September 7, 2016
Kathryn Barnes (1869-1954), described by a fellow worker as “a very determined woman,” was honored for her service by having the state missions offering named after her.
Barnes was born in Baltimore in 1869. She was one of six children who grew up in the home on Brune Street. Her family regularly attended Seventh Baptist Church. It was there that she received the foundation for the love of Christian service which characterized her life.
Kathryn finished high school and business college. She married Samuel Barnes, a native of Havre de Grace, Maryland. One child, Philip, was born into their home. They lived not far from First Baptist Church, Baltimore, in which they were vitally involved.
The children whom she taught in Sunday School were her special love. In addition to Bible knowledge, she instilled in them an enthusiastic interest in world missions.
In addition to working full-time in the business world, caring for a home, and working in the Sunday School, she was also an active member of the missions organization in her church. Eventually she served as president.
In 1921 she was asked to accept the position of Executive Secretary of the WMU of Maryland. She served in that position from 1921 to 1946. Her experience in both Baptist work and the business world had prepared her well for the task. Her strongest allies were Woolford and Harriet Ellis Levering, second wife of Eugene Levering, Jr. and daughter of Eutaw Place pastor Frank Ellis.
Kathryn Barnes had a strong faith in Christ and an eagerness to serve him. She had a vision for missions potential within the state of Maryland. She possessed great leadership ability.
Under her leadership the missions organizations increased from 126 to 262. She traveled all over the state, organizing missionary societies, making speeches, and carrying on the extensive duties of her position.
After her retirement in 1946, she moved to Pittsburg to live with her son, Philip, and his family.
On March 29, 1954, she had a heart attack on the way home from an officers and teachers’ meeting at her church. Her eighty-one years had not dimmed her enthusiasm for the Lord’s work.
At its annual session in 1954, WMU of Maryland voted to name the State Missions Offering for Kathryn Barnes.
Material used in this biography were taken from:
You Are A Great People, by W. Loyd Allen
Historical files of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware