Endorsement - The Revd Michael Bolley

The Revd Michael Bolley“God himself acts, giving life to the body of Christ and renewing each member.”

These words appeared in the 1982 Lima Document, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, in a section on the meaning of the Eucharist, but they also sum up what for me the Cursillo movement is all about. Cursillo is one of the ways which God has given to us through which he touches the lives of countless Christians and sends them out as his co-workers in their daily lives.

It was in 1982 that I first encountered Cursiilo, when, as a lay person worshipping at All Souls, Harlesden, I experienced a three-day Cursillo weekend for myself. What stays with me more than 25 years later is the deep sense I had of being enfolded in the love of God; having my eyes opened to the amazing power of prayer; a powerful experience of being part of a loving Christ-centred community—the church as it should be; the beginning of a process of discerning God’s call to me—vocation in its widest sense; and a burning desire to share with others the good news of God’s love.

My experience is far from unique. Over the years I have had the privilege of accompanying literally hundreds of Anglicans in this diocese and elsewhere in their own journeys through a Cursillo weekend, and the vast majority of them would echo many of these same themes. It is truly amazing as well as humbling to see the way that God works powerfully in people’s lives, re-kindling their faith, deepening their commitment and filling them with his love.

Another of Cursillo’s great strengths is the way in which clergy and laity work collaboratively in close partnership to carry out God’s work, in a way which can serve as a model to the wider church. It is a great delight to me, as to most priests who are actively involved in Cursillo, that when we are part of the team leading a Cursillo weekend we can focus purely on teaching the faith, celebrating the sacraments, preaching the word and providing spiritual counsel. Being part of a Cursillo weekend team is an equally fulfilling experience for the lay people involved, many of whom gain new confidence in ministry as they are enabled to work for Christ in ways they haven’t done before, perhaps by giving a talk about some aspect of Christian living, buoyed up by the prayer support which the weekend is soaked in.

But this is only the beginning! For me the most important aspect of Cursillo is not the weekend, but the ongoing support and encouragement which the movement provides to ordinary Christians, lay and ordained, in living out their discipleship.

I know from long personal experience that the regular small group meetings are a remarkably effective way of building strong relationships within the church community, as people share with each other the moments when they have felt close to Christ; and of inspiring, encouraging, supporting and challenging church members to be faithful in serving others, sharing their faith and working for kingdom values in society.
At the less frequent larger gatherings (ultreyas) we hear stories of how people are living our their faith in practice, and as a vicar I have often been astonished to discover the amazing ways in which God is at work in and through the lives of church members.

In the words of a Cursillo prayer, "We give you thanks, Almighty God, for all the benefits you have given us!"

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