he story of St. B's begins back in 1857 when Alice Ann Dashiell, the daughter of a decorated sea captain and mission worker, gave the gift of property for the building of a new church on North Avenue. Alice Ann passed away from a consumptive illness contracted while ministering to sailors in a cold Fells Point mission before her vision of a church was completed and consecrated in 1872.
In 1928, as the neighborhood changed demographically and became more commercial, St. B's merged with a newly formed congregation at Trinity Chapel in Ten Hills. They were meeting in what is now the Parish House located next to the present church on Edmondson Avenue. The present church building was erected in 1931. In 1953, the congregation of Holy Trinity Church at Lafayette and Wheeler Avenues also joined St. B's. With its distinctive rose window, St. B's has been a familiar sight to those traveling to and from the city for over 85 years.
During the late 50s and 60s, the community underwent rapid demographic change and within a 20-year span, West Baltimore shifted from a majority white population to majority African-American. This resulted from the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and from the practice of "blockbusting" wherein real estate developers bought houses from white owners at low prices as they fled to the suburbs, and sold at inflated prices to African-American families desiring a home farther from the inner city. The neighborhood destabilized. Throughout this period, St. B's was a steadying influence. The church joined with the churches along the Edmondson Avenue/Route 40 Corridor and formed the West Baltimore InterFaith InterRacial Council (WBIIC) to actively oppose the unfair practice of blockbusting, calm the community and fight for racial equality. In 1958, St. B's laid the groundwork for integrating our church, creating a policy of welcoming African-American newcomers. While some members left the church at this time, those who remained helped take the lead in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and West Baltimore in the struggle for racial justice. The Rev. Jack Malpas, the rector during this period, became a highly visible leader in the protest movement to integrate Gwynn Oak Park and in the marches in the south, including the march to Selma, Alabama.
St. B's commitment to social justice and equality was formed in those turbulent years and has continued to grow to this day. The church is deeply involved in the community in serving the poor, hungry and disadvantaged in a wide array of programs and projects.
From welcoming the first African-American deacon trainee in 1965 to the ordination of the first woman priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland in 1977, we have been seeking diversity and supporting inclusiveness. We welcome newcomers of all ethnicity, color, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, culture and background to become a part of our future.