Recorded Minister? Tell Me More

Jim Newby is a recorded minister. So is Ray Geers. And we anticipate that member Cathy Barney will be recorded as a minister upon completing the Wilmington Yearly Meeting (WYM) two-year training process.

So what exactly is a recorded minister?

Historically, a recorded minister was a Quaker woman or man acknowledged to have a gift of spoken ministry. These days, a broader array of gifts is recognized. As explained in WYM's Training & Recording Manual, “members of a Monthly Meeting, perceiving the exercising and maturing of a gift of ministry in a member of the Meeting, may...suggest to Ministry & Counsel that the person’s gifts in ministry be recognized.”

Here’s how it works

To formally acknowledge an individual’s gifts of ministry, and with their consent, Ministry & Counsel brings the matter to Monthly Meeting for Business. If a decision is reached in favor of recognizing the individual’s gifts, Monthly Meeting places the name before WYM which in turn, and upon approval of a Clearness Committee appointed by WYM Ministry & Counsel, places the candidate under the care of the Training & Recording Committee.

The candidate then enters a mentored two-year training process to further develop their gifts for service and ministry. Among other responsibilities, they undertake a recommended course of study, attend six four-hour workshops on topics ranging from Quakerism and Biblical Literacy to Pastoral Care & Counseling, and submit papers on the workshops’ value to their ministry. Upon completion of the process, and following a time of reflection and evaluation between the candidate and the Training & Recording Committee, the Committee recommends to WYM Ministry & Counsel that the candidate be recorded and appropriately recognized.

Fun fact: In our 208-year history, Cincinnati Friends Meeting (CFM) has had 46 recorded ministers.

Our most recent candidate

On March 12th, at the recommendation of Ministry & Counsel, Monthly Meeting for Business approved Cathy Barney as candidate for recorded ministry.

Soon after she began attending CFM in 1999, Cathy devoted herself to cultivating beloved community, which she envisions as “a safe place where we can be ourselves, grow spiritually, and care for and encourage one another.” In 2004, she entered a rigorous two-year program with The School of the Spirit*, dedicated to developing more faithful listeners and responders to the inward work of the Spirit in daily life and outward ministry. Before and since, Cathy has initiated and facilitated any number of nurture groups, workshops, and retreats here at CFM and more widely. Through the years, she completed three three-year terms on Ministry & Counsel (one as Clerk), developed the Gifts Survey while on the Nominating Committee, served as Clerk of the Burial Committee and, as as a First Day School teacher for many years, helped CFM youth find their voice and that of God within. Cathy’s care and concern for young people extends to the greater community as well; under the care of the Meeting, Cathy launched Artsy Fartsy Saturdays, a ten-year ministry to underserved kids.

This past January, Cathy assumed the position of Nurturer for Spiritual Growth and Outreach created in response to leadings that arose from the intersection of Jim’s concern about unmet needs at CFM and WYM, and her own search for next steps in her spiritual journey. In her new role, Cathy is already breaking new ground in the four areas tasked her:

  • Spiritual nurture, both individual and corporate, at CFM
  • The fulfillment of our commitment to A Mighty Stream, a local interfaith community of sacred activists for social justice
  • The engagement and nurture of youth
  • Interfaith and intra-denominational outreach

In March, Ministry & Counsel determined to afford Cathy new opportunities to “exercise and mature her gifts of ministry” by recommending she enter into the Training & Recording process. We hold you in the Light as you undertake these new responsibilities, Cathy, and pledge you our support.

*The School of the Spirit Ministry is dedicated to helping all who wish to be more faithful listeners and responders to the inward work of the Spirit in preparation for outward ministry. Learn more at

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  1. Jeff Arnold | | Reply

    Thank you, Kathy, for this very clear and spirit-led explanation of the meaning of recorded minister. Our tradition, with its history of abandoning many of the trappings of faith- such as rites and rituals, creeds, programmed worship, and a suspicion of “hireling ministers”- needs to understand the important role that Ministers can and do play.

  2. Sabrina Darnowsky | | Reply

    For those who would like to delve deeply into early Friends perspective on ministry, I recommend reading Samuel Bownas’ “A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister,” which is available online at (Go to page 15 to start with Bownas’s preface.) This was written in the 1750s, but this link goes to an 1847 edition that’s typeset in a more contemporary manner.

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