Frequently Asked Questions
About Church during COVID
What do you offer for Online worship?
During this time of online worship, please join us in praying the home liturgy provided on the home page of the website. We offer a video recording of a sermon from one of our priests every week, as well as music and a musical reflection from our minister of music. Please stay tuned as we figure out more ways to worship together online!
How else can I connect with ASA online?
When will you reopen?
About Attending ASA for the First time
Where are you located?
We are located at 1219 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington D.C.
Where do I park?
What do I wear?
You are welcome to come as you are. We rejoice that you will be with us, regardless of what you wear. Some church members dress more formally as their way of honoring God.
Will you be asking me for money?
You are not required to give us money if you come! If you feel inclined to make a donation to our ministry, please feel free to do so--and we will be grateful. Regardless, your presence is already a gift.
What services/activities are available for Children?
We offer childcare during the 10:30 service, for ages five and younger. We also offer Sunday School for all ages, using a rich, Montessori-based program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Sunday School runs during the academic year, at the same time as the 10:30 service. Children rejoin their families for Communion.
Will I still be welcome if I don't know what I believe?
Yes! We are all seekers. Many of us feel that we have been found by Christ, but the gifts received in such an encounter ought to humble us and open our hearts in lavish welcome of all, whether you know what you believe or not.
Who can I contact with questions?
Contact the Rector, Fr. Dominique, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to meet with you or put you in contact with someone in the parish who can help.
How can I get involved?
First and foremost: pray! That is the ministry we are all called to. Keep your eye out for ways that you can participate in worship or in our common life. If you're not sure what opportunities exist, or if you feel called to become involved in a particular ministry, contact the Parish Administrator, Mark Cosenza, at email@example.com.
About Our Worship
Why such a formal style of worship?
We believe that our “formal” (we prefer festive) style helps us to worship with all that we are: our (five) sens-es, imagination, heart, mind, and soul. “God is spirit” (John 4:24), and yet worship is an experience that engages the whole person. We believe that the candles, the incense, the robes, the music, the windows, etc., function as stepping-stones toward a deep and intimate connection with God and in the depths of who we are and closeness with one another.
Why does the priest wear fancy robes?
The “fancy robes” are known as vestments (from the Latin vestire, which means “to clothe”), and serve differ-ent purposes. They remind all gathered that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). They also re-mind, by their atypicality and their ornateness, that worship is extraordinary. The vestments are also meant to “hide” the minister, because the primary “actor” in our midst is Christ Himself.
Why does the priest turn his back at certain times during the Mass?
It may seem as though the priest is “turning his back” toward the congregation, but in reality he is turning to face in the same direction as the congregation, signifying that we are one praying body. Although ours is not, churches were traditionally built in an eastwardly direc-tion. Why? “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27)
What is the significance of the smoke?
The smoke results from the deliberate burning of incense. Our Jewish forebears used incense and the early Church adopted the practice, to express the rising of prayers to the throne of God: “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” (Psalm 141:2)
Why old-fashioned language?
Many churches set apart a special language for corporate worship, even though everyday language is typically used for personal prayer. Here, our liturgical language is Tudor English, dating back to the 16th century. In worship, we not only remember that God indwells us (immanent) but also the Other (transcendent). The language we use—along with all the ceremony—is intended to help us be in awe of the One who, while holding our lives in the palm of His hand, transcends us.
Why does only the choir sing parts of the service that the entire congregation sings in many other churches?
Since the late Middle Ages, composers have set certain parts of the Mass— those known in Latin as the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei—to music sung by a choir. Instead of singing along, we are invited to be carried by the choir as they “make a joyful noise to the Lord” (Psalm 100:1), and be led deep into our hearts, as we all “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9).
What if I struggle with some of these beliefs or this way of praying?
Contrary to popular thinking, even the most “faith-full” people can have moments of doubt! If faith is “the conviction of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1), then faith does not eliminate all doubt. All God asks is willingness of heart. Indeed, Jesus says, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be im-possible for you’.” (Matthew 17:20) We are invited to let ourselves be drawn into thought and experience larger than us, seeking and asking questions where we are and as we are.