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.
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.
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.
Through the twentieth century, traveling in ministry was less common. There has been a reconstruction of the Quietist practice.
- Print Culture and the Early Quakers by Kate Peters