2020 Vision: A World That Works for All

Vegan Spirituality Retreat

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the venue handicap accessible?

The campus is accessible. Banquet and Dining and the Bookstore are all easily accessible from the Hotel.  Many of the historic buildings have been retrofitted,  so while they are accessible,  some of these routes are not always direct. When you arrive, we will show you the fastest accessible route to Fillmore Chapel, the room where most of our activities will take place. The hotel is all one level and completely accessible. The hotel also has some accessible rooms, so please ask for one of these when you register.

Can I bring my ESA (emotional support animal) dog with me to the retreat?

Yes, you can.  We ask that you let the hotel know and also keep your emotional support animal on a leash when out.

Are there scholarships available?

Right now we do not have plans to make scholarships available. We have done our best to price the retreat as low as possible to cover our costs.

Will there be films or presentations with graphic images of animal cruelty?

This is such an important question and one that is dealt with at many conferences where the treatment of animals is considered.  On the one hand, bearing witness to another’s suffering is a sacred action and motivates us to take action. When the suffering of animals is hidden from view, we don’t know that our help is needed. On the other hand, once we have borne witness to the atrocities committed against animals, we may not need or want to see the graphic images again. At this conference, we will be very sensitive to this issue.  We don’t anticipate our speakers showing graphic images, but if they do, we will announce that so that you can choose to participate or not. The Prayer for Compassion documentary that we plan to show on Friday night has been very successful at awakening religious people to the vegan message of compassion for all. It does show graphic images, but they are no longer than two seconds. The movie viewing and panel discussion, like all scheduled activities, is optional.

What will the workshops be about?

Our workshops will be directed toward helping you become more effective in life as a spiritual person who seeks to do the least harm to all beings. How do we go about being a voice for voiceless animals in a culture of normalized violence towards them? How do we help our spiritual leaders and communities grow in awareness and universal compassion? Many of us get shut down in our own congregations and communities when we bring this subject to light. Many of us suffer from a sense of hopelessness and ‘compassion fatigue’ and could benefit from learning new supportive spiritual practices that work for others. These topics will be the focus of our workshops. Of note, Sara Eifler, Director of Programs for Jewish Veg, will lead a workshop on how to bring the vegan message to our congregations and spiritual communities. Additionally, we are excited to also offer a seminar by Keith Akers, author of The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity. Anyone who has ever heard, “but Jesus ate fish” as an excuse for meat eating will want to attend Keith’s seminar.

How do I get there?

You can either drive your own vehicle or fly into Kansas City International Airport (MCI). From MCI you can either rent a car or take ground transportation to Unity Village. It is roughly a 45 minute drive to Unity Village from the airport. We recommend BATS (Better Alternative Transportation Service) for ground transportation to and from the airport. BATS has reliably served Unity retreats for many years and will coordinate shared rides to give you the best price possible. If you are in the Kansas City area, you can drive or take a bus.

Will there be a shuttle service from area hotels to Unity Village?

If you are staying onsite at the Unity Hotel, you will be able to walk to everything. If you are staying in an offsite hotel, you will need to transport yourself to Unity Village each day. Right now we do not have plans for a shuttle service from area hotels to Unity Village. There are multiple hotels at varying distances from Unity Village and it could be hard to coordinate (not to mention take a long time for registrants to go a short distance). The closest hotels are the Holiday Inn Express and the Hampton Inn. They are just a mile or two away. It would be just a few dollars for an Uber and much less for a shared ride. If we have a very high number of registrants staying in hotels, we will consider adding to our budget and providing van transportation. We feel certain though that there will be many people with cars who will be willing to provide rides to and from Unity Village.

I’m thinking about coming early to be a part of Unity’s World Day of Prayer. What is the schedule?

World Day of Prayer is held annually on the second Thursday in September. This year’s theme is From Fear to Faith. This celebration unites Unity and New Thought partner communities for a 24-hour period of prayer practice. The schedule of activities is currently as follows:
  • Weds 7pm (doors open at 6:45pm) Opening keynote, music, and opening of Prayer Vigil in the Silent Unity Chapel. Candlelight procession followed by reception in Silent Unity Atrium.
  • 24-hour vigil in Dorothy Pierson Garden Chapel (Silent Unity Building)
  • Thurs 11am Prayer Service in Silent Unity Chapel
  • Thurs 1:30pm Sacred Circle prayer experience in west central courtyard (by flag pole)
  • Thurs 2:30pm Musical prayer experience with Eddie Watkins, Jr. in the Silent Unity Chapel
  • Thurs 8pm Closing of 24-hour Prayer Vigil in Silent Unity Chapel.

I know the food is vegan, but are the kitchen and utensils also vegan (no meat ever cooked in them)? Alternatively, will there be sufficient raw/uncooked food?

Even though the Unity Village restaurant was originally vegetarian, it unfortunately is not currently. It will be just like a restaurant that serves the general population but also serves vegan dishes. We will share our concerns with the chef and see what precautions they can take to minimize/eliminate cross contamination. As for raw/uncooked food, we plan to work with chef Sellani to have a selection of such foods.

Do you have additional questions?

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