Why retreat?

Why retreat?

UUCC’s Women’s Retreatfor women and those who understand themselves to belong in women’s spaces, ages 18+ — has been on hiatus since 2018 and our Women’s Retreat Planning Team and those registered are looking forward to its return Friday, April 19 through Sunday morning, April 21, 2024 at Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, MD.

This weekend together offers us time and space to connect meaningfully, and with depth, in ways we simply cannot in other environments — on Sundays, during classes, meetings, etc. It is a unique and intentional co-created space with meals together and engaging workshops generated by retreat participants. It’s an invitation to slow down and connect with friends you know, potential friends you have yet to know, and for retreat participants to share pieces of themselves and their passions through offering a workshop during the weekend.

The grassroots retreat demands collective effort to make it the magical experience that it can be, and we need at least 10 more congregants to register by our deadline of February 1 for us to proceed with this retreat.

Whether you’ve been around UUCC for a few weeks or several years we hope that you know you’re invited, and that you’ll consider attending. Some scholarship funds are available, and we are happy to help coordinate carpooling, assist with food restrictions for meals, etc. We invite you to be in touch our planning team (retreat@uucolumbia.net).

If you’re on the fence about whether to attend, we invite you to hear about why some of our Women’s Retreat Planning Team members are excited to go, and what they’re looking forward to:


This is my first year at UUCC, and while I have not participated in a Women’s Retreat before, I do know what it’s like to take a reprieve from daily life and connect more deeply with those you may not have met before. Going to a sleepaway summer camp each year was the highlight of my adolescence and a wonderful way to interact with new and current friends alike; I could always count on finding someone to connect with on a more personal level while making friendship bracelets under the night sky or sharing stories of our childhood adventures. Some of my most fulfilling interactions have taken place during this quiet retreat that nurtured my love for nature and encouraged me to befriend strangers.

Community is the heartbeat of our congregation; it is where we interact with and uphold our UU values and principles. Listening to and learning from one another is what supports this beautiful concept of a “living tradition” whose body dances and evolves with every step its members take. This year’s Women’s Retreat is both a growth opportunity and a platform for a wonderful exchange of a kaleidoscope perspectives, experiences, and insights. I look forward to shedding my more reserved persona for a while, and I hope you take the opportunity to do the same too. I can’t wait to share this magical weekend with you! — Haley Fischer (she/they)


Ten years ago, I signed up for and attended the UUCC first women’s retreat. It happened at a time in my life when I rarely took time for myself, being ridiculously busy parenting. Somehow I squeezed it into my schedule and was rewarded with a weekend of fellowship with other UUCC women, and a variety of experiences that opened my head and heart. I have warm memories of dancing, singing, music, crafting, and relationship building. I attended one other retreat, in 2018, and found the experience even more satisfying, with late night deep conversations with new and old friends. I look forward to having this renewing and enriching experience again. — Sue McCarty (she/her)


I am excited that the UUCC women’s retreat is back after a 5 year hiatus! Through past retreats, I have made lasting warm connections with UUCC women who were previously just familiar faces or acquaintances. With activities by us and for us, we get to sample arts & crafts, movement activities, gain skills and knowledge, and just get to know each other better. One of my favorite past activities was an astronomy show and tell with real moon rocks!! And there was a deeply touching interactive worship service, an amazing drumming circle, meditation, yoga, game night… I’m excited to see the hidden talents and interests that our group comes up with this year! Whatever we do, I’m sure it will include fun and interesting activities, sharing meals, and just relaxing in the beautiful landscape of Camp Wabanna, flanked by the Chesapeake Bay and the Rhode river.  — Becky Reese (she/her)


Nothing at UUCC compares to my three Women’s Retreats. They don’t happen often. Miss this one, and it will be years before your next opportunity. Picture a campus on a narrow tongue of land jutting out into the water, the peaceful picturesque Rhode River on one side, the majestic vastness of the Chesapeake across from it. Feel the electricity of anticipation as you guide your suitcase into the lodge. The friendly volunteer at reception greets you, and you wonder what the weekend has in store.

At dinner, some of the women with whom you break bread know you well. But others are entirely new faces, to become easy friends before the retreat ends. The food is spiced not just with traditional seasoning, but also with the tang of rustic surroundings, and the smooth, creamy sweetness of sisterhood. You are surprised by how the informality in the dorm hallway shows your fellow congregants in a fresh light. You find that each of the workshops, those adventures all planned by other attendees, is like opening a gift, one that enriches you in surprising ways. And the evening activities are relaxed but invigorating. Celebrating together nurtures community spirit like nothing else.

But the best, the most amazing part of the experience happens only after months, maybe years, pass. You’ll see a friend you made, at service perhaps, or some other event, someone whose presence warms your heart but of whose existence you were unaware before the retreat. And it brings back that magical weekend and puts you closer in touch with the growth and strengthened connection to UUCC that sprang from those three special days. — Suzi Gerb (she/they)


The last UUCC women’s retreat in 2018, as our family eagerly awaited adoption placement, I was emotionally empty, full of anxiousness at the many unknowns ahead, and flailing with all the things out of my control. The connections, reflections, and spirituality of the retreat gave me all the things my soul needed and more. With the joys and challenges of parenting, the isolation and disconnection of Covid, and all the other life things since then I am so eager to have deep soul work, meaningful human interaction, and a chance for light-hearted fun. — Ashley Brizzo (she/her)

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