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Fall 2015 Retreat

This retreat has already happened. 

Singing For Our Lives: Power for Our Journey Together

EUU Fall Retreat 30 October – 1 November 2015
Köln Germany



Unitarian Universalists of all ages, from all over Europe, will gather on 30 October in the beautiful city of Köln Germany, for our Fall 2015 Retreat.

Our featured speaker will be our dear friend, the Rev. Mark Belletini.  Here’s what he has to say about the retreat’s theme:

“Like many of us, I cannot read music. Yes, even as someone who sat on the hymnbook commission for 6 years. I cannot read music. And apparently, I am not Pavarotti. When I was younger, people poked me during the Christmas service, complaining I was singing the carols off key.

I didn't even know what "key" meant.

Yet despite that, I sing. I let the music fill my body. I don't care what anyone else thinks about my voice. I don't singfor them...I the words of the great Holly Near from our hymnbook...for OUR lives. Not MY life alone...but for the lives of all beings.”
At this retreat, EUU will be joined by 20 members of the British Unitarian Musical Society, led by David Dawson, who has written a special piece that will debut at our Service!  Our own Musical Director Marcie McGaughey, will be coordinating the many different musical opportunities for everyone.

Join us for a weekend of learning, discussion, worship, contemplation, singing, socializing, and friendship for all ages!

EUU retreats are not weekends of silent contemplation, though there is time for that too. We gather on Friday afternoon, eat together, make new friendships and renew old ones. On Saturday morning we listen to our invited speaker. Saturday afternoon is the time for workshops, maybe a walk in the woods or the town, and choir practice (all voices welcome). Saturday night is our Open Stage, featuring all kinds of talent shared by people of all ages. Sunday morning we hold our worship service, followed by lunch.

Children and teenagers have their own program, and they join the adults for some activities.

And we invite you to offer your talents to make the weekend special. Can you lead a workshop, help with the children’s RE program, entertain us on the Open Stage, sing in the choir, play or sing along in the evening? Or in other ways? Please tell us when you register.

OUR SPEAKER, Mark Belletini

Our guest speaker this spring will be our good friend Rev. Mark Belletini. Mark was ordained into the Unitarian Universalist ministry on September 22nd, 1979. He began his ordained ministry by serving the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco as Assistant to Rev. Diane Miller. Then he served the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church as minister for 18 years.

He has been senior parish minister at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio, since August 1st of 1998. He has also covered for Rev. Laurel Hallman while she was on Sabbatical from First Church, Dallas.

Mark served as the chair of the Hymnbook Resources Commission which produced the present hard-bound worship book for the Unitarian Universalist Association, and he has served four two year terms on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the UUA, our ministerial credentialing body. He chaired the two year committee that prepared international and interfaith worship celebrations for the 1987 International Association for Religious Freedom Congress at Stanford University, with Maya Angelou as one of the featured speakers.

Mark has taught in a number of seminaries, including Meadville-Lombard in Chicago, which awarded him a Doctor of Divinity in 1994, and Starr King School for the Ministry, which is his alma mater. He has taught worship and celebration, Unitarian Universalist history, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender studies, and the Gospels from a Unitarian Universalist perspective. While he was in seminary he was a student minister at Walnut Creek, CA congregation for almost two years, and served a six month internship at the church in Rockford, Illinois.

Mark has written papers for conferences and study groups, including a paper on radical theology for the Unitarian Church in Prague, a paper on Jesus as a Torah based Prophet, and an historical study on our Unitarian ancestor, Arius of Alexandria. He has also written a number of song texts and hymns for
various occasions, and writes poetry for both his ministry and himself.

Mark is godfather to five extraordinary young folks, and calls one remarkable young man, Tony Hess, son. He counts his friends to be his mainstay, traveling often to see them...and vice versa. He is an artist since he was young, loves the cooking of the world, studies up on his own Emilian Italian heritage frequently, enjoys modern opera, runs a life-drawing group, and has learned gladly from the privilege of travel from Moscow to Jerusalem, from London, to Paris to Berlin, from Mexico City to Santiago de Chile, from Rome to Venice, and Vancouver to Quebec City


Jugendherberge Köln-Riehl

Köln-Riehl City Hostel is located on the Rhine floodplains overlooking the Rhine - enjoy your day on the hostel's sun terrace or go for a walk along the or bike ride through the city centre. The cathedral and main railway station are also just a few minutes away by underground train. The Boltensternstraße underground station is only 400 meters away. More information about the city and the sights.


The hostel has single, double and multiple-bed rooms, all with sinks, shower and toilet. All meals are included, from dinner on Friday the 30th through lunch on Sunday the 1st.

REGISTRATION - Deadline is Thursday, October 1

Click here for more information, including prices (in € and £) for all ages and room types and to register. 
For an adult EUU member in a shared double room, the price is 190€. Retreat prices are for the entire cost of the retreat per person, including meals.

Register early to ensure that you get the type of room you want. Double and single rooms are limited.

There is a 20 € surcharge per adult for payment after October 1.


We try to keep prices for our retreats within reach of most people, but we understand that some people still may not be able to pay the full cost. That is why EUU has a grant fund.  When you register, please consider adding a little extra for the grant fund.

To apply for a grant, write to our treasurer, John Hertz by September 15 at the latest (earlier is better); we help as many EUU members as we can. All requests are treated confidentially. We understand that there are many reasons you may need some help to attend – please don’t be shy.


One way to give back to our community is to volunteer to work with the children or teens during the retreat.  Whether you are a parent or not, please consider this option!  Our dynamic RE Director, , is looking for some teachers and volunteers.  Teachers have their registration fee waived and get travel compensation as well.  If you are interested, please contact:


Saturday afternoon activities center around workshops led by volunteers attending the retreat. Can you offer a 1 to 1.5 hour workshop? Is there some topic related to the theme talk that you would like to discuss or explore with others? Do you want to bring an instrument or your voice and get together to make music? Workshop topics and formats are always diverse; past workshops have involved activities like dancing, art, writing, yoga, wine and beer tasting, walks to explore local sights, as well as discussion of a myriad of topics. Send us your proposal when you register, and we’ll contact you in advance to confirm.

The Rautenstrauch-Joes-Museum holds an extensive collection of cultural and ethnographical material including musical instruments. We hope to offer a Javanese Gamelan drumming workshop by visiting the museum during Saturday afternoon.

Here is a short intro to the museum:
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum -- Cultures of the World


Music is a featured part of this retreat, but EUU retreats always offer a variety of musical opportunities, for both performance and listening, over the course of the weekend. Bring your instrument and/or your voice and join in the EUU Choir, instrumental music for the Sunday Service, the Saturday Open Stage, or the late-night singing and playing sessions.


Teenagers and young adults at the retreat in Cologne will be very interested in meeting the four Transylvanian youth who will be attending as guests! Two boys and two girls, 15 and 16 years old, will come and tell us about their activities at home. This will be a great opportunity to get to know them. The Unitarian High School in Cluj-Napoca, Romania has already issued an invitation to EUU youth to come to Cluj for a visit, to stay in the dormitory at the Unitarian High School, see the beautiful medieval town, and get to know more about student life at the school. 

Don’t miss this chance for an exchange!


Link to website for Köln Public Transport (English)

Coming by plane

From Cologne/Bonn Airport take the S13 S-Bahn train or the R8 regional train to Köln-Hauptbahnhof (Cologne main station). Then take the number 18 underground line (towards Thielenbruch) as far as Boltensternstraße. 5 minutes walk from there.

Arriving by other public transport

Travel to Köln-Hauptbahnhof (Cologne main station), then take the number 18 underground line (towards Thielenbruch) to Boltensternstraße. Walk for 5 minutes from there.

Coming by bus or car (free parking for 150 cars and 6 buses)

From Aachen, Krefeld and Neuss take the A57 until the end of the motorway, then get into the left-hand lane (towards Zoobrücke/Messe), after about 1500 m and before the Zoobrücke (bridge) turn right (towards Zoo/Flora), go straight through the crossroads as far as Rheinuferstraße (Niederländer Ufer), turn left at the traffic lights, after 800 m turn right just after the "AXA tower".  

Be sure to be in the far right lane as you approach the AXA tower. If you miss the right turn into the car park, you will have to go over the Mülheim bridge to the other side of the Rhine!

From Bonn
take the A555 via Köln-Süd until the end of the motorway (towards Köln-Zentrum), turn right at the roundabout (towards Rheinuferstraße), follow this road several kilometres until the "AXA Tower". Turn right just after the "AXA-Tower".

Be sure to be in the far right lane as you approach the AXA tower. If you miss the right turn into the car park, you will have to go over the Mülheim bridge to the other side of the Rhine!

From Frankfurt or Oberhausen
take the A3 to the Köln-Ost junction, then drive on the motorway (towards Köln-Zentrum), turn right after the Zoobrücke (zoo bridge) (towards Zoo/Flora), turn left at the traffic lights (Niederländer Ufer), turn right just after the "AXA Tower". 

Be sure to be in the far right lane as you approach the AXA tower. If you miss the right turn into the car park, you will have to go over the Mülheim bridge to the other side of the Rhine!



The retreat ends on Sunday after lunch, but there's lots to see in the city, so you may want to stay an extra day. If you want to stay at the hostel on Sunday evening, or come a day early, please contact the hostel directly (


Köln – Cologne

ologne (Köln) offers seemingly endless attractions, led by its famous cathedral whose filigree twin spires dominate the skyline. It’s regularly voted the country’s single most popular tourist attraction.

The construction phases of Cologne Cathedral and its predecessors

The Bells of Cologne Cathedral

The city’s museum landscape is especially strong when it comes to art but also has something in store for fans of chocolate, sports and even Roman history. Its people are well known for their liberalism and joie de vivre and it’s easy to have a good time right along with them year-round in the beer halls of the Altstadt (old town).

Cologne is like a 3-D textbook on history and architecture. Drifting about town you’ll stumble upon an ancient Roman wall, medieval churches galore, nondescript postwar buildings, avant-garde structures and even a new postmodern quarter right on the Rhine. Germany’s fourth-largest city was founded by the Romans in 38 BC and given the lofty name Colonia Claudia Ara Aggripinensium. It grew into a major trading centre, a tradition it solidified in the Middle Ages and continues to uphold today.
Read more

Check out the
Cologne Tourist Office website for extensive information about the local attractions, restaurants, and other practical information.


If you have questions, contact the Retreat Committee (

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