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Cursillo is difficult to describe…

Due to the unique nature of each Cursillo weekend, it can difficult for people to explain just what Cursillo is like. You may hear comments like “I can’t explain – you just have to experience it” or “We don’t want to spoil the surprise.”  Why do people find it so hard just tell you all about it?

To give some context, here’s how it works: For a Cursillo weekend to satisfy the minimum requirements of our charter, we must have fifteen talks on specific subjects given by lay people and clergy. There must also be five meditations given by Lutheran clergy. Those talks and meditations, plus sufficient meals and sleep time are all that we technically require for a Cursillo to be complete. The lay director or “rector/a” of each weekend is given the opportunity to implement other activities on the weekend to enhance those talks as he or she sees fit. For example, your Cursillo weekend may or may not incorporate a foot washing service to make real our call to serve others. You may or may not have an upbeat praise service on Saturday evening to bring people together in community. There have been opportunities to play volleyball on the lawn from time to time. There have also been weekends with no outdoor activity. Your rector/a may even decide to change the layout of the weekend on the fly if he or she feels led to do so.

Detailing out any particular weekend in advance could set up false expectations that would interfere with your experience. We highly recommend you enter your Cursillo weekend with no expectations and let the events unfold in their own time. We realize that this is a difficult thing to do for some people, but it’s just one part of the Cursillo method that works. When attendees let go of their own expectations and to trust the weekend plan, they are more likely to be receptive to the message of the weekend. They’re more likely to re-enter their environments charged as leaders for Christ.

Please feel free to browse our FAQ’s on this page. If you still have any questions, please feel free to contact us, ask a cursillista from your church, talk to your pastor or join us at an open ultreya. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have in a quick manner, and no question will go unanswered. It is our aim to educate people about Cursillo and how effective a tool it is for developing bold leaders in the Lutheran church.

Frequently Asked Questions

So what is Cursillo all about?

Cursillo is a leadership development organization serving the Lutheran churches of Southern California. Our mission is to develop leaders in the Lutheran church through training and spiritual renewal. You can read more about the background of Cursillo on our history page.

I’ve attended a Cursillo weekend and want to serve, but cannot afford the suggested donation. May I still serve?

Our mission is to develop leaders. We never want the ability to donate funds to prohibit someone from working a Cursillo weekend and further developing their leadership skill. However, we still must cover our expenses. There are a limited number of scholarships from funds donated by other cursillistas available for the purpose of covering workers in these circumstances. Our policy is that no family uses more than one scholarship per rolling year. Please contact the LCSC treasurer on our Contacts page for more information.

If it is FREE, how does Cursillo receive funding?

Lutheran Cursillo of Southern California is funded from individual donations, mostly from team members who work each weekend. We also receive a very limited amount of funding from fellow non-profits and fraternal organizations such as Thrivent Financial. We do not receive funding from any church synod.

I have a situation that prevents my spouse from attending a Cursillo weekend. May I still attend?

The Secretariat of LCSC (our governing body) handles requests for exception to the married couple rule on a case-by-case basis. While the majority of these requests are declined, each case is unique and we lean extensively on pastoral support to make each decision. If you are in this situation, we recommend you consult your pastor first and discuss the prospect of attending without your spouse. If your pastor feels that you should attend and that the experience would better form you as a leader without negatively impacting your relationship with your spouse, have your pastor contact the LCSC head spiritual director via our contacts page. Our head spiritual director will share only those details necessary with the Secretariat members to make a prayerfully informed decision.

Can I attend a Cursillo weekend without my spouse attending as well?

The Cursillo experience can be a deeply personal and spiritual one. If they are both members in good standing of a Lutheran Church, we require that married or engaged couples attend a pair of weekends together so they may share the experience and be on similar levels of understanding of what Cursillo really is about and how to apply it practically to their lives.

What is expected of me after attending a Cursillo weekend?

That’s all up to you. Neither the Cursillo community, your sponsors, nor your fellow cursillistas at your church hold you to any obligation to any further involvement in the Cursillo community. Look at it this way – Cursillo provides you with tools to develop and apply your leadership. How and when you use those tools is entirely up to you. It is our hope, however, that you will take what you have learned out into your home, church, work and play environments and serve as a leader for Christ.

What happens on a Cursillo weekend?

Every Cursillo weekend entails ten 15-20 minute talks given by laypersons on various topics such as Leaders, Study, Christian Community and Laity. Five clergy talks are given on different aspects and perspectives of God’s grace. There are also five meditations given at chapel time. These fifteen talks and five meditations form the core of the Cursillo and are common to all weekend experiences. There are various other events on a Cursillo weekend that serve to enhance and exemplify those talks and meditations. Those elements are envisioned, chosen, designed, scheduled or otherwise implemented by the lay director for the weekend under the consult and guidance of a Lutheran pastor. Because each weekend is unique and independent of any other (and many times is changed ‘on the fly’ as the Spirit leads), we can only go so far as to describe the core of the Cursillo: the 15 talks and 5 meditations.

How much does it cost to attend a Cursillo weekend?

Nothing more than your time. Attendance at a Cursillo weekend is a free gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift back to God.

What are the requirements to attend a Cursillo weekend?

To attend a Cursillo weekend, you must be a baptized member in good standing at a Lutheran church. You will need to be paired with a sponsor who has been through a Cursillo or similar three-day weekend, and have your pastor endorse your reservation request. We recommend praying about it first, then talk to your pastor about what you may be able to gain from attending a Cursillo weekend before applying.