Weekend 29 Report

Weekend 29
Weekend 29
Weekend 29

WEEKEND #29 – LAY RECTOR’S REPORT

It was a great privilege to have been asked to take on the seemingly daunting role of Lay Rector for London Cursillo #29, something I never expected, having always served previously as Music Assistant.  However, throughout the whole experience, I know that God was holding us, the Staff and the Pilgrims in the palm of His hand, guiding and inspiring us all every step of the way as we journeyed along our weekend pilgrimage.

October 29th 2015 dawned rather grey, but that didn’t subdue the excited Staff team that gathered in good time at St Katharine’s.  We quickly discovered that preparations were well underway in the Chapel; this enabled us to have our Staff commissioning Eucharist right at the start of the Weekend which we all greatly appreciated.  Following our meeting and final preparations, which were achieved effortlessly and smoothly thanks to our wonderful team, we managed to take a short breather before greeting the Pilgrims as they arrived.

All were safely gathered in before a warming and delicious evening meal, and as the seven Pilgrims gradually allowed themselves to “let go and let God” as the weekend unfolded, we knew that “All would be well, and all manner of things would be well” (to paraphrase Julian of Norwich!).  That symbol of Cursillo, the rainbow, God’s covenant with His people, was very much at the forefront of my mind throughout the weekend: we are like that glorious spectrum of colours, with our different personalities, God-given gifts and backgrounds – Rainbow People.  We come to Cursillo to be strengthened and united in our faith, to be open to the Spirit and to each other through Prayer, Study and Action, enabling us to become Ambassadors for Christ on our Fourth Day.

Each Cursillo is a unique experience, and certainly London #29 was no exception.  It started quietly and despite a few fluctuations in dynamics along the way, little by little everything built up to a magnificent crescendo, culminating in our gloriously joyful Closing Service, celebrated on a beautiful, golden afternoon.  We were delighted that all the sponsors were able to be with us for this and that they each had a role to play in the service.  Our Pilgrims in so many ways expressed their heartfelt appreciation for everything they had received during the weekend, and I and the team feel so blessed to have been part of their journey.  The singing was exceptional, the Talks outstanding and inspirational, the services calming and uplifting by turn, the discussions challenging, but fruitful, while the artwork was extremely creative (especially in the Pilgrims’ use of the fallen autumnal leaves).

We felt especially supported by prayer this weekend, as we knew that not only had the new London Cursillo Prayer Group been praying for us, but also that people from different churches in the diocese were supporting us in a continuous prayer chain throughout the weekend.  This was beautifully represented by a butterfly Palanca garland that Karen Small made and looped up in the Conference Room, each butterfly naming a particular church or person praying for us at a specific time.  This was a truly wonderful and moving gift to us all.  Thank you so much to all of you who were involved in this.

We are extremely grateful to the smiling staff at St Katharine’s who again looked after us so kindly and generously, providing us with comfortable accommodation and excellent, varied cuisine.  We especially appreciated Fr Gareth’s Grace before lunch on the Friday: “Bless this bunch as they munch their lunch”!

My special thanks go to Jane Coan, who, during the last year, so calmly and efficiently prepared me for this most truly memorable weekend, giving of her time so thoughtfully and lovingly.  The London #29 team (four of whom hadn’t staffed before) was a truly happy band of pilgrims to work with and I thank them all for their wonderful friendship, support and giving of their amazing talents in the service of our special Pilgrims.  We all truly benefitted from the wisdom, kindness and listening skills of our Spiritual Advisers, Father Gareth and Father Ken.  In particular I would like to thank Pat Stevens who, as Lay Rector’s Assistant, carried me through the weekend with such tireless energy and with great attention to detail.  I must also mention Tricia Hughes who was serving with us at a time of great upheaval: she was, just at this time, in the throes of moving house to Dorset and was about to leave family and many dear friends behind.  We wish her and her husband well in their new environment where we are sure she will bloom where she is planted!  Thank you, Tricia, for all you have done for Cursillo.

We are also very grateful to both David Hudson and Helen Pye-Beraet who gave of their time so generously by helping us to put everything in place at St Katharine’s and by clearing up afterwards in the twinkling of an eye!

We continue to hold the Pilgrims of London #29 in our prayers as they venture on in their Fourth Day and give many heartfelt thanks for the love, laughter, companionship and joy that we all shared during this really special time.

Heather Chamberlain


Pilgrims Reflections

Many words come to mind when I think of the Cursillo weekend: surprising, overwhelming, enlightening, thought provoking, peaceful, uplifting, friendly, comforting and spiritual but most of all I was totally overwhelmed by the love shared by all those people who gave their time in preparation and prayer for me to make the weekend such a wonderful experience. I felt thoroughly spoilt by love, kindness and generosity. It has certainly shown me a fraction of the power of God's love and has given me an inner peace to help me along as I journey through my 4th day.  Thank you God.
- Sue Worker

I found the weekend worthwhile and would recommend it to anyone.  If you go with an open mind you will receive much from the experience and be guaranteed a very warm welcome.  For me the weekend represented everything that could be expected from a Christian community. 
- Bai Bai Conteh

It was amazing to know that so many were praying for us before and during the weekend. The support from around the world was tremendous.
- Margaret Cobley

All aspects of the Cursillo experience were enjoyable.  I particularly remember the atmosphere of the weekend and I made some good friends.  I felt very blessed by the weekend and a number of things have come out of it for me.  I have much to look forward to. 
- Julie Holmes

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