The title of this workshop is "The Fourth Day -- How to maximize its effectiveness through grouping, Ultreyas, sponsoring, outreach and public relations." It could probably be said that a local secretariat is only as strong as its fourth day. It is where we reinforce what is presented on the weekend -- where we practice what we preach. In the secretariats where things are going well, I suspect that if you looked closely at what is happening, that's where you would find the keys to their success in the fourth day. There are some people here tonight that are going to share with you -- and these are people that you will probably later want to talk to, to learn from and to gain strength from -- to get more details about what they have been doing in their fourth days and what has been successful for them and maybe what hasn't been as successful. Our three presenters will share a variety of what is happening in their fourth days in this workshop and they;re going to talk to us both about internal growth and external growth -- or internal outreach and external outreach.
..... I'm going to talk to you about what we do in Arizona after our people come off a weekend, and what kind of a school we've put together for them. We hold a Saturday morning class and call it "The Complete Cursillista." We start at 9 a.m. and are finished by 12:30. You may take notes on it as we go. In order to be a sponsor or serve on a team after you've made your weekend, you have to attend this school. The vice president of our secretariat is the person that is in charge of putting this Saturday together. The scheduling is done well enough in advance so that on the weekend itself the participants are told that your "Complete Cursillista" class will be at such and such a church on this date and at this time, and they're given this not only verbally, but in printed form.
As you see here, we can gather by 8:30 in the morning, and from 8:30 - 9:00 there is a coffee and doughnut snack time as people arrive. We are absolutely adamant about starting promptly at 9:00 a.m., and we go through the topics here that are listed. I want to elaborate on each one of those just a little bit so that you understand what we're talking about. The president of our secretariat does talk #1, "History". This is the talk -- "it started in Spain -- it came to the United States -- this is how it got to Arizona -- since it's been in Arizona this is what we've done with it." You can make up your own history, because we're certainly all different, but what we want the people to get is the feeling for the development of the Cursillo movement in our state where it came from and where we're going. The talk itself lasts about 25 minutes and there is time afterwards for questions and answers. We explain to the new Cursillistas how the applications are handled, where they go,, just exactly all that behind-the-scenes work that went on that they really never knew about because they filled out their application gave it to somebody and they never saw it again. They learned about their sponsors, the people that took them to the weekend, made them a banner and sent them some notes and they learned what the sponsors' duties actually are. We give them a copy of "Sponsor Guidelines." They learn what the sponsors have to do before the weekend, what the sponsors are required to do during and after the weekend, and in particular, we want our sponsors to make sure that these participants get in a group after the weekend. The sponsors job is never done until their participant is in a group. Now we all know that that is hard to do, but we try to take that very, very seriously, and we say - "all the stuff you do as a sponsor is small compared to this big thing at the end. This is really your major responsibility. All of our people know that sponsor must be grouping.
Last year and if you recall Pastor Bob Sael in his keynote address to us emphasized the fact that on Sunday he was concerned that there was a glossing over - a rushing through - of really the group reunion, Ultreya and Fourth Day aspects of what the Cursillista is supposed to take with them out of this weekend. Really, their tools for the fourth day. He said that we tend to hurry through that because we're trying to keep on a time schedule or we've got other duties and things that don't let us really dwell on this. We consider this to be really important and in fact on our weekends we physically show the people how we group. We have 3 or 4 people group off the card. Then the tables are allowed to go outside, sit in the grass and they actually sit and group with that card. Now our team members also may not serve on team unless they're grouping. In other words, we're telling them, this grouping is important in your Christian life - in your 4th day. This is the tool that we're giving you on this weekend. We do this. As team members and sponsors, we are practicing this method. Grouping for us plays a very big part in serving on our teams, being a participant, or even serving on our secretariat -- you also must be grouping.
"Progression of the Weekend" is really a fun talk and it takes a knowledgeable and rather special person to do it. What they do is have a white board or blackboard -- whatever, they put the days on it -- Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. This is a talk that requires a lot of participation from the participants. What we ask them is, "Thursday, when you came in, we want to know how you were feeing". The gal that does this makes them feel so relaxed and open that they are immediately able to start sharing and one person's going to say "I was scared. I didn't want to be there". I only went because my spouse wanted me to." or "I really wanted to be there." Here, she fills up this whole column on the board of people's feelings and reactions to Thursday. Now as we all know we get confused after we leave the weekend and we don't know what happened on what day. What she does, she goes through and says, "You remember on Thursday night we had some meditations about "Know Yourself" and the "Way of the Cross," and the "Prodigal Son" and then we had this silence start. As she reminds them of those things, then their feelings start coming back to them and the sharing really, really starts going. Then move into Friday, and of course many of the feelings of Thursday are still there on Friday. Maybe some people have heard something in a talk that kind of opened them up. Then you move on to Saturday and of course you know as the mood changes for different people and their feelings, they'll really share this with you. By the time you get to Sunday, and you've got this board filled out you have seen the dramatic transformation from what's written on Thursday to what's written on Sunday. They begin to have a real feel for what happened over that period of time. They're also able to sort out "Oh, that's the day we got our crosses", or "That's the day we had a healing or the intentions communion or a foot-washing or whatever.
"Team Formation" follows and that's usually a talk to be given by the most recent rector or rectora. They've just been through team formation - all the praying and the calling, she explains how the core team does that and forms the team. Of course, that's really interesting to the people because they really didn't ever understand how all those folks were chosen.
We move on to "Palanca" and again we have a sheet that contains all our palanca guidelines -- what our rules are for the folks in Arizona. Here is probably the best time to drive home a point about what palanca is. We've all heard already that some movements are really getting caught up in the gifts and the out-of-control amounts, etc. I would like to say to you that when we think about palanca, we think that prayer and sacrifice are really true palanca. Sacrifice is really something that you give up for the weekend -- fasting being one example and the prayer time that you spend is really a time of self-denial of other activities where you really direct true palanca to the Lord for the weekend. Al these other things that we give are nice things but they are not palanca.
Under "Group Reunion and Ultreya" we have the Post Cursillo person on our secretariat give this talk. Again we make a great effort to get our people into groups. We rely heavily on our sponsors to assume this responsibility, but we also tell the people -- 'Don't be bashful, don't be afraid, if you're not grouping don't be afraid to ask somebody, or if there was somebody on the weekend you want to group with, be a little assertive and you'll get yourself into a group.
The last talk is given by the Vice President of our secretariat who is the person who is really running this whole meeting and introducing the different speakers. He ends up summing up the talks that day by just explaining what "Secretariat" is, how it functions, and who's on it. That's really the end and we can get it done by 12:30.
We do feel that because these people come out of the weekend and they are confused, they need to know some etiquette. They need to know some things that they can do and can't do when they go back to their churches. We like to get them while they're fresh from the weekend and run them through this little class. This really charges them up and they really make some decisions right there about wanting to be on team and wanting to sponsor. We have used this as a very effective tool and I'm hoping that some of you that don't have something like this in place might give it a try. It really runs very smoothly. It's not a terribly big project, especially if your vice president doesn't have some other huge responsibility within your movement. If he does, you may want to have somebody else take this on.
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This will be quite a bit quicker. I belong to a church that has about 100 Cursillistas. When we were small, we didn't have any problem communicating with each other. We all knew what was going on, we knew who our participants were going to be, we were just all well-informed. But as we grew and grew, we found that we were having a little problem with communication. People weren't sure really what was going on. Our newsletter kept us up to date on a lot of facts within the movement as far as when the weekends would be or when Ultreyas were going to be, etc. Within our individual church, we had a problem. We did not look to our secretariat to solve the problem for us. We decided that within our church we needed to take responsibility for our problem and do something to solve it. This is what we did.
We had a potluck. We did it on a Sunday afternoon at somebody's home -- out in the backyard. As people walked in, we told them, check your name and address etc. in the directory, make sure its current. We got quite a few changes -- a lot of corrections made.
We made up a big posterboard of who had made Cursillo when -- starting from 10 years ago in our church. People were amazed at the names they read on there, and who had been -- they had no idea. That was very interesting reading for a lot of people.
We made another big posterboard and put columns for each day of the week on it. They put a line across it cross-wise putting a.m. and p.m. As they came in we said, "who are you grouping with, and where and what time? Write it on this poster board. By the time everybody was there, we had a complete picture of when the people were grouping at our church, and who with, and if they had room for more people, or if maybe there were some people that wanted to change. This was really the first time we had an overall view of what was going on with that and it enabled the people that were not grouping to plug in to a group somewhere. We found that to be a real positive thing. In our business meeting, we had a member from secretariat update people as to what was going on, this, primarily, was the kind of stuff that you don't read in the newsletter. Stuff like -- why don't we get a bigger facility. Why don't we divide our movement in half? Why couldn't we have an east side and a west side? Why can't we have bigger teams, etc.? We were able as secretariat members to give answers to these questions. We gave people current information about what was happening with our prison and teen weekends. We reviewed applications for Pre-Cursillo and made suggestions for other people we want to send. The palanca -- it was a perfect time to take up a collection for banner-supplies, etc. We began a palanca box which we put in our pastor's office, which will be there 2 weeks before every weekend. You can drop your notes here, we'll see that it gets to the weekend. It's working. The box hasn't been overflowing but then again who knows maybe just one note that's in it may be the important note.
We came up with the idea of a bulletin board and called it "Cursillo Corner." We put a colorful rooster up there and every week I update little notes on there and other people are able to, also. Our community goes by that bulletin board walking our of church and are able to see what exactly is going on within our church.
As far as maybe who's going to a weekend who just canceled who got added on maybe what we need as far as food gifts -- all that information is there. It's current and it's working out very well. We also held elections. People willingly volunteered because we assured then that next year at our annual potluck their term would be over and new people would be elected.
For us, we were able to bring about 2/3 of our Cursillistas together on that evening, disseminate a lot of information, do some planning. We had some time for prayer. We did not end up with time to count off in group at the end, which we might have done if we'd had more time. We did end the evening in a circle with a prayer and a song, and I know that next year there are going to be more people there than were at it this year. That was our little "internal outreach" within our church, and I really feel that it has helped our communication.*****************************************************************
Good evening. I am Bob Gerhardt. I'm very pleased to be here. I would tell you that in the process of the last two days, my discussion with you has changed a bit, because I'm finding a number of things out about our movement as related to the national secretariat. I've been to two of the national secretariat meetings so we're growing in knowledge about one another and certainly about what we can share with one another. Let me describe us a little bit because I'm finding that we're unique. #1 - we've been described as ecumenical. I've begun to believe that not everyone here really knows what that means, because when I say we're ecumenical, I mean we're ecumenical. We have frankly fewer and fewer Lutherans and more and more of our brethren such as myself who started out as a Southern Baptist and business moves, found himself worshiping my Lord and Savior in Methodist, Presbyterian, Methodist and now again a Presbyterian church. I was blessed out of my socks when I found myself involved in a Lutheran movement that let me know what I had been missing over the years in the liturgical church. Welcome us all in -- we're great people.
Let me describe us another way, also. I discovered this fact while doing some arithmetic on the material handed out this morning. I was absolutely amazed and then appalled to find that Minnesota put on 28 weekends. I could not believe it! Here we had only put on 4 weekends last year. Then I found out that this year Florida -- that state that's real long and narrow and it takes forever to get from Miami to Pensacola -- put on 30 weekends. That translates into 1000 new Cursillistas per year. I suddenly became a bit more comfortable with the fact that that little old ecumenical state down south was doing some good. I think that if you really examine each other in that light, maybe you'll find that there is a difference in the way we're structured and that's really what we're all about -- learning how differently we're structured yet truly alike. That really brings us to what Gold Coast is. Being an ecumenical movement we draw from 200 local area churches, and only 32 of these are Lutheran. But we do adhere to our Lutheran heritage and follow all that has been laid down for us by those guidelines. Long ago we decided that one of the most important ingredients of maintaining and expanding this renewal movement was to be through sponsorship. We have concentrated a great deal in going out to our members, those who have already made a weekend, and being sure that they understood as much as possible regarding sponsorship. One of our first acts was to redesign our application. Number one, we made it a single page. We found that had been a problem because we had duplicated much of the information and confused those who were applying and more importantly we confused the sponsor. Just as importantly we had confused the pastor who was requested to sign off on this potential Cursillista. Remember now -- it's not for everyone. Isn't that what we say, "Who better to judge that than the pastor. And who better to really judge that than someone who's sponsoring. Let me read just quickly what the sponsor signs their name to. "Are you prepared to personally escort your candidate to the send-off, be present during the weekend for chapel palanca, personally escort your candidate's wife to the wives' meeting. (We have a wives' meeting on Friday night of a men's weekend). Place your candidate in reunion group. Follow up on your candidate's progress for at least a year. Actively participate in support of your candidate's weekend.
One other very important thing, the sponsor has to sign off, as to when and where they're in reunion. We also have an annual Leaders school. An officer on the secretariat is charged with that responsibility. We have divided the training period of about 3 1/2 hours into 3 sections. One is a group instructional period in which we cover many of the points that were just made, as well as then breaking into several schools -- a professors school , a cha cha school, a kitchen school, and a music school. We break half way through so that they can make transfers within those schools. They can only get two schools at a time. We found that that has increased the commitment and that's what we're after -- commitment. It is not mandatory that they do this prior to sponsorship nor do we make this an absolute prior to going into a team weekend, but we do look at it. The rector or rectora looks at this information when choosing team members.
We've focused on community awareness on 2 types of events providing us anywhere from six to seven major community gatherings per year and this is very important. On the weekends, we have a special meal on Saturday evening. As part of that we have anywhere from 250 to 300 people coming in as part of a serenade. Now that's marvelous! Quite frankly, it blows the candidates away, but on top of that it gives an opportunity to bring the community in and when that community comes in they not only have serenaded -- then they stay and always participate, as part of the community in a meal afterwards. It really is tough on the kitchen, because now we're talking about something in the realm of 400 meals. You can see the kitchen is very busy on Saturday evening. I would tell you a plus, on that a compensation is the fact that we experience green palanca to the tune of $500-$1000. In the spring and fall we hold reunion ultreyas each year welcoming new Cursillistas to the community. Frankly, we learned that in Arizona. We thought it was such a great idea to have a potluck dinner after the two weekends that we have that we copied it.
We've also worked to enhance our newsletter. We've tried to make it colorful - attractive, and we've gotten a marvelous person as our newsletter editor who has made that all happen. Here's one thing that's a little unique, we've developed a parish representative program. Now remember we have something like 200 churches of various denominational backgrounds so we don't have a pre-fixed communication system within a denomination, so we had to create one. We've taken a parish rep program which has taken approximately 30 churches and gotten a couple from each of those thirty churches to be our representatives and we can communicate with them for regular communications and interestingly enough for emergencies. Not too long ago we had a death of a very loved and dear member of our community and we got the word out through this system and it was immediate. The next day, there was an outpouring of response that brought together a thousand people for this memorial service. It does work. By the way this also provides us another plus. It provides us a feedback system, for the rector/rectora in the process of calling a team as to who in those churches is involved. That group of thirty goes out into their immediate area and takes in smaller churches which would not normally be able to support this type of representative. We get a feedback as to potential candidates for team membership. We're all together as members of the body of Christ whether we're Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, or what have you. Approximately 3 1/2 years ago, members of the Catholic, Via de Cristo, Emmaus and Episcopal Cursillo movements, by God's grace, got together. We began talking about "Wouldn't it be great if we could get back together as laymen together and only do one thing -- understand who we are simply in the love of Jesus Christ." A separateness has developed and we felt that God didn't like that separateness.
As I say, 3 ? years ago we began to meet and that meeting fulminated a marvelous idea. It fell into place so beautifully. The first thing we did was form a steering committee. It would have three members from each one of those four movements. So 12 people met and began seeking God's will for unity. We decided that one of the most important things that we could do is to meet together on a regular basis, just like reunion. We discovered that we didn't have a great deal that was there were a few problems that might prove significant -- communion, for instance. All right, let's don't touch those. Let's stay away from such problems by just saying "That's where we're slightly different, but we still have one thing and that is our commonality in Jesus Christ, and we will do nothing that is not a part of that commonality in Christ". With that as our beginning we decided we would hold "team meetings". These are our common areas so let's start out by having a team put together that will comprise members equally from all four of these movements. We formed ourselves into a head table, a clergy table, a table of music, a table for service and worship, a table for program, a table for food, for finance, public relations, locations and sites and logistics. That's twelve tables. We decided to have one representative from each movement for each of those tables so we wound up with close to fifty people.
We began meeting once a month. During that time, it was determined we would have an annual event -- in which we would all come together for praise and worship of our Lord.
The outcome of all this was a meeting in February of 1990 of approximately 2400 Cursillistas of all four denominations. We have established our credo in which we say, "We shall do nothing that does not show our commonality in Christ." We have given ourselves a name. The symbol of a rainbow is used commonly by each movement to symbolize God's promise to mankind. The word reunion indicates a rejoining or coming together of that which was previously unified. Once again we are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord. Rainbow reunion was formed. 2400 people worshipping God together. It was exciting -- so exciting we decided to do it again and this time we met at a fairgrounds. Rainbow Reunion II met in April of 1991 at a fairgrounds with approximately 3000 Cursillistas present. This time rather than a prominent speaker we had one speaker from each one of the movements and that was a joy and a blessing in itself. God guided us and directed us again and again and I would tell you that Rainbow #3 has just been formed and is now in the process of coming together. We'll meet in April of 1992. We've expanded our thoughts and thinking and we are positive that there will not be 3000 this time but closer to 3500. That's Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists -- even a few Presbyterians -- all coming together to praise God and understand that we worship Jesus Christ. Now remember, we've forgotten all those things that would keep us apart and only have those things which show our commonality. Interestingly enough in the process, we came up with a song and I have several handouts here -- the song we came up with is so unusual -- absolutely unusual. It's called "Come, Holy Spirit". It was written by a C.J. Cassel, Jr. back in 1981 and we called and received his permission to use his music and of course the words were extremely familiar. If you recall: "Come Holy Spirit, Fill the hearts of your faithful...." Each one of our movements knows this as part of our commonality.
The one last thing that I would leave with you. Ephesians 4:3-6, "Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is one body and one spirit just as there is but one hope given all of you at your call there is one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and works through all and is in all. We will do nothing that does not emphasize our commonality in Jesus Christ -- Rainbow Reunion. We loved it. I hope you will.*****************************************************************
I have a handout that is simply an outline of the topics with which we are going to deal tonight. First I'd like to make a couple of general comments. As Leona said, this is the first time that I have attended the annual meeting. I have been blessed by talking with many people and hearing what they have to say regarding the movements from which they come. I appreciate the great variety and diversity that we find in the Via de Cristo movements across the country. It's as if God had gone through our great nation with a bag of flower seeds and strewn them on the ground. From these seeds, these different evidences of God's love may blossom. You have a rose here or a tulip there. Different flowers -- each beautiful in its own way, but all are God's products. They have those things in common. It's a great benefit to me to hear these different ideas, to take them back to our local movement, and to incorporate some of these techniques that I've heard.
The other general comment is: when Wayne asked me to talk, he first directed me to talk about doing a booth at a synod assembly. I said "sure I can do that, but that wouldn't take very long -- it's a pretty short topic."
He said, "Well, you can talk about outreach as well."
I said, "That's a big topic!"
I'll fall somewhere in the middle. The general comment that I want to make about outreach is that there are techniques to do it. There are things that can be done to reach out to pastors who don't know about Via de Cristo or who have only heard a little bit about it. To reach out to other churches where Via de Cristo is not active, there are many techniques. The thing that I've found over the years is that the best -- and ultimately the only effective way -- to reach out to other people that you believe would benefit from, and would deserve this gift of Cursillo is the personal one-to-one contact. That's really what it comes down to. That outreach depends ultimately upon the individual members of the community.
In our secretariat, we have tried to emphasize the one-to-one contact to the members of the community. No amount of public relations, no amount of marketing, no amount of packaging is ever going to convince people to attend a weekend. When they hear from a friend -- a friend that they respect, a friend that they look up to, a friend that they trust -- when they hear that they've had a good experience over the weekend, that it's meant something to them in their faith walk -- then they say to themselves, "Mary's a good person and I trust her. She's had a good experience, and she's explained it to me, and I think I'll give it a try." That's ultimately what we come down to.
That having been said, let me talk briefly about the techniques. Many things come from the National Secretariat. We have candidates' brochures. We have pastoral brochures. Each secretariat, of course, has its own application forms. We use the candidate brochures in three ways. We use them to place in the narthexes of churches -- both in churches where Cursillo is active and in churches where it's not active. We place these brochures only after we obtain the permission of the pastor. We do not ever place Cursillo brochures in a church without first receiving the permission of the pastor.
This can also be a valuable entree if the pastor has not heard of Via de Cristo. He or she may well say, "What is Via de Cristo?" It's a natural opportunity to explain what Via de Cristo is. Our point is not to say, "You should go." We never say that to any pastor. We simply explain the purpose of our movement to him or her so that we can place our brochures.
The other way that we use brochures is at the synod booths. We also use them in the package that is given to candidates on Sunday afternoon.
The pastoral brochures we use in mailings to pastors. We also use it in the packet of materials that is given out at the synod booths. We put application forms in the narthex of our church. We find that every once in a while a person will pick those up. On the back of our application, we have information about Cursillo. It is one sheet. The front is the application, the back is what you would call public relations material. It explains our origins,what happens on the weekend, etc.
We have developed newsletter articles in our secretariat. We developed a one-page boiler-plate newsletter article that has blanks in it - blanks with information instructing people where to call. We ask each secretariat member to ensure that this is placed in their church newsletter prior to the weekends at some strategic time. We find that it's "name recognition" that we're trying to achieve. Newsletter articles, brochures, and other public relations ultimately will flounder unless you have that one-on-one. It's that name recognition that assists us so that a person asked to attend a Via de Cristo weekend doesn't respond, "What is a Via de Cristo weekend?" Instead, the response is , "Oh, I've heard about that for some time now."
Also, we have used local newspapers. Often, those newspapers will kill to obtain articles. We don't ignore the very small local papers that do only articles of community interest. They are open to printing virtually anything you give to them. They have readership, too, in the small localities. This can be a place where you can find a broader audience than just the Lutheran church or your community of churches in the area.
Additionally, we were successful in getting an article in the synod supplement. The synod supplement comes out in The Lutheran. I'm not certain how frequently the synod supplement is in The Lutheran, but it's more than once a year. The synod supplement editor is a person that the outreach or communications person from the secretariat should get to know. They also are dying for articles. They spend their days and nights calling people trying to get material to put in their synod supplement. They would love to get an article. We had one published a year and a half ago explaining what Via de Cristo is, publishing the dates, etc. Again, that's a good name recognition technique.
A second area is in personal outreach. We have done adult forum presentations. The technique for that is very simple -- it needs to be a question and answer format. It simply does not work well to go to an adult forum to present what Via de Cristo is. It's much more effective to bring three or four Cursillistas together to plan and run a five or ten minute program. We then allow for questions and answers. That format is where you engage people's interests and create the desire to attend a weekend. They have the opportunity to ask questions and you can respond to them.
You can do a folk service approach. We've done this a number of times in the churches around the area where the pastors would like to invite you in. Singing is very much a part of Cursillo. We have a group that will travel to churches around the area and will sing in their folk services, become part of the service as a group. Then we do an adult forum in conjunction with the service.
The sponsorship support has been addressed earlier. Presentations to church councils -- we have never done that. I've heard of other movements doing that. I put it on the list because I think it can be a good technique to go to a church council and to make a presentation concerning Via de Cristo, but we have never done that at Rainbow. Let me talk very briefly about the booths. There are many ways to do them. There are a lot of mechanics behind it. If anyone is thinking about synod booths, or goes back to their local secretariat and suggests the technique to the person who's in charge of outreach or communications, then I would invite the person to contact me because I can say more about it over the phone on an evening than I can say here. The key there is early contact. At the end of every metropolitan Washington synod assembly, there is a person that is chosen to be the booth coordinator for the next assembly. Find out who the person is! I do that by calling our synod office and asking the secretary. You can find that person. We've never had any problem getting permission to hold a booth. It's important to follow up with a letter and then show up early to set up. We come with a table with a tablecloth that covers it. We have had a sign printed. You can have this done very, very cheaply. Ours is styrofoam. You can have a more firm cover put on it. In any case, you can go to a printing shop for about thirty or forty dollars. You can have one that's six feet long and three feet high. We have one printed in big, bold, red letters: "Via de Cristo." Underneath it in quotes: "The Lutheran expression of Cursillo." Red and blue on a white background. There's nobody that comes within a hundred yards of that sign that's going to miss it. Then we put this packet on the table. It has a cover letter that explains what Via de Cristo is and lists the dates for the next weekends in boldface.
On the inside we have the application, the candidate brochure, and what's called the pastoral brochure. We have a pastoral brochure that Rainbow developed that goes to a greater depth than the green brochure. We found some time ago there is no reason to hide anything from a candidate, so why try? There's not anything in here that a lay person would read and say, "Gee, this is terrible." It's called a "pastoral brochure", but there's no harm if it gets in the hands of a lay person. We have the Pilgrim's Guide as well.
And then we have what I have found to be a key sheet: "What Pastors Say". We went around to pastors in the area including the Assistant to the Bishop and Rev. Allan Sager. A lot of pastors know Dr. Sager and respect his opinion. We get this and we put it in the brochure. We have also an article that Wayne is probably familiar with: "The Focus of Cursillo" which appeared in the Greensboro News and Record in North Carolina many years ago. We put all these things together and we have these as packets. Everything that's in here, except for the Pilgrim's Guide, we also have in stacks. We cover the whole table.
The other thing we have is candy. You'd be surprised. It sounds kind of funny, but it's true. People will walk across a booth room to get a piece of candy. They may not pick up anything when they get there, but they'll get the candy and they'll remember where they got it, and they'll come back later during the synod assembly, and they'll keep coming back to get a piece of candy. We have found this to be a very effective technique to get people to come to the booth.
The other thing that we do at the booth is not to engage a person in conversation concerning Cursillo until they ask about it. We engage them in general conversation. We're very clear about that because there's a lot of dynamic behind it. We just engage in conversation until they are the ones that broach the subject of "What is Via de Cristo, anyway, now that I've eaten 1/2 your candy?"
There are also other techniques. You need to coordinate with the pastors in attendance at the synod assembly. They can be of key assistance to you in getting other pastors to the booth. You need to coordinate with the delegates. There are always lots of Cursillistas at our synod assemblies. The booths can become the social center of the booth room. You may think that's a contradiction in terms, but it really can happen. It's a good technique for getting the name recognition and getting the word out.
Also, we use the pastoral packet to do mass mailings to pastors. We do pastoral letters in advance of the weekends. We do follow-up with the pastors one-on-one.
One other thing -- the tone of the outreach. I think this is very important, too. In Rainbow, we came to the conclusion some time ago that there was an exclusiveness about the Cursillo movement that was hurting us badly. We are getting away from the term reunion group, because people want to know "What's it a reunion of?" We emphasize the small group ministry. We coordinate this with the local pastor. We do not go into competition with whatever small group ministry he or she has operating in his/her church.
If he/she has Covenant groups, if he/she has Search groups -- whatever he/she has we support. We found this is the most effective tone for the outreach: "How we can support the pastor in his congregational life?" Not "What we can do for his people?" but "How can we support him/her in what he's doing in his/her local congregation?"
Specifically about the booths, if anyone's thinking about doing one, and I would encourage it strongly, then I would invite the appropriate person on the secretariat to call me so that we can discuss it. Thank you.*****************************************************************
The following is a brief outline of the Arizona Lutheran Cursillo COMPLETE CURSILLISTA program. This school is a requirement for those Cursillistas in the Arizona community who wish to sponsor a participant or serve on a team.
1. History & Purpose of Cursillo (25 minutes)
2. Pre-Cursillo & Sponsoring (30 minutes)
3. Progression of the weekend (40 minutes)
4. Team Formation (25 minutes)
5. Palanca (25 minutes)
6. Group Reunion & Ultreya (10 minutes)
7. Secretariat (15 minutes)
After each talk the group is allowed time for questions of the speaker.
Music: Usually one guitarist is present to lead the group in singing some of the favorite songs of the weekend. In the past the first music begins at 9 AM with 2-3 songs. There is additional singing after breaks just before the next talk begins. Usually breaks (5-10 minutes) are scheduled after the 2nd and 4th talks, however breaks and singing are at the discretion of the leader.
Organizational Notes: Scheduling of the Complete Cursillista site should be done at least a couple of weeks prior to a Cursillo weekend. This enables the date, time and location to be announced to the participants at the end of their weekend. Try to schedule speakers at least 3-4 weeks prior to the school, the sooner the better.
The sponsoring church should provide a room that can hold up to 50 people. The largest turnout to date has been 55, but the average is in the mid-30's. After a single weekend the numbers tend to be smaller than after a set of weekends. Note that a person may attend the Complete Cursillista at any time, no matter when they made their weekend.
A podium should always be provided. A microphone might be necessary. A chalkboard or whiteboard are an essential part of the Progression of the Weekend talk as group participation is solicited.Resources: Usually Secretariat members or past Rector/Rectoras are asked to give the talks. There are handouts for some of the talks, however there are no formal outlines. Information for the talks seems to get handed down and is periodically updated as operational changes occur.
History - President of Secretariat.
Pre-Cursillo - Rep or past reps.
Progression - Knowledgeable person.
Team formation - Recent Rector/Rectoras.
Palanca - Rep or past reps.
Ultreyas - Rep or past reps.
Secretariat - Vice-President of Secretariat.