Yesterday, ten lay and ordained Cursillistas, including Bishop Kenneth Price, met for 2-1/2 hours at the diocesan office in Monroeville. We shared our Cursillo experiences and discussed the future of Cursillo in the diocese. I found the airing of our personal histories encouraging. Those of us who have been a part of Pittsburgh Episcopal Cursillo have had remarkably similar experiences and hold similar views about Cursillo’s successes and failures in our diocese. This shared understanding will help us plan for the future with confidence. I was also pleased to learn that some members of our group had experienced Cursillo elsewhere, thus bringing broader perspectives to our discussion. One participant, for example, played a role in establishing a formal Cursillo organization within The Episcopal Church. Others had attended Cursillo weekends sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, including an event conducted in Spanish, the native tongue, as it were, of Cursillo.
It is not necessary to recount everything that was discussed in the meeting, but I do want to list some of the major decisions that were made by the group. Most importantly, perhaps, we agreed that we want to reinvigorate Cursillo in the diocese, and, when we can, begin to sponsor the weekend events for which Cursillo is best known. We were each given a copy of the pamphlet “Strategies for Restarting and Renewing Cursillo Movements in Dioceses” from National Episcopal Cursillo, and this booklet informed our discussions. In particular, based on advice in “Strategies,” we designated a temporary governing board of three people. We assigned tasks and set a date for our next meeting. We also set a date for an Ultreya—a kind of reunion and pep rally—to be held in mid-June [a correction to my original post—sorry]. This will be our first gathering of the larger Cursillo community. We will take our time and plan carefully for future events. We do not expect to be sponsoring a Cursillo weekend for at least a year.
We left the diocesan office with a sense of accomplishment, and most of us adjourned to a nearby Mexican restaurant for more fellowship, sharing, and an overdue meal.
Meanwhile, In the Other DioceseThe Rev. David Wilson, a Cursillo leader who is now in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, left a comment on this blog about “Reviving Cursillo.” He questioned some statements I had made in that post. I thought I had been misunderstood, but it was also clear that I was not aware—and am still not aware—of all the relevant facts. A little research gave me a better appreciation of the history of the Cursillo movement and understanding of what is happening in the Anglican diocese. I hardly wanted to engage in a long-running on-line dispute with Fr. Wilson, but I did want to correct the record and share something of what I had learned from my research. If you have not done so, you may want to read Fr. Wilson’s comment and my response.
Since the congregations of the Anglican Church in North America are not in The Episcopal Church and are not in dioceses led by Episcopal bishops, they cannot participate in Cursillo under National Episcopal Cursillo. ACNA has therefore created an analogue of National Episcopal Cursillo called Anglican 4th Day of North America. It has not done so under license from the Roman Catholic Church, which holds the rights to the name “Cursillo, so A4D, which seems to be Cursillo in all but name, cannot use that name. This certainly causes National Episcopal Cursillo no grief and, I suspect, the Roman Catholics have no problem with the arrangement either. (Anyway, this is not my problem.)
I have hardly done a complete review of the A4D Web site, but it does seem that A4D has its act together. I was disappointed that many of its publications, even those delivered free electronically, are not directly available from that Web site. One important document can be read by the casual visitor, however, and that is “The Anglican Fourth Day Handbook” dated (both) December 4, 2009, and December 5, 2009.
“Handbook,” I think, gives some insight, if any more is needed, into the orientation of ACNA, which seems to combine the extremes of Protestant theology and Catholic polity. Below, I have reproduced two brief sections of this document, taken from is pages 7 and 8. Although I will not comment further on “Handbook,” I have highlighted text I found particularly interesting. Make of this what you will.
Fundamental Beliefs of the A4DTM Servant Community
As A4DTM affiliate members we believe in being a part of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ; we believe and confess Jesus to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father, but by Him.
We accept and uphold the authority of Scripture (Old and New Testaments) and accept them to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard to Christian faith and life.
We confess as provided by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the Church as declared in the Apostles‟ and Nicene Creeds.
We receive the 39 Articles of Religion (Year 1571) as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.
We seek to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior.
We accept The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine, discipline, and worship.
We accept the original intent and methodology of the Cursillo movement which includes 15 talks and 5 meditations; including the full expression of the sacraments as found in the context of the historical, orthodox, Anglican Tradition.
We continue in the tradition of keeping with the essence and core principals found in the original Cursillo methodology/movement.
Goals of the Anglican 4th Day
- To build Christian fellowship, raise up empowered Christian leaders, so the church can reach the world for Christ Jesus.
- To allow for an appropriate opportunity for pilgrims to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ (to be born-again), to call the wayward back to the Lord, and for each person to be filled with the Holy Spirit during the three-day weekend or other A4D activity. A4D is intended to make saints and apostles. Saints are people who know God, who know His love and grace, and who live their lives from this relationship. Apostles are saints who have the mission to share that same knowledge with others." Thus A4D is committed both to making saints (believers with “a vibrant faith in Jesus”) and apostles (those on a mission and way of life for others to evangelize their communities and transform their environments).
- To claim the world for Christ as Christians and to build His Kingdom on earth through the transformation of the environments (family, church, neighborhoods, marketplace, etc.) we encounter in our daily lives and to move into new environments the church is not presently reaching. The 4th Day Servant Community shall live out its faith daily (Piety, Study, Small Group Accountability with Apostolic Action) using the tools taught during and after the three-day weekend.
- To exist as “Fourth-Dayers,” as believers, and servants to assist the Body of Christ, the Church, in its mission - to know Christ Jesus and make Him known to others (Matthew 28:18-20). The A4D servant community is called to be a public friend of Jesus Christ in the marketplace in which we sojourn daily and to stand firm in our Biblically-centered Christian Faith. (Luke 12:8-10).
- To witness to the world both in and outside of the Church as a servant community under the authority of the Church’s leadership. To minister to the least, the last, and the lost. To increase the capacity of the church to serve locally, nationally, and internationally.
- The A4DTM community and all of its activities are to be open and transparent to all in the Church.