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Spring 2016 Retreat

This retreat has already happened. 

God No!  God Yes! 

Entering the UU Sanctuary of Openness

Unitarian Universalists of all ages and from across Europe will gather on 15th to 18th of April in the beautiful Alsace region of France for our Spring 2016 Retreat. The UU fellowship of Basel, Switzerland will be your hosts.

Our theme speaker will be Unitarian Universalist thought leader Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker. 

Dr. Parker will propose in her theme talk that saying "No" to untenable and destructive ideas about God is an act of faith – one that provides an entryway into a sanctuary of openness in which a spiritual awakening can occur and a new sense of the sacred can arise.  Beyond our "No" there is a mysterious "Yes" that beckons. She will explore how emerging theologies deal with these questions in surprising ways that can inform, intrigue and inspire us to new expressions of reverence and devotion.  Reverend Parker will be asking and helping us answer for ourselves some important questions at this time in the history of our movement. What might we call sacred if we have left God behind?

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, start 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 the opportunity to take part in the acclaimed RE program which meets during the adult’s Saturday morning theme talk, afternoon workshops, presents to the group during the early evening, and meets again during most of Sunday service.

This retreat offers an optional third night additional workshop tracks on Sunday including, but not limited to, fellowship development and interreligious dialog. The 3rd day activities will offer a lower key and more intimate environment for discussion, music, and evening fellowship.

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, Reverend Rebecca Parker

Reverend Parker is President Emerita and Professor of Theology Emerita, Starr King School for the Ministry, and is the first woman to have been a seminary president in modern times.

She is an ordained United Methodist minister in dual fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. Before assuming leadership of Starr King School in 1990, she spent 10 years as a parish minister in the Pacific Northwest and taught at the Northwest Theological Union in Seattle.

Her doctoral studies focused on Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of consciousness as a basis for a spirituality that integrates aesthetics and social engagement. Her theological work, sermons and poetry have been published in academic journals, essay collections and anthologies, and frequently appear in the UU World, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s monthly magazine.

In May of 2010, Parker and John Beuhrens published A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-First CenturyListen to Rebecca Parker interviewed on Illinois Public Radio, with A House for Hope co-author John Buehrens: Rebecca Parker – House for Hope – WILL Radio 9/23


The Centre International de Séjour Mittelwihr, Alsace, France is on the eastern side of the Vosges Mountains, along the Route des Vins d'Alsace (Wine Route).

Alsace is located on the west bank of the Rhine on France's eastern border. It is adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. The rolling vineyard hills are the setting for the Centre International de Séjour and are among the most beautiful landscapes in France. Nearby Riquewihr is a walled, well-preserved picturesque medieval market town. The province of Alsace is known for its colorful half-timbered houses, and regional cuisine. As one of the regions of Europe welcoming to Renaissance humanists, Alsace is a fitting setting for our retreat.

Hikes and other outings will be offered for those who want to experience all this region has to offer.
More information about the vicinity and Alsace.


Most rooms are doubles. There are a few family triples and a couple of quads. A few rooms are set aside for singles. All rooms have an on-suite bathroom with a sink, shower andtoilet. All meals are included, from dinner on Friday the 15th through lunch on Sunday the 17th or through breakfast on Monday the 18th.

REGISTRATION - Deadline is Saturday, April 2

Click here to register

For an adult EUU member in a shared double room, the price is 220 € for the usual 2 night retreat and 280 € for the extended 3 night retreat. Retreat prices cover the entire cost of the retreat per person, including meals.

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

There is a 20 € surcharge per adult for payment after April 2.


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 treasurer@europeanuu.orgby March 19th 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, Cara Burmedi, 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 on 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 thatyou 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 on topics like religions expression, humanism, meditation, and social and political action. Send us your proposal when you register, and we’ll contact you in advance to confirm.

Workshops in development (the ones we know about already)
  • Chamber Music for All Bring your instruments! Saturday workshop and possibly Sunday as well.
  • The Rocks will Cry Out  Study and discussion of chapter 7, House for Hope by Rebecca Parker. Also possible on Saturday and/or Sunday.
  • Fellowship Development with Eric Cherry and Sharon Marshall. Sunday workshop.
  • Unifying Coexistence of Religions: Learning dialogue for mutual understanding The workshop will be led by Sherif Soliman with Aron Mueller and Medi Jahandar. Sherif’s roots are in Sunni Islam, Aron’s in Judaism, and Medi’s in Shia Islam. Sunday workshop.


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 jam sessions.


Coming by plane

The Basel/Mulhouse Euroairport serves both Switzerland and France. From the baggage claim, use the Swiss exit. Buy a train ticket from Euroairport to Colmar online or at the SBB ticket office just outside of the baggage claim. It should include the bus fare. The #50 bus runs every 10 minutes between the airport and the main station (Basel SBB). Take one of the hourly local, TE2 trains to Colmar. Friday afternoon, we will provide transportation to Mittelwihr from there.

Arriving by other public transport

Travel to Colmar station. Friday afternoon, we will provide transportation to Mittelwihr from there.


There is free parking across the street from the center.
  • From Strasbourg (map) go south on A35/E25 to exit 21 Ostheim (~60 km). Follow signs to Bebenheim and then Mittelwihr.
  • From Mulhouse (map) go north on A35/E25 to exit 23. Follow signs to Bennwihr and then Mittelwihr.


The retreat begins on Friday and ends on Monday after breakfast. If you want to arrive or depart a day or two earlier, please contact them directly at


If you have questions, contact the Retreat Committee (



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