The son of a minister, Gene Bartell grew up in parsonages in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska and felt the joys and tribulations of life in the church as second nature throughout childhood. One of the dominant influences that led him to seminary was a summer volunteer experience at Caroline Mission in St. Louis between college years. From that he was determined to enter Eden Seminary and prepare for the ministry.
Pastor Bartell and his wife, Karen, were married during his seminary days; they have two children. Their son Scott, married with two girls, is an attorney with the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda in East Africa. Daughter Stacey lives in Baltimore and works as an aesthetician at a day spa in Timonium.
For most of his career, Pastor Bartell has served in the parish ministry of the United Church of Christ in full and part-time positons, while directing human service programs for the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland.
After serving as pastor of St. Stephen United Church of Christ in St. Louis, MO, where he also served as the Executive Director of Neighborhood Houses, a ministry of the UCC, he returned to Baltimore in the summer of 2008, accepting a call to become the Interim Minister at Glade UCC in Walkersville, MD. In 2009 he was asked to become the pastor of St. Matthew United Church of Christ.
Rev. Bartell's wife, Karen, who has taught and administered various programs in early childhood education in the school system, provides consultation and training for churches in the associations and conferences in which they have served. They have done a considerable amount of joint youth work, Christian education and social and community outreach ministries on a partnership basis. Two important examples of their shared ministry include their work as the founding President (Gene) of United Ministries/Earl's Place (a transitional shelter for homeless men) with Karen becoming the second President of this fledgling ministry in the Chesapeake Association of the CAC. They were also both instrumental in starting The Supper Club at First United UCC in Fells Point, where Rev. Eugene Bartell served as pastor for 23 years.
"The church, this covenant community bound together by the love of God as expressed in the life and death of Jesus Christ, is to not only bear one another's burdens but also to exist for those outside its walls. Therefore, I will continue to diligently strive to nurture the spirit of enabling the congregation to do mission work directed at the hurts and despair in the community and wider world. If we truly believe in the deepest recesses of our being that we have been richly blest by God, then the natural expression will be to be a blessing to others. "
-- Pastor Eugene P. Bartell