Men's Retreat 2019 - Simon Peter: Solid Rock & Shifting Roles

Lessons in masculinity, transformation and discipleship

led by Chris Martin (Edinburgh) and Armin Kummer (Leuven),

From 6.00pm on Friday 22 November

to 3.00pm on Sunday 24 November

Maredsous Abbey

The Retreat

Apart from Jesus, no other man is depicted in the Bible in as much detail as Simon Peter. Although he undoubtedly was a key leader of the nascent Jesus movement, the gospel reports do not portray him as a flawless hero but rather as a man whose identity is repeatedly challenged in his encounters with Jesus. The four gospels and the Acts of the Apostle tell his life as a bumpy road with spectacular highs and lows that yield an ongoing series of profound personal transformations. Together, we will reflect what lessons Simon Peter’s biography holds for Christian men in the 21st century. Led by Chris Martin and Armin Kummer, the Men’s Retreat 2019 will explore the themes of masculinity, transformation, and discipleship in the unique setting of Maredsous through Bible studies, personal reflection, group discussion, workshops, and spiritual exercises. We will also enjoy the privilege to join the abbey’s Benedictine monks in their prayers and their meals.

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) earlier this year, Armin has been working as full-time theologian and researcher at the Research Unit of Pastoral and Empirical Theology of KU Leuven. In June, his book on “Men, Spirituality, and Gender-specific Biblical Hermeneutics” was published by Peeters. Prior to his pastoral 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 Forêt de Soignes.

When:      From Friday 22 November at 18:00 until Sunday 24 November at 15:00

Where:    Abbaye de Maredsous, Rue de Maredsous 11, 5537 Denée, Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)82 69 82 11, 

Registration:    Please pay Euro 145 by bank transfer to the DEGB account at ING, IBAN BE94 3100 3720 2014 (BIC BBRUBEBB) and write ‘Men's Retreat 2019’ and your name in the communication box.

Places will be allocated on a ‘first paid-first booked’ basis. Your place will be confirmed once your payment reaches the bank account above.

In parallel to your money transfer, please also send a message with your contact details to Lutz and Richard ( and so you can be contacted prior to the retreat.

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 22 November no later than 16:00. Please check that you will be able to do this before signing up for the retreat.