a capital campaign consultant and we are in the final contract negotiation phase.

The consultant will be CCS Fundraising of Falls Church, who was the unanimous top choice of the interview panel and has extensive local and national experience with Episcopal church capital campaigns.

So, what should the congregation expect?

In April, the CCS Study Coordinator will arrive at St. Alban’s and embed with our church staff full-time to support the four-week Feasibility Study. A study steering committee will be empaneled, consisting of Fr. Jeff, Nancy Harrell, Bill Calvert and one or two other church members.

With the CCS coordinator, the committee will finalize the Case-for-Support. Additionally, the committee will mail invitations to 50-60 potential donors for confidential interviews with the CCS Coordinator(s).

These interviews will allow CCS to assess the donors’ feelings about the direction of St. Alban’s, the kitchen project itself, and the interest to both financially support the project and volunteer, should St. Alban’s undertake a full capital campaign.

An e-survey will be made available to congregants who are not interviewed.

From the interviews and e-survey, CCS will assess the likelihood that St. Alban’s could reach a campaign goal of $1.1 million, and will identify any potential issues regarding leadership or volunteerism for a capital campaign. This information will be documented in a formal report and presented to the Vestry by the CCS V.P. in late May or June.

From there, the Vestry will decide if St. Alban’s should proceed with a formal capital campaign and the ramping up of the pre-construction processes.

Please feel free to contact Bill Calvert, Betsy Anderson, Fr. Jeff or any vestry member with your questions or comments.

These are exciting times in the life of our parish family. The future is bright, the Spirit is active, and we are engaged in the work Jesus has given us to do.

Bill Calvert
Capital Campaign

Betsy Anderson
Kitchen Committee

Ideas for Lent

With the season of Lent coming upon us soon, I’ve been doing a little reading and research on some Lenten disciplines I might take on. I stumbled across a quote that spoke to me about the nature and need of our Lenten disciplines.

“Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty,” wrote Rt. Rev. Tom Wright, a New Testament scholar and retired Anglican Bishop of Durham, England, “not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing, but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.”

Our Lenten discipline should challenge us spiritually and, if possible, physically. The spiritual challenge is necessary so that we can strengthen and grow our faith in God, to sustain us in difficult times and help us deal with sometimes-frightening uncertainty of these times.

A physical challenge is less about challenging ourselves, and more about learning to rely on God. When we engage in an act of self-denial (fasting, abstaining from certain food or drink, or even refraining from watching television or using the Internet), we redirect our cravings away from this world and direct that hunger and yearning toward God.

You may be surprised to see the many unexpected ways in which God provides. In an age of instant gratification, fasting gives us a little insight into what it might be like to be truly hungry, and unsure of where your next meal might come from.

If you’re wondering how you might exercise your faith and grow closer to Christ, here are a few ideas for Lenten disciplines:

Daily Prayer

Join St. Alban’s in daily morning prayer at 8:00am, either in our small downstairs chapel or online through our Facebook Live broadcasts.

Food Stamp Challenge

Several years ago we encouraged our families to try a “food stamp challenge” where each family would try to live on a very limited daily budget for food — roughly the equivalent amount a family receives  on government food assistance. Like fasting, this exercise gives you a new perspective on the daily struggles of low-income families.

Study & Reading

Our Library Committee will have selected books available in the narthex. Pick one up and commit to daily reading and study.

Lent Madness

Just for fun, try out Lent Madness — a zany and somewhat bizarre take on March Madness. Instead of hoops and baskets, we have saints and martyrdom! It starts on Ash Wednesday and proceeds daily through Lent, as saints are voted to advance toward the finals and the Golden Halo. It’s a fun way to learn about saints, those Christian faithful who have gone before us.

Finally, make sure to join us for our special Wednesday evening Lenten lecture series. This year, Dr. Hannah Matis of the Virginia Theological Seminary will walk us through several historical highlights related to the founding of the Anglican and Episcopal churches. It’s going to be fascinating and fun; here are the dates and details.

Lent is a time to reflect and remove those things that get in the way of our relationships with God. It’s a time of self-examination and soul-searching, and a time for growth, as we ready ourselves for the Great Feast of Easter.

Choir Notes: March 3, 2019

Thomas TallisThomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), England’s pre-eminent 16th century composer, lived under four monarchs, both Catholic and Protestant.

While he probably leaned toward Catholicism, he managed to adapt his composing to the often-confusing prevailing winds, as well as to the influences of composers from the European continent.

O nata lux de lumine (O Light Born of Light) is one of about 15 Latin motets written during the reign of Elizabeth I, who permitted compositions in both English and Latin.

— Clarence Zuvekas

Delegates for the Diocese

Every March the Vestry elects two delegates to represent St. Alban’s at Diocesan Convention.

Diocesan Convention, held in January, is responsible for the “order, government and discipline” of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia. It’s a rich opportunity to meet other Episcopalians from around the diocese, and a wonderful opportunity to see the greater Church in action.

In order to be considered by the Vestry for this position, delegates to Convention must be adult confirmed communicants in good standing.

If you would like to be considered for the role of delegate representing St. Alban’s, please contact your vestry representative (or any member of the vestry), or see Father Jeff.

Ash Wednesday 2019

Join us at St. Alban’s on March 6 as we begin our annual journey through Lent. We offer a number of ways and services during which you can begin this vital observance, a time of repentance, meditation, fasting, and prayer.

  • Stop by the Narthex in the morning, starting at 7am, for imposition of ashes
  • Join us for Daily Prayer at 8am in the chapel
  • Holy Eucharist at noon with imposition of ashes
  • A special Children’s Ash Wednesday service at 6pm
  • Holy Eucharist at 7pm with imposition of ashes

From The Book of Common Prayer:

“The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”