History

The congregation of St. Bartholomew's was founded in 1857, over 150 years ago. Our history is a long and interesting one, consisting of a gift, two mergers, and one move. Located on Edmondson Avenue in Baltimore City's Ten Hills neighborhood, near the Baltimore County line, the current church was built in 1931. Our building, with its distinctive rose window, has been a familiar site to commuters traveling to and from the city for the last seventy years. While both West Baltimore and Edmondson Avenue have changed during the time we have been here, this church and that window have remained a constant.

St. Bartholomew's was founded in 1857 on a gift from Alice Ann Dashiell. The original church was on North Avenue near Madison Avenue and was consecrated in 1872. In 1928, that building was sold and St. Bartholomew's merged with the congregation of Trinity Chapel in Ten Hills. In 1953 the congregation of Holy Trinity Church (formerly at Lafayette and Wheeler Avenues) also merged with St. Bartholomew's.

In the late 1950's, St. B's had been in place for thirty years and had deep roots in the community. But the community was going through a rapid demographic change, and in a twenty-year span West Baltimore's demographics shifted from majority white to majority black. This demographic and racial shift accelerated with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. By 1958, the leadership of St. B's was laying the groundwork for a policy of racial integration. By 1961, that policy was in place, and while some members left the church during that time, the remaining members helped take the lead in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and West Baltimore in the struggle for racial equality.

Our commitment to social justice and equality was forged in those difficult years and has continued to this day. From welcoming the first African American deacon trainee in 1965 to the ordination of the first woman priest in the Diocese of Maryland in 1977 and including our vision and mission for the future, this tradition of reaching out is a central part of who we are as a congregation.