Who We Are


A lot has changed in the 100+ years since St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church was founded in the small rural village of Pewaukee. Today the church is in the center of a fast-growing suburban area, housed in a large, accessible building that is home to a diverse group of churchgoers who come from many miles around. Despite all the changes, one feature of the original St. Bart’s remains:  the warm, personal spirit of connection that drew our founding families together a century ago can still be felt, still survives and thrives. A surprising number of people tell us that they feel it the first time they walk through the door.

The reason is easy to understand: our 19th century founders were drawn together by their heart for Jesus, and the same spirit still enlivens us today.  

The best way to understand St. Bartholomew’s is to pay us a visit and experience us firsthand.

You are always welcome to come and see what it feels like to become a part of St. Bart’s, no matter who you are and what your history may be. We’re a church full of people who think the past is worth celebrating, but who are far more excited about the future.

Our Mission

Our mission at St. Bartholomew: Helping Everyone Become The People God Created Us To Be

To accomplish this mission, we strive to create a welcoming, safe community built on prayer, learning, and serving as we go into the world to do the work God's called us to do.

Prayer takes place our individual lives, with the support of small groups, and through worship as a full Church family. Inspired by our Episcopal heritage, we have three benchmarks for spiritual discernment: the truth of Scripture, the application of reason, and the guidance of Christian tradition.

Learning happens through a life-long process that starts with children's Christian education into Youth Group, and continues in small group Bible studies and adult education opportunities. All of our learning is based on knowing who God is and what He's like by learning the Bible together.

Serving finds its expression through things like the Angel Gown Ministries, Pewaukee Food Pantry, our Refugee Ministry, Summer Youth Missions and our Veteran's Group.


Our 2023 Vestry is Fr. Joel Prather (Rector / Pastor), Ilse Frayer (Sr. Warden), Joan Hart (Jr. Warden), Mike Delmore (Treasurer), Don Thorson (Clerk), Diane Baehr, Ellen Dunbar, Leann Nitschke and Bobby Rawski.

Episcopal Parishes are governed by a board of elected parishioners. The name "Vestry" comes from the name of the room the clergy and choir used to put on their "vest-ments", where the Governing Boards used to meet centuries ago (they don't meet their anymore but the name stuck!).

The Vestry helps guide the Mission of the congregation and serves as our the legal and fiduciary agents. 

Our pastor

Father Joel Prather is the husband of Tammy and father of their teenage son. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago loving Boy Scouts, Marvel Comics and music. When he was 19 years old he read the New Testament of the Bible and was "completely amazed by Jesus...what He said...what He did!" That amazement continues today. 

After a decade with State Farm Insurance he heard God say "Go!" leading worship on a beach in the Amazon. So the Prathers went. Moving to Wisconsin where he and Tammy went to seminary and upon graduation were called to Dallas where they planted a new Church together. 

Longing to return to the great state of Wisconsin they were invited to Delavan for four years, and then St. Bartholomew's in 2018. Fr. Joel loves being of part of this Christian community that "loves Jesus deeply, is incredibly dedicated, and strives to be a safe place for people to explore God." 

Fr. Joel loves to travel with his family, cook; read about monks, Navy SEALs, and Jesus; play heavy metal guitar, and can always be found with a cup of coffee nearby. 


Ethan Tarvin grew up near Slinger, WI and attended the Lutheran Church. He pursued a degree in Music Education at Augustana College, in Rock Island, IL and has performed as a pianist and a vocalist in college ensembles, opera and even toured Germany (which solidified his love of travel!). After graduation he lived in Wuhan, China, lecturing at the Zhongnan University of Economics & Law on English and a Western Survey. Returning to the U.S. he taught K-12 Music in Richland Center before his current role teaching Upper Elementary & Middle School music for the Hartland-Lakeside school district. He moved to Pewaukee in 2017 where he continues to seek experiences traveling, cooking new foods, running, and in local theater groups.

Ethan says, "My vision for worship at St. Bartholomew’s is create an experience that enhances our worship of God. God asks that his children make a joyful noise, and I want our “noise” to be one that praises Him, and not music for music’s sake....As the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach writes on his pieces: Soli Deo Gloria! Praise to God alone!"


Jan Watter is Wisconsin native with a diverse background as an Interior Designer and Instructor at Wauksha County Technical College, and non-profit leadership with Our Next Generation and Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

Jan has served in multiple levels of leadership both at St. Bart's and in our Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee where she currently serves on the Standing Committee.

At St. Bart's she currently handles our parish administration, internal communications and leads our volunteer office staff. 

She and her husband Jeff enjoy regular trips to Maryland to build pillow forts and eat pancakes with their two grandchildren.