by Ken Gingerich, Moderator

Mountain States Mennonite Conference delegates have approved a new Conference Ministry Team model of leadership—as well as staff to fill the positions. Barry Bartel will be the new Ministry Coordinator; Charlene Epp and Merv Birky will be Regional Ministers.

The Conference Ministry Team will divide duties between Bartel, who will attend to administration, most church-wide contacts and relate to mission, formation and “passion ministry” agenda within the conference. Epp and Birky will support congregations undergoing leadership transition, and relate to pastors individually and through area peer support groups. Epp will relate primarily to congregations in the Denver metro and northern area of the conference. Birky will relate to Southern Colorado and New Mexico congregations.

“We realize we are part of a trend in conferences across the country that are experiencing diminishing resources, who are also moving to part-time multiple-staffing models. We are extremely fortunate to have three highly qualified individuals who are each available on a part-time basis, to lead us forward,” said moderator Ken Gingerich.

The ministry team model grew out of several years of transitional work led by Linford and Mary Etta King, former moderator Karen Cox and current moderator Ken Gingerich—along with board members and input from leaders across the conference. “The process was longer and a bit more complicated than we were hoping it would be,” said Gingerich. “But in the end, we’ve emerged with a very strong team. I’m relieved and excited that leadership for our conference is in such good hands.”

Contact information for our new team:

Barry Bartel




Merv Birky






Charlene Epp


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