St Albans Church

St. Al's Stories: Taylor & Travis


Taylor Stokes and Travis Holmes came to St. Albans one Sunday morning with one purpose in mind: to see if it was a suitable church to get married in. 

They were nervous about arriving late. As soon as they sat down someone introduced themselves and invited them to grab a coffee. It was past 10 a.m. already but they were told at St. Albans you can never be late. People were still chatting with friends or searching for the service program on their phones. It didn’t take them long to realize this church was different.

“People are genuinely interested in you and your life and supporting you and your life and making you part of what they have too. People want to include you in what they’re doing. Not for any personal gain but because they want you to be part of it,” said Taylor.

Both grew up in rural, more traditional Anglican churches and they said the St. Albans service was a shock. The music was upbeat and from this century. People filtered in throughout the service and there was no real shame in tardiness. And the long list of announcements showed the congregation “wants to actually change something and be involved.” Taylor is an environmental technician and after hearing about St. Albans involvement in the Climate March and other social justice initiatives, she was hooked. 

“We were driving home… and decided we’d go back next Sunday, that was the conversation. There wasn’t really one, we both just felt it,” said Travis, adding how they drive 40 minutes to church from Almont and discuss the sermon on the way home.

They said they felt the community and knew they would stay. Looking back, they said they only have one regret.

“We wish we had found it sooner. We were always saying we’ll wait until we have children to go back to church, and as soon as we came to St. Albans, we realized why wait? There’s no reason to,” said Travis.

Travis and Taylor will be married at St. Albans in August. But now they’re familiar faces around the church and most Sundays you can find them in a far right pew, grabbing a coffee and chatting with friends.  

“We found church without really looking for it,” said Travis.

“It found us?” wondered Taylor aloud.

They looked at each other and laughed, a kind of silent agreement.

“I suppose so.”  

Welcome Back Students!

Mission Volunteers Welcome Students at St. Albans BBQ Sunday September 13

September is here, and uOttawa students are back in Lowertown and Sandy Hill.  Many are new in town, still finding their way around, hoping

open table 2015

“It’s a big job trying to figure out how to feed over a hundred hungry students,” says event coordinator Juliana Colwell, one of the St. Albans Church Student Interns.  “That’s why we’re so grateful that every year volunteers from The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program come and help us out by doing the cooking.”  to get to know our community.  And many of them will be finding  their way to St. Albans Church’s annual Welcome Student BBQ on Sunday September 13.

Food Services Training is a five month program at The Ottawa Mission which teaches trainees how to cook and much more.  Its graduates have become cooks in restaurants and commercial kitchens or have continued their culinary education at Algonquin College.  And every September, volunteers from the program serve up delicious burgers to hungry students at the St. Albans Welcome Student BBQ.

According to Chef Ric Allen-Watson, Manager of Food Services at the Ottawa Mission, there’s never any problem getting volunteers who want to take part. 

“The men and women in our job training program are always looking for ways to give back to the community, and we enjoy working with the people at St. Albans to welcome students to our neighbourhood.  And besides it’s a great event and lots of fun!”

This Sunday’s BBQ looks like it will be the biggest ever.  Juliana expects an increase due to the new uOttawa Rideau residence that opened this year beside the church.  “With 372 new first year students having just moved into the Rideau residence, that definitely should boost our numbers at the BBQ.”

Many of the students will join St. Albans Church for its 10am Sunday service and many more will go straight to the BBQ which starts at 11:15am in the church garden.  Ministry to university and college students is a priority for St. Albans Church, which is located at 454 King Edward and Daly, close to the University of Ottawa.  There are large student contingents at both the 10am and 5pm services on Sundays, and the student and young adult club meets every Tuesday at 7pm at the church.   St. Albans also runs a Student Leadership Program.  This year there are five Student Interns who will participate in leadership training, faith formation and community placements.   

September is a busy time of year for St. Albans campus ministry, with orientation activities at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and the first Open Table of the new school year scheduled for Sunday, September 27.  The Open Table is a free meal and an opportunity to build community and meet new friends for students and young adults.  It takes place at Centre 454 in the basement of St. Albans Church, doors open at 5:30pm, meal at 6pm.  The Open Table is an initiative of the Anglican, United, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches and meals are provided by a partnership of local congregations.  

Easter and Holy Week 2015

2015 Easter FB


Please join us for Easter and Holy Week 2015:

Palm Sunday, 10am & 5pm, March 29th.

Maundy Thursday, 7:30pm, April 2nd.

Good Friday, 11am, April 3rd.

Easter Sunday, 10am & 5pm, April 5th.

Re-Thinking Student Internships

Many of us cringe at the mention of the word “internship” because it reminds us of a time in our life where we entered the labor force with the promise of no money, great experience, and excellent references; when in fact the position only required that we could sit still, listen, and memorize coffee orders.

At St. Albans, we are re-thinking what it means to be an intern. What if an internship wasn’t about what you could do for us, but rather, what we could do for you? By providing students with the opportunity choose placements with St. Albans or with one of our community partner and partake in leadership development sessions led by a variety of expert facilitators, St. Albans is changing the way internships happen.

Last year's Student Leadership Program brought four new interns to St. Albans. We saw incredible growth in every area they were involved with. From campus ministry with our uOttawa club, youth ministry, service planning at St. Al's @ 5, to ministry to the homeless at The Ottawa Mission. And on top of that, the spiritual formation and leadership development sessions fostered tremendous growth in each  intern. They are definitely not the same as when they started their programs in September.

The 2015/2016 Student Leadership Program is now accepting applications. It is for post- secondary students who want to engage in the development of their faith and leadership skills and obtain valuable hands-on experience in a variety of placement opportunities with St. Albans and our community partners. 

I’m incredibly excited for the students that will be joining our internship program in the coming school year. God has incredible things in store for them. Together, with their help, we will continue to live out what it means to be a Spirit-Led, Christ-Centred, Contemporary Urban Church.

For more information or to apply, please visit: 




St. Albans Church Annual Vestry Meeting, March 1st, 2015

A Message from the Rector

mark-whittallDear Friends,

It’s time to make connections!

I’m very pleased that our Parish Council has decided to make “Connections” our ministry theme for 2015.  All of us, one way or another, know how important it is to be connected.  It is especially important for this community of St. Albans Church in 2015.  Last year, in 2014, we had 89 new people become part of our community.  That trend has continued every Sunday so far in 2015.  To all those who have joined us in the past year, welcome.  There are now over 200 people who make St. Albans their home in one way or another.  That is a wonderful thing, especially for a congregation now in its fourth year. 

But it is also a challenge.  Because if we are to be all members of one body, then like the various parts in the body, we need to be connected.  There is the obvious challenge of simply remembering names and finding opportunities to greet each other on a Sunday.  But there is also the deeper challenge of really getting to know one another, of discovering each other’s gifts and finding ways to allow these to be expressed in our community, and of being attentive to each other’s needs and learning how to care for one another.  In all of this I think we are doing well, but we must intentionally seek ways of doing better, for each other’s sake, and for the sake of our mission to be light and salt in the world.

Connection is at the heart of who we are as followers of Jesus.  When asked which law was the greatest, Jesus responded by saying that we are to love God and to love our neighbour as ourself.  This has been called the great commandment; it could equally be called the great connection.

Our Sunday worship together is a starting point for these connections, and for this reason it is central to what we do as a community.  Thank you to all of you gather to worship at St. Albans on Sundays, whether at 10am or 5pm, and thank you for sharing your gifts as readers, greeters and in a variety of other ways.   Sundays are important; but we also need more opportunities to connect, in smaller groups, at a more leisurely pace, throughout the week and in a variety of settings.  To encourage this, our project for Lent 2015 is to form Connect Groups, groups of 5-10 people who will meet weekly during Lent to pray, discuss the upcoming Sunday readings and to get to know each other.  In other words, to make connections.  Already I know that many of you are in a Connect Group. If you’re not, it’s not too late, you can join one today.  My hope is that everyone will participate.

The year 2014 has been a good year for St. Albans.  Our student and campus ministry has exploded this year under the leadership of Zack Ingles.  We started our student internship program and we established our uOttawa student club.  We have found new ways of partnering with Centre 454, raising funds through the play Subway Stations of the Cross, and providing breakfast as part of Centre 454’s 60 ways campaign.  This past year we have established St. Albans as one of the premiere mid-sized venues for the arts in Ottawa, hosting artists such as Ins Choi, Amelia Curran, Jennifer Castle and Dan Bejar, and festivals such as Arboretum and Ottawa Fringe, all of which resulted in thousands of people coming through our doors.  We celebrated the ordination of the Rev. Jonathan Askwith, first as a deacon, then as a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada.  Thanks to your generosity, we are slightly ahead of schedule on our path towards financial sustainability by 2016, allowing us to return a portion of our allocated subsidy for 2014 to the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

It’s been just over 3 ½ years since a small group of us met for the first time at the Royal Oak pub to start to flesh out just what a Spirit-Led, Christ-Centred, Contemporary Urban Church might look like here at St. Albans.  Since these first meetings we have become aware that as a new church plant supported by our Anglican Diocese, we have been given a new context and a new calling to do and be church differently, to explore and experiment with what it means to be faithful followers of Jesus tasked with the mission of proclaiming the kingdom of God in our city in the 21st century.  This calling and this mission remain as important as ever.  We remain committed to being an inclusive church, rooted in our neighbourhood, and welcoming all people, no matter their age, ability, gender, cultural background, sexual orientation, income level or faith tradition, to join us as we seek to deepen our relationship with God and each other. 

Thank you for all that you have done as part of our St. Albans community during this past year and indeed these past 3 ½ years.  I can’t name everyone, but I would like to thank our current wardens, John and Haig.  I would like to thank Peter for his ministry in this neighbourhood, and wish him well as he takes a 6 month leave from us to write his thesis.  I would like to welcome and thank Annie, who joined us as Church Administrator in April 2014.

Grace and peace,

The Reverend Mark Whittall


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