Sunday Morning Worship Services are Available Online!

Visitor Info

UPC Congregational Retreat

The 2020 Congregational Retreat has been cancelled due to Covid-19. We hope you’ll plan to join us in September 2021 for Path of Peace!

September 10-12, 2021

Are you ready to rest, relax, and retreat from your
everyday patterns and routines? 
Are you ready to discover the ways the Holy Spirit is moving us toward a Path of Peace? Don’t miss this opportunity to live in community with your church family as we explore the theme Path of Peace!

Join your church family in beautiful Montreat as we experience scripture, keynotes, workshops, pottery, hiking, and much more!


Scholarships are available. Click here to apply.

2021 Theme Grid

Path of Peace Friday Night Saturday Sunday Morning
Theological Focus Peace! Be Still! Let peace rule Pursue Peace
Scripture Mark 4: 35-41 Colossians 3: 12-15 Psalm 34: 11-14
Centering Prayer God, we are grateful to be gathered together with our church family in this thin place. May we be still and sense your peace all around us. God, help us hear your call to peace and unity through Christ. God, send us into the world, led by your Spirit, to seek out and embody peace.

Friday night 

We’ll register at Assembly Inn in Montreat and spend time enjoying all that Montreat has to offer through scavenger hunts, games, and recreation. Later in the evening, we’ll introduce leadership and spend time learning to call one another by name. Then, our night owls will enjoy “Late Night in the Lobby” for games, guitars, and good times.


After breakfast, we’ll gather in Convocation Hall for our first keynote. We will then have extended time with our chatter groups to get to know one another better and talk about what we heard in Keynote. We’ll move into our workshop session where folks will have the chance to experience the theme in a variety of ways: pottery, bible study, crafts, and more!

After lunch, we will experience Keynote in a more active way, followed by time with our chatter groups to talk about what we heard. All will enjoy free time in the afternoon. Participants will have the chance to hike, rock hop, go into Black Mountain for shopping, take a swing at the Black Mountain Golf course or enjoy an afternoon of rest.

Saturday evening, we’ll gather for a UPC BBQ and move into an evening of recreation with a staple of good times at Montreat: a barn dance followed by a campfire and s’mores.

Sunday Morning

As we prepare to head down the mountain and back into the real world, we’ll prepare our hearts and minds for service to others through a hymn sing and worship.

Meet our Keynoter:

David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker, author, and activist. He has produced 11 CDs and performed 2500 concerts on 5 continents.

He suspended his music career in 2008 to accept a Rotary World Peace Fellowship, earning a master’s degree in International Studies, Peace, and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and working in rural India as part of that degree.

He has published two illustrated children’s books, including White Flour, a whimsical introduction to nonviolence, based on true events. David’s most recent projects include his 2014 book Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness and, a web site that nourishes positive change by inspiring and empowering people to take action on issues they care about.

David maintains a dense calendar of speaking and musical events worldwide. He also serves as the president of PEG Partners, the non-profit organization he co-founded to support schools and libraries in Guatemala. In addition to that, he serves as the Clerk (chair) of the Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group for the AFSC (Quakers).

His most recent endeavor is as one-third of the interfaith trio Abraham Jam, whose second album was released in 2019.

Assembly Inn

Where we’re staying:

We will stay in hotel rooms in Assembly Inn, where we’ll also have meals and group meeting space. You have a choice of private or adjoining baths. Space is limited so register early!

Retreat Fees:

Conference Fees (per person):
Conference fees include meals – Saturday breakfast through Sunday breakfast.
Adults: $85
Children (5-11): $65
Children (4 & under): $50

Lodging (for two nights):
Assembly Inn – Two rooms, connecting bath: $360
Assembly Inn – One room, private bath (various bed sizes available): $210
Assembly Inn – Second adult staying in room: Free
Assembly Inn – Child(ren) staying in room with parent(s): Free
Youth staying with another youth in Assembly Inn: $105

Retreat Schedule

Friday Night
6:30pm: Registration
6:30-7:30pm: Fun and games in the Lobby
7:30-8:30pm: Community Building
8:30-9:30pm: Gathering
9:30-10:30pm: Late night in the Lobby

(Childcare, birth-preK, provided 8:30-12:15, 1:00-3:15)
7:30 – 8:30am:  Breakfast
8:45 -10:00am: Keynote
10:00 -10:45am: Chatter Groups
10:45am – 12:00pm: Workshops
12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch
1:15 – 2:15pm: Keynote
2:15 – 3:00: Chatter Groups
3:00 – 6:00pm: Free time
6:00 – 7:00pm: Dinner
7:15 – 8:15pm: Barn Dance (no evening childcare)
8:15 – 9:15pm: Campfire

Sunday Morning
(Childcare provided 9:15-11:45)
7:30-8:30am: Breakfast
9:15am: Group Picture – Assembly Inn front steps
9:30-10:15am – Chatter Groups
10:20-11:30 am – Morning Singing & Worship


We will have one workshop on Saturday morning.

Many activities will be available for Saturday afternoon free time as well.

Infants – Pre-Kindergarten – This age group will spend time together playing and enjoying the company of other UPC children. Parents of 4 year olds can register for this group or can choose a workshop below that is open to 4 year olds that might fit their child’s developmental stage. Facilitated by Montreat Staff

Pottery – Open to Kindergarten and older. Whether you are a beginner or have frequently worked with clay, you can create a wonderful keepsake of the weekend working with clay. (And if you want to do another a.m. workshop – the pottery studio will be available for pottery fun during our afternoon free time for all ages.) Currie Craft Center, Upper level. Facilitated by Chloe Hamilton. Open to Kindergarten and older (younger artists can enjoy pottery with their parents during the afternoon free time)

Peaceful Walk in the Woods – Take a moderate hike and find peace in nature as you are guided along paths around some of Montreat’s favorite spots. Location:  Meet at the Assembly Inn lower lobby by the front desk. Facilitated by UPC Members. Open to All Ages (but not stroller friendly)

Spiritual Stretching – This session will invite you to move your body in ways that help you de-stress and relax.  Bring a mat or towel. Participants can stretch from the floor or from a seated position in a chair. Location:  Assembly Inn 1 and 2. Facilitated by Robin Thomas. Open to rising 3rd Grade and Older

Fused Glass – Fused glass is done by putting together pieces of special glass and placing them in a kiln so the glass melts together to form the final product. Participants in this workshop will be able to use their creative “juices” to make either an ornament or a sun catcher.  There is no glass cutting involved – it will all be cut. You do not need any special skills – just the desire to come and be creative!  Location: Currie Craft Center, Lower Level. Facilitated by Carol Wilhelmi. Open to rising 4th Grade and Older. (4th and 5th graders will be matched with an adult buddy if parent is not  present.)

Worldchanging 101  – In this workshop with our keynote speaker David LaMotte, we will question how we are called to engage the world around us peacefully and how to practically approach that work.  We will examine our deeply embedded narratives of how large-scale change occurs, and question their accuracy and utility; then offer a fresh framework to examine our capacity for significant impact on the world as well as practical steps to discern our callings and pursue them. Location: Assembly Inn meeting room. Facilitated by David LaMotte. Open to rising 9th Grade and Older

Montreat History – Jim Bryan may not have been present at the founding of Montreat in 1897, but he has spent enough time there over many years to tell the story of Montreat . . . and he’s a very animated speaker! Location: Assembly Inn meeting room. Facilitated by Jim Bryan. Open to 3rd Grade and Older

Prayer Path – The Prayer Path at Montreat is a walking pilgrimage with seven stations and a small labyrinth.  It combines ancient spiritual practices and physical movement to help participants experience God’s presence. Location: Gather in upper lobby of Assembly Inn by the TV. Facilitated by Hadley Kifner. Open to All Ages (but not stroller friendly)

Tie Dye – This fabric craft was often considered a symbol of peace “back in the day” but now is enjoyed by all as a creative process with a beautiful product.   Buy a retreat t-shirt or a bring a pre-washed white tee and get ready to twist and tie, rubber band and dye. Location: Convocation Hall, Facilitated by Stephanie Duncan and Alison Kavanaugh, Open to Kindergarten and Older

Scavenger Hunt – Have fun with your church family while testing your knowledge of key places around the heart of Montreat!  Clues will lead you from place to place.  Location:  Gather in upper lobby of Assembly Inn by the fireplace. Facilitated by Brian Vandersea. Open to all ages. Kindergarten and younger should have a parent present

Saturday Afternoon Free Time Ideas – No sign up required

Hiking Lookout– Hike up Montreat’s famous Lookout Mountain. It’s a moderate hike, about 45 minutes up and 30 minutes down with great views of the valley.   The first part of the trail is a gentle uphill slope through an area rich with wildflowers.  We will stop frequently to examine the flowers, ferns, shrubs and trees which cover the slopes of Lookout Mountain.  For those who wish to continue to the top, be prepared for challenging steep slopes and some scrambling up boulders for the 700 ft. elevation gain. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view.  Bring water and be prepared for the weather.  We will carpool from the entrance of Assembly Inn to the trailhead on Lookout Road. Meet in Assembly Inn Lower Lobby, near the front desk. Many additional trails are available. Find a trail map at check-in!

Pottery – Work with a local potter to create your own Montreat keepsake out of clay. Open to all ages during free time. Currie Craft Center, upper level.

Football Game – Cheer on the Tar Heels in the Lobby area at game time.

Black Mountain Trip – Would you like to go with a group to explore Black Mountain? Sign up in the Lobby.

Sabbath – Take a holy nap in your room or have some good conversation with friends on a Montreat porch. Take extra time to recharge your batteries.