Believer’s boot camp

Stuart P. Robinson

Darren introduced himself to me at the Cursillo weekend. I didn't recognise him at first. We hadn't met in twenty years. He produced the Bible I'd given him for his 21st in the late 80's. Darren beamed. He told me that he and his wife and a gaggle of kids (six, I believe) were all following Jesus " with a passion.  After a long "wilderness' period Darren had been lovingly enfolded into the life of a local Anglican church in Western Sydney. (Nice work, Richard Goscombe).

The men in Darren's new church encouraged him to come on the Cursillo weekend. I am so pleased they did. Darren was a member of my table group and his insight, wisdom and grace in the face of great personal adversity was inspiring.

Cursillo - "Ker-see-oh" " though I'm not sure why I'm telling you this as I've never heard an Aussie go with the (correct) Spanish pronunciation, means a "short course". The short course is conducted over a weekend and the group of blokes (or women) who gather to hear from God's word and each other become a learning community.

The emphasis is on lay people ministering to lay people. To this end I was a bit of a ring-in though no one seemed to mind. Over the weekend we were presented with more than a dozen scripted, unadorned, powerful, Christ-centred talks. The men were disarmingly honest. They spoke of failure, regret and restoration and wholeness in Christ. I was deeply moved at times. I cried. Darren did too " he's a tough bloke; I felt reassured.

Themes included evangelism, holiness, sexuality, the character of God, living for Jesus, being a man at home and at work and loads more. We prayed together, we laughed (till it ached), we listened to each other, we sang and we sang and we sang!

I mentioned prayer. Let me emphasise that aspect of the weekend. Not only did we pray " hundreds of people prayed for us. I kid you not. People who've attended Cursillo weekends from around Australia had been praying for the men on our course for months in advance. In addition, we were prayed for by name "round the clock over the weekend. I felt loved and encouraged. Darren did too. He told me so.

Bishop Ray Smith (who welcomed us as the weekend began) explained that Cursillo came to the diocese of Sydney via the diocese of Armidale. I was a part of the 26th Sydney Anglican Men's Cursillo. It was a privilege.

The men who attended the program were encouraged to shine for Christ at home and at work. It was brilliant preparation for our diocesan Connect '09 initiative; the national Anglican Cursillo motto is "Make a Friend, Be a Friend, Bring a Friend to Jesus".

Cursillo was like a "Boot Camp'. We rehearsed the basics and encouraged each other to get on with living for Jesus. Ongoing reunions and small group gatherings assist in keeping people accountable and focussed.

People who attend Cursillo weekends are sponsored by Cursillistas - "graduates' of the program. Readers can find our more by visiting the Sydney Anglican Cursillo site.