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Blackburn: 400 at cathedral for national Cursillo event

Around 400 people from almost 30 Church of England dioceses converged on Blackburn Cathedral at the weekend for the annual national Cursillo gathering ...

Around 400 people from almost 30 Church of England dioceses converged on Blackburn Cathedral at the weekend for the annual national Cursillo gathering.

 Joining the gathering were the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson and the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson. The retired Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev John Goddard, was also at the event with his wife Vivienne, the Lay Director for the Blackburn Diocese Cursillo group.
The event was entitled Ultreya GB 2015. Ultreya is a Spanish word which reflects Cursillo’s Spanish origins and means to persevere and encourage each other in Christian pilgrimage. It echoes the biblical call in Hebrews 10:24-25.
The morning session began with an address from Cursillo’s National President, Sally Henniker-Major from Durham Diocese.
Sally recorded her thanks for all the work of the British Anglican Cursillo Council committees in co-ordinating and overseeing the work of Cursillo across the nation and expressing the wish that this year’s gathering would rejuvenate all the attendees through their fellowship, sharing and worship together.
The gathering then split into small groups to provide an opportunity to share experiences and encourage each other in prayer, study and apostolic action. Grouping in this pattern is the foundation of Cursillo wherever it operates.
The meeting then reconvened to hear a witness talk from Judith Greenwood (Blackburn Diocese) on her role as a pastoral assistant.
Pastoral assistants are lay men and women authorised by the Diocese to help develop caring and pastoral work on behalf of the church, in a voluntary capacity. Judith provided learning points regarding the need for laity to use their talents in God’s service.


The Gospel Response to the talk was given by The Reverend Hugh Burgess, Cursillo’s National Spiritual Director from St Asaph Diocese.
He said retirement for a Christian is not an option as we strive to reach our potential and become the people God intended us to be.
After lunch, people reassembled for the Eucharist, preceded by a colourful banner procession of all the represented dioceses.
Bishop Julian celebrated the Eucharist and Bishop Geoff delivered the sermon based on the epistle reading from James 1: 17-27 which provided a picture of discipleship and indeed of Cursillo itself; a personal response to Jesus Christ formed in community, making saints and apostles who can make a difference.
At the end of the Eucharist, the banners were processed out of the cathedral into warm sunshine to rapturous applause and cheers. Many delegates then enjoyed a delicious Lancashire Hotpot in the Cathedral café before heading home.

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