St. Alban's Episcopal Church
We have a very active Episcopal Church Women's Group that is open to every woman of St. Alban's. This group meets monthly, for the purpose of supporting the church, with a focus of fellowship and offering a fun event every other month. ECW is responsible for the yearly church bazaar held the first Saturday of December. This is their main fundraising event and a lot of work goes into making the products as well as selling them. The bazaar is very successful and quite a highlight. The proceeds fund the Rector's Discretionary Fund, the Scholarship Fund, Camp Scholarships at Chapel Rock Arizona Church Camp, as well as cleaning supplies and the supplies for the kitchen and the bathrooms. Portions of the proceeds also go to Cops Who Care, Holiday Food baskets, Wickenburg Community Service Center and this year we were able to adopt two families for Christmas, providing food baskets and gifts. This group also provides for Memorial Celebration of Life services, funding for other special occasion celebrations, Christmas gifts for the office staff and gifts/scholarships for our high school graduates. The ECW routinely participates with women's groups from other community churches several times a year.
Once a month, "The Messenger" newsletter is e-mailed to members and paper copies are available in the church. This newsletter delivers a special message from the Rector, current affairs of the church and activities that are planned for the month.
We have Chalice bearers, lay lectors and readers, ushers and acolytes. There is annual refresher training and we are always open to more volunteers.
Comfort Bags are also given to the local police and fire departments to hand out, and the Rector and Debra give them out to people who come to the church in need. Knitted animals are given to prehospital provider and the hospital for "emergency patients." Our Deacon participates in the Sunday services and also takes communion to members who are unable to attend church and visits with those that are hospitalized.
St. Albans worships according to Holy Eucharist Rite II with occasional use of Rite I. We sing the Gloria in Excelsis, the Gradual Hymn, a Communion hymn in addition to the Processional and Recessional hymns. We celebrate the Blessing of the Animals, All Saints Day, Pentecost and other key dates with special traditions. On Palm Sunday, we process, with palms, from the Fellowship Hall to the Church Service. During Lent, we offer the Washing of The Feet tradition and The Stations of the Cross service. In the Advent season, we have a Lessons and Carols service, lighting of the Advent Wreath and a new, well received, Blue Christmas Service. We have special floral arrangements for Easter and Christmas and beautiful weekly arrangements donated by members of the church. St. Alban's Sunday morning service combines ritual, musical expression and sermons which all create a meaningful time of prayer. We are a congregation open to new thoughts and change.
The Altar Guild's primary purpose is to prepare, clean and maintain the altar, the linens and all Eucharistic vessels, as well as chancel, sacristy, and worship space. During certain times of the Church year (Lent, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas) the Church is specially decorated. The Altar Guild is in charge of ordering the bread and the wine and taking care of the weekly flower arrangements for the altar.
We are blessed to have a newly ordained and enthusiastic Deacon, Debra Loder, with us. She has been a long-time member of the church and understands how our church functions. Debra's main ministry focus is to address food insecurity. She is responsible for our Community Action Program, CAP Café, Holiday Food Boxes for school children, Homeless Comfort Bags, Bags of Joy, and bottled water that are donated to the CAP Office Food Bank for the homeless and shut ins.
We have developed a church Preparedness Plan outlining how to handle emergency situations. Our Bishops' Committee/Vestry have all taken the Diocese required Praesidium Course for safe guarding children and training for anyone working with children.
St Alban's has created a beautiful natural setting around the campus. We have a beautiful rose garden, several types of trees, flowering bushes and a grassy front lawn maintained by a local landscaper. Exceptional tile work was recently done to the floor of the Columbarium in our Memorial Garden. We have a warm and welcoming fellowship hall with newly installed carpet, and a new stove in the kitchen. On the main level of the hall, there is a large central meeting area, a kitchen, two bathrooms, several storage closets and offices for the Rector and the secretary. On the lower level of the hall are classrooms, a nursery, storage rooms, a work room and two more bathrooms. Our parking lot has been repaved, is well maintained and has a bright new LED photo sensor overhead light for safety.
We have a dedicated fun choir, directed by our exceptional organist, who has been with us for over 20 years. She and the Rector confer about the music and hymns for the services, using various styles, depending on the time of the year and the church season. The Episcopal Musicians Handbook is used by the organist to match the music to the service. There are occasional services with instrumental accompaniment, depending on availability.
We are fortunate to have a registered nurse who provides the opportunity for parishioners to talk about medical concerns, get blood pressure readings, weight checks and blood sugar readings. This service is provided once a month after the Sunday morning service. We also have several wheelchairs available if needed and a couple of first aid kits for emergencies.
We have a dedicated parishioner who sends creative, informative weekly e-mails to all the members. It includes common news and updates of our church family and church services. It is a positive and uplifting read, that always includes jokes or a special story at the end.
Periodically we have an adult forum before our Sunday service, with various topics and discussions. These sessions have been led by the Rector and other members of the congregation. These classes usually consist of a video presentation and then a question and answer or discussion period.
Coffee Hour/CAP Cafe
After the Sunday service, there is a very social coffee hour usually provided by volunteers from the congregation. On the last Sunday of the month, Deacon Loder, her husband, Dave and volunteers provide a delicious and nutritious freewill offering potluck lunch. The money raised from this lunch goes to the local CAP Office Food Bank.