This time we’re talking about traveling in ministry. Quakers have traveled in ministry from the very beginning. It really started as sort of ministry campaigns, traveling in pairs. That’s a Biblical practice: Jesus sent the Apostles out in pairs in Luke 10.

Early Days

These early campaigns would have people traveling in ministry for months or years at a time. How’d they afford to do that? Well, one thing was that they’d have written ministry, as we’ve mentioned before, and they’d sell copies. Margaret Fell would pay for the initial printing, and they’d sell at a profit and pay her back for the printing. A lot of them were also very young. James Parnell was only 17.

It was very much evangelistic. George Fox once said “the Lord showed me in what places he had a great people to be gathered.” They were doing that. Sometimes. they were calling other Christians out, telling them they were doing Christianity wrong. Other times, like when Mary Fisher went to Turkey, they were seeking out converts.

Quietism

Later, in the Quietist period, traveling in ministry was about visiting other Quakers. The idea was to support, teach, and encourage other Quakers. Ministers would start out traveling locally, then with experience go further afield. They’d take a traveling minute with them to show their authority to travel, and they’d bring back endorsements from the meetings they visited. These endorsements would be like Yelp reviews for the minister. They might say they were a great help. Or they might say, basically, “what were you thinking?”

Now

Through the twentieth century, traveling in ministry was less common. There has been a reconstruction of the Quietist practice. Micah and Mackenzie have both traveled with travel minutes. Micah’s was “in gospel ministry” and fairly open-ended, visiting many meetings. Mackenzie had a concern for LGBT inclusion, which was also the initial impetus for BYM starting its intervisitation program. Most of her visits to other meetings have been social, though.

References

Transcript

Mackenzie: Welcome to Quaker Faith & Podcast, where we will explore traditional Quaker beliefs and the variety of Quaker beliefs found today.

Mackenzie: Welcome back to Quaker Faith & Podcast, we are hosts Mackenzie and Micah, and we’re going to be talking about traveling ministry and visiting families, which is section 5E in the book Traditional Quaker Christianity. And handily, both Micah and I have both done traveling ministry now.

Micah: Very cool.

Mackenzie: Do you want to-

Micah: It’s funny because the book treats traveling ministry primarily in the past tense, as something that used to happen. Whereas, for me, it’s been very much … I was just discussing with Mackenzie before we started recording that I haven’t done much traveling ministry in recent years, but in prior years, I did pretty extensive traveling ministry and it was a major part of my life. For me traveling ministry is very much in the present tense, something that’s happening now. I’d really like to hear about Mackenzie’s experience, because she’s traveled more recently. I know for sure out to Oregon-

Mackenzie: Yeah.

Micah: And where else?

Mackenzie: Well, I mean there was a little bit of Washington as well, but just across the river.

Micah: You’ve visited other meetings in the area, right?

Mackenzie: I’ve visited meetings in Pennsylvania and Maryland and Virginia and Britain, but that was more of, I happened to be in such city on weekend and so I should go to meeting on Sunday at wherever the local meeting house is.

Micah: Gotcha.

Mackenzie: As opposed to my recent travel to Oregon in October, okay by the time this episode comes out, it won’t be so recent, but that was traveling ministry and I had a travel minute for my meeting and all of that.

Micah: Cool. Well let’s talk about that, but first I wonder if we could just have a little bit of historical background about traveling ministry. The early Quaker movement really started out as what I would call an Apostolic movement, where things were happening all over the place and there was essentially a traveling band of ministers that sort of fanned out across the countryside and were stoking fires everywhere. There’s a sort of constant movement around. As in every revolutionary movement, sort of the main instigators were constantly moving around and stirring stuff up wherever they went and helping to, especially as the movement grew, helping to establish communities and firm up communities where they emerged.

Mackenzie: I would say that unlike now, they were very organized.

Micah: Yes and they dedicated their full time to it as well, which I think is distinctive from even how things were maybe fifty years later, where traveling ministry became something that an extraordinary few people did and usually for a season or in some cases, several years, they were doing very extensive travels, but it was seen as being sort of like … How to put this … Almost like a campaign, something that you did for a little while and then you came back to normal life, whereas for the early Quaker movement, the Quaker apostles and prophets were full time doing this stuff.

Mackenzie: I think a factor there also is that a lot of the earliest speakers … Nowadays you look at a lot of, at least the unprogrammed meetings, I don’t know about programmed Friends, in this regard, well I mean I’ve visited some of them, but in this regard, but they tend to be much older. There’s generally people over, the average age is probably over fifty, maybe even sixty, whereas when you look at the first Friends, I mean they were teenagers, it was like teenagers and early twenty somethings, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if part of what let them do the full time traveling ministry, which was unpaid, was the fact that they were still living at home with mom and dad.

Micah: Some of these folks were single, I think George Fox was single-

Mackenzie: James Parnell was a seventeen year old.

Micah: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Some of them were very young. Others though, James Nayler was actually fairly old for being one of the leaders. He was in his thirties and he had a wife and children back in the North of England and he just didn’t see them for years, which is kind of crazy to think about, but this was actually a pretty common story.

Mackenzie: Well I wonder how they were supported?

Micah: Yeah. I’m sure someone knows, but I’m not sure. I don’t know. It’s interesting. I think youth did make a difference, the fact that they could devote themselves full-time. I also think that-

Mackenzie: Gosh that’s like the Mormon gap year thing.

Micah: I don’t think this was like the Mormon gap year thing. I don’t think this was anything like the Mormon gap year.

Mackenzie: Well, be young and be able to go do ministry full-time for a period.

Micah: I think that … You know George Fox never stopped doing ministry full-time. George Fox spent his entire life doing ministry full-time and so did a number of other Quaker ministers. It helped that some of them died young, but the Valiant Sixty for the most … I mean maybe some went back to other types of employment, but many of the original Quaker ministers were full-time ministers. This is what they did and a big distinctive here is that in the early movement, there was financial and material support for the ministers everywhere they went. Now this isn’t to say that they had a salary per se, but they … Just like the early apostles, they were financially and materially supported by the church.

Mackenzie: And actually, since I’ve mentioned before, having read the book, Print Culture and the Early Quakers, one of the things that’s talked about in there is that Margaret Fell would give advances, like cash advances on things and there was a lot of written ministry where messages would come to them when they were not out with a bunch of people and they would write down the ministry and they would get this printed up at Giles Calvert’s shop, at the Black Eagle in London would print them up and Margaret Fell would pay him to do the printing. She would pay him the money to have the batch done, because she was wealthy and then the ministers would take the booklets and pamphlets of what they had written, and as they were traveling around, they would sell copies too, so they could pay her back for the advance that she’d made on the printing, and also keep some profit for themselves.

Micah: Interesting. So they made a little bit of money off the gospel. That’s all right though.
There was this transition though from the early Quaker movement where the traveling ministry, there was an element of shoring up existing communities and supporting communities, but there’s also a huge element of public witness and evangelism and spreading the news everywhere, both in England and beyond, the colonies to the continent of Europe and as far away as to, did some early Quakers go to India? They for sure went to Sultans.

Mackenzie: Yeah, I don’t know about India, but Mary Fisher went to the Sultan in Turkey.

Micah: And folks went to Catholic Europe and to Rome and got tortured by the Catholics and stuff like that-

Mackenzie: It mentions Hooten went to Barbados-

Micah: Yeah Barbados, but there was this transition from the early period where it was massively Apostolic and Evangelical to sort of a retreat later on, where it became much more focused on traveling ministry to existing Quaker communities. This is sort of the model of traveling ministry that most Quakers who are fairly in the know about Quaker things, when they talk about traveling ministry, the model that they think back to for traveling ministry tends to be the Quietist model of travel-

Mackenzie: I think when we think about how Quakers used to do things, we tend to stop at the Quietist model of everything.

Micah: Right. You may have … If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you may have picked up, I, for my part, tend to prioritize the early movement and look at the Quietism period as, while not a complete tragedy, not the peak of Quakerism and in fact Quakerism as being … I think when most well educated Quakers, and when I say well educated, well educated as Quakers, when most well educated Quakers look back for inspiration, for structures and how we do things and process, they tend to look back to the Quietist period. I don’t. I tend to look back to the early movement.
So, we see this transition from in the early movement to being very outward focused and surely supporting existing communities, they’re a big part of that. A huge part of what the early movement was doing, was being a movement and spreading and advancing the Gospel everywhere and reaching out to people who had not heard it yet, or were resistant to it even. In the later period, in the Quietist period and on, it became much more focused on the existing community and essentially a pastoral and prophetic role to the existing community. That’s where the model that Quakers the whole have inherited and have typically modeled our modern attempts to sort of … There’s a lot of Reconstructionism in Quakerism right not, of reconstruct … And has been for several decades of reconstructing old Quakerism and trying to apply it today, sometimes sort of whole cloth. You see this a lot, frankly in the conservative Quaker world, of basically going back to old journals and old traditions and trying to basically carbon copy what was done in ye olden days, in the 1800’s and apply almost literally to the present moment. You see that in traveling ministry and I’ve definitely done some of that myself and I think as Mackenzie and I talk about our experience, we can talk about some of the ways in which a Quietist conception of traveling ministry has played out in our own ministries.
Just to give an example, a procedural example, the Quietist ministers, their authorization to travel, so there’s almost a passport system, and an authorization to travel among, within different boundaries of Quakers. Your meeting would give you a letter, a traveling letter, that was a letter your meeting leadership had signed off on and had specific geographical boundaries that you were essentially authorized to move in. So you, and it was depending on the leading and what you discussed with your leadership in your meeting, but it might be that you felt led by god in the meeting, united with you to travel to the other meetings in your quarterly meeting and the importance and gravitas of a leading and gravitas and experience and prestige of a minister was often measured by the scope of their travels. An early minister might just travel to the other meeting and their monthly meeting, because back in the old days, you had multiple local meetings and a single monthly meeting.

Mackenzie: They still do that in Britain and actually both, I know both Baltimore yearly meeting and New England yearly meeting also have a few of those.

Micah: Right. So you might just travel to the other local meetings in your area. Then perhaps as you’re getting a little bit more experienced in the ministry, you might travel across the quarterly meeting to visit meetings. Then you might travel to different parts of your yearly meeting and finally to different yearly meetings and when you are really big stuff, you might travel across the seas. So if you’re from Britain you might travel to America and vice versa. That pattern, which was very strong in the 17 and 1800’s, Quakers today, have reproduced that as sort of a part of our reconstruction of Quietist Quakers. So both Mackenzie and I have traveled with travel minutes that specifically outlined where we were authorized to go and who we were going to see and send greetings to those communities.
I wonder if maybe Mackenzie could talk about her experience in Oregon of how that worked?

Mackenzie: Well I would say that I think that Reconstruction is a good word to use there, because I do have the impression that traveling ministry mostly died out through the twentieth century. I think we also see this with … So my travel to Oregon was … I was visiting … What my letter said was, “Sierra Cascades Yearly Meeting.”, which is a new yearly meeting that is forming as NorthWest Yearly Meeting, which is an Evangelical Friends group splits. They’re splitting because … Well, I mean there’s plenty of historical stuff, but the straw that broke the camel’s back is LGBT inclusion.

Micah: As it always is, it seems to be.

Mackenzie: Yeah, at least nowadays, that’s what the straw keeps being. It was one day on a Saturday, and rather than just go up for a weekend, I went for an entire week and one thing about having a traveling minute and that formal structure is that … Then getting hospitality at your destination is easier. So I stayed in the homes of two different friends during the course of that week.

Micah: Secret though. Here’s the secret. Getting hospitality with Quakers is actually really easy.

Mackenzie: It’s true.

Micah: Just keep that in mind if any of you all are thinking about traveling somewhere for whatever reason-

Mackenzie: Yes, it’s true. You can contact a meeting and be like, “Hey I’m going to be in town.”, and something might work. At one point one of the friends up there suggested that I might come up for a few weeks, at which point then getting hospitality for a few weeks is harder and having traveling minute would make that much easier.

Micah: Yeah. For sure. Sorry to interrupt, but it changes the dynamic of your stay. Where when you’re staying as someone who’s just in town, then it’s more like Airbnb, or like couch surfing, but if you’re traveling formally, it’s not so much about the minute, but the understanding that you’re traveling formally in the ministry. It changes the nature of your home stays too. Where you’re actually like, for better or for worse, usually for better, you’re expected to minister to the peoples homes who you visit.

Mackenzie: Well I was staying with an elder, so I don’t think there was so much expectation of that

Micah: You can minister to elders.

Mackenzie: So, I visited several different local meetings up there, which … And I’m going to continue saying meeting even though I know officially they have church in their names, but what I’ve noticed is they say meeting too. Because of, as you said, it being for Reconstruction, I did find that some of them were not familiar with travel minutes and I guess I should explain for those listening that the minute says who I am and how I’m known in my meeting and that I’ve been led to travel and the meeting unites with this and it might say the purpose of the travel etc. and signed by the clerk, after it’s been approved by the entire meeting. Then the meetings that you visit, the clerks of those meetings give an endorsement at the bottom. They might say something about you. It might just say, “It was very nice to have so and so here worshiping with us today.”, sign. Or they might say something much longer.

Micah: Or it might say, “Mackenzie was really disruptive and we’re shocked that you sent her to our community. You should really rethink this.”

Mackenzie: Right, it could say that too.

Micah: That’s the original purpose.

Mackenzie: Hopefully.

Micah: The original purpose was sort of like, you know, when you take Uber, you can give feedback on your driver, this is like the original version of that. You can give feedback on your minister.

Mackenzie: But you really hope that it’s only going to end up being good feedback, that they have not done something that’s going to result in negative feedback.

Micah: Right. This is historically and the Reconstruction can serve the same purpose. Historically this is a form of accountability.

Mackenzie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Micah: So what did you do when you were traveling? So we talked about the procedure, but what did you actually do when you were traveling ministry in Oregon?

Mackenzie: Since the split is about LGBT inclusion, I was actually … That was the concern that I was carrying was about that inclusion. The primary thing that I was going for, was the quarterly gathering of the Sierra Cascades yearly meeting. Things that they have on their agenda, were things like dealing with what’s going to be in their Faith & Practice when they write up their Faith & Practice, because they’re not just going … They fundamentally disagree with some of the things that our NorthWest yearly meeting Faith & Practice. They’re not gonna just keep using that one. Although, historically in schisms, often meetings did, yearly meetings did just keep using the same Faith & Practice. The way they interpret it differently. They were talking about possibly joining Friends United Meeting, which meetings were going to be joining Sierra Cascades versus Independent, etc. I went to the committee meeting that was for Faith & Practice and I brought with me, Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice because they were comparing between different yearly meetings-

Micah: Do you guys have a new one yet?

Mackenzie: No, it’s still a 1988 one.

Micah: Okay. Good to know. All right.

Mackenzie: The 2013 one was thrown out.

Micah: Yeah, that was quite a spectacle. I was there for that one.

Mackenzie: Oh.

Micah: Yeah.

Mackenzie: Okay.

Micah: It was interesting, the total climate was interesting, to see Baltimore yearly meeting just throw out the Faith & Practice they’d been working on for several years, and start over. Or not start over.

Mackenzie: Oh, no, they’re starting over, but they’ve decided on a new procedure for doing so.
Anyway, at Sierra Cascades they were talking about comparing, “Well we should see what do other early meetings say about authority in their Faith & Practice?” Baltimore doesn’t say anything. The word authority does not exist in our Faith & Practice at all. What about membership? Because, we’re on the … One of the big issues for the splitting of NorthWest yearly meeting was that if you were a member of the LGBT community, you could not be a member of meeting at all, which is a more hard line stance than any other yearly meeting that I’ve heard of.

Micah: I’m mean I’m sure that’s true in a lot of the Evangelical yearly meetings.

Mackenzie: I don’t know for sure. I had the impression that … Can’t be a member versus can’t get married was-

Micah: Interesting.

Mackenzie: Yeah.

Micah: Interesting. It’s interesting you say that you were traveling under a particular concern for LGBT inclusion and it’s interesting to me because in my experience with traveling ministry, especially among liberal Quakers, I typically, I won’t necessarily say “typically,” I often came across ministers who were traveling ministry and when they were traveling the ministry, they were traveling with a very specific concern. They’d be like, “I’m traveling in the ministry with a concern for earth care witness. I’m traveling in the ministry with a concern for Native American rights. I’m traveling in the ministry for this that or the other.” That’s not as typical in what I call Classical Quakerism, which is the Quietist period. In Classical Quakerism, typically the concern, now there was still a climate of concern, but typically, not always, typically the concern was gospel ministry, which is pretty broad.

Mackenzie: Yes.

Micah: But typically the concern was gospel ministry and when I traveled in the ministry, typically my concern was gospel ministry and the travel minute … So I, for quite a while I traveled under a minute from Great … For several years I traveled under and open minute that didn’t specify geographical location from Great Plains yearly meeting in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. My concern was gospel ministry. There wasn’t a particular issue that my ministry was directed at. Instead, preaching the gospel, meeting with communities, revitalization of meetings, anything to lift up the gospel witness and strengthen the church. My experience of traveling the ministry and my experience of the procedural side of it was maybe a little bit different, just in like, it was very open ended. I had a standing travel … It wasn’t like a travel minute for a particular trip, I had a standing travel minute that was renewed each year.

Mackenzie: I know there’s somebody in my meeting who has one of those.

Micah: Yeah. It was interesting, because I would come … Again, I was very active in traveling ministry for a few years there and I would come back, it was almost ridiculous, I would come back to yearly meeting with my travel minute, with I forget how many; many, many, endorsements, pages. I had multiple pages of endorsements-

Mackenzie: Wow.

Micah: On my travel minute because I’d been to all these different places and visited all these yearly meetings and monthly meetings and quarterly meetings, all this stuff. I think that in some ways, I think in a lot of ways, that procedure functioned as a sort of ministerial accountability for me while I was basically serving as a minister under the care of Great Plains yearly meeting. And for those of you out there listening, “under the care”, is a way that Quakers say “under the authority of”. Even, if they won’t use that word, that’s what it means, because you’re basically operating as their agent. You’re under their authority.

Mackenzie: So, I felt a lot of pressure during my clearance committee meeting and when talking to the woman who hosted me on the trip, to specify a concern. That’s why I said it that way, because what I knew of the situation, was that there were a lot of people who had been hurt by everything leading up to the split.

Micah: Sure.

Mackenzie: And you know, there’s a difference, there’s a huge difference between intellectually believing that someone, that someone or some demographic should be treated fairly and equally etc. and actually doing so. There are plenty of people who would not say, they would say, “I’m not racist.”, and then they do something like just assume somebody who is visibly Latino speaks Spanish. Okay, they could be like, their great-great-great-grandfather was … Whatever.-

Micah: Or they could be Native American.

Mackenzie: Right or that. Yeah and those sorts of microaggressions. So, I had been aware that there was hurt from before the split, and still ongoing hurt for some Friends up there who are part of the LGBT community and so lending support to them, was part of it and trying to be supportive of the creation of this new yearly meeting, that’s trying to do a new thing. That was how I talked about it with my clearance committee.

Micah: Cool. Do you think that was helpful? Do you think it was helpful to travel in an explicit concern? As opposed to a concern to visit them?

Mackenzie: I think yes. I think it changes some of the conversations you have, because people ask, “Why did you want to visit here, specifically?”, and so being able to say that it was because I’m concerned about people feeling included and welcomed and that they are fully members and fully part of the life of the meeting.

Micah: Just to conclude here, I wonder do you … This whole episode has been about the traveling ministry and I feel like in some ways we’ve covered a lot of ground and in other ways, we’ve been surprisingly narrow, and I don’t know quite what to do about that in terms of wrapping this episode.

Mackenzie: We didn’t talk about traveling [inaudible 00:26:11]. Anyway …

Micah: I wonder if we could just to conclude, if we could just talk about where we see the state of traveling ministry now? And a couple of things, first of all, in the book, frankly, I thought the authors were very negative about the state of traveling ministry and implying that in most places outside of Ohio, you’re only meeting … Traveling ministry isn’t real traveling ministry, but instead is sort of like conference hopping or something, which I found a little bit disrespectful honestly, like other Friends.

Mackenzie: Yeah, they said “Visiting among Friends in the twentieth and twenty-first century’s has often become little more than shallow socializing during which weighty spiritual topics and personal spiritual concerns are rarely discussed. A second more serious purpose of this latter day visiting is for conflict resolution in troubled meetings or the presentation of some personal or political concern.”

Micah: So I don’t know quite what they’re referring to. I think that they’re probably referring to what is called inter visitation, which is a separate category of visiting and in that case, that’s true. Inter visitation is like a technical term among Quakers. Inter visitation is more what was just said of, although I would not say little more than, inter visitation is typically what it sounds like. It’s visiting between different groups of Quakers, simply for the purpose of building up relationships and making sure we know one another and have friendships.

Mackenzie: Right and I connected my travel to the inter visitation program that Baltimore yearly has, which was developed, this again, goes back to LGBT things; years ago, Baltimore yearly meeting had a clerk who was gay and was not allowed to speak at this big Quaker gathering –

Micah: In Africa?

Mackenzie: Yeah and after this all happened, there was this realization that oh, we’re really, really a lot farther from the same page, than we realized, and so we need to work on getting more in touch and having more relationship with these other yearly meetings so that we can … Even if we’re not in full agreement there can at least not be animosity. We can at least be friendly, but also we can each learn to see where the other’s coming from.

Micah: I mean, I think that’s-

Mackenzie: Which that’s kind of the conflict resolution part of that too.

Micah: Well, I’d actually like to peel of the conflict resolution part because I think that’s a specific thing. In terms of inter visitation, there’s entire organizations built around it. They’re committees in Baltimore made for inter visitation of just like building connections and making sure there are relationships between the different Quaker bodies. There’s a Friends World Committee on Consultation-

Mackenzie: Consultation.

Micah: FWCC, I always say the acronym, so I forget the actual words in there. FWCC, their whole purpose is essentially inter visitation of like building connections. Right?

Mackenzie: Right.

Micah: Between different Quaker bodies.

Mackenzie: Oh, and we should note, that they actually just started a new inter visitation traveling ministry program, sort of like scholarshippy, where you can apply and they will fund your traveling ministry.

Micah: Cool. I agree with the authors of the book we’re reading, in the sense that inter visitation is not the same thing as traveling ministry. Inter visitation you don’t need a particular leading of God to be ministering a particular community. To me, you just have to have good will and a desire for connection. That’s it and it’s wonderful, it’s a good thing, I think inter visitation is great, but traveling in the ministry is sort of a different thing, particularly in the sense of traveling in the gospel ministry, traveling with a concern for gospel ministry. That is more about … Frankly, there’s more authority associated with that and there’s a sense that you’re traveling with God’s guidance and with ministries to give to the communities that you are visiting.
I actually think that, they mention conflict resolution as sort of another fake ministry being done now. I don’t think that’s fake at all. In fact, I think that travel in the ministry … Conflict resolution is a concern to travel under. I don’t mean conflict resolution as a topic or as a workshop to be presented. I mean for example, meetings, communities, people are often in conflict and relationships are strained and splits happen and meetings implode and all sorts of terrible things happen because of unresolved conflict and in fighting in our communities. I think it is a very legitimate form of traveling in the ministry to travel to a community, invited by that community to help with the process of conflict resolution and transformation of conflict.
I think … That’s an integral part of what leadership, of what spiritual leadership does in church communities. Any denomination or yearly meeting worth it’s salt, is able to effectively intervene in communities where conflict is getting out of control and help to bring things back into order. That is absolutely a form of ministry as far as I’m concerned.

Mackenzie: I mean I would agree.
Just to quickly touch on … There’s a bit in the book where it talks about traveling companions, how it’s common to travel in pairs, not singly, which lets the companion act as sort of a check on the minister.

Micah: Or a learner.

Mackenzie: Right. Although it does say not to think of it like internship or mentoring when you put somebody who is newer to ministry with someone who’s experienced, but-

Micah: I think there are pluses and minuses to that thought. I think you wouldn’t want to think that the mentee had nothing to say.

Mackenzie: Right.

Micah: Or had nothing to contribute. So that would be negative, if you thought that the younger, more inexperienced person was just sort of along for the ride, that would be bad. But I do think it is historically … If you want to be Reconstructionist about it, it’s historically accurate to say that the pattern has been to send younger and more inexperienced ministers with seasoned ones so that they can learn.

Mackenzie: Although also, sometimes sending an elder with the minister.

Micah: Yes.

Mackenzie: Because elder’s role is to nurture the minister.

Micah: Yeah. But I think just in general, this is also Reconstructionist, but I think it is good Reconstruction. I think this pattern has always existed for a reason. We do better when we move in pairs. Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs. We do better when we move in pairs or in small groups. But pairs is a good formation, because it’s small enough that we’re still, as ministers, we’re still nimble, we can still stay in one house, and we’re not too much of a burden on the community we visit, but there is that check, there is that ability to get perspective. Not even like … Not even in the sense of oh, the minister, the main minister, if you want to think of it that way, needs to be checked in case he or she is doing something bad, but in the sense of, I as a minister traveling ministry, I’ve been in crazy situations where I’m like, “I just don’t even know what’s happening with this group of people. I’m confused.” It’s good to have a second set of eyes to ground yourself in an outside reality from the situation you’re in.
At times, I’ve traveled with traveling companions, which has been very helpful. Other times when I haven’t had traveling companions and felt the need to travel alone in the ministry, fortunately through technology I’ve had the ability to be on phone calls with people who can help ground me in a reality outside of the situation I find myself in. That’s super helpful.

Mackenzie: Oh, I was gonna ask you, did you have a traveling companion?

Micah: Sometimes I did have traveling companions. That’s ideal, but other times I’ve traveled without traveling companions and phones are wonderful.

Mackenzie: Yes they are. I did not have a traveling companion going to Oregon. Traveling pretty locally, it’s easy to carpool, but there’s no way I am carpooling to Oregon. It’s like a three day drive. And the British Friends are probably now listening to this going, “How can you drive for three days? The water!” Um, no. You might not realize just how big the continental United States is. It’s massive.

Micah: Yeah, the United States is, I think, about the same size as the continent of Europe.

Mackenzie: Yeah, about that. Yeah. So I went alone, but I had the aid of technology.

Mackenzie: You can find us on the web at Quaker Podcast.org, as Quaker Podcast on Twitter, Facebook or Patreon and on iTunes.

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