Friends, writing about visitation have said,
“Throughout our history Friends travelling in the ministry have helped deepen the spiritual life of individuals and Meetings. Seasoned Friends carried concerns of their meetings, as well as news of family and F/friends across this continent and to meetings all over the world. Local meetings nurtured the spiritual gifts of their members, helped discern clearness, and provided oversight for Friends when they felt called to travel in this way. Friends grew in the Spirit and stayed connected with each other across the miles.”
As we nurture the development of the CYM visitation program, we hope that Friends in CYM will experience some of the many blessings of visitation.
Visits may involve leading learning sessions, providing support for Meetings who wish to work through issues where there is conflict, or strengthening of Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business. Friends have also appreciated and gained value from ‘Kitchen Table Ministry’, or the ‘Ministry of Presence’. Visitors also will learn and grow from visiting other Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups, and we trust that they will use their experiences to enrich their home Meetings.
These pages provide resources for Meetings hosting visitors, and for visitors and their companions.
- What Topics are Offered?
- How Does it Work?
1. A Meeting or Worship Group, having discerned they will seek a visitor, contacts the coordinator and provides information about timing, purpose of the visit, and if they know of one or more individuals who might be suitable and willing, may provide names. (Meetings who have a specific visitor and topic/purpose in mind may arrange the visit directly. The coordinator should be informed of these visits and may be able to offer support.)
2. The visitor’s home Meeting is asked to provide clearness and spiritual support for Friends who are visitors. Upon receipt of a request, the coordinator and the CYM Visitation Program Subcommittee of Education and Outreach Committee discern what Friend(s) might be most suited for this situation. The coordinator confirms with the visitor, and then with the inviting Meeting.
3. It is expected that Friends visiting will travel with a companion for spiritual and personal support. The coordinator will work with the visitor to identify this companion.
4. The coordinator will provide a Letter of Travel from the CYM Visitation Program for the visitor. Visitors who are travelling under a leading may also have a travelling minute from their Meeting.
5. The inviting Meeting is expected to manage arrangements for the visit, such as travel and accommodation. The coordinator will be available to assist as needed.
6. After the visit, the Meeting and the visitor will be asked to provide the coordinator with brief written feedback letters on the experience together with any recommendations for future visits.
7. Meetings will reimburse visitors and companions directly for their expenses. If a Meeting is unable to meet the full cost of a visit, it may request financial assistance from the CYM Visitation Program by contacting the coordinator.
- What financial support will be provided for Visitors?
1.The Meeting requesting a visitor is asked to pay for or significantly contribute to the travel and accommodation costs for the visit (both the visitor and a companion). Those who are able to pay the full cost will make possible more visits for Meetings who may have fewer financial resources. Likewise, if a visitor is able and willing to pay some of her/his own costs, the program will benefit. There is a small budget available in the QEP to support visitation.
2. If there are costs other than travel, such as child care, house/pet care, the Visitor’s home Meeting is asked to cover these. If this is not possible, the home Meeting may apply for support from the the Education and Outreach Committee’s Visitation Program.
- How will Visitation be supported in other ways?
1. The coordinator will be available for support by telephone, e-mail or SKYPE, and will maintain contact with the host Meeting and the visitor throughout the process of each visit.
2. The coordinator will be in regular contact with Meetings and visitors, to answer questions about the program and to provide updates.
3. For documents offered in support of the program, see below.
The documents below are offered to assist those who are visiting or those Meetings that are hosting visitors with planning and carrying out the visitation:
- For Visitors and Companions
Ultimately, what we take to each other, in the spirit of learning, must strengthen us as individuals and as communities. It is in building that strength, securing those foundations, that we are able to follow our leadings and make this world a better place – not just for Quakers but for our wider communities and the world.