I would not have made it through the gauntlet that is the MFC process without Rev. Catharine; it’s as simple as that. During my darkest hours, her prayerful presence allowed me to find the strength within myself to press on. Choosing to allow Rev. Catharine’s support and expertise into my formation and preparation process was an act of self-care. She is thoroughly knowledgeable, deeply wise, and helped me to set a firm foundation from which I could leap to my MFC interview – and reach fellowship! I encourage every ministerial candidate to contact Rev. Catharine as soon as possible in order to begin to lay out a plan that best works for you in your own journey towards ministerial fellowship.
Rev. Megan Mathieson
So many thanks to Rev. Catharine for helping me through so many ups and downs in my career. Her coaching was instrumental in my recent ministry search process, which got me my dream job! Her clarity of thought, and deep reflective insights have been so important to me. She sees me and my blessings and growing edges and helps me see them too. When I started to doubt myself, she helped me remember to recenter and trust in my inner strength. I’m so grateful for all her help!
Her joy and laughter, calming presence, and genuine care are hallmarks of Rev. Catharine’s ministry.
Rev. Catharine has a rich knowledge of the Unitarian Universalist ministerial formation process, which makes her an asset to any minister looking for support and guidance.
Rev. Sara Goodman – Madison, Wisconsin
There’s literally not a single thing that happened in the [MFC] interview that contradicted or didn’t make use of what I learned from Rev. Catharine and worked with her on. I was able to pass in part because I had practice and worked through how to respond to the MFC’s questions as a minister, no matter what — with Rev. Catharine’s coaching making that possible. The emotional, spiritual, formational prep work we did together in our sessions paid off 100%.
Megan Dowdell — Berkeley, CA
It was wonderful being companioned by Catharine through the last couple of months of my MFC prep. I was carrying a lot of anxiety about the process, and hearing Catharine’s voice always calmed me and made me feel held. At first she served as part spiritual director/part coach in order to help me frame what I wanted to say in my essays and to keep me grounded and to remind me of the sacred fire of my calling. We established a schedule to which she kept me accountable—something that was important since I am prone to procrastination and had deferred my MFC appointment once before. Catharine consistently provided very helpful feedback on my essays. She’s an insightful and gifted editor who helped me improve my writing and really get to the heart of what I wanted to say, especially in my theology essay. Although it was scary, she encouraged me to throw out the first draft of my MFC sermon and to preach to them outside my comfort zone. In the end, I believe that her coaching and support were what enabled me to receive the highest mark from the committee. Catharine helped me fully claim who I am as a minister, boosting my confidence and reminding me of all that I have to give. Throughout the process she tailored our sessions to my needs and was pastoral in her coaching–firm when I needed to be pushed more and very caring and present on those days when I felt frustrated, tired, or lost. I highly recommend her very reasonable services!
Stephanie Gannon — Pittsburgh, PA
I am so deeply grateful for the ministry of coaching and encouragement that Rev. Catharine Clarenbach provided as I prepared for my appointment with the MFC. We met every week or two over Zoom from May through August as I prepared my MFC packet and sermon. Catharine has an editor’s eye for clarity and syntax in writing. She has a deep and broad understanding of UU history, theology, global religious traditions and an unwavering commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism. Her insightful feedback and compassionate encouragement helped me to walk into my appointment feeling prepared and confident.
Of all the valuable support I received in preparing for the MFC, including an MFC cohort group and advice from mentors, the time I spent working with Catharine was by far the most helpful. Catharine’s positive, professional support was the extra boost I needed to overcome my anxiety about MFC prep and to really let my light shine!
Rev. Julie Price — Falls Church, VA
The privilege of having had a connection to Catharine Clarenbach over the past 15 years has allowed me to benefit from the spiritual evolution that she has gone through. I have been able to benefit from the wisdom that has been garnered through Catharines continual religious and spiritual development in our engagements and our conversations and have often sought counsel from her in terms of my own journey, knowing with certainty and with conviction that she has travelled along my same questions and concerns, meditated on them, explored them and is now able to share her wisdom with me.
I live in another country, on the other side of the world, yet our engagement through digital technology – whether it be email, notes or skype is always authentic and engaging. The empathy that Catherine has is evident in her writing and in her conversation and if you are seeking a guide, who truly connects with you on your journey, I could not recommend a dialogue with Catherine Clarenbach highly enough.
Katharine Liese — Johannesburg, South Africa
I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Catharine over the last few years on matters spanning spirit, specifically, and all aspects of managing a whole and healthy life. She is gifted and intuitive, compassionate, and insightful, offering both tactical and strategic help, tools, and occasionally advice. There are times when a guide’s main job is to stand beside you, and simply listen – Catharine does this with both empathy and non-judgment. She is able to raise flags gently and cut to the heart of the matter, then look with me at obstacles and next steps.
In addition to helping guide with gentle hands, and cultivate a gentle way of being in my life, Catharine brings a VAST knowledge of various traditions, which is helpful and inspiring.
If you have the opportunity to work with Catharine as a guide and partner, walk that path without hesitation.
Tracy Hayes — Redwood City, CA USA
Catharine helped me to uncover my own spiritual path, rather than spotlighting her own beliefs or methods. She has a gentle nature and a true curiosity that allows her to ask deep questions and then ‘hold the mirror’ for you as you answer them. There was no judgment or criticism, even when I disappeared for a while or moved very slowly or had a differing opinion. She has a high level of integrity that allows her to leave her ego behind while she explores the depths of the Mystery with you and the entire experience is laced with love and compassion and encouragement.
Liliana Arrington, CMT — Virginia Beach, VA, USA
The path to ordained ministry can be a lonely and difficult one. Working with Catharine as my coach helped me through the process and greatly contributed to my being welcomed into preliminary fellowship last month. Her regular support, knowledge, accountability and encouragement made the difference for me.
I found Catharine’s coaching truly amazing and invaluable. She helped make what felt like an insurmountable mountain manageable by creating smaller goals and cheering me on every step of the way. Her support, encouragement and gentle pushing helped me find what I needed within myself to make it to triumphantly to the summit.
Working with Catharine, I felt accepted just as I was, while facing this sometimes anxiety-producing evaluative process. She helped me trust myself and my own process rather than be tossed about by others’ stories and experiences. Catharine is truly a compassionate, inspiring and gifted coach.
Rev. Karen Scrivo — Bowie, MD
I got connected to the Way of the River by knowing Catharine “Qira” Clarenbach at our earth religion church. She would craft such beautiful heartfelt rituals that would help with insight and had the extraordinary ability to communicate just what you needed to hear. So I made sure I stayed in touch when she moved to the other side of the United States and started her ministry there. She continues to brighten my spiritual life through her words.
Patricia Robin Woodruff — initiate, Stone Circle Wicca
There’s literally not a single thing that happened in the interview that contradicted or didn’t make use of what I learned from Rev. Catharine and worked with her on. I was able to pass in part because I had practice and worked through how to respond to the MFC’s questions as a minister, no matter what — with Rev. Catharine’s coaching making that possible. The emotional, spiritual, formational prep work we did together in our sessions paid off 100%.
Megan Dowdell — Berkeley, CA