Kathleen Jowitt writes:
At the beginning of May I attended the BACC (British Anglican Cursillo Council) conference and annual general meeting at The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire. Usually the conference takes place every two years, but this was the first one since COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted. This year’s theme was Reconnecting and Moving Forward, although since this was my first time attending it was probably more about the latter for me! But there was plenty of connecting too. It was great to have Amanda there with me, as well as Lesley in her dual role.
We were encouraged to engage and share experience with Cursillistas from other dioceses, gathering in groups sometimes according to our roles, and sometimes according to our geographical area. There was plenty of prayer and worship, with a Eucharist on both Saturday and Sunday and morning and evening prayer as well.
Most of the business took place on the Saturday:
Rev Stephen Bowring, the national Spiritual Director (and Ely Cursillista!) led a Bible study on the theme of rebuilding after destruction. Bearing in mind the origins of Cursillo after the Spanish Civil War as well as our current situation emerging from a worldwide pandemic, with war still very much in our consciousness, we found that Nehemiah, Luke, and Acts had plenty to say to us.
The AGM was conducted very efficiently by BACC President Beth Roberts. This included an update on this year’s National Ultreya from the Southwark and London Ultreya Group. It sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic day – do join us if you can.
There were two workshops:
Fresh Expressions of Cursillo
Prompted by the success of adopting a two-day format alongside a three-day format, we considered other ways the basic Cursillo concept might be adapted to be more accessible for people with caring responsibilities, disabilities, and any other characteristics that might mean that the traditional weekend model wouldn’t work for them. I’m very keen to see where this goes, but in the meantime we can continue to invite members of our Christian family to Fourth Day events whether or not a conventional Cursillo experience seems feasible for them.
How to encourage the next generation of participants
As the youngest person there (36, since you ask), my contribution was to encourage delegates to talk to the next generation about Cursillo – simple as that! Maybe I’ll write a blog post about that…
And there was time to spend quietly on our own, too. The Hayes is a beautiful venue and I was particularly pleased to discover a labyrinth in a walled garden – something that has a lot of resonance for me.
And of course there was all the joy, laughter, and fellowship you’d expect from a Cursillo event. I walked in on Friday evening and recognised one person. By Sunday afternoon it felt as if I’d known everybody for ever. Reconnecting and moving forward, indeed.