top of page

Be strong and courageous: Spiritual Director's report

Here we share our Spiritual Director Rev'd Olivia Coles' report from this year's annual general meeting. Olivia looks back on what's been a challenging year for all of us.

Following my Cursillo on Ely 17, I began the journey to ordination. My Cursillo pilgrimage played an enormous part in helping me decide to finally taking the plunge! It has been amazing to see since then how God has continued to work through Cursillo for myself and others who have been done a Cursillo weekend.

At the heart of the Cursillo movement is prayer, which is something that I feel underpins everything about our Christian faith and journey. So, when Revd Kathy Bishop decided that she needed to step down and retire as SD, after another amazing stint in the role, I felt God nudging me to step up and offer a more active role within Cursillo. It has been an honour to take up the role of SD, although daunting, and often with a huge sense of feeling out of my depth. However, I am passionate that Cursillo continues in the Ely Diocese and with the enthusiasm and excitement that Julie Hughes as our new LD brings, I felt that for this next season we could with the Holy Spirit play our part in helping take Ely Cursillo forward.

The verse that King David would one day say to his son Solomon has been a real help as I took on this role from the beginning of November 2020:

Be strong and courageous… Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (1 Chron 28:20)

So too, my favourite bible verse from Proverbs which says;

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

A helpful reminder that it not my work or the LD’s or Secretariat’s work but God’s work and we are called to join in with the eternal kingdom song to each play our part in building God’s kingdom wherever and whoever we are. Each of us is called by God and uniquely placed by God to blossom and flourish where we have been planted.

God is not held back by a pandemic and this last year has allowed us to think more creatively about how we can continue to meet as Cursillistas and continue to build fellowship and prayer into the heart of all we are about and do within our ‘fourth day’ lives.

To help keep prayer at the heart of Ely Cursillo and also find a way to keep us connected as a movement, I felt we should try to meet monthly on zoom and the idea of the Refugios came about. These seem to have met the need for connection and fellowship as well as prayer during these challenging times and it has been lovely to share together on zoom.

As Julie has mentioned our Study Day on Sat 8 May was also a wonderful way of learning more about Julian of Norwich together. My grateful thanks go to Revd Kathy Waite, Revd James, Shakespeare, Revd Petra Shakeshaft and Helen Randall for leading our talk and workshops. This also provided a great opportunity to invite others to join us and find out more about the Cursillo movement.

We plan to continue meeting on zoom monthly for the moment and then looking towards holding our first in person Ultreya this coming autumn.

Meanwhile, we are going ahead with the planning of the postponed Ely 36 weekend with the new condensed format in a new venue for Ely Diocese at Pleshey in Chelmsford.

I am excited by the team that our new Lay Rector of Ely 36, Fiona McCullough is putting together and we are praying in faith that the weekend will go ahead this November 2021.

I pray that each of us may continue to hold onto God as we emerge out of the pandemic and navigate these new times, choosing to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and protection with the words of Psalm 144;

Praise the Lord who is my rock…
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
My tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield and I take refuge in him… (Psalm 144: 1-2)


Olivia Coles

Spiritual Director

24 views0 comments


bottom of page