Weekend 30

Lay Rector (Martin) with Assistant Cha Cha’s
Lay Rector with Spiritual Advisers


It was a huge honour for me to serve as Lay Rector of London Cursillo #30, and the weekend brought great blessings to the staff team and the pilgrims, and has further nourished the Cursillo community in the diocese.

It seemed hardly any time since London #29 that we were back to the planning stage for another weekend, which was to be our last at St Katharine’s. Jane and I met on two occasions (and once with Helen our OLR) to draw together a staff team, and begin putting together the necessary arrangements before gathering the staff for two successful training events at St Lawrence Eastcote in April.

Due to a family bereavement preventing one staff member joining us, we were grateful to Millie Christian who stepped in at a late stage as table leader. The staff team worked well together at the training events, and the atmosphere of trust and support was carried through to the weekend. This really makes a difference to the pilgrims, who can sense the common purpose all the staff were working towards.

The weekend was dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, not only the patron of the Royal Foundation where we were staying, but also remembered more widely in that part of the East End. The three tables were dedicated to saints with strong connections to the diocese: Mellitus, Paul and Ethelburga.

Despite following on only 6 months after our previous weekend, we were blessed to have 11 pilgrims signed up for the weekend from a diversity of churches across the diocese, though sadly one was unable to join us on the day due to a family crisis.

Almost from the drinks party on the first evening, I think we knew the weekend would be a good one. The pilgrims quickly relaxed into the programme, and experiences and opinions were freely shared. It was obvious as the weekend unfolded that the Spirit was moving, and many pilgrims sensed a profound change in themselves as we journeyed together.

I cannot thank the staff team enough for their hard work in keeping to time and to task, for the inspiration of the spiritual advisers, and for everyone’s unfailing love and support for the pilgrims. The hospitality of St Katharine’s was also first rate, and it is with sadness we bid it farewell for now.

The chapel was filled with praise and joy at our Closing Service, as first three pilgrims spoke movingly of the experience of the weekend and all received their crosses in the presence of the gathered Cursillo community and the archdeacon of London. We then we shared bread and wine together before tea and a sad farewell to friends old and new.

It is my hope that the pilgrims in their fourth day will have a new sense of their belovedness to God, and feel empowered as Christians to act in the world. As we look towards London #31 I would like to challenge our movement to do more to attract younger pilgrims, and to diversify the spread of churches we serve. Cursillo is a gift too precious to keep to ourselves.

Pilgrim's reflections

Shana describes the weekend as an amazing experience that needs to be felt, offering opportunities for deeper self understanding.
- Shana Maloney

“ It was a joyous weekend. Surprises kept coming. I felt surrounded by love and peace. In the busyness of Limehouse, St Katharine’s felt like an oasis.”
- Martina Murphy

“It was busy, yet you had space for yourself. There was impressive lay input and we were moved by evidence of the people who were praying for us. The weekend was life-changing, life-enhancing and lifebringing with jelly babies and chocolate as a bonus.”
- Avril Nickolson

The Cursillo weekend in May was quite simply one of the most uplifting and inspiring experiences of my life - full of warmth, friendship and support. Even now after 4 months, I feel a warm glow when I think of it & a smile spreads across my face. It has inspired and guided me and I now know that when I stumble His arms will lift me.
- Joan Solomon

There was a palpable sense of community and great care and support of the pilgrims by the staff. There was time for reflection. I liked the way there was something to think about before we went to bed. I found that really beneficial.
- Simon Caira

The Cursillo experience was awesome, leading to the finale, the closing service, which was beautifully arranged. There must have been a great deal of unseen preparation in the background to give us all such a lovely surprise.
- Dorith Duncan

I found the weekend was very moving giving me lots to think about. The experience made me feel very special.
- Fiona Sheehan

“The weekend was everything I could have expected, full of gifts of every kind. During the closing service, when I received my Cursillo cross, I felt I had graduated. Above all, I felt empowered.”
- Colin Bailey

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