St. Bartholomew’s was the dream of Bishop E. P. Dandridge who wanted to see the Episcopal Church expand into the rapidly growing Leland neighborhood near Green Hills. Calling upon members of St. George’s in Belle Meade, he acquired both the land for the parish and some of the first families. In 1954 about sixty families living in the area gathered for their first service in the neighborhood Glendale School. Seminary students from the University of the South in Sewanee conducted most Sunday services with Holy Eucharist once a month. St. Bartholomew's quickly outgrew its mission status and was admitted as a parish to the Diocese of Tennessee in 1955.
At the dedication service for the sanctuary in 1965, a cross, newspaper, Bible, and Prayer Book was placed in the cornerstone of the nave, symbolically expressing its communal identity as followers of Jesus, bearers of the Good News in the world, and part of the Episcopal Church. Throughout St. B’s history, these principles of faith have been supported through the dedication of nine rectors, each using his unique gifts to lead the church toward spiritual maturity.
Currently, St. B’s is the third largest church in the Diocese of Tennessee.