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Welcome! The Women and Religion Movement is alive and well in the 21st Century. A grassroots project started by lay leaders in the 1970s as an effort to promote examination of religious roots of sexism and patriarchy within the UUA and beyond, UU Women and Religion officially began as a task force following the unanimously-passed WOMEN AND RELIGION RESOLUTION at the 1977 UUA General Assembly. Although the Task Force was eventually sunsetted, the movement still exists in UU communities that hold Women & Religion programs and gatherings for those who identify as women. It exists at the UU General Assembly, where UUW&R brings our Store to the Exhibit Hall and occasionally hosts a gathering. And it lives in the hearts and lives of people who have been touched by the many changes inspired by this movement.

"We do not want a piece of the pie. It is still a patriarchal pie. We want to change the recipe!" -- Rosemary Matson

  1. Clear up all financial matters as promptly as possible.
  2. Give multitudinous thanks — in person, or in writing — or both
    • Thank everyone who came and participated.
    • Thank everyone who helped with preparation and presentation, including workshop leaders, food preparers, home hospitality hosts, etc., etc., etc.
  3. Thank the host society.
  4. Be generous with hugs — including yourself — for jobs well done and time well spent!
  1. Those who make special contributions, including site manager(s), will appreciate a note of thanks from you.
  2. The treasurer will appreciate your turning in your expense list as soon as possible, though you may need to wait for phone bills to come to complete that list.
  3. The people who facilitate the next retreat will appreciate it if you turn over to them any unused materials, anything useful you learned on the evaluation forms, and any changes/additions you made to this manual!
  1. Have a closing activity or ritual that will bring a sense of closure to the group.
  2. Consider having this closing include a chance for participants to share something about what they have gotten from the retreat.
  3. Encourage participants to complete the evaluation form before they leave.
  4. See if someone will write an article about the retreat for your district's newsletter (Sunshine), for your W&R newsletter (Womanspirit), or for UUWF's newsletter (The Communicator).
  5. Remember that you are responsible for checking out with the site manager(s). Make sure they are paid. Make sure you leave the place as you found it. (It's a nice touch to invite the site manager(s) and kitchen crew into your final gathering for a round of thanks.)
  6. Give yourself a pat on the back. Give your co-facilitator, and everyone else in reach, a hug. You have just completed a big job and, hopefully, had a good time while your were at it.
  1. Try to talk with as many participants individually as you can. Sit with different people at meals. Learn names. Listen. Above all, don't hang out with your co-facilitator exclusively or your own old friends. It's worth it to keep newcomers from thinking there is an in-group and they're not part of it.
  2. When the whole group is meeting together in one circle, if possible, don't sit next to your co-facilitator. If the two of you have to talk loudly enough to hear each other across the room, you will be more sure everybody else can hear too.
  3. When small groups are meeting, see if you and your co-facilitator can each be part of a separate group. Above all, try not to exclude yourselves from the group, or in any way give the impression that you are watching rather than participating.
  4. Watch out for those who try to monopolize discussion. If you are leading the discussion, try to make sure everyone who wants to speak gets a chance. Avoid letting the discussion turn into a dialogue between you and someone who has responded to your comments.
  5. Try to meet privately with your co-facilitator for a few minutes of "debriefing" after each session. Give each other support and suggestions. Consider what you have observed so far about the group. How is the pacing? What needs fine-tuning or adjusting?


  1. Give people a chance to introduce themselves. (Invite everyone to wear their name tags throughout.)
  2. Thank the people who have helped with preparations behind the scenes. Introduce site manager(s) if appropriate.
  3. Give people an idea of what to expect during the retreat, and assure them that they are free to opt out if they would rather nap or walk or do something solitary at a given time.
  4. Explain about the importance of freedom to speak frankly, or to not speak — and about confidentiality.
  5. Give people a chance to ask questions about plans for the retreat or whatever else they need to know.
  6. Hand out participant list, with addresses and phone numbers of everyone present.*

* FLW & R policy: The participant list prepared at each event will indicate that: "This list is only for the personal, non-business use of each participant." (2-11-96)

  1. Try to get to the site a few hours early even if you don't think you have much to do there ahead of time. The idea is to prevent last-minute surprise problems and to be relaxed when participants start to arrive.
  2. Ask the registrar to arrive early too. Welcoming and directional signs should be set up and the sign-in table ready before anyone else appears. Be prepared that some people may want to change their room assignments. Try to accommodate people who will have difficulty walking, or climbing steps, by assigning them bed space as close to the meeting space(s) as possible.
  3. As soon as you arrive, check in with site manager(s) and find out if there are things you need to do or to announce to the group. (It's a nice touch to introduce site manager(s) to the group early in the retreat, for welcome and announcements. Sometimes site managers are interested in being part of various group activities.)
  4. Check out your meeting space:
    • Set up chairs as needed.
    • Learn from site manager(s) where all light switches are and how to operate heating or air conditioning and PA systems.
  5. Put up posters near registration table and one or two other spots with detailed time schedule, to supplement handouts. This will save you from answering the same questions many times over!
  6. If your program involves other people taking parts, such as lighting candles in a ritual, or doing a reading, begin to line those people up as they arrive. If you are asking someone to read something, it is a special kindness to give them a copy to read over and become familiar with well in advance.
  1. You or registrar should check with site manager(s) to give number of participants expected and any other information needed.
  2. Reconfirm that menu is as you wish. (See Appendix I for suggestions.)
  3. Sit down with your co-facilitator and any others who have particular parts to play in the program. Make sure you go over everything about the retreat so everyone understands and everything is in order.


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