History of Via de Cristo

The movement originated as “Cursillo®” in the late 1940’s in the Spanish Catholic church and moved to the United States in the late 1950’s. It began in the Lutheran church when lay people and clergy attended a Catholic Cursillo in 1971, both in Iowa and Florida. The first Lutheran sponsored weekends were held in 1972 in Iowa and Florida and have now been held in over 25 states and some foreign countries. Via de Cristo is the Lutheran expression of this method which is currently being used in many denominations including: Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches.

In November 1997, Bishop Floyd Schoenhals met with representatives in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod regarding interest in Via de Cristo. As a result, the interest was “sparked” - initial mailings invited future participants to attend North Texas Via de Cristo Weekends, and persons from both Arkansas and Oklahoma responded. The North Texas community opened their arms, their hearts, their homes and their Via de Cristo Weekends to us. They also opened their Staff School and Weekend Training Meetings to include some of the Arkansas-Oklahoma people, inviting them to serve on the NTLS Weekends.

During this time, an Organization Team was formed to lay the groundwork and preparations for our own Via de Cristo Weekends, and people from the NTLS continued to mentor us through our first Weekends until enough people were experienced and equipped to entirely staff our A-OK Weekends. Also, the A-OK Lutheran Secretariat (A-OKLS) was established to oversee the Via de Cristo Weekends and ministry within the synod.

After two years of preparation, the first A-OK Weekend was held April 5-8, 2000, at the St. Scholastica Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas. We have two weekends each year (spring and fall). Currently, we alternate locations between Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Those attending Via de Cristo from the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod have experienced a new awareness of God’s presence and grace in their daily lives, their churches and their communities.


Keep an open mind and heart in making your decision to attend Via de Cristo. Many of those who have attended also wondered whether they should go. Now that they have attended, they want to share this wonderful gift from God. Please understand that their experience attending Via de Cristo was unique, and all the conversations in the world will not become a substitute for your weekend. You need to experience a weekend yourself to obtain its full and life enriching value
A-OK Via de Cristo Faqs
Frequently Asked Questions