Our History

In 1812 the annual convention of the Episcopal Church in Maryland authorized the creation of St. Bartholomew’s Parish in northeastern Montgomery County along the Hawlings River, where Anglican services had been conducted by the clergy of Prince George’s Parish as early as 1760. The new parish built a church on a small hill above that river, two miles east of modern Laytonsville, in 1814 and 1815. St. Bartholomew’s joined its mother parish in supporting shared rectors from 1820 to 1843 and helped build a rectory in Rockville. The first of this series of joint ministers, the Rev. Thomas G. Allen, began St. Bartholomew’s missionary tradition, evangelizing among those enslaved on area farms. During his eight years as rector, he baptized eighty African Americans in the parish, both free and enslaved.

Members of St. Bartholomew’s Parish in the area of modern Olney erected the original St. John’s Church there in 1844, and except for a brief hiatus in the 1860s these two churches shared a rector until 1948. Rev. Orlando Hutton, who served St. Bartholomew’s Church from 1844 to 1866, focused his missionary efforts in Howard County, where he established Mount Calvary Church near Roxbury Mills in 1860. Rev. Thomas Duncan, who served as rector of St. Bartholomew’s and St. John’s Churches from 1868 to 1875, organized a mission in Brighton that erected St. Luke’s Church in 1870 and another near Highland in Howard County that built St. Mark’s Church in 1874. In the latter year the parishioners of St. Bartholomew’s Church established a new chapel in Unity. The parish was spreading the Gospel.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Charles Lafferty, St. Bartholomew’s built its present church in Laytonsville in 1909 and 1910, having received permission from the bishop of Washington to demolish the original structure. Two later rectors left St. Bartholomew’s to serve the nation respectively as an Army chaplain in World War I and a Marine Corps chaplain in World War II. More recently, the Rev. Claude Bonbrest became the parish’s longest-serving rector, holding the position from 1964 until his death in 1996. The parish installed the Rev. Dr. Carol Flett as its first female rector in 2007.

St. Bartholomew’s has supported various charitable works, including the Mirembe Home for Girls in Migori, Kenya. It has also treasured its history and taken pride in the ongoing membership of descendants of the founders of the parish. The parish’s year-long celebration of the its 200th anniversary culminated in April 2013 with a festive communion service at the church led by Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States Katherine Jefferts Schori.

For more detailed information about the history of St. Bartholomew’s Parish, please see the St. Bartholomew’s Historical Milestones page.