Current Bulletin


Dear Friends

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

As we watch the terrible news coming out of Ukraine it is all too easy to feel as though the darkness is overwhelming. Russia has superiority in numbers and weaponry and it is extraordinary that President Putin did not gain mastery of Ukraine within days. Yet the light shines in the darkness. We see this in the extraordinary courage of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who have resisted the invaders. We see it in the boldness, perseverance and steadfastness of President Zelenskiy who has united and galvanised his people and people throughout the West. We see it in the many acts of kindness, compassion and love shown by ordinary citizens throughout Europe, including people in this country.

Nevertheless, I am sure that I am not the only one who can feel helpless in the face of so much trauma. So how can we all respond? William Brodrick in The Sixth Lamentation, in acknowledging the reality of suffering, writes:

We have to be candles,
burning between hope and despair,
faith and doubt, life and death,
all the opposites.’

The darkness can seem all consuming but the light will prevail and, as the Body of Christ on earth, it is our responsibility to be light-bearers in the midst of the darkness: through prayer and through action.

This is the message of Good Friday and Easter. The forces of darkness, human and demonic, believed that they had won when Jesus died on the cross but God had other plans. What’s more, God’s omnipotent power is greater than anything that the darkness can muster. Jesus is alive and nothing that the enemy can do can change that. As Christ bearers, holders of the light, we don’t need to think about our own inadequacies and frailties but, instead, remember that we have a great and powerful God who dwells in us through his Spirit because of what Jesus has accomplished through his death and Resurrection. The Lion of Judah roars in us and through us because Christ is Risen. Alleluia!


Book Review

Emma Stark, Lion Bites: Daily Prophetic Words that Awaken the Spiritual Warrior in You. (2022) Emma Stark is founder and leader of Global Prophetic Alliance and is a core leader of the British Isles Council of Prophets. I have heard her speak on a number of occasions including at the recent New Wine Leaders Conference in Harrogate. She is an excellent Biblical teacher and has a profound prophetic gifting. We know, only too well, the dark times that we are living through and, as God’s people, we need to become effective warriors against the powers of darkness. This book, in the form of daily meditations, provides an excellent resource for rediscovering holy boldness and confidence in a great and mighty God. I have been using it as part of my own daily disciplines during Lent and will continue to read it once Lent is finished because I am finding it so helpful as well as challenging. I am recommending this book to you because it contains so much that is relevant for us, especially In the context of what I have written in my pastoral message. Caroline Friswell

Thank you

We were very disappointed that we were unable to go ahead with the Ultreya at Shildon on Friday, 18 March because of Covid infections. We would like to thank Adele Todd and other Cursillistas at St John’s Church, Shildon for their planning. A special mention, too, to the Rev’d Frances Cooper and her husband Ian for their part in getting the church ready for us. We are hoping that we can arrange another time there instead.

News from the Secretariat

Next Cursillo Weekend: Cursillo #29, 23-25 September, 2022

Please pray about whom you might like to sponsor for our 2-day Cursillo in September. Remember that sponsorship involves responsibility on the part of the sponsor to support and encourage the candidate before, during and after the Cursillo weekend. If you have someone in mind to sponsor, please look at the Sponsorship Guidelines at the end of this bulletin or on the Durham Anglican Cursillo website.

Please pray about whether it is right for you to offer yourself as a member of the Team. If you feel called to this very important ministry please email Beth Gascoigne. It is the Secretariat’s responsibility to put the Team together and they will be looking at the overall make-up of the team to get a balance between experience, personality and gifting. Therefore, please don’t be offended if you offer yourself but are not invited to join the team this time. There will be other opportunities in the future.

Reunion Groups

This is just a reminder that if you have any Christian friends or fellow church members whom you think might benefit from joining your Reunion Group then please feel free to invite them along and get them involved. This is particularly the case for anyone you are thinking of sponsoring for a Cursillo weekend. If you are not currently a member of a Group Reunion, and would like to join one, please contact Caroline Johnson – see contact details at the end of this Bulletin.

Derek Jago has kindly written a piece on a Fourth Day he recently had at the Beautiful Stanbrook Abbey

It was a Grey Autumnal day when we set off from Cockfield to join the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey.
The Abbey is in the North Yorkshire countryside near Wass and close to Helmsley. It is not the easiest abbey to find in terms of the network of minor roads in the area. However, when we arrived in the grounds it turned out, to those of us visiting for the first time, to have a totally different appearance to that which we would normally expect.
The Abbey is quietly secluded on a beautiful hillside. Its grounds contain a number of ‘Eco’ log cabins which can be hired as holiday accommodation. Once we passed these the very modern abbey building appeared, with what looked like the bow of the Mary Celeste gently breaking through. The outside walls are lapped with Larch in the way often seen on various TV design programmes.
The first thing that struck us, on getting out of the car, was the absolute stillness and quiet of the surroundings.
We had arranged to go there for our 4th day act of worship, to meet sister Pippa, join with morning worship and to generally take in as much as possible about the abbey and the Benedictine order.
Once we had settled in Sister Pippa welcomed us and we joined the sisters in the lovely modern chapel for their beautiful and relaxing worship. (The ideal way to settle in).
Following this we then went back to the reception room and went through our own short 4th Day act of worship.
The abbey has some very interesting artwork around its walls and entrance, plus a very good Christian bookshop with a number of publications from all sides of Christian Faith.
Helmsley then proved to be the ideal place for an excellent lunch in one of its Inns.
After lunch we returned to the Abbey where we had arranged to meet the lovely Sister Pippa and chat with her finding more out about the abbey, the Benedictine order and how it managed its links with the community at large. We asked her if the sisters were allowed to have days ‘out’ to visit other places and relax. Sister Pippa told us that on the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions they had been allowed to visit Whitby where they enjoyed going on to the beach!
We then asked about ourselves inviting the Nuns to Bishop Auckland with its latest attractions and a visit to the Ancient Escomb Saxon Church which itself has gone through all the stages of the development of Christianity in the North-East, having at one time being under the Benedictine order.
This was a wonderful, spiritual and very fruitful day with more to come as a result of this. Watch this space!

Future Ultreyas

Saturday, 11 June 10.00-12.30 Ultreya and AGM at St Gabriel’s, Sunderland.
This will be followed by a bring your own picnic in Barnes Park for those who are able to stay.
Friday, 7 October 19.00-21.00 Welcome Back in Prior’s Hall, Durham
Friday, 9 December 19.00-21.00 Advent Ultreya – venue to be confirmed

If your Reunion Group would be willing to host an Ultreya in the future please contact Caroline Johnson, our Fourth Day Rep. Hosting an Ultreya is a great way for practising Servant Community and can be great fun for all involved.

Cursillo Retreat 2023, 11-14 May, 2023
The Rev Dr Caroline Friswell will be leading another Retreat at Shepherds Dene; Journey from Easter to Pentecost. This is an advance notice and details of how to book and the costs involved will be publicised later in the year.

News from our DAC community

Wendy Rogerson
It is with sadness that we have to announce the death of Wendy who died on 14 November, aged 91. Wendy made her Cursillo on Durham #5 and those who knew her were impressed by her strong Christian faith that she put into action in so many ways. Obituaries for her have appeared in both the local and national press including one written by her great friend, Barbara Fox, in The Guardian on 9 March. In particular she is remembered for her missionary work as a nurse and midwife in what was then British North Borneo but is now part of Malaysia. She is survived by her husband Colin (one-time Vicar of St John’s Nevilles Cross, Durham) and two daughters, Catherine and Jane. Our prayers are for the whole family in their loss.

Information from the BACC Secretary

Information Sharing
To help avoid diocesan Cursillos from reinventing the wheel, the Standing Committee is encouraging Cursillos to share policies and other resources (such as pilgrim guides, reading lists, weekend programmes etc) with BACC and other Cursillos. The documents you share will be placed on the BACC website. Sharing in this way will help to promote best practice and make it easier for Cursillos and Secretariats. We'd also like to remind you that sharing of info and experiences is one of the principal benefits of attending a Cursillo Leaders' Workshop

The BACC Conference
Priority booking for all diocesan LD, SD, BACC reps and BACC officers finishes Thursday 31st March after which all Cursillistas have the next fortnight to make their bookings. The BACC AGM is programmed for the Saturday morning and the whole weekend is the opportunity for dioceses to share, learn & worship together. It is expected that every diocesan Cursillo will be represented and it will be lovely to have the opportunity to reconnect with friends old and new.
Please see the website for more details and booking forms: BAC Conference #8 - BACC (

BACC is asking for nominations for the roles of BACC Secretary, Treasurer and NW Area Representative. If you would like to nominate someone the forms are on the BACC website.

From Durham Cursillo’s BACC Rep

I just wanted to share with you all something that I saw on social media last year and kept it for use during this time of Lent. Hope it blesses you as it has blessed me.


Sponsorship is a great privilege and joy. It is also a considerable responsibility. It requires thought (one’s mind), love (one’s heart) and time. These notes are offered to help you undertake the task, which will enable others to serve the Lord more effectively supported by the Cursillo Method. If you are uncertain whether or not to sponsor someone, please contact your Diocesan Spiritual Director or your Lay Director.

Prayer is essential at all stages

What does it mean to be a Sponsor?
Sponsors are Cursillistas who:

Know the goal of Cursillo (to further empower and equip Christians to be effective witnesses for Christ) and want others to be empowered and equipped in this way;
Are committed Christians who are active in the Fourth Day, utilising the method of Group Reunion and Ultreya;
Are familiar with the factors that indicate whether or not the time is right for someone to participate in Cursillo;
Know the proposed pilgrim well and support him or her at every stage; before, during and may be for some time after the Cursillo week-end;
Are willing to be open and honest with the prospective pilgrim, ensuring that all aspects of Cursillo, including the Weekend and the Fourth Day, are clearly understood; (no secrets!)
Take responsibility for incorporating the new Cursillista in a Fourth Day community, including Group Reunion and Ultreya; (NB incorporating a proposed pilgrim into Group Reunion and Ultreya before a weekend is often considered the best preparation.)
Help with practical and/or family needs connected with attendance at a weekend e.g. provide transport to the venue, help with school runs, feeding pets etc.
Ensure any special needs are communicated to the secretariat and the weekend team.
Should sponsor no more than one person or married couple per weekend and no more than two people or married couples per year – this will ensure that sufficient time may be given to each proposed pilgrim. (It is preferable that a sponsor is not part of that weekend team)

If a sponsor has been asked to support a prospective pilgrim who is not known/well know, the sponsor should make contact with them and befriend them as soon as possible, being prepared to give the time that will be necessary in order for both to discern the way forward. This should be done in liaison with the diocesan Secretariat.

Should I sponsor this person at this time?
Anglican Cursillo is primarily for baptised and confirmed Anglicans; other denominations have their own 4th Day Movements, which might be more appropriate. Check with the incumbent before inviting a participant. The sponsor should know that whoever is being sponsored is not undergoing a personal crisis, and will be comfortable with living ‘in community’ throughout the weekend. Also a weekend is not a time for solving personal problems such as addiction or depression.

Before, during and after the week-end the sponsor’s main job is to pray!!

Prayer Requests

Durham Anglican Cursillo

Please pray for the Secretariat as we seek a new Lay Director.

Please pray for Antony Friswell, Lay Rector for Durham #29, as he plans for the weekend and puts together, with the help of Secretariat, a team that will work well together for the benefit of the pilgrims on the weekend.

Cursillo Weekends around the country

Please pray for the various teams as they prepare for their weekends.

29 April – 1 May York #30 – our own Beth Gascoigne is serving on team
29 April – 1 May Carlisle #39
12-15 May Canterbury #61
13-15 May London #36
19-22 May Leicester #49
19-22 May Chester #62
19-22 May Sheffield #14
27-29 May Southwell and Nottingham #75
26-29 May St. Asaph #26

Members of the Secretariat

Rev Dr Caroline Friswell – Spiritual Director:
Jeffrey Hewitt – Treasurer and Lay Chair:
Beth Gascoigne – Secretary:
Victoria Button – BAAC Rep:
Caroline Johnson – Fourth Day Rep:
Sandy Jackson – Weekend Rep:
Bill Arkless – Pre-Weekend Rep:
Janet Proud – Newcastle Diocesan Rep

Additional Contacts

Keith Roper - Publicity:
Linda Ross - Safeguarding Officer: is copyright © Durham Anglican Cursillo | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use Website Design by UK DEV Limited