On May 24, 1959, a handful of people met in a private residence in Poway to discuss thepossibility of forming an Episcopal mission church. Other meetings followed, and St. Bartholomew’s was established as an organized mission church in 1960. The first service on February 28, 1960 was evening prayer and included 30 people in the old Poway News building (now the Hamburger Factory) with the Rev. Charles Condor officiating. In 1961 the church called its first vicar; after several location moves St. Bart’s rented two storefronts in Old Poway in 1962. The sign out front read “Liquor, Antiques, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.”
St. Bart’s steadily grew over the next several years, and in 1968 moved to the current location on five acres in north Poway. Services were first held in what is now the Parish Hall with 222 communicants. A major milestone was achieved on March 17, 1975 when St. Bart’s became a parish church. The present sanctuary was dedicated five years later with 601 members.
Many of the artifacts present on our beautiful campus came from the old storefront church.The baptismal font was rescued from use as a planter and is decorated with eight tiles that depict the history of the church. The altar area is framed by small stained glass windows created by the Judson Studios of Los Angeles, renowned artists of ecclesiastical stained glass since 1897. These windows depict the Sacraments and favorite saints of the church, including Elizabeth of Hungary, Augustine of Hippo, and C.S. Lewis and St. Bartholomew. The Christus Rex crucifix, which hangs over the altar, was made in Switzerland.
The bell in our campanile, which calls us to worship every Sunday, was given by the villagers of Alberto Olviata Mota, Mexico, in gratitude to the youth group and advisers from St. Bart’s who drove down every month during the 1970’s to deliver food and clothing to the needy. In 1993, St. Bart’s dedicated the Susan S. Cashmore Columbarium, located on the hill above the Parish Hall.
The year 2000 was another milestone year at St. Bart’s. At the Great Easter Vigil service, we offered open baptisms for the first time. Thirty-three men, women, and children were baptized that evening. In June of the same year, we broke ground on an education building to house the newly formed St. Bart's Preschool, as well as the music department, the music academy, and conference rooms. To commemorate St. Bart's 50 year anniversary in 2010, a significant update of the sanctuary was completed.
St. Bartholomew's Church has been known through the years for its service to the community, its full and dynamic offerings in music ministry, and its worship in the beauty of holiness. Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome at St. Bartholomew's Church.