Our Spiritual Nurturer

Cathy Barney

Cincinnati Friends Meeting Nurturer for Spiritual Growth & Outreach Cathy Barney is on a mission to spread spiritual nurture within her meeting, Quakerism, and beyond.

Everyone needs a friend. And everyone would benefit from a spiritual friend, companion, or group. Spiritual nurture—with a long Christian and Quaker history, revived and shaped to meet today’s challenges—guides us into a more profound relationship with Spirit/God. We are aided by a confidant or an intimate gathering of trusted companions and our meetings.

Spiritual nurture is an intentional way of tending our inner condition and connection with Spirit/God by belonging to a small group. Members deeply share and listen to each other's journeys, the peaks and valleys, without judgment, discussion, or debate. The group experience is balanced by a personal spiritual practice, creating a tension between a contemplative life alone and in community, much like that between Quaker corporate worship and an inner prayer life.

Cathy, a member of Cincinnati Friends Meeting, found her way here in 1999. She has served on and clerked a number of committees, including Ministry & Counsel, Burial, Education, Nominating, and Community Life committees. She helped introduce spiritual nurture to the meeting and completed the School of the Spirit’s “On Being a Spiritual Nurturer” program in 2006. She launched and led a neighborhood arts exploration for marginalized middle schoolers, a ministry under the care of the meeting, for ten years. You can read about the book documenting this art adventure and view a video of the program here.

Cathy will soon be a recorded minister in Wilmington Yearly Meeting. You can read her theology statement for recording here.

Cathy grew up in the shadow of ancestor Dorothea Scott Gotherson, a Quaker minister and writer born in 1611, who likely knew George Fox. “Being recorded completes a family circle,” Cathy said. She read Dorothea’s tiny tome, A Call to Repentance, chastising Charles II and courtly behavior, shelved at the Friends Center Library in London.

In April 2024, Cathy organized and led a group of fifteen Quakers in the footsteps of George Fox after making the trip solo as preparation for her new spiritual nurturer role, which began January 2023.

Cathy believes Cincinnati’s Friends Meeting's “secret sauce” that continues to draw newcomers is a welcome and affirming environment, thoughtful messages from our minister and Public Friend Jim Newby, and the chance to plug into small nurture groups. Please feel free to reach out if you'd like information on spiritual nurture, if you have an idea for a nurture group, or if you just want to chat.

You can explore Cincinnati Friends Meeting spiritual nurture groups here.