by Susan Little
When over a 100 people converged in Waterloo, Ontario for the Canadian Anglican Cursillo Triennial Conference at Renison College, little did they expect to get so much faith-building in one short weekend!
On Friday night, Bishop Susan Bell brought greetings from Niagara Diocese as she addressed people from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, all gathering for a weekend of “renewal and encouragement”. She recounted how “the virtuous circle of renewal leading to mission, leading to renewal and back to mission begins with the sharing of faith stories and reflecting about how God is and has been active in our lives”.
In casual conversations, small group sharing or large group presentations, people’s stories provided a source of reflection throughout the weekend.
Bishop Susan’s closing words, advocating “more collaboration, more service, more love” reinforced what Christians seek —“a shared commitment to equip, empower and encourage one another as we seek to live out our baptismal covenant … loving our neighbours as ourselves.”
On Saturday afternoon people attended workshops, choosing from Spiritual Journaling, the Labyrinth or Discerning God’s Call. These workshops, plus a variety of displays, engaged and challenged the participants to grow in the words of the theme: “to do a new thing”. (Isaiah 43:19)
On Saturday night, Bishop Linda Nicholls welcomed people to Huron Diocese. She expressed her gratitude for this opportunity to encourage and support Cursillo, which she believes enhances leadership in parishes, deaneries and regions. She spoke about how each person, by taking large or small steps in response to life’s challenges, can accomplish great results.
Throughout the weekend, our Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz used the model of St. Peter. He looked at Peter in three stages: as a friend to Jesus, then a disciple and finally a leader. He examined the episodes of Peter’s life, especially those surrounding Good Friday and the resurrection appearances. He emphasized that Peter often failed to do what he was supposed to do, but he was always able to get back up and begin following Jesus again. Likewise, our own journey often involves a similar pattern of failure and success, so we are not to be discouraged.
With his accustomed wisdom, insight and wit, Archbishop Fred spoke of God’s deep and abiding love for all who seek him.
By Sunday morning, Cursillistas were ready to take their faith journey to the next level.
As the Eucharist concluded, Archbishop Fred laid his hands upon people, affirming them as they returned to their homes from across Canada. With lively singing provided by guitars, keyboard and drums, the momentum of joy and enthusiasm continued to grow until the final dismissal.
As the last chords of music faded, the words of the final song filled the air, “Build your Kingdom here, we pray”. With our new bishop at the fore, there is good excitement about what new thing will characterize our diocesan life in the future.
Susan Little is a Lay Director of Niagara Huron Cursillo.