Traditionally, Friends have issued travel minutes to ministers who are physically traveling outside their own meetings in some form, either in the gospel ministry or carrying a particular concern. The travel minute serves as a way for a minister’s home meeting/church to tell every other meeting/church, “We know you don’t know this person, but we do, and we have sat in discernment with her. We believe she is being faithful to a valuable, Spirit-led ministry, and we ask you to care for her as you receive it.”
The minute also serves as a way for distant meetings to communicate back with the Friend’s home meeting. Clerks of visited meetings “endorse” the travel minute–that is, sign it, usually with a note about the traveling minister’s visit. The minister then brings that endorsement back to the home meeting. This creates a system of spiritual support and accountability.
It’s a valuable system, still useful today–but the world has changed, and many new pathways for ministry have appeared, and Friends have not yet figured out how to adapt to these new pathways. Sometimes I physically travel in the ministry, but ministry also happens in writing, through social media, and through video conferences.
My support committee (the small group of Friends that meets with me regularly to provide in-person spiritual support and accountability) has discerned that I should be using my travel minute as frequently as possible, even in non-traditional circumstances. And so I’m pasting it below.
Should you feel led to send a note to my meeting about my work on this blog, you can do so: Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting, 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003.
For those who are unable to read the scanned copy above, here is the text of the travel minute:
We, Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting, have united with Emily Provance’s discernment that she is called by God to travel and share her gifts in ministry. Emily’s life has been dedicated to carrying this out faithfully since 2013.
As Emily travels globally among Friends, she explores how diverse communities embody the Quaker spirit. Emily builds connections and understanding among Friends through her speaking, writing, social media platforms, and face-to-face visitation.
She encourages people to see and know each other while embracing differences. She accompanies them as they discern their spiritual gifts. She sees herself as a teacher and learner; she invites us to kindle the spark at the heart of our meetings.
Emily carries the love of Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting with her as she seeks to enrich our society with her gifts. We hope that you will welcome Emily in your meeting and support her in her work while she is with you and as she travels among Friends.
Emily’s ability to listen to the Spirit guides her during this period of immense change. We know that she will tend new/emerging aspects of ministry. As her ministry unfolds she will lay down parts of her ministry that no longer have life.
Glenn Josey, Clerk, Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting
As approved, minute 2020-11-10 11/7/2020, Elaine Learnard, Clerk, New York Yearly Meeting