Spirit bird: Pentecost on Iona, by member David Coleman

In the midst of the Pentecost Sunday reading in the Abbey, a symbol of the Holy Spirit makes an entrance …

Thanks to craftworker Dorothy and the many guests and staff on Iona who together helped to create the beautiful ‘Spirit bird’.

Egypt: Free Al Jazeera staff jailed for journalism, from Amnesty International

Egypt has imprisoned three Al Jazeera journalists for simply doing their jobs. Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste have been sentenced to seven years in prison; Baher Mohammed faces ten years behind bars.

The three men are prisoners of conscience. Ask Egypt to release them immediately.

To take action


Iona Continentals 2015 gathering announced, from the German region of the Iona Community

Dear Iona friends,

The next Iona Continentals meeting will take place Thursday, 2 July – Sunday, 5 July, 2015 in Ratzeburg, which is located halfway between Hamburg and Wismar. We will gather in Christophorus Haus, enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful church-based team there. Details of our programme will be published towards the end of 2014.

For more information, please contact Rolf Bielefeld (see Members Book), or go to the Iona Continentals group Facebook page.

Have a wonderful summer and keep us in your prayers, as we keep you in ours.

Grace and peace

Yukon Presbyterians for Earth Care Regional Conference 2014: ‘Seeing the signs of the times: a practical theology on climate change’, September 2-7, 2014, from associate Israel Nelson in Alaska

Israel Nelson will be helping to lead the Yukon Presbyterians for Earth Care Regional Conference 2014: ‘Seeing the signs of the times: a practical theology on climate change’, September 2-7, 2014:

‘During this trip folk will have the chance to experience first-hand how climate change is affecting this planet which God has given us as our home. Folk will meet leading researchers and visit several sites that exemplify what is happening: shrinking glaciers, vanishing sea ice, melting permafrost, effects on flora, fauna and people. We are God’s stewards not content to sit back and be bystanders as the realities of our current climate crisis manifest themselves.We can be instruments of transformation, reaching out for renewal, restoration and sustainability.’


‘A eulogy to the NHS: What happened to the world my generation built?’, by Harry Leslie Smith, from the Guardian (sent in by member Ian M. Fraser in Scotland)

‘In 1926, Harry Leslie Smith’s sister died of TB in a workhouse infirmary, too poor for proper medical care. In 1948, the creation of the NHS put a stop to all that. In an extract from his new book, Harry’s Last Stand, he describes his despair at the coalition’s dismantling of the welfare state …’ (from the Guardian). More:

‘A eulogy to the NHS: What happened to the world my generation built?’,by Harry Leslie Smith, from the Guardian

A psalm, by member Jan Sutch Pickard on Mull

From the depths of disappointment (a psalm)

God of the enduring mountains and ever-changing skies,
have mercy on your children, wandering this earth,
who seek stability and discover that nothing stays the same;
who make ethical choices but find they are undermined.

We put our money where our mouth was, as a statement of faith;
and found that mutuality had sold out to big business.
How could you let this happen?
How could you fail us, such upright citizens, principled people?

We put our trust in the co-operative movement,
thinking we were standing on solid ground;
but it shifted like sinking sands – our confidence was shaken.
Divisions in society widen, the banks crumble and fail.

Can your spirit, like a swift-flowing river, bring radical change?
Sweep us off our feet, God,
set us free from the mess we’ve helped to make;
help us let go of hurt pride, false values, investment in folk with feet of clay.

Carry us, like children at play in life-giving waters,
to places of transformation, gardens on the margins,
where – after the flood – seeds of real hope begin to grow.

– Jan Sutch Pickard

Comments to: [email protected] 

Glasgow Food Forum, from Iona Community/Closing the Gap Poverty Project worker, Kenny McBride

As part of Closing the Gap’s project’s work on food, we heard a lot of people talking about the need for greater co-operation and communication between foodbanks, growing projects and activists of various kinds around reforming the food system. As a result, we’ve developed a web forum for this purpose at There are areas in which to discuss foodbanks, community-growing, food poverty and other issues around food. There’s also a private forum to discuss the development of common campaign themes. If you’d like to get involved in the debate, please have a look at the site and sign up. You can also follow us on Twitter @Glasgow_FF. Please also forward this on to anyone else you feel may wish to contribute to the discussions.

Kenny McBride, Poverty Project worker, Closing the Gap

GRAMNet at Camas, by Poppy Kohner

Poppy Kohner reports back from the GRAMNet post-graduate research trip to Camas.

GRAMNet is Glasgow Refugee and Asylum Network, which aims to bring together researchers and practitioners, NGOs and policy-makers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. The network is funded by the University of Glasgow. Iona Community member Alison Swinfen is Co-convenor of GRAMNet.

GRAMNet at Camas, by Poppy Kohner


GRAMNet wordle © GRAMNet

‘Camas autumn holiday/retreat week for women who have experienced or been affected by violence and abuse in religious and institutional contexts’, Saturday 20–Friday 26 September, from member Lesley Orr

Dear friends,

I may already have been in touch with you about this retreat week at Camas in September. We still have a few places available, and I do want to be sure that information and the invitation is shared in Church of Scotland and other church/religious/ecumenical networks – and reaches women who have good reason not to be part of such networks any more. So if you know personally of anyone who might be interested, or can think of channels, please do get in touch.

Along with Helen Douglas and Cath Campbell I am planning and will facilitate an autumn holiday/retreat week (Saturday 20 – Friday 26 September) for women who have experienced or been affected by violence and abuse in religious and institutional contexts. We all have experience and longstanding commitment to challenge such violation and abuse, and to the support and empowerment of survivors. At different times we have worked with Rape Crisis, Women’s Aid and other organisations at home and abroad. Our venue is the Iona Community’s Camas Centre on the Isle of Mull. It is a unique and beautiful environment, a place of delights and challenges. A wonderful place for people to feel safe and welcome, and we think it offers a good environment for rest, adventure, conversation, sharing and renewal. The week will go with the flow of participants, but hopefully will create opportunities for stories, reflection and change in relation to women’s experiences of abuse.

Camas is not for everyone! The physical challenges of life without electricity and constant hot water, and the isolated and rugged location, won’t suit those whose circumstances require higher levels of comfort and accessibility. But Helen (who has lived and worked there) and I have long thought that it would be a great place for this kind of gathering. We are also hopeful of receiving a grant which would enable us to offer subsidies for accommodation and travel costs – so financial circumstances should not be a hindrance to anyone who wants to come.

A flyer (2 pages) is below. Feel free to circulate it to groups and individuals who may be interested, and to print copies for distribution.

Please get back to me if you would like more information, or have questions about any aspect. I would be very happy to speak to or meet with women who might be interested to come to Camas in September, but would like reassurance about the place, the pattern of the week, the Camas lifestyle, or an opportunity to meet myself, Cath or Helen in advance.

With thanks and best wishes,


Camas – a week for women

Camas people

Camas photo © David Coleman

Iona farewell 2014, a wee film by member David Coleman

The staff of the Iona Community centres bid a fond farewell to visitors from all over the world – in time-honoured style … Cue the ceilidh music …

Iona farewell


Warm God of summer, by Ruth Burgess

Warm God of summer,
strewer of petals,
ripener of fruits,
delight in us,
revel in us,
mellow us in joy.

– Ruth Burgess

From Friends and Enemies: A Book of Short Prayers and Some Ways to Write Your Own, Ruth Burgess, Wild Goose Publications


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