What happens at an EUU retreat?
Retreats take place over a long weekend when we gather at a family-friendly location to stay together and share meals and activities for two action-packed days. Favorite and new retreat locations are found in Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Germany.
The retreat begins with registration on Friday afternoon. After enjoying a nice dinner together, participants get to know each other with an intergenerational ice-breaker, and we light candles to share the joys and concerns we have not been able to express since we last were together. After this, there is general socializing, often with musical instruments and singing.
On Saturday morning, a guest speaker presents a topic, which may include discussions among the participants. Saturday afternoons are set aside for workshops – these are presented by participants on topics they propose. Recent workshops have varied from religious and social action subjects to nature walks to yoga, dance or Tai Chi to a serious study of Belgian beers.
For the young people, Saturday is devoted to a comprehensive age-appropriate Religious Education (RE) program. On Saturday evening, the youngsters present some of what they’ve done and learned to the rest of the participants.
Following the RE presentation, Saturday evening is reserved for entertainment, most often an open stage, where we share talents of all sorts: presenting music (singing, dancing, playing musical instruments), performing skits, telling jokes, reading poetry… Once we even had a karate demonstration by a young participant.
As on Friday, socializing continues as long as people put off going to bed – singing and playing and talking. We try to have one quieter room as well as a room for singing and playing.
A religious service, usually led by a UU minister, is held on Sunday morning. Before or after the final lunch together, we have a Retreat Closing that winds up the weekend and sets the stage for the next retreat.