The Ultreya Format
Modified From the Episcopal Cursillo Library

Here is a sample schedule for what is called a "Primitive Ultreya" (which means the simplest, most basic Ultreya as the founders envisioned it). A Grand Ultreya will be a little more elaborate but still should kept as brief and as simple as possible.

Before the Ultreya, the leaders (Rector/a, witness and "echo speaker(s) and the Spiritual Advisor for the evening together with any others responsible for preparing for the event) meet, after seeing that the room is properly set up. For a half hour – 6:15-6:45 – they have their own Group Reunion,

praying for the well-being of the Ultreya,

studying all its aspects, and

planning action to build a true community of support.

Any last minute arrangements can be worked out at this time.

7:00 P.M. Singing is a good way to fill time as people file in. It should not extend so as to prolong the evening. When the people are in their places, The Rector/a for the evening opens the Ultreya with a prayer. At this time, the Rector/a makes any necessary brief announcements (bathrooms, baby sitting, collections for the baby sitters, etc.). The leader asks if there are other brief announcements. The leader asks those present to number off to create groups of from three to five people. These "Floating Group Reunions" are instructed to meet together, then share their moment closest to Christ, piety, study and action, using the service card. The purpose of Floating Group Reunion is to provide contacts for those looking for a permanent group reunion and to give others an insight into the Fourth Day walk of those outside their own groups. The emphasis of this "floating reunion" should be on apostolic action. The Rector/a announces that the Spiritual Advisor for the evening is available for counsel during the group reunion time.

7:25 P.M. The Rector/a gives a five-minute warning so that those who have not had an opportunity to speak in the group may do so.

7:30 P.M. The Rector/a introduces the witness speaker for the evening. This talk is given according to the following format:

  1. It is limited to a maximum of ten minutes.
  2. It relates a personal experience that is an example of apostolic action. Preferably, this action should have been planned with prayer beforehand and should have occurred within the two weeks prior to the Ultreya. A "witness" tells what I am doing for Christ. It is different from a "testimony." A testimony tells what Christ has done for me.
    1. The witness does not need to be an apostolic success
    2. The witness does not need to be about a great apostolic achievement or undertaking (it is not intended to inspire awe in the listener but rather a sense of "I could do that, too!)
    3. The witness neither lectures nor explains.
  3. The witness is delivered in a conversational way without notes and without embellishment.

One or two "echo" speakers are introduced to respond to the witness. An echo speaker can either "confirm" or "affirm" the witness. Confirmation is another example of the witness speaker’s experience. Affirmation is a statement of how the echo speaker plans to apply the lesson of the witness to his or her own life situation. An echo response should not last more than five minutes.

7:50 P.M. Finally, the Spiritual Advisor for the evening relates the content of the witness and echo talks to the Gospel. It is important that the preceding lay speakers do not preempt the Spiritual Advisor’s role. The Spiritual Advisor’s remarks should challenge and encourage the listeners to continue in their Fourth Day as evangelists for Christ. It is helpful for the witness speaker to have discussed the general content of the witness with the echo speaker(s) and the Spiritual Advisor about one week in advance of the Ultreya.

8:00 P.M. The Rector/a asks for any other brief announcements and the evening is closed with prayer. This prayer time may include free intercessions from the people present. The Rector/a or Spiritual Advisor may then give a final prayer. The Spiritual Advisor may dismiss the people with a blessing.

All of this should take no more than an hour. Any associated potluck or Eucharist should be clearly separated from the Ultreya. That way those who do not wish to attend all of the events scheduled for the evening do not feel that they are doing anything improper if they attend "only" the Ultreya.

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