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Our retreat this spring will explore the interaction of our bodies, thoughts, and actions so that we may become more fully present and alive. This retreat is an opportunity to deepen into mindfulness practice through word, song, movement, and silence; explore what it means to awaken in each embodied moment of our often challenging, chaotic, and beautifully sacred lives; and align body, mind, heart, and hands with our values and principles.

You are invited to explore these questions with us at the EUU Spring Retreat in Saarbrücken, Germany, from April 12th to 14th 2024! 

Our Speakers

Our theme speakers are the Rev. Abhi Janamanchi and Lea Morris.

Abhi Janamanchi

Rev. Abhi Janamanchi currently serves as senior minister of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. Before being called to Cedar Lane in August 2013, Abhi served congregations in Clearwater, Florida, Madison, Wisconsin (1998-99), and Park Forest, Illinois (1997-98).  

Abhi has been actively involved in international interfaith and multicultural work for over three decades. His Unitarian Universalist-Hindu faith, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship inspire and guide him in his life and ministry. This is Abhi’s second time with us. He was also the speaker at the 2012 retreat in Köln.

Lea Morris

Lea Morris is an award-winning singer/songwriter, gifted guitarist, and percussionist. Lea grew up in a musical family, singing a cappella harmonies with the Jones Family Gospel Singers. 

Lea Morris’s sound often draws comparisons to Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell. It’s no wonder, with her warm vocals, insightful lyrics, and familiar melodies. However, as her compositions expand to include looped harmonies, vocal percussion and other elements, it’s clear that her SoulFolk style is unique. Lea has performed extensively across the United States and Europe. She’s had a close relationship with Germany for over 20 years and currently resides in Braunschweig, Germany. Lea has shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, and Dar Williams.  She has been nominated for and won several awards, including Best VocalistBest Recording, and Songwriter of the Year.  

The Retreat – Attend in Person or Watch Online

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

During the pandemic, our EUU community rallied to create four fully-online retreats. We used the experience from that and from nearly 40 years of in-person retreats to offer “hybrid” retreats after the pandemic. This allowed people who could not attend in person to participate and interact with those who were at the retreat site.

For this retreat, we have not been able to find people who can create a truly hybrid retreat experience. We do plan to stream at least the Saturday theme talk and the Sunday service. If you can’t be there in person, we hope you will sign up to watch these two events.

And if you have technical skills or ideas that you can offer to help us offer hybrid retreats again in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about it!

The Weekend

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. Members and guests take part in our in-gathering ceremony and group icebreaker, before we break for the evening and retire or stay up late and make music or mix at the bar for coffee or just relax with new friends and old. If you are a musician, bring your instrument for the informal jam sessions; professionals and amateurs are welcome!

On Saturday morning we listen to our invited speaker. Saturday afternoon is the time for workshops.  Saturday night begins with our RE presentation, so that everyone can see what the youth have been up to. Next comes Open Stage, featuring all kinds of talent shared by people of all ages. Start working on your act now or decide spontaneously to share your talent. We jokingly say that no talent is required but are frequently amazed and always entertained!

Sunday morning we hold our worship service, followed by lunch, before saying goodbye.

Sharing Your Talents at the Retreat

playing woodwind instruments - sharing music

How can the EUU offer so much at a low cost? We are powered by dedicated volunteers, and we invite you to offer your talents to make the weekend special. Can you offer 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? You will have an opportunity to tell us when you register. 

Young People

Young people will have their own program of Religious Exploration. We are making this retreat especially affordable for both children and young adults, so please take advantage of this opportunity!

young people chatting with their RE teacher

Religious Exploration at the Saarbrücken retreat will be led by Janie Spencer and Sally Lutte. Our program will follow that of the larger retreat. Young people are especially good at connecting their minds, bodies, and hearts. In addition, both Rev. Janamanchi and Lea Morris have offered to come in and work with the youth during the afternoon. This will be a treat!

As usual, RE will begin on Saturday morning and continue until the Sunday service. Parents will be responsible for their children during the coffee hour, at meal times and after the RE Presentation.

Parents will also have the opportunity to spend an hour or two actively participating in their child’s/children’s RE experience by rotating in as volunteers for short shifts. This will enable us to keep faith with our EUU policy of always having two adults present in RE at all times and will give a break to the RE teachers.

Calling All Workshops!

Any ideas you want to share? Contact Janie Spencer at Or write to

Deadline for offering a workshop is March 15

Retreat Site and Accommodation

Saarbrücken is an interesting town, very close to the French border and the Parc Régional des Vosges du Nord. It is well served by the train lines running between Paris and Frankfurt/Mannheim.

Jugendherberge Saarbrücken
 Meerwiesertalweg 31, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
Tel. +049 681 33040

The retreat itself will take place in a youth hostel that is walking distance (1.9 km) from the main train station. It can be reached by a bus as well. Here is what will be available:

  • Double rooms, some single rooms (few) and family rooms with 4 beds plus some rooms for disabled access (and there is an elevator!)
  • Vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free meals

Note about rooms:

The hostel has few single rooms, so please consider sharing with one (or more) other people. If you don’t have a roommate/roommates in mind, we can help match you with a person/people who share your preferences!


The Grant Fund 

image of euro notes in various denominations

Are retreat costs a challenge to your household budget? We know that they can be for some in our community, so we maintain a grant fund to help people who might not otherwise be able to come to a retreat. If you would like to ask for a grant, click here to find out how. You have to act promptly, so read the information right away.

Attending in Person

Prices are per person for the entire cost of the retreat including meals, from dinner Friday night through lunch on Sunday.

Adult Adult
Young Adult
(1829 yrs)
(317 yrs)
(02 yrs)
Single €210 €195 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Shared Double €190 €175 €50 €20 0
Shared Triple/Quad €174 €159 €50 €20 0
Sleeping Off-Site €124 €109 €50 €20 0

Streamed Events

We are asking people to pay €20 to watching the streamed events.

Extra Nights at the Hostel

Would you like to stay at the hostel for an extra night before or after the retreat? 

Extended stays are possible, but he hostel would like as much warning as possible (at least a month). They cannot guarantee that guests will be able to stay in the same room they were in on Friday and Saturday nights. Prices are as follows:

  • Base price for a room with breakfast: €29.90 per person under 28 in a room with 2 or more beds
  • Price for a room with breakfast and dinner: €39.90 per person under 28 in a room with 2 or more beds
  • Base price for a single room with breakfast: €38.10 (under 28 years old)
  • Price for a single room with breakfast and dinner: €48.40 (under 28 years old)
  • An additional €5.00 per night will be charged for all guests over 27.
  • Children up to 3 years stay for free. Children from 4-14 pay half price as long as they are in the same room as their parents.

Bed sheets are included in the price.


Saarbrücken is as little as 2h34 from Frankfurt by train, 1h19 from Mannheim and 1h48 from Paris Est.

It is easily accessible by car from the Low Countries by the A2, from Paris on the A4 and from Basel via the A35 and A4.

We Look Forward to Seeing You in Saarbrücken!

If you have questions, contact the Retreat Committee.