Travel Minutes and Letters of Introduction
The spiritual life of the Society of Friends has long been nourished by visitation outside one's own meeting. Such visitation may be thought of by the visitor as "casual," or as "concerned." A casual visit should have some motive of concern with the deepest values of friendship, of fellowship, and the life of the spirit. Whether or not motivated by special mission, the visits of those who come in love and fellowship are likely to enrich those involved, and indeed the life of the Society.
Often Friends have felt a special concern to visit other groups of Friends. A Friend with such a concern, which he or she feels is genuine, will be glad to test its genuineness by presenting it for approval at a session of the monthly meeting. If a visit is planned outside the Yearly Meeting, it should also be presented (in person, if reasonably practicable) for approval by the quarterly meeting and by the Permanent Board.
The meeting gives its endorsement to a project of visitation by providing the traveler with a minute which may be presented to other meetings and Friends. A travel minute should be carefully worded, providing a succinct account of the purpose of the visit and identifying the traveler in places where otherwise he or she would be a stranger. Meetings visited customarily write return minutes or endorsements on the back of the travel minute, to be presented to the issuing meetings of the traveling Friend upon return.
In recent years some Friends traveling without a special concern or on personal business have often been given letters of introduction to Friends meetings in places where they may visit. Such letters of introduction may be helpful in identifying the visitors when they come among Friends.