In our “Virtual Visiting Fellowship” meeting on Tuesday morning this week I used an article titled “Tourist and Traveler” to set up some sharing among the group. The article (from the “Christian Century” magazine, April 20, 2016) begins with the use of the term “the Way” in the Bible, including Jesus’ self-description as, “I am the Way.” The terms “tourist” and “traveler” are defined and contrasted. Without going into detail here, a “tourist” will generally take the safer, less-risky paths while perhaps learning along the way; a “traveler” is more likely to strike out on their own and willingly take on the challenges and significant rewards of seeking out their own answers and really getting to know “the locals” on their own terms. In our discussion we seemed to agree that in different situations each of us are travelers sometimes and tourists at others. Some crave the adventure of being a traveler most of the time. Some know they enjoy the world around them from the relative comfort of being a tourist.
In this COVID-19 world of the last few months all of us have been thrust into the role of traveler whether we wanted to or not. As we have been endlessly reminded, this time is “unprecedented.” We are in new territory both economically and socially. It is a challenging time. And those of us who prefer to be tourists have sought out the familiar where possible to get us through. The travelers among us, if they are not already in “essential services” or “first responder” types of roles, have been looking for ways to personally contribute and assist others to get through this time safely and in good health.
If you are like me, I have been mourning the cancellation of our camps and retreats this summer. While such experiences often have a bit of adventure associated with them, they have been constants in our lives – events that we can rely on to be there year after year. Except they are not there this year. As a mission centre this has pushed us a bit more into the “traveler camp” to explore some new and innovative ways to provide some semblance of our camp experiences in a non-camp environment. Watch for these as they are presented in the next few weeks. Watch for an online version of the Hills of Peace Spiritual Retreat that will enable people from across the mission centre (and possibly beyond) to participate without traveling all the way to Hills of Peace. Watch for something, yet to be defined in any way, to be announced to appeal to our youth who have been disappointed by the cancellation of the Graceland Spectacular (“SPEC”) this summer. And watch for alternatives to our youth camps that may still give the chance for our kids to “get together” and enjoy an experience unlike anything they have had in past camps.
Despite our disappointments in this COVID-19 time, there are some real opportunities to do some things a bit differently and still enjoy our church life, our life of faith, and our own personal lives in ways that are at least as good as they have been in the past.
Come along and be fellow tourists AND travelers on this journey!
Stay safe. Be well. God bless.
Canada West Mission Centre President
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537