Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Newsletter December 2019


Newsletter December 2019

Dear Friends,


As this is the last newsletter of 2019 the Secretariat pray that this Christmas is a special time of Blessings for you and your loved ones.

Lord, we ask that you bless us all, to guide us in our lives and to protect us all from harm.
May your peace abide in our homes, fill our hearts this Christmas and the hearts of family and friends.
Watch over us all dear Lord, may your peace surround us and may you keep us always in your loving care. Amen

This newsletter includes:

    The results of elections at the AGM

    Introduction to Chris Tomkins, our new Treasurer

    From our Spiritual Director

    Lay Director report

    Results from our questionnaire


Annual General Meeting

Since our last newsletter, we have held our AGM for 2019 and elected the Secretariat. We are delighted that Chris Tomkins has been appointed as Treasurer.

After coffee and cake, in the absence of our Lay Director Angela, we were very grateful to Hazel Tomkins for stepping into the Chair’s role for the AGM in St Andrews Church, Chippenham. We then moved over to the church hall for an Ultreya during which Rod Key gave the witness talk. Rod spoke about how valuable he had found the phrase, "Well, here we are"! In times when ministry was a struggle, placing himself in God's presence with those words helped him to feel God's acceptance and peace. Sometimes Rod felt the answer coming from the Lord, "Yes Rod, here we are. I'm not going anywhere if you're not."! We had much to think about and it was good to get together.

Those of us who attend Group Reunions continue to find them very helpful and we would encourage you to think of trying to attend. If you currently do not participate in a group reunion and would like to do so please let Angela know so that we can arrange to make contact with others for you.

At the meeting the elections resulted in the following appointments:

Lay Director – Angela Smith

Treasurer – Chris Tomkins

Secretary – Hilary Greene

Communications Officer – Hilary Greene

Palanca Rep – Hilary Greene

BACC representative – Hazel Tomkins

Co-opted member s– Jean Beech, Tony Gardener

We are delighted to welcome Chris to the Secretariat and that he is willing to take on the role of Treasurer. Rev Alastair Davies remains as our Spiritual Director.



To my fellow Cursillistas

My name is Chris Tomkins and as you may already know I was elected to the post of Treasurer for Bristol Anglican Cursillo at the AGM in October. I have already served as Treasurer for several organisations and I am currently looking after the Fees Account for my own Church, St George’s at Upper Cam in Gloucestershire. Born a Mancunian, I lived for many years in the Blackburn Diocese which is where I made my Cursillo on a weekend at Whalley Abbey in 2003. Hazel (my wife) and I moved to Dursley in April 2014 to be closer to one of our two daughters in Tetbury. I am looking forward to serving the Bristol Cursillo community and I offer you my love and prayers for the continued presence of Cursillo in this area.

Chris Tomkins


Spiritual Director Alastair Davies writes:

There are moments in life when we are waiting for a door to open…It seems that in Bristol Cursillo, we too are experiencing something of a transition. We’re a bit like the nervous gardener, who having planted bulbs in the winter, is forever wanting to dig them up to see how they are doing.  When Lay Director Angela and I met recently with the Director of Ministry Development and Head of Parish and External Relations, we commended Cursillo to the Diocese as a means of renewal and personal growth for all Christians. In Cursillo, we experience the love of God daily, and within our own context, we are drawn into prayer and compassionate action. Cursillo has always been parish-based, working within the church. As Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York reminds us:

“Cursillo is about making disciples; it transforms people’s lives and empowers them for service.”

We left the meeting greatly encouraged, and with the feeling that we had ‘been heard’. It was agreed that we arrange a Clergy and Lay Readers’ Taster Day in 2020, and to have this included in the Diocesan training brochure. Angela has already contacted National Council members and individual Diocesan Lay and Spiritual Directors, who have replied with their own experience, and have offered helpful tips and guidance.

I suggest that we should prayerfully consider what doors may open for us, when we Group together as Cursillistas and are led to Apostolic Action. The ‘waiting’ is all part of the process of discernment, for it will remind us the need to be both open and responsive to any new direction which the Holy Spirit may reveal to us.

‘One door closes, and another opens. The truth is that the door which is most uniquely ours has been there all the time, only we couldn’t see it… When the door opens we can have little warning as to what form it will take: it might be a lofty door – or a door so small that we have to go down on our hands and knees if we are to enter it.  “Seek, and you shall find”. [Matthew 7:7-8]

                                                            James Roose-Evans. Finding Silence

Christ is counting on you!

…And I on him!


Rev Alastair Davies

Spiritual Director


From our Lay Director

Alastair has already mentioned our meeting with the Director of Ministry Development and Head of Parish and External Relations. I have received a lot of useful advice from Cursillistas in other Diocese and will be shortly be putting together a draft programme for the proposed Clergy Taster Day to be held in the second half of 2020. I feel full of optimism for this opportunity that we have been given. Cursillistas within the Bristol Diocese are very faithful and committed to growth. Introducing Cursillo to clergy and Lay Ministers from the Diocese would help to identify Christians throughout the diocese whose faith and leadership potential would benefit from the Cursillo method of meeting in small groups, being accountable to and encouraging each other in prayer, study and action.

On 5th December, Hilary, Janet and I attended the Institution and Induction of Rev. Jema Ball as Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Bishop and Lead Incumbent for the Avonside Mission Area. Jema is a Cursillista and used to be the National President of Happening – the youth branch of Cursillo. We were very uplifted by the joy and love of God that underpinned and shone out throughout the service. We welcome Jema to the Bristol Diocese.

I would also like to welcome Libby Dix, a Cursillista who has recently moved to Bristol from the Diocese of Canterbury.

On 25th January we will be holding our third South West Area meeting in Stanton St Quintin. These meetings are open to all and are a good platform to share with Cursillistas from the wider area. The day is from 10.30am – 2.30pm and include a Group Reunion. The talk at this meeting is The Rule of Life and it will be led by Tony Price (Oxford Spiritual Director) and Alastair Davies (Bristol Spiritual Director). Please do support this event. Let me know if you are coming 01666 837478.

At the National AGM in May 2020 I will come to the end of my term as Cursillo South West Area Rep and someone else will need to take over this role. This will be an item on the agenda for the Area Meeting in January. Please prayerfully consider candidates for this role.

Our next Secretariat meeting is in February when we will be planning the program of Ultreyas and events for 2020. The next newsletter will be circulated as soon as possible after the meeting. The latest prayer list is circulated with this newsletter. Please do notify me if you wish Bristol Cursillistas to hold you in prayer.

The next Cursillo Weekend in the South West is being held at The Cold Ash Centre in Thatcham and is being run by Oxford Diocese on 5th – 8th March 2020. We have just heard there is only one space left so If you know of anyone who would benefit from attending this weekend please let me know as soon as possible and we can start the process to get them booked on.

Angela Smith

Lay Director


Report on results from our questionnaire

We sent a questionnaire this year with the AGM papers to all on our directory to try to ensure that our communications are meeting your needs, because we were concerned that there are several Cursillistas who are included on the database but do not appear to have been active within Bristol Cursillo for some time. In some cases we were aware that this may be due to transport or health issues in which case we would like to support you in prayer to meet your specific needs. In other cases Cursillistas have moved away from the diocese – we are happy to continue to send you communications and for you to be involved in joining Bristol Cursillo in fulfilling prayer request. We also asked if people would like their details to be passed to the Secretariat from the Diocese in which they live.

Of the 47 questionnaires sent out, 7 people asked to be removed from our records and 3 were returned to sender. Although the majority have been received there are still some responses outstanding.  If you have not returned the questionnaire PLEASE DO SO.  If you have mislaid the original form please let me know and I will send you another one.

Hilary Greene

BACC Pages

The National Newsletter for Autumn 2019 has been published on the BACC website.



Contact details:–


Hilary Greene, Secretary and Communications Officer

3 Rectory Close

Stanton St Quintin



SN14 6DT

01666 837850


Angela Smith, Lay Director

2 Stantone

Malmesbury Road,

Lower Stanton St Quintin



SN14 6BS

01666 837478


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