Every Presbyterian Pilgrimage-Cursillo community likely stresses during each weekend that “there is no church of Pilgrimage-Cursillo.” The purpose of the weekend is to train leaders to return to, and evangelize, their local environments, not to raise up team members for the next weekend or divert energies that should be spent within the existing ministries of local congregations. We can trust that God will call to the next weekend those whom God wishes to call. We can also trust that God will provide financial, personnel and logistical resources sufficient to fulfill God’s plans for each Pilgrimage-Cursillo community. Given all that, is it permissible, advisable or neither to encourage pilgrims to apply for a team position, or otherwise volunteer to help the Pilgrimage-Cursillo cause?
And what about soliciting donations? Is it okay for a pilgrim to know that their weekend costs money? Does it detract from the seamless presentation of a weekend? Make the weekend seem less like a gift? Or is a pilgrim blessed when they have an opportunity to share the gift with another through a scholarship donation?

God is in control, but God also calls us to assist in the work that God is doing. God calls us to communicate in a variety of ways over the course of the weekend just how much each pilgrim is loved by God. Prior to and during each weekend that we serve on a team or pray or prepare gifts of grace, we receive abundant blessings.

To love as God loves, even a fraction, is a boundless joy. It would be naive of us to keep that joy to ourselves. Come, help Pilgrimage-Cursillo share God’s love. All may, some will, none must. Can we extend the invitation more than once in person or by letter or phone call? The more people available to serve, the more weekends that can be held and the more people that will come to know God’s love in a special way.

Pilgrimage-Cursillo is an experiment in living God’s will today

Scott Bowers

Perhaps one of the reasons that God gave us reunion/renewal groups is to encourage group members to serve on teams or otherwise support future weekends. Without a disciple-building group experience based on the familiar three-legged stool (piety, study and action), Pilgrimage-Cursillo can easily recede in one’s memory to become just another mountaintop” experience. The strength of one’s community stems from its reunion/renewal groups.

If you think your weekend experience is worth sharing with others, and if you feel called to do so, get involved. Apply to be on a team. Donate to a scholarship fund, or start one. Volunteer to help with the next Ultreya-gathering. Sponsor a pilgrim. Serve on an outreach team to help tell other churches about the ways that God works through Pilgrimage-Cursillo weekends. Pilgrimage-Cursillo is a gift of God’s grace, to be sure, and we are the hands and feet of God.

Sharing within 4th Day

– Sabrina Sanders Hergert & Scott Bowers

Greetings, Cursillistas! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to inform the Fourth Day. If people are made aware of events, invited to contribute to newsletters, and generally kept up-to-date, they are more likely to participate. If people are praying for each other, celebrating in each other’s joys, and comforting one another in times of sorrow, they are more likely to feel like a community. With the Holy Spirit as your guide, you can be successful in this mission.

“How?” you ask, “at a time when people are caught up in the busy-ness of the day?”

The answer: Harness technology to broadcast to the masses. First, collect e-mail addresses for those on-line in your 4th Day. Obtain e-mail addresses when folks fill out staff and participant applications. Include them in your database. Ask at Ultreya-Gatherings, Council meetings and in the newsletters for e-mail addresses. Then, set up a distribution list in your e-mail address book. Finally, broadcast a message apprising the recipients of this service. (Tip: When you send a message to your 4th Day, send it as a blind carbon copy, BCC, so that the recipients are not disclosed and so that the addresses do not fill the first page of the message.) Alternatively use one of the several free list-services out there such as Mail chimp. Next, realize the power of personal, non-digital contact.

Items for broadcast include:

  •     Prayer requests and praise items (with permission)
  •     Brief articles
  •     Staff and participant lists for palanca writing and prayers
  •     Thursday night prayer service times and locations
  •     Serenade, Closing and Ultreya-gatherings
  •     Prayer Banner sign-up
  •     Lost and found items from Ultreyas/weekends
  •     Pertinent scripture for an event, celebration or loss
  •     Holiday greetings

Exercise caution when using e-mail addresses. First, as indicated earlier, people may not wish to have their e-mail addresses published, so disclose them only with permission. Next, there simply is not enough time in a day to forward every possible sales pitch, job hunt, death of a neighbor’s uncle’s dog, etc. You may have to propose a caveat where only items related to Pilgrimage-Cursillo or items related to your local community will be forwarded. Solicitation should never be included.

Finally, serve other Cursillo communities via e-mail by responding to their requests for palanca, prayer banner sign-up, etc. Then, reciprocate such requests with them. Again, it may be necessary to place boundaries on how much e-mail is forwarded. Unsubscribe requests increase with e-mail frequency and irrelevance. One option is to survey your community; find out who desires receiving such state, national and international information; and set up a separate distribution lists or a short list of content-specific distribution 4th Day.

In closing, God tells us in Genesis 12:1-3 that He will bless us to “be a blessing.” Pray about it and see if God calls you to be such a blessing keeping the 4th Day informed. Should you choose to accept this mission and coordinate e-mail and websites for your community, count it an honor. Working in the midst of such a prayerful and caring community richly blesses you as well.

Peace and blessings to you all.

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