Bishop John’s Letters

I recently met the secretariat of Cursillo, the renewal movement across the churches which has given so much to so many ‘ordinary’ Christians. Based on a long weekend and subsequent fellowship, Cursillo offers a lovely way of encouragement to people who are looking for more in their faith (a ‘Living Faith’). I’ve found it a real gift and commend Cursillo as something to have in the toolkit. If you can manage it, I think it’s best of all if clergy have been first before commending it to others. Oversight in our diocese comes from the Revd Dr Charles Miller from St Helen’s Abingdon and Peter Watsham, Diocesan Lay Director.

As many of you know, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Cursillo movement within our Diocese. Based on my own experience of Cursillo, I believe Cursillo has much to offer us all as we seek to deepen discipleship, encourage lay ministries, and grow our congregations.

I’m especially delighted, therefore, that our Oxford Cursillo is planning to offer the clergy and people of our Diocese an opportunity to explore and encourage discipleship. A series of events for clergy and laity will take place at Douai Abbey on April 12th and 13th, 2013 with the theme “Deepening Discipleship”.

Friday, April 12th will be dedicated to welcoming the clergy of the Diocese, and I am pleased that Bishop Colin, also a keen supporter of Cursillo, will have an opportunity that morning to reflect on the Cursillo experience and method and how it can aid us all in our efforts to form disciples. Other clergy will complement his offering by exploring how Cursillo can be part of a parish strategy for growth. Information will be forthcoming in the Door as well as through other media. (The Oxford Cursillo website is always worth visiting). So, I hope you will want to respond positively yourself and come to find out about Cursillo, and that you will want to encourage some of your parish’s leaders and potential leaders to attend the programme for them on Saturday, April 13th.

Douai Abbey is an impressive place, full of interest in itself; we are grateful for their willingness to be the venue for this important opportunity in Eastertide.

I encourage you to be there!

Yours in Christ


To register your interest for this event, please email us.

Living Faith:   I am very glad that we are now beginning to roll out material to support the Living Faith vision and priorities.  Every benefice will have received leaflets, postcards, reminder cards, a DVD, posters and pens, etc.  The website is constantly updated on Living Faith-related people and ideas.  At the Archdeaconry evenings – 6th October in Dorchester Abbey – amongst other things there will be distributed a Bible Study guide and a self-managed Health Check for Churches.  Later there will be material to support the priority of Sustaining the Sacred Centre, ready for 2010.   I have been very encouraged by the number of parishes and deaneries who have said they have already found the diagram and priorities really helpful and have based their planning on the Living Faith framework.  Please remember that this is not prescriptive; it is simply a palette of colours for you to paint with.  All I maintain is that these colours are crucial and that if we use them well we will find the Kingdom growing in our midst.  And it starts with re-focusing on God.

Cursillo:  One “tool” for renewal that fits in very well with the Living Faith vision is Cursillo.  All your bishops have been on Cursillo weekends or are familiar and positive about its contribution to the enlivening of people’s faith.  It centres on a weekend of orthodox Christian teaching which is full of joy and surprises, and I have known it to be revolutionary in the Christian experience of many believers.  I have been part of Cursillo in three dioceses now and in every case have seen it bring people to life spiritually and in their commitment to their church.  If you want a well-tried, widely accepted route to personal renewal for people in your church I do recommend you contact Peter Watsham, Lay Director, on 01628 821023 or at and he will send you some material or arrange for presentations to be given in Churches, Chapters or Synods.  It is particularly good if clergy go on a weekend and then become natural ambassadors. Full details of the next Cursillo weekend are on this website.