St Bartholomew’s has been through many changes in the last 60 years. As we look to the future, I would like to share some of those changes I’ve witnessed and experienced.
My first Sunday at St Bartholomew’s was Easter Sunday, April 1969. I walked into the Parish Hall with my three daughters ages 3, 4 and 5. I was welcomed with open arms by this small but very dynamic woman by the name of Mary Davis. Her wide eyes and huge smile was welcoming and before I knew it she had me signed up to be a Sunday School teacher and sitting on the ECW board as United Thank Offering Chair. I was now calling St Bartholomew’s my home.
In September of 1968, the Parish members moved into their new building. It was actually two buildings connected by a breezeway. The north side was our Sanctuary and the South was the Parish Hall/Sunday School.
St. Bartholomew’s was a Mission in the San Diego Convocation, part of the Los Angeles Diocese. Our Vicar was Father Mort Ward. After a couple of years, I was elected to the Bishop’s Committee. We were starting the process of becoming a Parish. This would be a big change because we would be financially on our own. Father Ward was called to be our first Rector and asked me to be Senior Warden.
As the Parish grew, it became obvious that we would have to expand or build a new Sanctuary. A survey went out, and we started a building fund. We broke ground and the church was built. It was a big adjustment from what we had. With more space in the Parish Hall, a big beautiful kitchen was installed. We could now have more functions with better food preparations. The breezeway was closed in and a second-story room was build to become our Conference Room.
In the meantime, women were finding their place in the church. My daughters were among the first female acolytes. Women were being ordained priests. Having a Roman Catholic background this was all very new and different to accept, and at first, I didn’t. But I kept trying and after I met one wonderful woman priest, Carolyn Richardson, my attitude toward women priests in the church changed.
Changes also came by the way of new leadership. Father Ward was called to another church. After searching, we decided to ask our semi-retired Associate Priest, Shrady Hill to be Rector. He accepted our call. Father Hill was a former Rector in an episcopal church in upper New York State. He and his wife retired to Rancho Bernardo. One of the most impacts he made, that I can remember was forming a separate board for our thrift shop. With his help and financial advice, the shop thrived.
Father Hill retired for the second time and we called Ed Mullins to be our new Rector. More change took place. A new Administration Building was built freeing more space in the parish hall. The second story conference room became The Nook for checking out books. More changes led to the original sacristy becoming a broom/storage room and the Rector’s office now belongs to the Sexton. Sometime later a wall went up in the original sanctuary making a room for the quilters. More space led to more ministries beginning and the opening of our Columbarium in 1993.
Next came Father Gary Nicolosi. Changes included the Music/Sunday School Building being built with the development of a Music Academy, under the direction of our Music Director.
When St. Gabriel Catholic church gave up their Nursery School, we picked up their enrollment to start St Bartholomew’s Preschool.
Fewer changes came with Father Fred Thayer. The church parish stayed at status quo. Maybe a few changes in the Sanctuary but I don’t recall anything on a large scale.
With the parish quieting down, Father Mark was called, it was like a breath of fresh air had blown through our Campus and awakened us. Father Mark is my 6th Rector that I have served under. I have chaired or participated in almost all the ministries. I have witnessed all the changes that have taken place during the past 50 years. Did I like them all, of course I didn’t. Change is uncomfortable.
My Home away from Home, as I like to call St. Bartholomew’s, is now in the process of more and bigger changes. Suddenly I find I am experiencing a bit of nostalgia with our existing parish hall eventually being torn down. It was brand new when I arrived and I spent many hours praying, working and just plain having fun building memories.
I have had my share of change, but change must happen to keep up with the next generations. The past is just what it is, the past. You have to move forward and embrace change if you plan to stay alive and grow. I’m sure I will again find it uncomfortable but I plan to give it all a try. I hope we all do the same.