European Unitarian Universalists
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Fall 2017 Retreat

Registration for this retreat is closed.

Engaging the Heart, Ways to Spirit

with the Reverend Diane Rollert

and special guest Druid Taco Ijzerman


Corsendonk Sol Cress Center
Spa, Belgium
October 27–29, 2017 

Get more from your retreat with a 3-day package
including an earth-based celebration of autumn with Taco.

“As Unitarians and Universalists, we have the freedom to chart our own spiritual paths, yet we live with a challenging dichotomy. We’re often caught in thinking mode. We question and we analyze, while our hearts cry out for deeper spiritual experience.”

In this weekend retreat, Rev. Diane Rollert will help us to engage the heart in search of a UU spiritual practice. 


About our keynote speaker

In 2006, Rev. Diane Rollert became the 11th settled and first female minister of the Unitarian Church of Montreal since its founding in 1842. She completed her studies in parish ministry and Masters of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School in 2005, after careers in the online information industry and education. She was the Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2011 Confluence Lecturer, focusing on post-secularism, and served as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines while on sabbatical in 2012. She serves on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council and was vice president of the UU Ministers of Canada. She has appeared on television, testified before the National Assembly’s commission on secularism, and has been published in Quebec’s English and French press regarding Bill 60, the proposed Secular Charter, among other issues. She has been a key leader in the fight for religious freedom, having formed a group called Femmes qui croient en la femme (Women Who Believe in Women) and having worked closely with members of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal to produce a series of videos celebrating Quebec’s diversity. 

Finally, Diane has just been announced as the new UUA Ambassador to the EUU. She replaces the very popular Mark Morrison-Reed. Welcome, Diane!

How to get even more out of your retreat!

Stay for Sunday afternoon and evening and enjoy more activities, including a full Druidic Samhain celebration Sunday evening with Druid Taco Ijzerman! 

“The cycle of the seasons inspires me as a connection to the 'here & now' and as a metaphor for professional and personal development. In 1997 I became a member of OBOD, a modern druid order. Since then I have been walking a wide path of self-development and working on a deeper connection with people and nature, which runs through my work and life like a green thread.”

Taco will offer workshops both Saturday and Sunday.

Workshop Sunday: Preparation for Samhain

This workshop is recommended for those who want to participate in the Sunday evening full Samhain celebration.
“Druids celebrate eight seasonal events; standing still to connect with their inner seasons and what they mirror inside us. We will deepen our personal understanding of, and experience with, the eight festivals, with special focus on Samhain, the start of a new year and the ending of the old.” 

Sunday evening Samhain celebration (Samhain is the ancient root of our modern Halloween.)

At this time of the year, we end a cycle and look into the darkness. We face pain, loss and letting go. The ancient Druids believed that at this time, the veil between the worlds grew thin, and for those who were prepared, journeys could be made in safety to the 'other side'. The Druid rites were concerned with making contact with the spirits of the departed, who were seen as sources of guidance and inspiration. The dead were honored and feasted, not as the dead, but as the living spirits of loved ones and of guardians who hold the root-wisdom of the tribe.

Besides this connection with our ancestors, on the personal level we could say Samhain is the festival of the 'bare tree'. Almost all leaves have fallen, it starts to be cold outside, and all that's left is the skeleton of the tree, without leaves… naked. Without the distraction of its cover, we can see the tree: tall or small, impressive, damaged, nothing to hide, vulnerable and strong. We are the tree; it’s the time of really 'letting go' and apparently dying, a time to rest and really turn inward. Then, firmly rooted in our innermost selves, we can make new buds and prepare to renew at the first stirrings of spring.”

About EUU retreats

EUU weekend retreats offer a unique combination of spirituality and fun, offering everything from worship to walks in the forest to late-night jam sessions. Retreats are mainly a time to connect with other Unitarian Universalists living in Europe. So many options are available that participants can emphasize whatever aspect they prefer.

We gather on Friday afternoon and our first meal together is Friday dinner. That evening we get to know one another and share candles of joys and concerns. Saturday morning our guest minister gives a theme talk (described above). Saturday afternoon will offer a wide choice of workshops or a walk in the forest, and then choir practice for anyone who would like to sing at the Sunday service. Saturday evening is our Cabaret Night/Open Stage when we enjoy talent and humor from participants of all ages. Sunday morning is our worship service, followed by lunch. Children and teens have their own exciting program throughout the weekend, though some activities are intergenerational.

Whether you choose a standard or extended-stay package, you won’t want to miss the fall retreat, whether this will be your first time or you are a frequent retreater. Please join us and bring your talents: can you lead a workshop, play an instrument at our worship service, sing in the choir, help with the children and youth program, entertain us on Cabaret Night, play or sing along after hours?

The retreat site

Corsendonk Sol Cress Conference Center
Spaloumont 5
B-4900 Spa Belgium 
+32(0)87 77 23 53

The EUU has held many retreats at this location (formerly k
nown simply as Sol Cress), and we are excited about returning to this lovely site in the Ardennes forest with its views and hiking trails. Playground equipment behind the main building is available for the pleasure of the little ones, and a soccer field, pool table and ping pong table occupy the bigger kids. The bar for coffee and drinks, which is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with billiard, video games, and board games. It's a great place to relax and chat. And if it's cool enough, you can enjoy the open fireplace.

There are many tourist attractions and recreation areas near Sol Cress. 

 The Spa (Bring your bathing suit!)

Spa has been known for its healing waters since Roman times. Since the 16th century, it has been world-famous as a resort town where one would go to "take the waters." Fountains of various springs are found throughout the town and bottles of locally bottled SpaTM water are readily available at the site. Plant tours are available.

The modern spa complex ("Les Thermes") is a stone's throw from Sol Cress. Their pools (Les Bains) are open daily to the public. For adults, the fee is €20 for a 3-hour visit and €31 for full day. You must bring your bathing suit and two bath towels. For spa health or beauty treatments (Soins), reservations are required. Read more at

How do we get to Spa?

Located in the French-speaking province of Liège, Spa is situated in a romantic valley, some 35 km (22 miles) southeast of the city of Liège, and 45 km (28 miles) southwest of Aachen. 
By car: There is plenty of parking space at the site, which is located up the hill from the town center. The map below illustrates how to get there via Exit 8 from the A27.

 By train or plane: It is not hard to reach Spa by public transportation. 

How much does it cost?

The price for an adult in a shared double room is a little more than €200.
We have low, family-friendly prices for children. Infants age 2 and under are free.
If you are a young adult, you qualify for a discount.
See the price table in the official registration form. 

Important Notes: 
Single room assignments are granted in order of confirmed payment. 

Double room roommate requests must be matched and confirmed and are granted in order of confirmed payment. 

Private bathrooms are not available for all rooms. Some rooms share a bathroom. If you do not want to share a bathroom with another room, you are encouraged to register and pay early. This will improve your chances of getting a private bathroom. Room assignments are granted in order of confirmed payment.

If you want to arrive early

Please contact the center directly.
You can arrange to arrive earlier in the week at Corsendonk Sol Cress by directly contacting our English-speaking liaison: Angelique Vanhecke (phone +32(0)87 77 23 53.
Email Angelique at Please mention that you are participating in the EUU weekend.   

EUU retreat grants

We try to keep the prices of 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. Please consider adding a little extra for the grant fund when you register.

To apply for a grant, write to EUU Treasurer at We help as many EUU members as we can, and all requests are handled confidentially.

Children and teens

Retreats are very popular with UU children and teens, giving them time to connect, relax, have fun and deepen their understanding of our liberal faith.
RE (youth religious education) is appropriate for children and teens ages 4+.
For children 3 and under, a babysitter is available.

Important note about extended stay option: If you choose the extended stay package, please be aware that there is currently NO babysitter or children's/teen program available for Sunday afternoon-Monday morning.

More information about the young people's program will be available before the retreat. 


Saturday afternoon we offer workshops led by volunteers. Workshops are interactive and usually last 90 minutes.

Is there a topic you would be interested in presenting as a workshop? Past topics vary from spiritual to ethical topics, journal writing, art, or can be music, dance, or yoga. Send us your proposal when you register, and we will contact you in advance to confirm.

If you choose an extended stay option, you can attend more workshops on Sunday afternoon and evening.


The musical offerings are numerous and varied at every EUU retreat. Our choir welcomes all voices, and after a rehearsal on Saturday, we offer two hymns at the Sunday morning service. Bring your instrument if you have one, and play either at the Sunday service or at the Saturday cabaret night. Please let us know when you register if you can bring an instrument.


Retreat contact

The fall retreat is hosted by the Netherlands Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
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