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THE LEADERSHIP ROLE AND DUTIES
OF THE LOCAL SECRETARIAT
IN THE BUSINESS OF RUNNING THE VIA DE CRISTO

 

JOANNE ASTALOS

Good afternoon. We have 17 separate areas in our secretariat. They are chair-couple, secretary, treasurer, Leaders, Palanca, Pre-Via de Cristo, Post-Via de Cristo, Communications, Facilities, Food Procurer, Quartermaster, NLS Representative, TEC Weekend Representative, Kairos Representative, Spiritual Director Coordinator, and Secretariat Spiritual Director. This is a lot different than when Cursillo first started in Atlanta - these were just the basic five. We decided that the more people we involved, the more life you give to your community.

The chair-couple's responsibilities are to call the meeting be responsible for information to others on the board, and to keep the excitement in the body. They help us set short and long term goals for the best interest of the community. As it pertains to programs and relationships with that community. That has to do with when have to make the decision to come up with a co-ed weekend. Our weekends were getting smaller and smaller in attendance, and so we had to decide, "how do we keep this movement alive in Atlanta?" We sent representatives to North Carolina and came up with the idea of having a co-ed weekend, surveyed the community, and it was almost 50-50. We made a decision at the board level to go ahead and try a co-ed weekend. We're now working on our #3 co-ed weekend, and the popularity is great.

We have a secretary which is not too different than most places. She is to be at the meeting and take notes and get them out one week before the next board meeting for the board to review before the meeting.

A treasurer - keeping of the books and sometimes leader of ideas to help benefit our sagging financial needs - of which we have some sometimes.

Leaders person - this person has the big job of having new rectors in learning positions so that they can be ready when the time comes for them to serve. It has helped keep the qualifications for being a rector strong, so that the leadership of that person can be evident and responded to. Updating the rector's and other manuals and helping the rector select the team is also their job.

Palanca - this job is to get out palanca to other Via de Cristos and in return to let them know when we are to have our weekends, so we will receive palanca from all over the world. We will also use it to touch base with in the churches in the area to let them know what palanca can contribute for the weekend - both oven and letter palanca. It is our intention to have a palanca person in each of our churches, so that they can be contacted and take responsibility for that church.

Pre-Via de Cristo - all the applications are sent to this area. A letter is sent to the sponsors and to the pilgrims about the weekend. It is a hard job because a lot of the applications have not been coming in early enough to get it done properly. We're now asking for the applications to be in no later than 2 weeks before the date of the weekend. Also that person is in charge of the send-off and that's usually held at the church of the rector.

Post-Via de Cristo - this is the position that is responsible for the lining up of churches for monthly Ultreyas. We have just started to have Ultreyas only six times a year. We have had one summer picnic combined with three other movements in the area - that's Tres Dias and Christian Community and ours and there'll be one that was held last weekend that is held for all Lutherans in the area - including Tennessee, St. Simon's Island, Macon and Warner-Robbins. The Ultreyas are held on Saturday evenings, starting with a potluck supper. We're having a good turn-out with this. We use contact people in each congregation for that also.

Communications - the newsletter is the major vehicle of communications within our community. In it we try to put as much news about the movement as possible. We also get information about what is happening in the national level on TEC weekends and on Kairos movements.

Facilities person. We are now in the process of looking around to find another place to have our weekends, because the price of the camp we have been using is very expensive. There is a possibility of us using the same camp as TEC, but there has to be a lot of work done on it. The grass is about yeah-high. This couple is trying to look into further facilities, also these people are also responsible for the set-up and break-down on the weekend. They must ask for help and line up the teams to do the work. They're also responsible for the maintenance of the camp, as we leave it.

The food procurer - just as the title suggests, that job is to get the food for the weekend, get it delivered, and account for the leftovers after the weekend. There is a standard menu for men's weekends and for women's weekends.

The quartermaster - this job is to keep us in Kleenex and poster board - not to mention crosses, markers, medicine, all the sundries that go into the rollo room to make it an unforgettable place for us and the pilgrims. That is held by a person who holds another job on the secretariat.

National rep - we try to bring as much news to the community as we can about the movement. Probably need to try to bring as much news to the national from us. We'll be responsible for the national convention in '92.

Weekend position - they're responsible for getting the bus to the weekend, to get to the church for send-off and for obtaining the photographer for group pictures, getting the packets for the pilgrims and the team to be passed out at the proper time for the weekend.

TEC representative - the coordinator to let each other know how we can give help to one another.

Kairos is the same person - the same type of position.

Spiritual director - we use our spiritual director as a help on keeping us focused on what we really are supposed to be all about. We sometimes need to be reminded that we are there to help bring God's word to others. We need to be reminded and sometimes...........................He keeps us on target.

Spiritual director coordinator. This is a new position for us and maybe you've never heard of it. This person was first thought about because we have TEC and Kairos and Cursillo and we have the possibility of overusing our spiritual directors. This person's job is to line up the pastors - not to be used more than once a year. Also his job is to build a relationship with new pastors in the area to get them excited about working and coming to Cursillo. The position hasn't worked out real well as far as Kairos and TEC is involved because the relationship has not been there. We hope to have that better next year.

We feel that what we on the secretariat need to think about is that we are servants to the community. We are to be the most enthusiastic people in the community. We are to be giving the best examples of loving and caring for one another. We are to be actively serving in our congregations. We need to be making responsible decisions concerning the movement as it grows and changes, to work on and support the weekends and also to facilitate our spiritual walk. We have worked hard to have the secretariat be made up of all different congregations, so that we can spread out our ideas and also to encourage that it be couples. A lot of times when the husband goes one way and the wife goes another there's another evening that you cannot spend together. If we couples working on the secretariat, we have the unified body in the family that can help support and drive for this very special type of weekend.

We, the secretariat are the heart and lifeblood of this movement. Thank you.

Judy Lang

(Introduction)

Good afternoon. Joanne has told you about the make-up of the Atlanta secretariat and now I am going to tell you a little bit about the Iowa secretariat and how we serve the whole state. In order to do this, I need to give you a little bit of history of the Iowa Cursillo or Via de Cristo movement. Fred is going to put just a sketchy map of Iowa up there so that you can recognize where these places are when I mention them. We had our first Lutheran weekend in 1972 - same time as Florida started - with a lot of help from the Catholic community. Those weekends were held in a church in Atlantic, Iowa which is in the southwestern part of the state. They had two weekends for the first two or three years. Then a couple years later we started having weekends also at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, which is in the central part of the state and this was a much better location for the people from the Des Moines area.

So in 1976 when I attended there were four weekends held each year - two at each site. We grew and expanded in the late 70's and 80's. We held weekends at various sites including we tried one weekend at a church in Pomeroy and one at a church in Rockwell City. We've had several weekends at a mental health center in Sioux City. We had, I think, three weekends at Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca near Iowa City - between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. We've had several weekends at Waldorf College in Forest City which is in the north central part of the state, and many weekends at Okoboji Lutheran Bible camp near Milford, which is in the northwest part of the state. During this time we have been pulling candidates in from Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. We've also been having a prison ministry in connection with some of the others - it's more of an ecumenical movement, but we have been helping a lot with that through support and we have had prison ministry at Ft. Madison maximum penitentiary, and Mt. Pleasant and Rockwell City. Currently, they are holding them at Mt. Pleasant. Mt. Pleasant and Fort Madison are in the southeast portion of the state.

These states that were coming in - the people from Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota - as these states started their own movements, our need for weekends diminished, so we are currently using four of the sites.

As we grew and used more sites, there was no thought of starting another secretariat. The original secretariat met a couple of hours before the closing on Sunday afternoon. The responsibilities included arranging for the weekend, such as securing sites and dates, selecting the rectors and spiritual directors. The community was small enough that they knew most of the people and those people that were qualified so they could handle all of this. They handled the finances and suggested the donations. They had someone who stored all the supplies in their garage and would see to it that they were taken to the site for the weekend. They prepared the materials for the leaders for the weekend and kept track of all of the talk books. As we grew, this task became more difficult to do in such a short amount of time, so the secretariat decided to meet on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the central part of the state, near Riverside Bible camp, in a church. It was also difficult to know all the people, who would be good, to be rectors and spiritual directors.

It was about this time - the early 80's - that the National Lutheran Secretariat was starting. In the sharing that goes on at these meetings, we discovered that in other areas a new secretariat was started each time a new area or a new site was started. This was new to us. We thought that we're too much of a community and didn't want to separate our secretariat. We did go through a period of reorganization and we did sort of subdivide our group into areas according to the sites, for such things as selecting rectors and spiritual directors and making the arrangements for the sites. This was a painful process for some of our people to go through. Presently, our secretariat meets one Saturday every month in a church at a central location. They coordinate the weekends in the different areas and approve the selection of rectors, spiritual directors and the dates for the weekends so they're a coordinating body now, rather than just planning every little detail.

We are constantly reviewing the finances, to see how we are coming. If there is a need for an appeal to the fourth day community then they decide how that's going to be done. As I said before, we started with the supplies being stored in someone's garage. Then we purchased a snowmobile trailer and someone built the frame around that, so we had a trailer where we stored our supplies and this trailer, then, was hauled from site to site and back to where it was stored and these people kept it supplied. Recently - just this past year we purchased a used rescue truck. This holds our tables, podium, overhead projector, communion-ware banners, hymnals (LBW), our songbook which is "Songs", notebooks, pens, crosses, tissues and much, much more. But these are the supplies for all the weekends throughout the whole state plus our prison weekends. They also make decisions regarding any purchases that we have to do for these supplies. For instance, if we need to purchase some more hymnals or we need to purchase some more communion ware - those kinds of decisions are made by the secretariat.

We also review the materials for the rectors and the rollo room team members and the palanca team which is what we call our support team. The members of our secretariat are usually couples. In a couple of instances we've had a single male and a single female from the same area, and we have even had two women for a short while. We call our leader a lay director. This couple is responsible for conducting the meetings and receiving some correspondence. We have a spiritual director and three or four clergy couples at large. That's how we got started - we were a clergy couple at large. We have one treasurer for the whole state. Originally, our representatives on the secretariat were one couple from each ultreya. This was a nice group to start with, but as we grew, the number of people, because the number of Ultreyas increased, the number of people increased, so we became really too large, so that's when we decided we needed some reorganization. We decided to have one couple or two singles as a representative for each of the areas where we hold weekends. We are now wanting to have an alternate from each one of those areas, too. If the couple cannot make it, the alternate can. Sometimes both couples come.

We also have an assistant lay director couple and from the area representatives we collect a secretary, a financial advisor and a palanca coordinator. The financial advisor is a little different and this was decided upon because our treasurer was not able to come to our meetings - she just sent us a report. Many times we had questions about that report so we decided to have a financial advisor who would receive the treasurer's report ahead of time, review it, and then contact the treasurer with any questions or concerns, and then report to the secretariat at our meeting. Also, the financial advisor would do things such as if we had several thousand dollars there we'd maybe suggest some ways to invest it - or what we should do with that money. We have our newsletter editor and our NLS representative that are also part of our secretariat. We also have something else that I'm not too sure that many of the other secretariats have. We have a liaison who is a member of the synod Congregational Life Board. A person who is on the synod Congregational Life Board is also a member of our secretariat or comes to our meetings. We have three synods in Iowa, and we have one synod that is doing that, but we'd like to have someone from the other two synods as well.

Each area is to have a representative couple to attend the secretariat meetings and an alternate one and each site has its own registrar for the weekends at that particular site. For each weekend and also each area is to select a weekend couple who is responsible for set up, take down of the weekend and also responsible for handling any of the money and bills for that weekend.

Something else that we do that's a little bit different - much of our leadership training is done by experience. We want our people to serve at least two palanca teams or background teams before being in the rollo room. Then, once they're in the rollo room, we'd like to have them serve once as a silent, or auxiliary, before they can give a rollo. Then we'd like to have them give at least two rollos before they be an assistant, and be an assistant rector at least twice before being a rector. Our rectors and assistant rectors are Lutherans. The rollistas do not have to be Lutheran and they are selected by the area representatives with approval of the secretariat.

In other words, our training is done by experience as they move through the weekends and experience more weekends. For our team training we highly recommend 25-30 hours of team meetings and preparation time. We used to have ten weekly meetings of three hours each. Then with the mileage and the gas crunch, we tried all-day Saturday meetings and overnights on Friday and Saturday. We found that one overnight is not enough so we've gone with the number of hours leaving the specifics for the leaders for a particular weekend. If they want to do a combination of weekly meetings and overnights or all day Saturday meetings - that's up to them, but we would like to have 25-30 hours of training. This is just a thumbnail sketch of how we do things in the Iowa Lutheran Secretariat. Minnesota is another state that has a secretariat or a council for the whole state, and I'm not sure there might be a couple of others. We are the minority, I think. Thank you.

SECRETARIAT LEADERSHIP
FRED ARNDT, presenter

Date: June, 1991

The topic to be discussed in this presentation is the National Lutheran Secretariat, the local secretariat, and the relationship between the two entities. We will start with a brief history of the Via de Cristo, the structure of the NLS, the local secretariats within the NLS. We will also discuss the committee structure under which the NLS operates to perform its work within the Via de Cristo.

The objective of this presentation is to provide the reader with a greater understanding of the NLS and why you, as a representative to the NLS from the local secretariat, should actively work to assure the success of the NLS and provide support and cooperation by the local secretariat.

T

HE HISTORY OF THE LUTHERAN VIA de CRISTO

The Lutheran Via de Cristo evolved out of the original Catholic Cursillo, which in itself was started by the Catholic Community of Spain in the later 1940's. The purpose of the movement was to provide a training ground for the Catholic lay-people to work actively for the church in support of the clergy. The Cursillo program was brought to the US in the early 1950's by several air force pilots who came here for training. The weekends were originally for men only. The women of the church were added at a later date upon the insistence of the women.

The Cursillo started its work within the Lutheran community in 1972, when Lutheran lay people and clergy from both Iowa and Florida attended Catholic Cursillo within each of those states. The Cursillo had also moved into the Episcopalian community. By 1980, the numbers of Lutheran lay people had reached significant levels whereby the communities within various states were able to set up their own organization and begin conducting the Cursillo weekend. I believe Iowa and Florida had organized and were conducting weekends prior to that time.

In January, 1981, the first organizational meetings were held within the Lutheran community, bringing together the various state organizations to discuss the formation of what was later to become the National Lutheran Secretariat of the Via de Cristo. This meeting was held in Atlanta. Discussions were held with the Catholic Cursillo organization in an attempt to gain their approval to use the Cursillo name as part of the identification of the Lutheran community. The discussions with the Catholic Community were not successful, thereby leading to the adoption of the name - Via de Cristo.

The name - Via de Cristo - was formulated and adopted at an annual meeting of the delegates in February, 1986 in Ottawa Lake, MI. The National Lutheran Secretariat had been formed earlier at the annual meeting in February, 1984. The organization is incorporated in the State of Minnesota.

 

ORGANIZATION OF THE NATIONAL LUTHERAN SECRETARIAT:

The National Lutheran Secretariat - NLS - acts as the governing body of the Lutheran Via de Cristo at the national level. It is made up of delegates elected from each of the state secretariats. An executive board is selected from the body of delegates. The number of delegates, authorized for each secretariat, is based on the number of weekends held annually and the size of the secretariat. The guidelines are set forth in the bylaws of the constitution.

An annual meeting is held where the delegates come together to transact business. Committees are formed during the annual meeting to resolve the various issues brought to the attention of the body of delegates. The board of directors conducts all business for the NLS in between the annual meetings. This is usually held at the site of the next year's annual meeting.

The board of directors is made up of 5 officers and an additional 4 representatives. The officers are as follows: President, Spiritual Director, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Outreach, Secretary and Treasurer. The directors are elected from the body of delegates each year. An individual can be elected to the same position up to three in succession. The additional representatives are - Director of the NLS Distribution Center, NLS Newsletter Editor, Palanca Coordinator and the Host Committee Chair for the upcoming Annual Meeting. The four representatives are appointed positions.

There are 26 Secretariats as of 1991 who have joined the NLS. A map and a list of the Secretariats and their representative to the NLS is found elsewhere in this publication. This list provides a good reference list should any one need to locate a Via de Cristo community anywhere in the US. There are a number of states which are not yet represented by a Via de Cristo community.

 

FORMING A NEW SECRETARIAT:

The question which arises from communities not yet represented in the NLS is: How do we form a secretariat and as a secretariat, how do we join the NLS? This is a topic which is the responsibility of the VP of Outreach. It is also the responsibility of each delegate or person within the Via de Cristo community.

Forming a new secretariat is the most difficult portion of the equation. The requirement here is to assemble a Fourth Day Community. This community is made up of a group of individuals who have made a Via de Cristo weekend either in another state or have made a Cursillo weekend sponsored by the local Catholic or Episcopal communities. These individuals will constitute the Fourth Day Community from which to elect a Secretariat for the community.

Once the Secretariat is formed, joining the NLS is a matter of signing the NLS Constitution, verifying the fact that the local Secretariat accepts the terms and bylaws of the NLS Constitution. The NLS has the responsibility to accept the new Secretariat. The constitution of the new secretariat should be representative of the NLS constitution.

There is also the question as to how much area or land mass will be included under the jurisdiction of the new secretariat. This varies by state and in several areas based on the density of the population. For example, Florida consists of a number of secretariats due to the concentration of population around the major cities. The Midwestern states generally are represented by a secretariat per state. There is no general rule other than - it depends upon the conditions.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LOCAL SECRETARIAT:

The new secretariat has the responsibility of organizing and conducting weekends for the community from which it was formed. In the beginning this can be a big challenge due to the small numbers of cursillistas who are involved. Support, however, is available from the secretariats which are in surrounding states. They will come forth to support the weekends until the local fourth day community is large enough to support the weekends.

The other responsibility of the secretariat is to assure that the fourth day community is supported with an ultreya, out of which will come forth the renewal groups. This is the prime reason for the existence of the secretariat - to support the fourth day, to assure its existence. Only through the strength of the fourth day community, will the whole movement be able to continue to carry on its work in Christ.

The local secretariat's responsibility to the NLS is to provide financial support and send to the annual meeting, worthy representatives devoted to conduct the business of the NLS. I know that all of us are worthy, but the reason I make mention of this fac is that the NLS needs people who will stand up and be counted while representing the local secretariat within the NLS.

Christ's charge to all of us is that we reach out to all people and make an effort to extend His Word to them. This is definitely a charge to the NLS, in that we need to reach out beyond our own boundaries to bring God's grace to others through Via de Cristo. It is so easy to sit back at the local secretariat and say, "why bother getting involved and trying to work into the national scene" but the fact remains that the only way you can spread the work of Via de Cristo is through the support of the local secretariat.

The people up in Seattle recognize the need for support because there are so few people around. There are a significant number of people who have gone through a Cursillo but they need support to form a Via de Cristo secretariat. They need support from us.

 

THE NLS COMMITTEE STRUCTURE:

The NLS operates on the basis of committee action. That can be good or bad. There are a lot of stories about how companies managed by committee eventually go into bankruptcy. We have an executive board who sees to it that the activities that are directed and assembled by these committees. Continue to function between the annual meetings. Some of the committees continue to function as well. However, the executive board is not able to function if it were not for the committees who generate and edit a lot of the materials for the NLS at the annual meeting.

The committees work to resolve various topics which come to light during the previous year. They are brought forth to the executive board and then translated into committee action. This year we will have nine committees discussing a number of topics that are important to the progress of Via de Cristo and National Lutheran Secretariat. The delegates and the guests who want to take part in the committee action will receive a list of topics on which to work.

The following are the committees which will be in action this year:

Bylaws and Guidelines. Every year we have to review the bylaws to assure ourselves that the organization is operating within them or change them to coincide with our operation


Public Relations This is especially critical with the ELCA national office as well as Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We've got a lot of PR work to be done in both of these organizations


Pastoral Involvement - How do you get pastors involved in Via de Cristo at the local area?

New movement outreach - We need to develop ideas on how do we give a jump-start to new secretariats. Also to the secretariats that are currently in operation but are struggling. There are some that have a very small community base and they need help as well as the new ones that are forming.

Fourth Day Activities New ideas for ultreya and renewal groups

Leadership Training A manual is being prepared to provide ideas on what has to be done or should be followed for conducting weekends.


Publications Development: This is one of the major areas that needs work. The Pilgrims' Guide requires much work. A Fourth Day manual is one of the new publications that we have been talking about for the last three or four years. This year we expect it to be given final edit and we'll be publishing it this fall. Another manual underway is the Way of the Cross.

National Lutheran Secretariat Distribution Center. We need ideas on what else can be provided to the local secretariat through the distribution center. How can we be more efficient in getting it to you?

Finance and Organization What assistance can we give unto new so that we can maintain a fiscally sound operation. How should a secretariat be organized? Generally, an organization like this is incorporated and it has non-profit status - tax status - but that isn't always the case. Not all of us are incorporated and definitely not everybody has a tax-exempt status.

Now the question is - how do those committees function? That all comes about through the interaction within that committee by you as a delegate or as a visitor. If you're a visitor and want to work on a committee - that's all well and good. As we work on those committees we all have different experiences and expertise to offer this community. The ideas is that we share those experiences and that expertise so that we can not only recognize and come to know what each others' strengths are, but we might also be able to recognize what are our weakness'.

 

COMMON GUIDELINES FOR ALL SECRETARIATS:

Through this interaction we can make adjustments, based on what we have learned through this sharing. My first experience with the Cursillo weekend was one of a belief that what I was experiencing was the one and only way that the weekend should be conducted. I discovered that after I started going to the NLS meetings and listening to the people from the various Secretariats. There are many ways that a weekend can be conducted and still achieve the objective of renewal and receiving the grace of God

Of course, you know the talks are the same. Hopefully, the lay talk outlines have helped to bring this about. We have Spiritual Director's manuals to provide the clergy with guidelines on their part of the weekend. The worship services are the same in most cases. Beyond that, there are many variations.

The food - have any of you had lutefisk? A Minnesota delicacy for people of Norwegian descent. There are many variations in the weekend that go beyond what is important to maintain continuity - the lay and clergy talks, the worship services and the promotion of renewal for the 4th day community. The point here is that what we share in the NLS meetings helps to provide us all with a new approach to the problems which may exist in how we conduct our weekends back home and in the activities associated with the pre and post-weekend events.

 

NLS SUPPORT TO THE LOCAL SECRETARIAT:

We also find out that we're not alone in this effort of reaching out to the rest of the world. Individually, we have a difficult time of making a big dent in the world, but collectively, we can achieve big gains in bringing Christ to all of those around us.

This outreach also relates to the support of the secretariats which may need help in making an impact in their communities. Support from other communities that are strong within the NLS may help to strengthen those of us who are struggling.

As we look back over the past several years, we can see a few examples of actions taken by the various NLS committees which have been rather significant.

In the development of publications we have created lay talk outlines, the Pilgrims' Guides Brochures for both lay and clergy, service sheets for renewal groups, the spiritual director's manual and now we are coming out with the Fourth Day manual which will be published this fall. Those are the primary publications and now we are looking for ideas from you as to what additional publications are needed.

Our spiritual director, Al Sager, brought forth a book which he received from the Episcopal community. It is a book including all of the various publications that are provided through their community. A book such that including copies of all the Via de Cristo publications is something which we should strive to publish.

The development of individual leadership within each community is a vital component of long term development of the Secretariat. The weekend manuals are shared with the total community by many of the local Secretariats. The information included in these manuals provide a means of eventually standardizing the format of the weekend. The well organized manuals will allow the lesser organized communities to raise their level of organization and likewise the level of leadership.

There is a lot of support available within the Via de Cristo community nationwide to assist new communities prepare and conduct a set of weekends. Examples of this assistance is Iowa supporting South Texas, Good News assisting Living Water, Minnesota assisting Papua, New Guinea, Southern California assisted by Arizona, Wisconsin assisted by Minnesota and on and on.

There are also individuals working to assist Secretariats start up. One of significance is Luther Piel of Good News. He has traveled many miles to assist new secretariats in their early formative days. As one of the founding fathers of the Lutheran Cursillo and finally Via de Cristo, he knows what a little assistance will do to start a new Secretariat off on the right foot.

Prior to the NLS being organized we had a great amount of support from the Catholic and Episcopal communities. Atlanta, Florida and Iowa, in those very early days, were started and supported out of the Catholic community. Needless to say, the NLS has not achieved world-class ranking in providing support but it is surely working towards that end. The development of the new secretariats have been to a large degree brought about by individuals who have been through the Lutheran Via de Cristo. Again I will refer to Luther Piel who has been a vital cog in starting new communities.

Public relations - going on to another area of action that has taken place public relations for ELCA and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The Via de Cristo has become more evident at the various synod conferences within the ELCA. The ELCA officials in Chicago have been exposed to Via de Cristo. It is up to the local secretariats to promote Via de Cristo within their own synods. At this point in time, this applies primarily to ELCA. The NLS, of course, is providing materials from a national level to support these activities.

The continued publishing of supporting materials provides a lot of support for the development of good public relations to the national offices of both church bodies. Their main concern is that a weekend is conducted within some framework that is consistent across the country. Our publishing of and the use of the various publications by all of the secretariats will help to provide for consistency of the weekends and maintain it over time.

The ecumenical relationship within our own Lutheran community has been a driving force in the development of Via de Cristo. A study of the various secretariats within the NLS indicates a variety of ecumenical involvement. We go from secretariat such as Minnesota where they are almost totally Lutheran to the Florida Secretariats where they are totally ecumenical. You may even be hard pressed to find a Lutheran on some of the teams, but still it's a Lutheran weekend as such and supported by the Lutheran community. We must strive to maintain the ecumenical nature of the movement.

This brings to a close my portion of talks. We must continue working to gain as much support as possible for the National Lutheran Secretariat from the local secretariats. Only through this support will the NLS become stronger in its move to reach out to the world. I know that you, as delegates, think in those terms but you need to go back and share that with you sponsoring secretariats. They must also think in those terms. Our outreach to the rest of the world is dependent upon support from your home organization.

I thank you and God bless you all.

 

(question inaudible)


JOANNE ASTALOS: I had seven of them. (1) - We are the servants to the community. (2) - We are to be the most enthusiastic. (3) - We are to be giving the best examples of loving and caring for one another. (4) - We are to be actively serving in our congregation. (5) - We are to make responsible judgments concerning the movement as it grows and changes. (6) - Work on and support the weekends. (7) - Use the secretariat to facilitate our spiritual walk.

Question from D. WAYNE FORD: Florida has five different secretariats that are represented on NLS. Iowa has one secretariat. How do you feel like that having one secretariat serve such a large area with such a large number of Cursillistas (over 5000). How do you feel that that serves the Cursillistas the Lutheran community of Iowa - or do you feel like it would be better served to actually break up into two or more secretariats to serve such a large area?

JUDY LANG: That's a big question. We've struggled with that in Iowa because we like our unity and our state organization. So we have in our restructuring divided into areas, and these areas then are to have somewhat - sort of like a mini-secretariat within themselves, but they still relate to the state. Part of the reason we've kept the state secretariat is because we have some places where we've had weekends and then we've decided we don't need to have a weekend there - that's not a good location right now. We have more people who need to go in this area. So we've moved it around according to where a lot of our people are from. Also part of it is the time of the year. We hold the one at Okoboji in January and the farmers like that one. That one is loaded with farmers. We hold the one at College in the summer because we can't use the college during the school year. That one has lots of teachers or school people that go to that one. We have sort of a subcommittee or sub-secretariats in the areas where we do things but we do as a state keep all of our finances under one treasurer all of our financing together so we can support financially try a new area and see if that's going to work. So some of the areas are stronger financially than others and so together we've pooled the money. Then that goes to reach out to the others. We also have one set of supplies. one truck, now, or trailer as it was, where we have tables and we have purchased nice round tables. We have purchased Lutheran Book of Worship. I think we have a hundred of them. We have purchased songbooks that belong to the Iowa Lutheran Secretariat, and they are then used by all of the Cursillo centers, or all of the Via de Cristo centers and so we ... maybe some of that is the conservatism of the Midwest that we stick with the state, but we do, I think, the financial and the supplies are two of the things. And then we have people who move around, too. We have moved around the state. I have been involved in weekends in three different sites. So therefore, because of the state secretariat, I know people from some of those different sites. We support each other in closing - that sort of thing, too.

While I have the microphone, I have a couple of comments. As I was listening to Fred talk...we were at the Global Mission Event at St. Olaf College last weekend. Two things there - at the display time, Minnesota secretariat had a booth at this Global Mission Event and were passing out information and taking names and I'm not sure if Rose has that list of names but I noticed a couple of people from Iowa and some others that...there are people who are interested in the Via de Cristo that signed up there from all over the country. Another thing that Fred did not mention is that Minnesota has started Cursillo/Via de Cristo in Papua, New Guinea. We talked to some missionaries who just came back from Papua, New Guinea, and they just finished weekend #20.

(question inaudible.."competition for clergy")


JUDY: I think I would recommend that you at least cooperate with each other. Now you have two secretariats in Michigan. I would recommend that you do cooperate and work back and forth. Keep communication lines open there - maybe have one meeting together a year or something like that, where you share what's going on in the two areas - share what pastors have - maybe your clergy is a problem in getting clergy to be active in the clergy move - and maybe then share who has been active and they've moved into your area. That kind of thing, I think, would be a good idea.


JOANNE: Also it might be handy for you to have what we have in Atlanta - a spiritual director coordinator, which would come in handy to keep track of how many times they've served and where they've served.

Question from D. WAYNE FORD: Clergy choose east vs. west in North Carolina.

REV. JOHN EARP: As long as Peter Setzer doesn't come over and try to steal my guys, I won't go over and try to steal his guys. We get along well that way, but it does seem to me that pastors need to adopt some sense of integrity as to the geography which they're going to serve. That cuts the frustration and the sense of competition down. I know if and when I might be asked to go to the west side of North Carolina, for instance, to serve on a weekend. I might do that, but only after checking it out with Peter and only on a one-time basis. I think pastors need to take that in hand as well as determine how often you're going to serve. Once a year - that seems to be plenty. I've burnt myself out working two a year for many, many years. You figure out where you're going to be, stick with it. Bloom where you're planted - that's probably the best way to cut that sense of competition down to size.

 

(question inaudible)


WAYNE: I'll answer that 'cause I and Al Sager are predominantly ... and I invite Al if he wants to add anything after I comment to please do so. We have been in communication with Chicago, the ELCA headquarters. Rev. Eldon DeWirth came and attended the Phoenix meeting in 1989 as an observer. We also, on your secretariat, voted a year ago and this invitation was sent to the LCMS Exec Headquarters in St. Louis and also to the ELCA that we would pay for one official to with no obligation if they would come as a representative to observe. No strings attached. We would pay the cost - air fare and whatever involved. Regrettably we did not get a taker this year, but we have been in communication and I have seen that it has particularly opened up a very receptive attitude further indicating that we have nothing to hide - that we ask their support and encouragement in any way that an observation that they would like to. Also, I am on the schedule tentatively to make an appearance at the ELCA annual meeting for the division of outdoor ministry which is a part of the division of congregational life.
 

(anecdote from Wayne)

We have been in touch with the Missouri Synod people they have inquired. I've had several phone calls and letters that I have sent to the executive director - Eldon Winker. He and I had about an hour conversation last fall and I verbally extended that offer to come at our expense and through a letter later. One of the this I found very interesting is that he said a lot of Missouri Synod pastors are concerned about the fact in their national organizations that the Cursillo weekends are not exactly the same all over the country. I said to him, "is every Missouri Synod service exactly the same all over the country?" He said, "no." - and we moved on. That was it. It was the end of the discussion on that subject. It didn't bother him any more. But that had bothered him and been a great distress to a lot of the pastors and he understands that they all follow the same Cursillo method. If you took an outline - a time schedule, if you've been a rector of the weekend - you're going to find that 75% of the weekend is identical. Using that Cursillo method at the worship services and you've got some differences here about the food menu and when the serenade's done and about when is palanca handed out and things like that. As to the degree of mixing pertaining to your "are you 100% Lutheran or whatever?" - when in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Minnesota you can be as picky as you want to be about Lutherans and when you're in other parts of the country you have to be flexible. In North Carolina we're flexible and very open to Presbyterians and to Methodists - we have helped with a Methodist movement started two and a half years ago. They just ended up having Presbyterian #4 and we're good friends. We support each other through our newsletter through supplies through publicizing serenade and closing and things like that. That to me is what Christ called us to do.

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