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Kate and Brian Bartholomay

A cradle Episcopalian and a Presbyterian meet at a bar.... Ok, that’s not how it went down. We were actually introduced by a mutual friend who attended college with Brian and who was a counselor at St. George’s Camp at Shrine Mont with Kate. So basically, we can credit Shrine Mont for getting us together.

In searching for a church home that felt right, we had ‘tried out’ services at several churches in the area, but none had felt comfortable. Some were too formal for our sensibilities, others did not exude the sense of community we had each grown up knowing. As we continued our search, we were married at Episcopal High School’s Calloway Chapel and both of us commented on how comfortable we were in that space. It had both a welcoming feeling and a built-in family atmosphere that comes with being on a campus where students and teachers live in and share the same space. It reminded us of what we were searching to find.

So, when our good friends said they had visited Emmanuel and found it to be a really welcoming congregation, we decided to give it a try! Sure enough, as soon as we arrived we were welcomed at the door by the vestry greeter, the vibe in the sanctuary was neither formal nor pretentious. We felt like this could be our home. As we attended more services, we encountered sermons centered around current events and social justice issues, friendly and enthusiastic announcements about community outreach and opportunities to gather and socialize with other parishioners. We soon transferred our membership and have never looked back.

We have always felt at ease and welcome at EEC. An example of this is at the annual Blessing of the Animals service every October. Without a doubt, when the organ starts playing the processional hymn, all the dogs start howling in response and stuffed animals are as welcome to receive a blessing as the live ones. Amidst the barks and meows, the congregation always laughs and keeps on singing!

Continuing in Emmanuel’s open arms, both of our young daughters attended Emmanuel’s Preschool. The loving environment where children are supported and encouraged to explore and wonder is truly unmatched. We think it is incredibly special that our children continue to be part of the church at our own neighborhood EEC.

Kate and Brian Bartholomay


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