I recently learned that Social Studies Fairs are not common throughout the U.S. Imagine my horror to find this out, since I assumed that everyone spent their free time as a child researching Mary Tudor, Belgian tourist sites, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
I met one of my later-best-friends when she beat me in the county fair. The following week, Hope and her parents visited my church for the first time. I did my best not to glower at her. My sister stuck her tongue out at them while acolyting. My brother repeatedly crashed his matchbox car into her father’s foot. (While my brother & sister’s actions could sound as if they were defending my dignity in losing in the Social Studies Fair, it was nothing of the sort: This was just their form of evangelism. It worked—Hope’s family joined the church soon thereafter.)
Minus being an occasional sore loser, the Social Studies Fair was awesome (shout-out to my brother, three-time state champ :-)).
And my favorite project—the one that has stuck with me the longest—was definitely the one entitled “Meddlin’ Methodists.” I drew my family tree in the center of the tri-fold board and colored in yellow all of my ancestors who were Methodist pastors. And that is the first time I remember learning about the itinerant circuit riders.
Over the next few days, I am going to do a short series on itinera(n)cy, but first I need to define & spell a few terms. Thank you, thank you, thank you, OED.
- First, itineracy = ITINERANCY in its various senses
This is the preferred spelling by the United Methodist Publishing House. (Which I wish the OED would mention…)
- Second, itinerancy = 1. The state or condition of being itinerant; the action of itinerating or travelling about, esp. for a specific purpose, as preaching or public speaking; a journey from place to place.
2. Itinerant preaching; spec. the system in practice in various Methodist churches, esp. the Wesleyan, according to which the regular ministers or ‘itinerant preachers’ are appointed not to a single congregation, but to a group of these called a ‘circuit’, to ‘itinerate’ among the congregations within its limits, and are periodically (usually every three or five years) removed to another circuit.
I love it when terms are defined using related words: “itineracy” = “the state of being itinerant.” Big help, guys.
- Third, itinerate, v. 1. intr. To journey or travel from place to place. b. To travel from place to place preaching; spec. of a Methodist minister, To preach to the various congregations within the circuit to which he is appointed, and to go periodically from circuit to circuit as appointed, (usually) every three years.
It irritates me that the OED uses non-gender-inclusive language to describe Methodist ministers. grrrrrrrrrrr
- Fourth, itinerarian, n. One who itinerates; a traveller
Unfortunately, “Itinerarian” does not sound nearly as cool as “Itinerator.” Who wants to rhyme with “librarian” when you could have a best-selling movie series about circuit riders that stars body-building California governors (e.g., “Itinerator IV”). My quest is to get “itinerator” into both the OED and the popular lexicon… perhaps urbandictionary is a good place to start…
Part I is on its way tomorrow!