Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter

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					Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter
April 2009                       Volume 5; Number 2

                          The Journey to HPC 55 (by Karen White)
 Upcoming Dates                               Great is his faithfulness;
                                       His mercies begin afresh each morning
Apr 15 th – 19 th                            If there is anything that I have learned while
 HPC #55 at Texas                                  g                          y
                                             being on this Cursillo jjourney is if I have one
Baptist Encampment                           thing in mind and God has another he will keep
                                             at it until I figure out who is in charge.
       April 21 st
  HPC #55 Ultreya         I heard God calling me to be a Moderator in July of 2004 on a
   Grace at 7pm           mountainside in Valencia Ecuador. Now while I asked God to show
                                     y                         page,
                          me the way if we were on the same p g I failed to ask Him when in
  Jun 3 rd – 7 th         this journey we would get to this point. Through much prayer,
          HPC #56         patience and perseverance the journey reaches a new level but
       at Camp Allen      always continues.
       Jun 11th           The theme for HPC 55 is Lamentations 3:23, 25-26 Great is his
      HPC  #56     y
              Ultreya                  ;                  g                      g
                          faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. The LORD is
1st   - Houston at 7pm    good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So
                          it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.
Jun 12 th – 14 th
      Kairos #38 at the   He is faithful – he is good – he is waiting for us with a do over no
      Carol Vance Unit    matter how bad we think our lives are or how good we think we have
                          it. Cursillo brings the opportunity for renewal for all of us. For the
Jun 18 th – 21 st         Moderator, the Spiritual Advisors, the cha teams and especially for
        LPC 2 at
        #
                          the participants.
       Wesley Center
                          In a few days we will celebrate once again the resurrection of our
Jul 10 th – 12 th         Lord and Savior. I pray that we can carry the Easter celebration all
          HAC at                     Palacios
                          the way to Palacios. I know God has great things in store for HPC
       Camp Cho Yeh       55 – souls will be fed – hearts will be lifted and spirits will be
                          renewed.
          Jul 3 rd        We have been given a gift – a gift that gives us hope – grace --
   HPC #57 Staff
                          mercy -- faith and the peace that surpasses all understanding… all
 pp
Application Deadline      God’s gifts… as beautiful and as delicate as butterfly
                          God s gifts
                          wings emerging from a dull gray cocoon.

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Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter
April 2009                             Volume 5; Number 2
Sponsorship Strengthening Program
In December 2008, the Cursillo Council approved a Sponsorship Strengthening program with aim of
making the Cursillo experience more meaningful to participants by encouraging them to
persevere through active participation in Renewal groups, Ultreyas and other 4th Day activities.
The program is structured to create closer bonds between participants and sponsors and also to
     p g                                                      p    p          p
communicate more effectively the expectations for sponsors. Council understands that many of
you in the 4th Day are unfamiliar with the expectations of a sponsor. While the full implementation
and integration of the Sponsorship Strengthening program is expected to be a two year process,
here are some ways you can begin to serve as sponsors:

         Pray                   Person                    Palanca                 Persevere
                                                                          Continued on page 3
                                  Bragging on God
                            I had to have a biopsy on my bladder. There was a potential for
                            cancer. But after a week of waiting and prayers, the doctor gave me
                            the news I did not have cancer. I just sighed, what a relief!! Once I
                            got to work, I sang "This is the day the Lord has made, let us
                            rejoice in be glad in it" over and over and over again. I couldn't
                            wait to share with fellow HPC 54 staff members since they had been
                            praying for me.
                                                  -- Michelle Vass (HPC 34) --
 As we look forward to the heavenly reward for our earthly lives, God
 promises us a 'banquet feast,' as we celebrate the Lamb who was slain for
 us. I give thanks to our Lord for glimpses of that heavenly banquet in
 the faces and experiences of Cursillo. In some ways, it is as close as we
 get to 'heaven on earth.'
 May such Divine joy and peace be with all who give of their lives in such
 selfless service.
                        -- Chan Willis (LPC 1) --

            Our God is so good and worthy of praise. If you have any praise reports
               you would like to share, please email Amy at agreshy@gmail.com
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Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter
April 2009                                Volume 5; Number 2
Sponsorship Program
                            Prayer is the most important element to successful sponsorship and all
           Pray
                            facets of sponsorship should be wrapped in prayer. This is the most
important tool you have in deciding who to invite to a weekend. Pray for those people by name and
once you become an assigned sponsor, pray daily for your participant.
                             Sponsorship is the call of the whole 4th Day community. It starts at the
          Person
                             very beginning when you invite someone to a Cursillo weekend. You are
laying the groundwork for that participant’s sponsor, whether or not you are assigned as the actual
sponsor of that participant. Most invitations to a Cursillo weekend are extended face to face. This
person to person contact is important, because it allows you to discern attitudes and reactions that may
                                                       k d As                     ill be k d t iti t
alert you to issues or concerns about attending a weekend. A a sponsor, you will b asked to iinitiate
  l t     t i                    b t tt di
or continue this communication, preferably in person, but at very least by phone and not solely through
e-mail. This communication needs to be continued after the weekend. Most participants will want to
talk about their weekend experience and may need help in figuring out how to apply what they have
learned in their church and community.
                               Palanca is such an important part of the weekend. In many cases, the
          Palanca
                               participants know very few of the 4th Day. In some cases, not anyone.
Your palanca may be the only one a participant can put a face with. It shows the participant that you
are praying for them, lifting them up, and supporting them.

         Persevere
                           Perseverance. The theme of the 4th Day. The weekend is only three
                           days. The 4th Day is every day after and is the second most important
aspect of sponsorship. The participants come back from the weekend energized and ready to make a
difference. You can continue to support them by inviting them to the Welcome Home gathering and
encourage them to join a Renewal group, invite them to 4th Day activities. Continue to communicate,
person to person.
These four actions are all that it takes to be an effective sponsor, and they are actions that everyone of
the 4th Day can do. Just as finances should not interfere with a person’s participating in a Cursillo
weekend, no expected action should exclude anyone from being a participant sponsor.
Can there be more? Yes, there can. These four steps and other actions that a sponsor may choose to
  ,           p             presented through some simple training opportunities and in a
do, will be expanded on and p               g            p          g pp
                  sponsorship guidelines booklet as part of the strengthening program.

                                                                                                       3
Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter
April 2009                                Volume 5; Number 2

What Cursillo Meant to Marie (by Sherry Arrick)
Our daughters, Marie and Megan, attended HPC 30 which my husband Doug and I staffed. At the
time, Marie was in her first remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It had been a rough time, with the
cancer so advanced it had invaded her entire upper chest and broken her neck. Marie had just half
the recommended chemo treatments and the cancer was totally gone. Praise God! She moved on
         life and
with her life--and Cursillo was definitely on her list.
                    Marie had a wonderful time at Cursillo. Her neck had healed (another miracle),
                    but was still very weak and she laid down most of the weekend. Still, she
                    participated in all of the sessions and even got up to sign during some of the
                    songs. That’s a picture we will treasure forever.
                    After Cursillo, Marie’s life was truly changed. With a community of faith that
                    needed her, she put her creative talents to work. Missing only one Cursillo, she
                    made buttons themed to each weekend for participants and staff members.
Marie also designed the “Ask Me About Cursillo” buttons, which spread across the United States.
The rest of the story? The cancer returned. Marie did some radiation, then
contracted pneumonia and went into the hospital on Christmas Day 2004.
Marie said she was ready to be with our Lord. I, however, wasn’t ready for her
to leave. I received a promise from God of fifteen more years added to Marie’s
life. One year later without any further treatment, she was again cancer-free.
In July of 2008, she again contracted pneumonia and was taken to the hospital.
On August 5th, the day before her 32nd birthday, the Lord asked me for his
promise back and for me to trust Him -- and so I did.
                   p p                                j
There were ten people around her bed as Marie joined our Lord. She was surrounded by her          y
Christian community of friends and family--and we will all see her again. And I still trust him, for he
will use Marie’s life and witness--and already has--in amazing ways.
You know, I finally figured out why Marie was here, even for such a short time. Presbyterians learn
in confirmation class that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever” and
she did that. She loved God and praised him, even in the storm.
Do you know someone who needs to know and trust God in their lives? Not just on Sundays or
when they think they need him, like I used to. Someone who needs a refresher course in why we
have been placed on this earth. Let them know about Cursillo.
Tell them about the scholarships available, like the one in Marie’s name
which has been so generously funded by those her life touched. Tell them
they can “pay it forward” for someone else, when times are easier for them.
After all, Cursillo is a gift--a gift of hope and trust and relationship--from God.


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Houston Presbyterian Cursillo Newsletter
April 2009                              Volume 5; Number 2
Introducing a new Cursillo Church:
                                Heights Presbyterian Church is working to establish a new foundation
                                for their ministry. The Heights community is on the upswing as a
                                popular community to live in. The church however, has not made such
 a transition just yet. Like so many churches, the traditional expectations and routines have kept
 God’s Spirit from bl i iin new and f h ways. B f
 G d’ S i i f        blowing            d fresh        Before a church can transform iitself iin outward
                                                                  h h             f        lf          d
 ways, it must first be transformed from within. That is, the people must allow their to be transformed
 through the blowing of God’s Spirit and hear the calling of God in a new and relevant way.
 Since coming to our Presbytery, I kept hearing people talk about how Cursillo has done just that,
 transformed their hearts and gave new passion to their ministry. After a year and a half of
 encouragement, I finally was able to convince four people to go. When we arrived and someone
 asked one of my members for their car keys, I thought it just might all end right there. That got
 worked out and as the weekend progressed we felt ourselves trust in the movement of God through
 his servants there that weekend. We learned to trust and allow others to serve us. We listened to
 people share their stories and even began to share our own story. I listened to my people sing
                                                                                             soul.
 songs that I would have never guessed they would enjoy and sing them with their heart and soul
 We all felt the prayers being lifted up for us.
 We were able to return to the Heights
 community with the proper foundation in
 which to rebuild a church. That foundation
 being our connection with Jesus Christ as
 our Lord and Savior. We returned with a
 desire to build our church through prayer
 and service to others, and with an
 inspiration to care for the very heart of a
 person.
 Thanks to everyone who so willingly and
 joyfully give of themselves so that
 Cursillo can transform hearts like ours
 here in the Heights have been
 transformed.
 transformed
                                                              Rev. Mark Downs
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