Pilgrimage Opportunities

For more than two decades the UUPCC Pilgrimage Service has helped to cement the bonds between North American UU's and their overseas partners.

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

PRIVATE TRIPS

Private trips are organized by congregations, youth groups, choirs, or other interested parties. These groups consist of 5 - 40 travelers. To learn more about organizing a pilgrimage for a group, visit the Planning a Pilgrimage page.  NOTE: If you are registering for a private pilgrimage, you will receive a registration link from your group coordinator.

HERE'S A PREVIEW OF OUR 2020 PILGRIMAGES

NE India Khasi Hills (March 2020)
Experience this unique outpost of Unitarianism and enjoy the gracious hospitality of the Khasi people. Based mainly in the city of Shillong, the trip will feature visits to significant Unitarian sites of North East India such as the Annie Margaret Barr “Children’s Village” in Kharang, and the historic Jowai church. Other stops may include a working tea plantation, Monolith Park, and two nights in the spectacular Cheeripungee Gorge with guided hikes to the Khasi "Living Bridges.” Participants with partner churches in NE India will visit their respective villages for services and home stays where feasible. Travelers may take the ‘Golden Triangle’ extension to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This will be the last UUPCC trip led by John Dale & Csilla Kolcsar before their retirement. 

Roots Pilgrimage (July 2020) 
A unique opportunity to explore one’s own faith, participants will connect deeply with kinfolk in faith. North American UU’s will join their Transylvanian Unitarian partners and together will explore shared Unitarian religious heritage and spiritual, cultural, and theological beliefs, values and traditions. Panel discussions, lectures, small group conversations and spiritual practices will help participants explore large spiritual themes: birth/origin, development through relationship, finding fulfillment in life, and death/grief. Open to both laity and clergy.  Pre and post-trip extensions may be available. 

2020 International Youth Camp and Pilgrimage (July 26-August 1, 2020)
Open to high school youth, the camp is a collaboration between the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council and the Hungarian Unitarian Youth organization. The trip will include traveling to important Unitarian sites, spiritual development and exploration, attendance with Transylvanian youth at a Unitarian summer camp, and a joint service project: Details will be available by General Assembly in June 2019.

Wales (August 6-14, 2020)
The UUPCC’s first-ever pilgrimage to the unique Wales Unitarian congregations and their rich culture and history. The trip will begin with participation in the National Eisteddfod, an annual celebration of the language and culture of Wales that was revived in 1861 in part by Unitarians. The trip will include visits to several Unitarian chapels, home stays with Welsh Unitarians, and enjoying the beauty of Wales. 

(check back for additional trips and information)
 

 
CURRENT  PUBLIC  PILGRIMAGES:

UPDATE:  The 2019 Cross-Cultural Pilgrimage is cancelled

NEW: July 2019 Summer Transylvania Budget Pilgrimage
July 31, 2019 to August 13, 2019
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
May 7, 2019 - 11:00pm
Price: 
$1,195 (double occupancy) + $150 non-refundable registration fee

For the first time, we are offering a summertime pilgrimage for cost-conscious North Americans who wish to travel in the summer to visit the homeland of our Unitarian faith and spend time with partners in their villages.  Although airfare isn’t quite as cheap as is the case with our fall Thanksgiving Pilgrimage, the trip will have more modest accommodations to help keep costs down. 

The pilgrimage begins in Bucharest on Wednesday, July 31, and ends back in Bucharest Tuesday, August 13, 2019, and includes a stay in your partner village to share the warm and loving hospitality of Transylvanian Unitarian families.  Other highlights include visiting historic Unitarian sites and places of general interest such as:

  • Bucharest – two nights, and a city tour in this elegant European capital city!
  • Sinaia – home to Peles castle, the summer palace of the Romanian Royals.
  • Sibiu (Hungarian name: Nagyszeben) – the historic Saxon capital of Transylvania, named the European Cultural Capital for 2007-8.
  • Torda - where the first act of religious tolerance in Europe was signed in 1568
  • Kolozsvár (Romanian name: Cluj-Napoca) – the city in central Romania where the Transylvanian Unitarian Church has its headquarters, high school and the church which houses the rock that Francis David spoke from when he "converted the whole town’s population to Unitarianism."
  • Gyulafehérvár (Romanian name: Alba Iulia) - where a 1000-year-old church houses the tomb of the Unitarian King Sigismund and his mother, Isabella.
  • Déva – participate in a vesper service in the citadel where Francis David was martyred.
  • Segesvár (Romanian name: Sighisoara) – 13th century medieval walled city which is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and the purported birthplace of Vlad Tepes – aka “Dracula”.
  • The Homoród Valley - where 19 Unitarian villages with historic frescoed churches are set among unparalleled scenery.

You may LEARN MORE & REGISTER HERE

Sept 2019 - Transylvania Thanksgiving Economy Pilgrimage
September 21, 2019 to October 3, 2019
NOTE: If you have mobility issues, some of our partner countries may be challenging to visit. Learn More.
Registration closes: 
June 30, 2019 - 11:30pm
Price: 
base trip $1,148/person + $150 non-refundable registration 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.

Click to read itinerary with pre & post trips (PDF)

You may Register Here  (Please do not purchase airline tickets until notified that the trip is confirmed with minimum of 5 travelers)

You are welcome to print, post, and circulate this 2019 THANKSGIVING PILGRIMAGE FLYER