Men’s Retreat

Stretching out at the Men's Retreat

Stretching out at the Men’s Retreat

Planning the Retreat

  • Rule 1: Avoid anything complex.
  • Rule 2: Did you not see Rule 1?

Meals are provided, but snacks and beverages are bring-your-own.

The week before the retreat, those interested in planning the sessions meet and brainstorm, vote on three or four topics.

Friday afternoon, people arrive and enjoy appetizers and conversation. After dinner, there is a welcoming ceremony, followed by fun and games until the wee hours.

On Saturday morning after breakfast, there are some name-games and so forth. There are three sessions with one extra block of free time, with lunch and bio-breaks interspersed.

Saturday evening: More fun and games, frequently those with musical talent will entertain.

Sunday morning: Breakfast and one more session followed by lunch.

A different person facilitates each session, and the level of effort required for that role can be as simple as keeping time and nudging people to move along if they talk too much. Depending on the size and behavior of the group, a talking-stick may be helpful.

We encourage car-pooling, as interesting conversations arise.

Some popular session topics in the past:

  • Moth Radio-style story-telling
  • Discussion of a Boston Globe article about men and friendships
  • Collective Knowledge: We mapped out what we as a group know how to do
  • Transitions
  • Memory Palace: A time-tested way to remember a list
  • Gender and masculinity
  • Fatherhood
  • Getting things done


Complete list:

Retreat 18: April 2019
• Storytelling a la Moth Radio
• Our Experience of/with Maintaining/Growing/Ending Relationships
• #MeToo, How Do We Respond: From Bystander to Agent for Change
• Music/Movie Clip – Share a Meaningful Piece of Media
Retreat 17: April 2018
• Why Is It So Hard to Talk About Money?
• This I Used to Believe (and Don’t Anymore)/This I Don’t Believe
• Navigating Masculinity and Other Gender Topics
• Storytelling a la Moth Radio
Retreat 16: April 2017
• Men’s Friendships
• White People Challenging Racism
• Moth Radio: Storytelling
• “This I Believe” (Sunday Service)
Retreat 15: April 2016
• Moth Radio: Storytelling
• Knowledge Exchange
• Self & Other, Breaking Through Personal Bias and Privilege (Sunday Service)
• Memory Palace
Retreat 14: April 2015
• Moth Radio: Storytelling
• How Do We Encourage Openness & Discussion of Issues at Church (in general) and The Health of the LGBT Community at MUUC (specifically)
• Maya: The Inherent Delusion Where the One Appears as Many (Sunday Service)
• Singing Session
Retreat 13: April 2014
• Discovering & confronting our personal boundaries
• Transitions – local-centric, green, sustainable communities
• Something Creative – decorating boxes to represent ourselves.
• After Death – what are our beliefs about death; how do they affect our lives.
Retreat 12: April 2013
• Story Telling a la Moth Radio.
• Improv
• Transitions – Looking Forward to and Dealing With Them
• Master Disaster
Retreat 11: April 2012
• Overcoming fears: the “flinch” reaction and Strengths vs. Weaknesses: how do you know which to work on?
• Topics from Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw”
• How would I/we design a service/ritual for myself/our group
• What to do for fun?
Retreat 10: April 2011
• Where did you come from religiously? What impediments are there to my spiritual path? What does it mean to be spiritual?
• True enough: noise vs. informed opinion
• Why are there so few UUs? What is the mission of the church? How has the church changed? What am I getting from the church and what would I like to get?
• What excites you: passions, hobbies, ebbs and flows of motivation?
Retreat 9: April 2010
• Authoritarians and Politics
• Identity – Who am I? How Do We Define Ourselves?
• Parenting for Resiliency and Standing Up for Oneself and Others
• Worship Service: Our Music, Our Selves
Retreat 8: April 2009
• Stresses of Modern Life (especially with the economy) How do we respond?
• Spirit and (vs. ?) Matter, Mind/Body, Personal Beliefs on this life and the after life
• The Work of Daniel Pink – Right Brain/Left Brain
• Sunday Service: Guiding Stories and Drumming
Retreat 7: April 2008
• Personal Philosophies: What Experiences Have Given Our Lives Meaning and How Do We Sustain Insights, Attitudes and Life Lessons to Stay Focused and Live in the “Now”?
• Social Aspects of Technology: Intergenerational Differences; Pace of Change; and Consequences for Social Rules, Ethics and Morals.
• Happiness: Past Experiences and Implications
• Sunday Service MUUC Men’s Bell Chorus
Retreat 6: April 2007
• Living Your Faith: Finding Spirituality Every Day
• Men’s Programming at the Church: Direction, Issues. etc.
• LGBTQ+: How Comfortable Are We Really?
• Relaxing/Stress Reduction Strategies
• Beyond Mid Life & Changing Family Relationships
Retreat 5: April 2006
• Improv
• Going Through Transitions; Strategies and Getting Support
• What is “Masculinity”? Discussion About Gender
• Tai Chi & Creative Stretching
• How Best to Work with Me and Personality Profile?
• Balancing Personal & UU Beliefs (especially in conflict)
• Sunday Service (Open Topic)-Please bring readings, songs, etc.
Retreat 4: April 2005
• Reflections on Transitions in the Ministry
• My Father, My Self
• Parenting in These Times
• Getting Things Done: Productivity the Stress-Free Way
• Families Over Time: Transitions from Sons to Fathers
• Sunday Service: Experiencing Mystery
Retreat 3: April 2004
• Consequences of a Growing Congregation, Maintaining Community
• Men’s Community/Programming and Men’s Participation/Influence
• Unleashing Creativity
• Our Sense of/Reaction to the Times and What We Can Do
• Men’s Relationships/Fathers and Sons, Men and Boys
• Sunday Service-Please bring readings and songs
Retreat 2: April 2003
• Discerning Integrity in Information
• Welcoming Dissent
• The Iraqi War: Impact on our Community and Lives
• Sexuality
• Sunday Service theme: Simplifying Life.
Retreat 1: May 2002
• What do I dream of doing?
• Increasing Men’s Perspective in the Church
• How sexuality influences our whole lives
• Learn to play Go, an oriental strategic board game.
• Meditation – sitting, moving and guided.