Pilgrimage Opportunities

Pilgrimage Opportunities

For more than a decade the UUPCC Pilgrimage Service has helped to cement the bonds between North American UUs and their partners overseas.

Individual Pilgrimages

In recent years, we have expanded our portfolio of opportunities to meet the needs of individual UUs of all ages, even if your church is not partnered.  These offerings are for those who wish to meet the Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists in other countries. Experience our faith in action in different cultures. Every pilgrimage includes personal contact with local congregations. You will have the opportunity to worship in the local tradition. Local guides provide historic insights to each country's religious history. Each journey includes cultural highlights along with the personal connections. Pilgrimages include all ground transportation, airport pick-up and drop-off, hotels/guest houses, meals, admission fees, guides, and translators.

Group and Congregational Pilgrimages

If you are registering for your congregation's group pilgrimage, please go to the Group Pilgrimages page. Make sure to read the UUPCC trip cancellation policy before you register.

To organize a pilgrimage for a group from 5 - 40 in your church visit the Planning a Pilgrimage page.

Our current pilgrimages for individuals are listed below

We've added direct links to some pilgrimages:

 MEDICAL,  MOBILITY  & DIETARY RESTRICTIONS ADVISORY - PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU REGISTER

UUMA Pilgrimage & Retreat Transylvania (members only)
July 5, 2018 to July 17, 2018
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
April 17, 2018 - 11:00pm
Price: 
from $1,295/minister + $150 reg fee

FIRST EVER Joint UUMA/Hungarian Unitarian Church Ministers Association Pilgrimage! 

Beginning and ending in Kolozsvár/Cluj, this pilgrimage will take you to the region’s most significant Unitarian holy places including Torda, Gyulaferhervar & Deva. You will help celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda by being at the dedication of the Center for Religious Freedom in the renovated Bishop’s House in Kolozsvár and attend a conference on religious freedom led by a panel of theologians from Transylvania, the US, Indonesia, India and Burundi. The pilgrimage will include three days of conversation and joint programming with Hungarian Unitarian Church colleagues at a retreat center. This pilgrimage is ONLY open to members of the UUMA in preliminary and final fellowship and the Hungarian Unitarian Church Ministers Association. In order to foster bonds with Hungarian Unitarian Church counterparts that might endure for many years of service in ministry, priority registration will be given to ministers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

In addition to this main trip, we also offer an optional 4 day/3 night pre-trip extension to Budapest. 

 See full ITINERARY

Inaugural ROOTS Pilgrimage July 9 – 17, 2018
July 9, 2018 to July 17, 2018
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
April 8, 2018 - 11:15pm
Price: 
$150 registration + $875 (double occupancy)

Join us for this joint inaugural Roots Pilgrimage (8 nights/8 days) with the Hungarian Unitarian Church and the UU Partner Church Council!  Together we will explore our shared Unitarian religious heritage, including spiritual, cultural and theological beliefs, values and traditions. 

On most international tours you get to meet local people as you spend an afternoon or a few overnights in their homes. During these encounters we share family photos and compare education, jobs and food.  But even with translators it is difficult to go deeper with our personal thoughts, dreams for our futures and our theological beliefs.  With the Roots Pilgrimage, travelers will be able to delve into these topics with a group of participants from Transylvania, as we travel to historical Unitarian sites, live together and share ongoing facilitated conversations about topics important to all of us.

Lectures, panel discussions, small group conversations and spiritual practices will help Transylvanian and North American participants explore large spiritual themes.  Travelers will engage with activities and discussions around cultural and theological beliefs beliefs relating to all of life.  Specifically, we will discuss birth/origin, development through relationships, fulfillment, and death/grief.  These topics are some of the “big” religious questions which span all life.  The Roots Pilgrimage gives you an amazing opportunity to explore your own faith while at the same time connecting very deeply with our siblings in faith.

If you are interested in closer connections with your partner church, if you are a religious seeker, if you want to learn about yourself, Transylvania, Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism - this is the trip for you!

For more information, see this ROOTS FAQ's

The Hungarian Unitarian Church is offering a PRE-pilgrimage extension to Kolozsvár enable our North American Roots participants to attend the dedication of the Center for Religious Freedom in the restored Bishop’s House on July 7, a Sunday morning worship service in Kolozsvár on July 8, and an international conference on religious freedom on July 9.  The conference is connected to the Torda450 project (see www.torda450.org for details).  English will be one of the primary languages at the conference.  Cost of this pre-pilgrimage extension is $250 for double occupancy (with an option to get a single room for an additional $60).  Meals are included and more information will be forthcoming after registration closes on April 1, 2018

To round out your ROOTS experience, take part in the POST-pilgrimage extension to Budapest July 17 - 20th.  See POST trip itinerary and prices here.  

 

Transylvania Mindful Walk
July 14, 2018 to July 27, 2018
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
April 10, 2018 - 11:00pm
Price: 
$1095/person (plus registration fee of $50 for theological students/$150 for others). Airfare not included.

A Mindful Walk: A Pilgrimage on Foot
July 14 - 27, 2018 (14 days/13 nights)

Walk the beautiful rolling hills and pastoral river valleys of central Transylvania. This pilgrimage is a collaboration between the UUPCC and Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM). Students at SKSM, Meadville Lombard Theological School and potentially other seminaries will have the option of getting credit for the pilgrimage.

Prof. Megan Dowdell from SKSM and UUPCC Board member Rev. Andrew Weber (who is conversant in Hungarian) will lead the content portion of the pilgrimage. Our UUPCC Travel Coordinators John Dale and Csilla Kolcsar will coordinate the logistics.  

Not for the casual walker. Daily walking distances will range from 10 - 28 km (6-17 miles) in length, and will utilize secondary and tertiary roads of varying surfaces (dirt, gravel & paved) along with horse-cart paths and hiking trails. Walkers will be provided with detailed maps and reflective safety vests to wear on paved roads. 

Accommodations will be provided in Unitarian towns and villages utilizing congregational and municipal guest houses along with home stays where necessary. Homemade, nourishing meals will be provided by local Unitarian congregations. Luggage vans will carry extra gear from destination to destination, and sag wagons will pick up those walkers who wish to end their day early. Evening programs will include lectures, discussion groups, worship and meditation, along with music, and local folklore. 

The trip will begin and end in the Transylvanian city of Cluj (Kolozsvár). The eight-day walk will start in a village just outside of Târgu - Mures (Marosvásárhely), and finish in the twin Unitarian villages of Belin/Alta-Mare (Bölön/Nagyajta) where hikers will spend the night before boarding buses the next day for Deva (Déva). During the walk, pilgrims will engage in short didactic sessions on religious history, Transylvanian community life, as well as personal spiritual practices. Our walking will culminate in a climb to the mountain-top fortress above Deva where we will gather for an evening vesper service outside the prison cell where Francis David, the first Bishop of the Unitarian Church, was martyred. On the final day of the trip we will again board buses for the return to Cluj (Kolosvár) for our farewell dinner and folklore show.

The UUPCC and Starr King are exploring ways to fundraise so that we can reduce the cost of the pilgrimage for theological students.  If you'd like to support this effort with a gift, please visit the UUPCC's homepage (www.uupcc.org) and hit the Donate button in the upper right corner. Your donation will be gratefully received.

The UUPCC is also offering a 4 day pre-trip extension to Budapest.  See BUDAPEST itinerary and costs

 

Click here to register as a THEOLOGICAL STUDENT (50$ reduced registration fee) 
If the pilgrimage is over-subscribed, theological students will have priority.

Click here for general registration ($150 registration fee)

2018 Transylvania Thanksgiving Economy Pilgrimage
September 22, 2018 to October 4, 2018
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
July 1, 2018 - 1:00am
Price: 
from $1,148/person + $150 reg fee

Two life-changing weeks in Transylvania for under $1,300! 

Beginning and ending in Kolozsvar/Cluj, this tour will take you to the region’s most significant Unitarian holy places including Torda, Gyulaferhervar & Deva. You will visit the frescoed Unitarian churches of Szekelyderz (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and Homorodkaracsonyfalva, the spectacular 13th century castle at Vadjahunyad, the Saxon capital of Transylvania, Sibiu, the medieval walled city of Sighisoara/Segesvar, and the Saxon fortress church at Biertan (Segesvar & Biertan are both UNESCO World Heritage sites). You will spend 4 nights in your partner village sharing in the special Transylvanian Thanksgiving celebration, making new friends and revitalizing your partnership. If you do not have a partner in Transylvania, the UUPCC will arrange for you to stay in one of the many beautiful Unitarian villages with other pilgrims.
This is the same quality pilgrimage that the UUPCC has been facilitating for two decades – but at significant savings. To get this low price, we replace some hotels with dorms & guest-houses, substitute village meals for restaurants, eliminate the long van ride from Budapest, and take advantage of “shoulder-season” rates.

In addition to the main trip, we also offer an optional 4 day/3 night pre-trip extension to Budapest, and/or a 6 day/5 night post-trip extension to Maramures & the Painted Monasteries of Bucovia.

For a trip flyer that you are welcome to print, post, and circulate, CLICK HERE.