FAQ

About St. Alban’s

Where is St. Alban’s Episcopal Church?
St. Alban’s is at 885 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, at the corner of Shore Road and Oakhurst Road.

What time are the worship services?
We celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. on Sundays, and at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, simply click here.

Will parking be an issue?
Our parking lot is entered from Oakhurst Road, and parking is also available on neighborhood streets. Parking is often crowded, so feel free to walk or ride your bicycle or carpool.

What should I wear?
That is entirely up to you! There is certainly no dress code at St. Alban’s. Some wear “Sunday best” and others are quite casual. The most important thing is that you be comfortable and that we worship together as a parish family.

Are there regular children’s programs?
During the school year a staffed nursery is available for the 9:30 services for the youngest children. Older children may participate in age appropriate Sunday school classes. All are welcome! Please explore our Youth and Children pages under Formation for more information.

How do I join St. Alban’s Episcopal Church?
Becoming a member of St. Alban’s is a choice that you can make over time, but we hope you will find it an easy step to make! We recommend that you speak with a member the clergy to let one of them know of your desire to become a member. They will answer your questions and welcome you.

St. Alban’s has have no formal membership application, but  choosing to join a church is something we all do with care and prayer.  To be considered a member of St. Alban’s we ask that you make three commitments. First, we hope you will choose to  worship with the St. Alban’s community regularly. It is in worship that we truly come together and share the traditions and formative gifts of our faith. Second, we ask that you pledge some of your time and energy to a parish ministry of your choice. By contributing in whatever way you are drawn to, you will come to know St. Alban’s. And you will receive so much in return for your efforts! And third, we ask that you make a financial contribution to God’s good work here. St. Alban’s ministries are funded entirely by its members, so members’ regular gifts in the offering plate or through an annual pledge are essential to the life of the parish. (See The Listening Project for more information.)

An orientation class for adults interested in joining St. Alban’s is held each winter and all inquirers are welcome. You may wish to consider adult confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church, but you may be considered a member of St. Alban’s without this step. Confirmation is a mature adult commitment to the teachings of the faith and all are welcome to consider it. (See Confirmation for more information.)

What does the cross used in St. Alban’s logo symbolize?
St. Alban’s design is based upon the ancient Celtic cross, the symbol of early Christians in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This is a cross at the center of a nimbus, a circle indicating the radiant light of God’s glory. Celtic crosses were often decorated with vines, symbols of creation and the wine of the Eucharist. We have often used a Celtic cross symbol at St. Alban’s Parish.

Our new design has the cross at the center. Episcopalians believe that the life, suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ decisively embody the profound revelation of God. The cross is the symbol of Jesus’ proclamation, ministry and enduring life. With the action of the Holy Spirit, the followers of the cross enjoy a new relationship with God and humanity.

Our St. Alban’s cross is surrounded by a circle, symbolizing, as in Celtic tradition, God’s all-encompassing presence, as well as God’s creation for which we are to be good stewards. Our circle is blue, reflecting the sea we enjoy all around us in Maine.

And our St. Alban’s cross has four green vine leaves with white dashes, suggesting our common and healthy growth. These are a symbol of our own ongoing formation in faith and service and the wine of Eucharist offered to all.

Our design also uses a welcoming phrase, A Place to Grow Together.  This is a phrase used for many years at St. Albans, and is adapted here from our last two parish profiles. It suggests three things: that this is a growing place which we build up together, and that here we grow individually in faith, yet with one another, and, thirdly, that we grow together in friendship and God’s peace.

What is the story of the painting on the Welcome slide of the St. Alban’s website?
This image is of an oil painting which hangs at St. Alban’s by Caroline Coolidge Brown a gifted artist from Tennessee who lives in Charlotte, NC.  The image reflects the joy of the Magnificat and includes Mary’s words. Caroline was educated at the Royal College of Art, Duke University, the Getty Center for Education in the Arts and the Memphis College of Art. Caroline is the wife of an Episcopal priest and a friend of our rector. She teaches and engages students and viewers alike in the cross currents of text, story and symbol. Her challenging work is dynamic and moves the viewer across boundaries. Caroline was a featured artist of the national Episcopal Church and Visual Arts program, and Magnificat was a featured  ECVA work in the 2004 exhibition. More of Caroline’s stunning work can be found at her welcoming website: www.carolinecbrown.com

About the Episcopal Church

What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church, of which St. Alban’s is a member parish, is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion–which grew out of the Church of England. With an estimated 80 million members worldwide, Anglicanism is the third largest Christian denomination. The Episcopal Church is organized into geographic dioceses and St. Alban’s is in the Diocese of Maine.

What does “Episcopal” mean?
“Episcopos” is the Greek word for “bishop.” Thus “Episcopal” means “led by bishops.” The Episcopal Church maintains the three-fold order of ministry as handed down by the Apostles – deacons, priests and bishops. This is called the apostolic succession. The Bishop of Maine is elected by the convention of the diocese and consecrated by the national Presiding Bishop. The Bishop of Maine has installed the Rector of St. Alban’s.

I am from the Roman Catholic tradition; will I be comfortable at St. Alban’s?  I am from another Protestant tradition; will I be comfortable at St. Alban’s?
The answer to both of these questions is, “Yes you will!” Many members of St. Alban’s have found their way here from other religious denominations. We are a church born in the Reformation, but the order of worship and the fine liturgy will be familiar to Roman Catholics and Lutherans, alike. Anglicanism is often referred to as a “bridge tradition” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism – the term via media or middle way is often used.  The care we take with music is welcome by all, as is the thoughtful preaching and teaching.  You will find that St. Alban’s is a healthy, open and vibrant community, grounded in a generously-spirited Christian faith. With conscious care and genuine love we are pleased to support a parish life deeply rooted in joyful worship, pastoral care, creative outreach and deepening spiritual formation for children, teenagers, and adults. We aspire to be a listening and active community that leans into all that God calls us to be.

What do Episcopalians believe?
The Anglican/Episcopal tradition looks for religious truth in scripture, tradition and reason, so our experience in the struggles and joys of life deeply shape our faith, and has done so for centuries. We know that God is not through speaking and revealing yet. This question of belief is further answered by our Statement of Faith, commonly called the Catechism. This is found in every copy of the Book of Common Prayer.

Our beliefs are shown in our teaching of children and youth. Our first goal is to teach and show our youth that there is a God who loves them, a God active in the world, engaged in history, and revealed in Christ Jesus. A God incarnate, desiring a deeper relationship with them. We teach that God in Christ has hopes for them to lead healthy, joyful, confident, fulfilled lives; lives connected with God and God’s people.

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition are rooted in honoring the questions of Christian faith.  Our goal at St. Alban’s is to teach the scripture, prayers, liturgy, music and sacraments as received and celebrated by the Episcopal Church, while at the same time, inviting discourse and debate. We want all to make good use of the gifts of reason, curiosity, discovery and doubt.

What is the Book of Common Prayer?
The Book of Common Prayer is the main resource we use for planning our worship.  It has been adapted over the course of hundreds of years of use to support local congregations in worship that is both authentic to their current time and place and deeply rooted in ancient Christian traditions.  In the Episcopal tradition, the Book of Common Prayer is used in all congregations making our worship feel familiar regardless of the setting, clergy, or local traditions.  If you’d like to explore the Book of Common Prayer further to get a sense of its flavor, you can find its full text at bcponline.org.

How do Episcopalians worship?
Through beautiful word and prayer and song and sacraments in a regular order of worship that seeks a greater connection to God and God’s people. The Episcopal Church is a sacramental denomination, which means that we seek to experience and express outward and visible signs of God’s inward and spiritual Grace. Worship is our limited human  response to the unlimited God, so in worship we seek to better know and stand near God. Episcopal worship is a response to beauty, to love, to human need, to our deepest fears and our greatest joys. It enlists all that is best and most creative in the human spirit. It involves language, music, art and sound and sight and smell and touch and taste.  It is joyful and you are invited!

Does the Episcopal Church ordain women to the clergy?
Yes, since 1976, following a long discernment the Episcopal church has ordained women. In fact, our current Presiding Bishop – the leader of all the Episcopal Churches in the United States – is a woman. At St. Alban’s two of our clergy are women, one our long-serving Deacon and one a young Priest.

Does the Episcopal Church ordain gay people to the clergy?
Yes, following a long and robust debate, the Episcopal Church has clearly concluded that gay and lesbian persons are children of God and bring many gifts to ministry. At St. Alban’s our current Rector, our senior Priest, is a partnered gay man.

I’m planning on visiting St. Alban’s. May I take the Eucharist?
At St. Alban’s we offer an “Open Table,” and all of God’s people are invited to the Lord’s Supper. It is God’s hospitality and our choice to be part of it. If it is not your custom to accept bread and wine at an Episcopal Church you may come forward during Communion and receive a blessing from the clergy.

At what age may a child take the Eucharist?
A child may take the Eucharist (Holy Communion) at any age.

About Baptism

I would like to get my child baptized. An adult in my family would like to be baptized. How should I go about doing this?
It is important to understand that baptism is not just a ceremony – it is a sacrament, a spiritual commitment on behalf of the parents and the congregation of St. Alban’s, before God, to care for and raise a child as a Christian. It is not something to be entered into lightly, and is definitely not something we do every Sunday or are prepared to do on short notice.

If you wish to have your child baptized at St. Alban’s, the first step is to contact the clergy. They can inform you of the full details of the process.

I would like a private baptism. Can I arrange this?
The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Maine does not offer private baptism. We believe that baptism marks the entrance of a new member into the Christian community, so the community must be a part of this joyous and sacred occasion. We traditionally only offer baptism during one of our scheduled services.

If you desire to be baptized, but are physically unable to make it to St. Alban’s due to reasons such as a serious illness,  we will almost certainly still be able to help you. However, you should contact the clergy for more information.

I was baptized in another Christian denomination. Do I need to be “re-baptized?”
For the vast majority of people, the simple answer is no.

The Episcopal Church, along with the Roman Catholic Church and most other “mainline” churches, recognizes any baptism done with the water in the name of the Trinity, “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. However, if you are unsure, you should contact the clergy for more information.

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Contact

St. Alban's Episcopal Church
885 Shore Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Phone: (207) 799-4014
stalbans@stalbansmaine.org