What have you learned, Wendy Barrie?

On one of her last days at Trinity, with teachers nearby sorting crayons and markers and other teaching materials for the upcoming Trinity Commons Open House for parishioners, Wendy Barrie, Trinity’s outgoing Program Manager for Children and Family, took a few minutes to reminisce about her five years at Trinity.

When did you first come to Trinity?

I came at the beginning of June in 2015, in fact the first time I came for an official meeting, I came straight from my honeymoon, which was in May. I came back early from my honeymoon for a Saturday meeting.

What is one thing you’ve learned, one thing you’ll take with you into the next part of your ministry?

I will take with me the experience of the 9:15 Family Eucharist at St. Paul’s, the 9:15 worship especially, and the intergenerational formation that we’ve done from time to time at 10. In fact, I’m writing a book in which this will feature prominently, my experiences here at Trinity, both the worship service and the intergenerational ministry. The research has long supported its importance but I’ve gotten to see it in action here. It’s been such a joyful experience. Everywhere I go people ask me about it and I love telling the stories of what we’ve learned together in these Sundays.

How did you get here—to ministry and working in formation?

I grew up in a church that was pretty intergenerational. There was a time when I was 14, my parents separated and my mother stopped going to church for a period of a few months, and I got on the bus and went by myself because I was pretty convinced they couldn’t have church without me. I want every kid and teenager to have that experience of feeling that they’re essential to what happens on Sundays.

My first job out of college was teaching at an Episcopal school and after a few years teaching I became the church school director there and when I left that school and moved to New York the Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles—Chester Talton—made  sure I stayed at General Theological Seminary until I got my feet on the ground. They sent me to my first church in New York, who hired me as the Sunday School director. From there it became a true part-time vocation and then I’ve been doing this work full time since 2001. I am now in my 31st year of ministry with children, youth, and families.

Trinity parishioners say "farewell" to Wendy Claire Barrie at St. Paul's Chapel on March 1.
Trinity parishioners say "farewell" to Wendy Claire Barrie at St. Paul's Chapel on March 1.

Do you have a favorite memory or moment here at Trinity?

You know what’s been really special have been the family retreats. It wasn’t on my radar when I got here because the Retreat Center was closed. Particularly, what Daniel Simons and I would create in collaboration there was just really special to me.

It’s been a really special place to both help families connect with each other, and with other families, and with God. If I had to choose one favorite memory it’s probably Harry Potter Camp, but they’ve all been pretty special.

Actually, my very favorite memory is when we had the owls and falcons in Trinity Church. That was a standout!

Where are you going and what will you be doing?

I’m going to Church Publishing, which is part of Church Pension Group. Church Publishing is our denominational publisher. I will be an acquisitions editor but I will also be the formation specialist, the person who is really focusing on and speaking to the needs of Christian formation across all ages, but as you know, my particular passion is children, youth, and families, and they certainly know that about me. I’ll be doing some traveling and speaking, in addition to acquiring and editing up to 12 books a year.

Wendy Claire Barrie regularly served as a Chalice Bearer at the 9:15am Family Service on Sundays at St. Paul's Chapel.
Wendy Claire Barrie regularly served as a Chalice Bearer at the 9:15am Family Service on Sundays at St. Paul's Chapel.

Anything you’d like to add?

It’s been a tremendous privilege to be a part of [this] church. The very first weekend I was in New York was the Fourth of July weekend in 1991. I had just come across the country from California to have an adventure, and on Sunday, I came to Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel because I knew of its historic ties to the American Revolution, the founding of our country, just seemed like the place to be. I never in a million, trillion years dreamed I’d be working here. St. Paul’s just spoke to my heart that very first time I ever stepped inside it.

I was also here as a volunteer twice during the days after September 11, which was also an enormous privilege. So to have served on the staff here is a badge of honor I will wear proudly always. Such amazing colleagues I have here. The families and children I’ve been able to connect with have been just wonderful.