Queer. Femme. Preacher. Harm Reductionist.
pro·fane (adjective) :
1. relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious.
2. (of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent.
I went to seminary to learn how to hold spiritual space for the communities I come from. Communities “the church” deemed crude, dirty, expendable, sinful…profane. Queers, femmes, people who use drugs, sex workers, working class people, organizers. But these are the people who taught me about the sacred and I know that we are holy. We deserve access to spiritual care that lifts us up, knows us deeply, and affirms our dignity.
I put myself through seminary by working at the Harm Reduction Coalition. For me, harm reduction is a spiritual practice rooted in unconditional love. It calls us to healing and demands justice. Just like the Gospel.
My faith and my queerness are about liberation. Both connect me to a long lineage of people who have fought to honor God’s promise to them and God’s beauty within them. I’m not queer despite being Christian. I’m Christian because I’m queer. Both teach me that the voice of the empire is not the voice of God. My worth, your worth, is not up for debate. We are beloved by God, made in the image of God.
Folks I Get To Work With
Ohio Associate Director
National Leadership Team
National Leadership Collective
HROP Leadership Collective
Blyth Barnow is a preacher, harm reductionist, writer, and community organizer. She serves as the Ohio Associate Director for Faith In Public Life, where she works to bring clergy and people who use drugs together to end the racist war on drugs. She is the founder of Femminary, an online ministry, and is currently working nationally to establish harm reduction resources for faith based communities. She has already brought her worship service, Naloxone Saves, to several states. Blyth graduated from Pacific School Of Religion where she received a Master of Divinity and the Paul Wesley Yinger preaching award. She also serves on the National Leadership Team for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), as well as the the Leadership Collective for Faith In Harm Reduction, and the Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Ministries of the United Church of Christ.