In a colorful image, four birds contribute pieces to a jigsaw of a heart

Building and Sustaining Community:
A Co-Created Virtual Gathering

Each one of us builds our community every time we attend a retreat, write an article for the Unifier or post on the EUU Facebook page. Every contribution is essential to the success of our weekends together, whether that is hosting a workshop or sitting in the lobby and greeting late arrivals with a smile and a set of room keys. We can’t run a retreat without an organizing committee; nor would it be a retreat without musicians in the bar into the wee hours of the morning.

Our retreats sustain members’ hearts and souls because each of us sustains the EUU community with every hello over coffee in the morning, every shared joy or concern, every thoughtful discussion after the theme talk, every laugh at the talent show.

At this retreat we are going to take “creation” in a new direction, and we will create the weekend’s worship service, community-wide activities and schedule together as an intentional process.

Creating the Sunday Service: We will use our main block of time on Saturday afternoon (2–5 pm Central European Daylight Time) to create our Sunday worship service together.

Rev. Diane Rollert, UUA Ambassador to the EUU and minister of the Unitarian Church of Montreal will lead us in an exploration of how we reaffirm our covenant with one another. We will then break into groups, each of which will develop a different aspect of our Sunday service. We expect this will include: opening words and chalice lighting; readings; story for all ages; reflections; closing words/extinguishing the chalice.

Each group will then deliver their part on Sunday, allowing all retreat participants to have contributed to the creation of our worship service.

Creating community-wide activities: There will be structured time for our familiar, anchoring activities: Friday night in-gathering, including Joys and Concerns; Saturday Theme Talk with breakout groups; Saturday night Talent Show; and our Sunday service.

Creating the weekend schedule: Outside the community-wide events, the rest of the weekend will remain unstructured, allowing participants the opportunity to bring their own activities to unscheduled hours. You can see the current schedule on the Online Retreat Schedule — you will get a link when you register.

This means if you would like to offer a morning meditation session, you can add this to the interactive online schedule, also known as the “Padlet,” during an unscheduled time block. Same goes for a book discussion, yoga session or even a more traditional style 90-minute workshop.

Once you have scheduled an activity you would like to lead, you will receive an approval confirmation and we will add a Zoom link to your Padlet card so others who wish to attend can join you.

We are very excited about this weekend of fellowship and connection, and we hope you are too. Come create, together with the rest of this community, a Fall retreat that will sustain us until we are able to be with one another again. Register now by clicking hereWe look forward to seeing you October 29-31!

Our Invited Speaker

Rev. Diane Rollert

[Close-up photo of Rev. Diane Rollert]The Reverend Diane Rollert is a familiar presence to many European UUs. Minister of the Unitarian Church of Montreal since 2006, Diane is also the UUA Ambassador to the EUU. Diane delivered the theme talk on “Engaging the Heart, Ways to Spirit” at the Fall 2017 retreat in Spa and at our last retreat led us in an exploration of what it means to commit to and engage with one another in her workshop “It’s Not the Rules, It’s the Relationships: Why and How to Covenant.”

How you can get involved

Breakout group facilitators

Our Saturday “workshop” time will be a bit different this retreat, providing a great opportunity to try something new! Following on from Rev. Diane’s theme talk, we will head into breakout groups that will each have a very specific output: Producing a part of our Sunday worship service.

We are looking for about six people who can serve as facilitators for these breakout sessions, making sure each group is able to complete their part of the service in the 75 minutes we have allotted to this work.

Do you have skills as a group facilitator? Are you someone who likes to make sure groups remain focused in order to complete a task in a set amount of time, or would like to try your hand at this? If so, we’d like to hear from you:


[Photo of Jill Khaleghi, smiling and wearing a turquoise shirt]New EUU Music Director Jill Khaleghi welcomes all singers to a Zoom session where everyone will have the opportunity to record themselves singing a short round, which Jill will create as a video for the Sunday service! You don’t need to read music, as everyone will be singing the same melody.

We’re also looking for instrumentalists who would like to record a song for several music slots available for our Sunday service, or for other events over the weekend. All pre-recorded songs are due to Jill by Wednesday, October 27th. Thank you in advance!

Please let us know when you are registering if you would like to contribute to the music program. And if you have any questions, please contact Jill at

Zoom hosts

All of us will work together to build our weekend and co-create the community we cherish. We are looking for specific help in running our tech tools. Might that be you? You don’t need to have advanced technical skills — we can help you learn anything you need to know.

Complementary activity leaders

We will have a number of community-wide events throughout the weekend, including Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday midday. That leaves quite a few unscheduled hours where you can offer a complementary activity to help round out our weekend — perhaps sunrise yoga, morning meditation, or something like one of our more traditional workshop sessions.

As you are registering, you will see a link to the Online Retreat Schedule, or Padlet. Go to the schedule and click on the + symbol in the column representing the date you want to offer your activity.

You can choose from Friday the 29th through Sunday the 31st, at whatever time is best for you, and you may want to work with a partner if you need someone to manage the Zoom settings while you are delivering your activity. We only ask that you refrain from booking a session at a time we are holding a community-wide event, represented by the green cards shown on the schedule. Once you have added your activity, the moderators will approve or contact you and then it will show up on the schedule for others to see.

Reminder of how to use our tech tools

Before the online Fall Retreat in 2020, Karen Kyker and Shulamit Levine-Helleman created videos to teach people how to use Zoom. They are a good way to get started or to review what you once learned. Click Here.

Questions?  Write to

We look forward to seeing you online in October!