Meet Barry Bartel

Meet Barry Bartel

Do your involvements align with your passions?

Check out our Associate ED’s message to his home congregation October 22 at Glennon Heights Mennonite Church

Do you have a passion for something EPIC?

Drop Barry a note at and let him know!

Learn more about Barry Bartel in his essay below, Lessons in Transition, published last month on The Mennonite online magazine –

Lessons In Transitions by Barry Bartel


A consultant working with our law practice group, at a strategy session for business development asked, “What are you passionate about in your work?” As others wrote their responses, I paused to reflect. As work slowed earlier in the year, I grew restless. The consultant’s question helped me understand my restlessness and provided an opportunity to reflect on what matters.

The resulting process energized me. Taking a deliberate step into uncertainty led to options I would not have been aware of otherwise. Coinciding with my readiness for a change, the board of the Ecumenical Project for International Cooperation (EPIC, see strategized about a transition in executive leadership. Paul and Mary McKay provided passionate leadership and welcomed realignment to a different role. In August, I became associate executive director, to evolve into the executive director role.

With EPIC I work from home with meaningful involvement with program partners in Latin America. This also allowed the possibility of a part-time call, with Merv Birky and Charlene Epp, to the Mountain States Mennonite Conference Ministry Team, which evolved into a team approach. See  The conference role complements my work with EPIC by providing the opportunity to nurture ministries in our local conference. Neither role, nor this ideal combination, could have coalesced without some space of uncertainty.

Several thoughts emerge as I reflect on transition. First, it makes a difference when you are passionate about your role. In the midst of our busy lives, it is helpful to step back and reflect on whether your roles line up with your passions. Second, opening oneself to uncertainty can give space and lead to unexpected opportunities. There is something energizing about the journey, not knowing what is next but confident the pieces will fit together.  Third, once I let people know I was exploring a change, words of affirmation seemed to flow. Perhaps we should imagine the words of affirmation we would express if a friend, colleague or family member faced transition, and say them now. Don’t wait for change to be imminent.

And transitions provide opportunities to think about things in new ways. Can’t we all use a little of that?