The Diocese of Dallas
“Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”
This is the cry of Christians through the ages. It is a cry of joy. But it is also a call to mission. Because Christ lives, death is overcome and the way to new life in God has been opened. Christians have received this gift of new and deeper life. But the gift does not belong to them. It is a gift that must be handed on to be rightly received. And when it is, the gift multiplies in richness as it is spreads to more and more souls.
Mission of the Church
The mission of the Church, then, is to hand on the gift of life in Christ to those souls who do not know him.
The Diocese of Dallas
The mission of the Church always finds expression in concrete realities: in individual person, in local communities, and in the family of communities we call a diocese. The mission of the Diocese of Dallas is to be the Church of Jesus Christ in our neighborhoods across North Texas: that is, together with Christians through the ages, sharing the same faith, the same Scriptures and the same sacraments, bringing those who do not Jesus to the knowledge and worship of him.
In order to carry out this mission, clergy and laity work together to be shaped by the living Christ and empowered by his Holy Spirit to reach others. They labor together to understand the story of Jesus, to take to heart his teachings and way of life, to pray together for themselves and the world, and to offer themselves body and soul for his service.
The object of this “work together” is to “reach others.”
Every member of the Church is also a missionary. From the very beginning, the Risen Christ came to his disciples and gave them a task to fulfill. In its most memorable form, this commission was expressed in these words:
“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and makes disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And, look: I am with you always, to the very end of the ages!”
Jesus spoke these words to men and women whom he had made his friends. He had walked with them, shared their burdens, prayed for them, and at the last laid down his life for them. In his resurrection, he pledged himself to them for eternity – his friendship would carry them through this life and through death itself. Because he lives, they too will live. This is why he went a step further: “Go, therefore!” The friendship of Jesus with his disciples impelled them to make friends beyond their circle – to open their arms and their hearts to all. The mission of Jesus’ friends was to make friends for eternity.
This is the essence of evangelism, the method of proclaiming Good News.
There is no mystery to this mission. The only mystery may attach to how we carry the mission out.
The mission of Cursillo is the same as the mission of the Church. But there is this difference: The Cursillos make every Christian aware of his or her responsibility for mission, and help them become good missionaries.
It has been said that “if everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.” The mission of Cursillo is to be sure that every Christian knows he or she is responsible for being a missionary for Christ.
The Cursillos began with a bishop and laity realizing that in order to bring the world to Christ in friendship, they needed to have a plan. That plan was already implicit in the Gospel:
- Find Christians who already had a vital sense of faith;
- Energize them with God’s immediate call to each one;
- Show them the way to work together to share their faith;
- Link them with other Christians to carry out their work.
This happened first in Spain. But soon, the practicality and the vitality of this biblical practice began to spread to other parts of the world, most notably here in Texas.
The Cursillos in the Diocese of Dallas have worked this plan for over a generation. Many of the most outstanding and tireless workers and leaders in the Diocese have come from Cursillo weekends. They, indeed, “heard” the message and began to live it out.
Today, the Cursillos in the Diocese of Dallas continue. But your bishops are now calling all Cursillistas to a renewal of vision and labor so that the mission which Christ gave his Church may once again be “front and center” in our thinking, our prayer, our action and our work.
1. The Cursillos will be coordinated through a Secretariat under the oversight of the Bishop and Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese, and with consultation and support given by the Canon Missioner for Evangelism.
2. The Secretariat will establish the weekends, develop and appoint leadership, oversee the program consistent with the standards established by the National Episcopal Cursillo, and support Group Reunions and Ultreyas among the Cursillistas.
3. The Secretariat will establish a Servant Community, also known as the School for Leaders, to instruct in and deepen understanding of the Cursillo Method and its theological, spiritual and sacramental foundation.
4. The Cursillos will clearly articulate the Great Commission of our Lord as the motivating principle of the Movement as a whole.
5. The Cursillos will actively seek well formed Christian leaders in congregation of the Diocese, and encourage and inspire them to want to be part of the greater mission of the Church.
6. The Secretariat will ensure that the Cursillo weekends are completely dedicated to equipping these leaders to carry out mission in their homes, their congregations, their communities and the world – in short, to “Christianize their environments.”
7. The Cursillistas will live what they have learned and proclaimed, drawing together for Group Reunions and Ultreyas at every level.
- To accomplish a steady rise in the recruitment and equipping of Christians, both men and women, between 30 and 45 years of age.
- To support and increase the numbers of Cursillo weekends conducted in the Spanish Language.
- To have a presence in every congregation of the Diocese by the year 2015.
- To conduct regular events (at least 1 per year) to familiarize clergy and other leaders (Sr. Wardens, Jr. Wardens) with the purpose and method of Cursillo.
Your Bishops both know the power of Cursillo in their own lives, and are grateful for the ministry and witness of the Cursillos in the life of this Diocese. We are committed, individually and together, not only to defending the “faith once delivered to the saints,” but we are also committed to proclaiming the risen Christ to all people. It is our joy as your Bishops to see our members become the missionaries, by God’s call, they were intended to be.
Now we pledge to you our continuing support and encouragement in every way. The degree to which we will succeed in this undertaking will not be measured in terms of how many Episcopalians call themselves “Cursillistas,” but in how many of our fellow Christians call themselves “Missionaries” – Apostles for Christ!
Our joy will be fulfilled only when we are able to shout together:
“The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!”
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Suffragan of Dallas
The Diocese of Fort Worth
A PASTORAL PLAN FOR THE CURSILLO MOVEMENT IN THE DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH
The mission of the Diocese is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) The Cursillo Movement is central to this mission, as it changes the lives of people who experience God’s grace in such a way that they become agents of the transforming love of Jesus Christ in the world about us. It is a proven strategy and method for renewal and empowerment for apostolic action that brings others to Christ, in the fellowship of His Church.
The Secretariat and the Bishop will cooperate and communicate with each other in supporting and promoting all aspects of the Cursillo Movement throughout the Diocese. We will seek to expand the number of participants in every congregation and will continue to reach out to the increasing Hispanic population in our area.
Clergy support and encouragement are essential for the on-going success of the Movement, and the Bishop will urge them to be active and involved not only in the Three-Day Weekend, but also in Fourth Day groupings and Ultreyas. Newly ordained clergy will be asked to make a Cursillo weekend early on in their ministry in order to become familiar with the Movement on a first hand basis.
In particular, we seek to increase the number of Cursillistas in the 20’s and 30’s age group. Evangelism in this age group is critical to the ongoing health and vitality of the Church. A sound way ‘of approaching this is described in Cursillo as “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.”
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth