Members, associates and friends

Work with the Iona Community on Iona: staff vacancies

Are you looking for an alternative, counter-cultural and spiritually challenging way to live and work? Then consider joining the Resident Staff at our centres on the Isle of Iona or at Camas on Mull – to share a common life and extend our ministry of hospitality to guests from all over the world.

We are currently advertising the following posts:

Centres Resource Coordinator, Iona (re-advertisement)

Resident Staff Team Members, Camas

Deputy Director Iona Centres

Iona Community

© David Coleman

© David Coleman

The Camas Diary

The Camas Diary is a blog written by Camas volunteers and guests. Catch up on what’s been happening at Camas in 2015. Find out about the visit of the Lichfield group, the Camas cabbage, and weeks with folk from Muirhouse, English Martyrs Hartlepool, Faith in Throughcare, Grassmarket – and more …

The Camas Diary

Camas folk, by David Coleman

Photo: ‘Camas folk’ © David Coleman

‘Out of Africa into Malta’, from associate member Peter Lloyd in Malta

In the summer Coracle I shared the remarkable story of our friends at Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), telling how they had saved some 3,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2014 with their private rescue ship the Phoenix. The total, as I write, is now 11,124 lives. Please see their website for more information: MOAS

In other news, Malta Microfinance, our ‘mini-bank’, now has a second support worker to expand our capacity to help transform the lives of migrants here in Malta, through small loans.

Out of Africa into Malta

Elizabeth and Peter Lloyd with good friend, © Rene Rossignaud (

Elizabeth and Peter Lloyd with a good friend, © Rene Rossignaud (

Glasgow Nightshelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers

Several Iona Community folk help out at the Glasgow Nightshelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers, which provides overnight accommodation and a hot meal for destitute asylum seekers and non-EU migrants. Katherine Rennie is a trustee and secretary of the Board; Sally Beaumont supports guests in many different ways; Brett Nicholls is another trustee; and Ruth Shanks and Katy Owen run a foot clinic every three weeks or so. 

More in the upcoming autumn Coracle.

Glasgow Nightshelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers

Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)

GRAMNet brings together researchers and practitioners, NGOs and policymakers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. Community member Alison Swinfen, who is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow, is Co-Convener of GRAMNet.

For recent reflections and articles by Alison, and other good folk, go to the GRAMNet website

There will be a reflection by Alison in the autumn Coracle.

GRAMNET wordle ©

GRAMnet wordle @

‘Welcome home’ – Iona Youth Festival 2015

The theme of Youth Festival 2015 was ‘Welcome Home’. Participants – along with having a brilliant time together on the pilgrimage and on a boat trip to Staffa to see the puffins – did work in small groups and as a larger community on the topic of immigrants and refugees, and on having a home and welcoming safe place to go to. At one point in the week young folk staged a peaceful protest around Iona, singing and carrying banners with messages such as ‘Make a Change’ and ‘No One is Illegal’. Following Youth Fest, folk took part in the ‘Glasgow Sees Syria’ vigil.

This – very powerful and clear – affirmation was composed by the young people and read out in the Abbey during evening worship, which Youth Fest participants led:

Affirmation from Iona Youth Festival 2015

Because God has shared his life with us,
we believe that our lives are also made for sharing
and so we will always look for ways to share our time, energy
and possessions with others.

Because the Kingdom of God is a safe and welcoming place,
we believe that everybody, regardless of gender, sexuality or race,
deserves to have a home which is their safe place.
And we will do our best to make this happen.

Because the voice of God is beautiful and creative,
we believe it is wrong to use words that are harmful to others
and so we will always use words that are kind and positive to build people up.

Because God has created a world of plenty,
we believe that no one should be denied access to basic resources
and that everyone has the right to ask for help when they need it:
we will always be ready to help those who don’t have what they need to flourish
and speak out on their behalf.

Because God loves and values everyone,
we believe that nobody should be made to feel worthless
and that everyone should feel at home in their own skin
regardless of the shape or size of their own bodies.
We will resist the pressure to conform to idealised ‘norms’
and accept and affirm each other as beautiful people.

Because Jesus confronted injustice,
we believe that everyone has the right to raise their voice and take action
whenever things need to be challenged and changed.
So we commit ourselves to joining our voices
and to helping and supporting each other in speaking out against what is wrong
and in building a world which reflects
the love, justice and joy of God’s Kingdom.

Photo © Iona Community Youth Department

Photo © Iona Community Youth Department









 ‘This is my child’, a poem by member Anna Briggs

In memory of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi and many others …

‘This is my child.’
We feel the mother’s loss
As, weeping and forlorn,
She gazes at the cross.

‘This is my child.’
As, smashed on any road,
Or washed up on a shore,
She sees her precious load.

‘This is my child.’
He paid the price of sin,
Our wanton love of speed,
Of power, our lust to win.

‘This is my child.’
You turn and walk away.
The mother cannot leave.
Where she goes,
he will stay.

‘This is my child.’
And how then can he rise?
Unless we open wide
Our arms, our hearts, our eyes.

‘This is my child.’
And he will have no hope
Unless we dare to look
At broken life
On shore, on road.
Until with mothers we proclaim:
‘This is my body and my blood.’

– September 2015

A prayer for Dylann Storm Roof, by Ed Loring of the Open Door Community in Atlanta, Georgia, from Hospitality

Hospitality is the newspaper of the Open Door Community. Go to page 6 of this edition of Hospitality to read Ed’s powerful and very moving prayer.

Ed Loring is a founder of the Open Door Community, a residential community in the Catholic Worker movement which serves the homeless and our sisters and brothers in prison. Open Door is one of the Iona Community’s sister communities.

© Open Door Community

© Open Door Community

Fast on the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Anti-nuclear activists and Iona Community members Ellen Moxley and Brian Quail marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by taking part in a four-day fast against Trident; Brian in Glasgow and Ellen outside the Scottish Parliament.

Following the fast, Brian sent this letter to the Herald:

Do not call our nuclear weapons a deterrent

There will be reflections on the vigil from Brian and Helen Steven in the autumn Coracle.

Ellen Moxley, photo by Margaret Bremner ©

Ellen Moxley, photo by Margaret Bremner ©
























We Will Seek Peace and Pursue It: Reflections and prayers for peace and reconciliation: ‘new book from Wild Goose Publications invites us to recommit’, from Read the Spirit

We will seek peace and pursue it

Contributors to We Will Seek Peace include: Lesley Orr, Iain Whyte, Paul Nicolson, Helen Steven, Alastair McIntosh, Kathy Galloway, Molly Harvey, Rosemary Power, Ruth Harvey, Jan Sutch Pickard, John Philip Newell, Mel Duncan, Jonathan Inkpin, Alison Swinfen, Peter Millar, Chris Polhill, Sally Foster-Fulton, Bonnie Thurston, Murphy Davis and many others.










Scattered and gathered: Iona Continentals meet in Germany, from Monica Mueller-Roemer, Dirk Grutzmacher and Beverly Olson-Dopffel

Photo © Rolf Bielefeld

Photo © Rolf Bielefeld

What a great and spiritually nourishing long weekend it was: Iona members, associates and friends met in some of the sunniest weather this summer, in Ratzeburg, Germany, close to where, 25 years ago, the border between the German states ran. A big thank you to the German organisers and to Christopherus Haus for hosting us – and to those who came – from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland!

Our days started with breakfast and morning prayers. New songs were practised – often with the support of Tony Phelan from Oxford – and plenary meetings, workshops and group work took turns, interspersed with much fellowship and fruitful exchange and, as you might expect, more singing. We started with testimonies: participants talked about their countries, their churches and their visions of Europe. Later, discussions about our purpose led to concentration on issues that were central to those of us living on the Continent, including:

– Meeting regularly with each other, e.g. envisioning a Continental pilgrimage in the region along the border between the Netherlands and Germany.

– Accounting to each other, e.g: improving communication between our countries and with the Centre in Scotland; a follow-up opportunity for the many Continental volunteers who work on Iona.

During breaks some ventured into the centre of Ratzeburg to visit its amazing cathedral, built by Henry the Lion around 1165 in the red brick typical of the area. Some took the rowboat across the lake, and to cool down a bit many went for a dip in the lake.

The meeting ended on Sunday with a beautiful Eucharist, followed by a pilgrimage through the wooded area around Christopherus Haus. Now we are all looking forward to the next Continental meeting in two years, organised by the Austrians and Swiss, presumably in beautiful Salzburg.

‘A taste of Iona’, with Lesley Orr, 7th November 2015, in Zwolle, Holland, from Teun Kruijswijk Jansen of the Dutch Iona Group

For more information and to register: Dutch Iona Group en [email protected]

Or contact Teun Kruijswijk Jansen (see Members Book).

Microsoft Word - 2015-4-20 A taste of Iona aankondigingen.docx

Iona Community North East England Regional Plenary Meeting, Saturday 27th February, 2016, at United Reformed Church, Waddington Street, Durham, 10:30am-16:00pm

Calling all members, associate members and Friends of the Iona Community in the North East of England, the surrounding regions and from afar! You are invited to the first ever NE Regional Plenary!

The theme is ‘Exploring Good Society in North East England’, with Niall Cooper, Coordinator of Church Action on Poverty and Iona Community Associate, leading the discussions.

The Plenary sessions will consider ‘A conversation about good society where we live’, ‘Hopes and plans for the region’, and will finish with worship, including the Associates’ reaffirmation responses.

We will have time to get to know each other better; and we will discuss how to organise future events and activities across the region.

To help us with the planning of this event could you please send a quick response just to let us know if you are interested in attending – as soon as possible, and by 31st January 2016 at the latest. Thanks.

A contribution of £6 is requested towards the cost of the venue; and please bring along something for a shared lunch. Childcare can be arranged but we would need to know your requirements (ASAP please, and by end of December 2015 at the latest) to allow us time to organise this.

Please contact Jenie Lismore or Kate Potts (see Members book) for further information.

Photo © David Coleman

Photo © David Coleman








‘THE GAP/a … gap …?’: Holy City 2015-16, from the Wild Goose Resource Group

Taking stock, dreaming big, making it up as we go along …

In 2015-16 the Holy City programme takes a different shape. The shape of recent years is ‘gone’ … but not completely. We’re taking a ‘gap year‘ to ask questions about our methods and opportunities for engagement, and what new ways may be needed.

We’ve always been ready to change our patterns, to avoid being fixed, to consider better ways of speaking, listening, doing and connecting with new communities of folk. That’s what this session is all about. Come and investigate the gaps with us. Who knows what new something-from-nothing we might create?

In October we start with ‘The End‘, a very informal get-together, and then conclude in June with ‘The Beginning‘, a big liturgical celebration. What happens in between is up for grabs … keep visiting the website for updates:

Holy City




International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17th October

The annual UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be marked in Glasgow by a ceremony at 12pm in George Square.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


Scottish March for Climate Action: Saturday, 28th November in Edinburgh, from Stop Climate Chaos

Join us in Edinburgh on 28th November to march for climate action …

2015 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change. This December world leaders will meet at the UN climate talks in Paris to negotiate an international deal to limit global warming. A fair and ambitious agreement is vital. Join hundreds of thousands of people in capital cities around the world marching for climate action as the UN climate talks in Paris begin.

The Iona Community is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition.

Photo from the Stop Climate Chaos website ©

Photo from the Stop Climate Chaos website ©

Baked Alaska: an environmental drama on tour in the UK until the end of November, from member John Polhill


An island in the South Pacific has a problem. It’s hollow.

Anxiety levels are rising in a North American boardroom. Eve’s garden is bursting with next door’s rubbish. Even the ducks have relocated … they’re in Bangladesh.

From the four corners of the earth come colourful, interconnecting stories of humanity living with the wild, unpredictable effects of climate change.

Scientists, farmers, oil magnates, climate warriors, prophets, mothers, journalists and others just like you and me – we’re all in the mix and hungry for a recipe of hope. In the struggle over power, some sound the warming bell, some blow hot and cold, while others make a pudding of the planet.

Vivid, sharp and deliciously entertaining, Baked Alaska serves up the realities of climate change with flair and clarity about the temperatures involved.

In the high-energy, ‘seriously funny’ style for which Riding Lights is well-known, Baked Alaska is something we can all look forward to … unless we do something about it.

Extra-ordinary theatre for these extraordinary times.

Baked Alaska, written by Paul Burbridge and Jonathan Bidgood, has been commissioned by the Diocese of Lichfield, Christian Aid and Operation Noah.

For performance dates and online booking: Baked Alaska

City of Sanctuary, from City of sanctuary

City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. Our network of local groups includes boroughs, towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, all committed to building this culture of welcome across every sphere of society.

Wherever refugees go, we want them to feel safe and find people who will welcome them.

City of Sanctuary


Church Action on Poverty Sunday, 7th February 2016: Bread Broken for all – securing the right of food

Food is a gift from God. But in the UK today, thousands of people are denied access to that gift by injustices that leave them destitute.

Churches play a vital role in sharing food with those who need it – and speaking out to ensure that nobody goes without. Break bread with us on Church Action on Poverty Sunday.

Give: hold a collection or soup lunch to raise funds for our work.

Act: speak out for the right to food.

Pray: use free resources to plan a worship service that gives thanks for the gift of food, and celebrates the work being done to tackle hunger and poverty in the UK.

More information and resources: Church Action on Poverty Sunday




In conversation: a dialogue sermon between members Ian M. Fraser and Jan Sutch Pickard, recorded in Iona Abbey on Sunday 9th August 2015

Ian M. Fraser and Jan Sutch Pickard

Ian M. Fraser – who is now in his 98th year – has been a pastor-labourer in heavy industry, a parish minister, Warden of Scottish Churches House, an Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Dean and Head of the Department of Mission at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He is the author of many books, including Strange FireThe Way AheadA Storehouse of Kingdom Things and Reinventing Theology (Wild Goose), which is used as a standard theological sourcebook throughout the world.

Ian is one of the original members of the Iona Community who helped George MacLeod to rebuild the common life and the Abbey buildings on the Iona. Throughout his life he has travelled the world, alone and with his wife, Margaret, visiting basic Christian communities. He has walked alongside slum-dwellers in India and Haiti; Nicaraguan and Cuban revolutionaries; priests, nuns and catechists facing arrest and/or death in Central and South America; and small farming and fishing communities in the Philippines.

Jan Sutch Pickard is a poet, preacher and storyteller living on Mull. She is former Warden of Iona Abbey, Vice President of the Methodist Conference and Ecumenical Accompanier. Her books and many resources include Out of Iona: Words from a Crossroads of the World and Between High and Low Water: Sojourner Songs (Wild Goose). She is also a frequent contributor to IBRA’s Fresh from the Word daily reading series.

Photo from the Iona Community website ©

Photo from the Iona Community website ©

‘Public Theology and the Prophetic Church’, a talk by John Hull

Friend of the Community Professor John Hull, who taught Practical Theology at the Queen’s Foundation and was a regular visitor to Iona, and occasional contributor to Coracle, passed away on July 28th, 2015 …

In June 2015, John spoke at the AGM of Churches Together in Lichfield, on ‘Public theology and the Prophetic Church’. To listen to John’s powerful words:

Public Theology and the Prophetic Church

John Hull’s Obituary, from the Guardian


Remember me, by Kathy Galloway

Do you remember me?
Though I am nameless to you
and have no statue or square in my honour,
you will look down and I will be there,
under your feet,
close to the earth where I lived and died.
I could not rise where you might look up to me on a plinth or plate;
too many burdens pinned me down.
Narrow sunless streets and overcrowded closes hemmed me in;
I breathed damp and foetid air from running walls
and cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, asthma laid me low.
Polio, rickets and poor food shortened my stature and my days,
and heroin and AIDS cut me down.

Remember me, do you?
I turned the wheels that made the engine-room roar.
I dug your roads and built your ships,
I carted your coal and drove your trains,
I forged your iron and unloaded your docks,
I stoked your boilers and fed your production lines,
I cleaned your offices and swept your streets,
I sewed your clothes and emptied your bins,
I made your weapons and fought your wars,
I fried your food and guarded your factories,
until you had no more use for me
and I became an economic liability.
I came from many places to do it:
from the Highland glens and island shores,
from the slave-mines of Ayrshire and the valleys of Lanark,
from Ireland, Poland, Russia, Italy,
from India, Pakistan, Uganda, China,
from Chile, Vietnam, Iraq and Kosovo;
well that you remember me on the ground beneath your feet.
The city was built on my labour.

You remember me?
Remember the miracles I worked, on low pay, or no pay,
on strike pay or benefit.
Remember the washing I did,
walls, stairs, clothes, weans;
remember the lullabies I sang them when they couldn’t sleep,
and the nights I sat up with a sick neighbour.
Remember the wakes when they died.
Remember the allotments I dug
and the jerseys I knitted
and the houses I painted;
remember the matches, the beautiful game.
Remember the singing, remember the dances;
remember the patter, and the drinking, and the laughter,
remember the courting and the weddings and the babies.
Remember the young ones who made it to college,
and the others who didn’t, remember them too.
Remember the unions and the co-ops and the tenants’ groups,
remember the marches to the Green and the Square.
Remember the suffragettes and the rent strikes, and the poll tax –
remember we tried and we fought and we cared.
Remember that I kept on getting up every morning,
remember my prayers and remember my tears.
Remember that I lived and my life had a value,
remember that I loved and hungered for more:
for the chance to reach out and look up and see further,
for a life free of want and exhaustion and fear;
for the right to be treated with justice and dignity,
for the right to be human,
for the right to a name.
It’s not much to ask, but it’s harder to come by,
and it’s hardest of all to be seen when you’re poor.
So when you walk by, just stop for a moment
and see me, and wonder, and maybe ask ‘why?’
And you remember me.

(Written for the laying of a stone in George Square, Glasgow, to commemorate all those who have been victims of poverty)

From The Dream of Learning Our True Name, Kathy Galloway, Wild Goose Publications

Kathy Galloway is the Head of Christian Aid Scotland and a member of the Iona Community.

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