MEN’S RETREAT: Between freedom and safety: 12-14 November

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Spiritual pathways for late-modern men

Our good friend Armin Kummer of “Emmausmänner”, the men’s ministry at Deutsche Evangelische Gemeinde in Belgien, together with Chris Martin will be leading a men’s retreat from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th November at Marsedous Abbey. PLEASE NOTE: this is NOT a Godspace/St Paul’s event – we are publicising the retreat in case it is of interest to readers of this site.

The Retreat

After last year’s virtual retreat, we very much look forward to returning physically to Maredsous Abbey for our annual ecumenical men’s retreat 2021. Inspired by biblical passages and our diverse life experiences, we shall reflect on what in the context of the pandemic has often been presented as the dichotomy of liberty versus safety. Throughout history, people have attempted to navigate between these two poles. Led by Chris Martin and Armin Kummer, we will explore through individual reflection, group discussions, and spiritual exercises how our Christian tradition allows us to overcome this dichotomy and integrate both elements fruitfully into our daily lives. We look forward to enjoying God’s presence in the unique environment of Maredsous Abbey and among our international community of men. We will also enjoy the privilege of joining the Abbey’s Benedictine monks in their prayers.

The Abbey

Founded in 1872 in the Molignée Valley by Benedictine monks, Maredsous Abbey is built in the neo-gothic style, matching the wooded, undulating terrain of the region. The buildings of the Abbey encompass the church that dominates the cloister, the monastery and the library, various outbuildings, a school of applied arts and crafts, and the Saint Joseph Visitors Centre. The monks of Maredsous Abbey have adopted the Rule of Saint Benedict, a book of precepts for monastic life divided between prayer, work and a tradition of hospitality. Firmly rooted in contemporary society, the monks at Maredsous have developed an economy that meets the requirements of the sacred as well as the needs of the community.  Each monk is assigned a precise task: some teach, others work in the library in various areas of research, on the Bible, and in the Information Technology Centre, or work for the administrative service running the Abbey. The monks also take turns in the shops or at the dairy and in welcoming visitors.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin lives with his wife on the south side of Edinburgh, frequently helping out at Anglican congregations in continental Europe. Before his retirement in 2013, he worked for 25 years in parishes in Scotland and in France. His small band of heroes includes Eugene Peterson and John le Carré. Chris struggles with bankers, lawyers, and BREXIT politicians. 

Armin Kummer

Since completion of his pastoral training at Deutschsprachige Evangelische Gemeinde in Belgien (DEGB), Armin has been working as full-time theologian and researcher at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of KU Leuven. In 2019, his book on “Men, Spirituality, and Gender-specific Biblical Hermeneutics” was published by Peeters. Prior to his theological career, Armin worked for the EU and in management consulting. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughters – preferably in the Bavarian Alps, but more often in the Flemish Brabant.



Safety Rules:


From Friday 12 November at 18:00 until Sunday 14 November at 15:00

Abbaye de Maredsous, Rue de Maredsous 11, 5537 Denée, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)82 69 82 11,  

Double vaccination is a prerequisite! 

The number of participants is limited to 15.

Wearing a mask is required in certain parts of the Abbey.

Please send us a pdf of your CovidSafe Ticket or CovPass together with your registration. Your proof of vaccination will be checked again, together with your ID-card, by our hosts upon arrival. 

Accommodation will be in single bedrooms. Bedding and towels will be provided. All meals and coffee during breaks are included. Please bring a Bible, a notebook and a pen. Please also bring clothes and shoes suitable for outdoor activities in November. 


We encourage everybody to organize car sharing for the journeys to Maredsous and back to Brussels. To avoid the traffic leaving Brussels on a Friday evening and to ensure arrival at Maredsous in good time for the start of the retreat, please note that cars will need to leave Brussels on Friday 12 November no later than 16:00. Please check that you will be able to do this before signing up for the retreat.

Registration: If you are interested to register, please contact us at

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