We will now consider our young Minister as having an enlargement of both understanding and love, engaging [her] mind to labour for the good of others; and this can’t be confined to thy own Meeting, Church, or County, where thou hast thy residence, but the constraining power of love, arising from the operation of the gift in thy own mind, may bring thee under a weighty concern to visit the Churches abroad, in which work there generally is a gradual beginning ; first in visiting thy neighbouring Meetings, and in this work, as thou keepest thy place, thou wilt gain experience, and thereby come to be more fit to undertake weightier service. – Samuel Bownas
In the past few years, I have been blessed with a growing sense of travel in ministry. This visiting with others, experiencing the Life that knits us together in shared worship and service, has been an unexpected Joy.
A few years ago, I made a hard decision to leave my Quaker employment – it felt right to allow me to more freely experience time with my Quaker community without the constraints and responsibilities of a staff role. It left me, quite frankly, a little bit lost and wandering.
I sense that I landed well. In this time, I’ve been in a meeting that has embraced this as a ministry, become more grounded in my family life and routines, and continued to travel. It has felt like deep preparation. I have noted, much to my delight and in gratitude, a sense that if I am following faithfully, and listening to this growing leading, I will end up where I may be well-used.
In addition, I’ve spent the past few years sharing some skills and talents with Quakers both near and afar. I’ve experimented with new digital tools, become a “digital minister”, and helped meetings with conversations about outreach and growth.
It is time for a new shape of service. In the next year, I will be released, in part due to a NEYM Legacy Grant from the Witness and Ministry Fund, to travel more intentionally among Friends in Gospel Ministry. This involves worshiping with Friends on First days, in other Opportunities and gatherings, and wherever I am led.
Will I still use the technology? Yes. But instead of teaching about it, I most often will be using those tools to share my own story, and share the stories of the Life among Friends that I find as I travel.
In addition – our family is moving to a new home. So much change! But the timing seems very right to me.
In the time of reflection for me, I’ve been reminded of the hundreds of Friends I have already met in my travels. They are part of my covenant community, and I am so humbled to know I shall visit them again – and meet even more! Here’s a collection of those moments: