A quick e-Coracle for February as the Glasgow office is in the middle of a move – see below for more info. Wish us well. Very exciting! (Ed.)
Come to Iona in 2016
There are still spaces left at the Abbey and Mac for 2016 – for most weeks!
To book: [email protected]
Storms and rainbows (an Iona grace)
For work and worship
prayer and action
being and doing
for sharing stories and for sharing beauty beyond words
for long walks alone and for pilgrimages together
for the sound of the ferry and for the echo of church bells
for quiet time and for the wild dance of the Spirit
for storms that pass and for rainbows
for daffodils in bloom and for a night full of stars …
for all of these things and
for all of the ways these things
feed into each other
for this life-giving food and
for the varied food of life
for all of the ways you nourish us,
loving God – we praise you.
– By an Iona volunteer, from In the Gift of This New Day, Wild Goose Publications
Iona pilgrims © David Coleman
Open Weeks at Camas – 2016 programme
Work Weeks, Garden Week, Family Week – and more. See you at Camas in 2016!
To book: [email protected]
I have useful hands/prayer
Poem by Work Week volunteers, from the Camas Diary:
I have useful hands …
I drilled a hole
and moved some sand.
I lit a candle
and sewed some seams.
I sowed some lettuce and
baked some bread.
I made some soup
and I made a bridge.
I scrubbed a floor
then made some scones.
I drew a picture,
and painted a bed.
I have useful hands …
Christ has no hands but our hands:
no hands but our hands
to do God’s work in the world.
Christ has no lips but our lips:
no lips but our lips
to proclaim the good news.
Christ has no love but our love:
no love but our love to share
with the imprisoned, the silenced, the persecuted,
the oppressed, the marginalised.
Saint Teresa of Ávila (adapted)
From In the Gift of This New Day, Wild Goose Publications
Camas people © David Coleman
The Iona Community’s new Glasgow base
At the end of February – right now! – the Iona Community is moving its Glasgow office to 21 Carlton Court on the south bank of the Clyde – a stone’s throw across the river from the site of the old Community House. The converted building provides a fully accessible event space/meeting room on the ground floor, with our admin, programme and publishing teams occupying the floors above, and is a more suitable location for the development of projects and programme promoting the Community’s concerns.
Note: The Glasgow office will be closed from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th February to facilitate the move. It will not be possible to contact the office by phone or e-mail for up to a week from Wednesday 24th February. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. Wish us a smooth move!
Our new address:
The Iona Community
21 Carlton Court
Photo © Nap
Wild Goose Resource Group – some upcoming events
‘Why do God’s people sing?’
John Bell looks at a whole range of reasons why God’s people sing …
March 1 at 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
South Leeds Oasis, Hunslet Methodist Church
Leeds, LS10 2HR
‘What can I do to praise my God?’
Enjoy a full day with John Bell, aimed at all involved in music and worship – clergy, lay readers, musicians …
April 9 at 10:00 am-4:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Church, St Andrew’s Place
Penrith, CA11 7XX
Photo from the WGRG website ©
‘What is valuable and true: a liturgy for economic witness’, by Norman Shanks, from Wild Goose Publications
Spring is the time when Members of the Iona Community begin to gather in their Family Groups ‘to account for the use of their gifts, money, time and the earth’s resources …’. Well, here’s a download (which you might have missed), which might help and inspire, by former Leader of the Community Norman Shanks:
New Iona Prayer Circle Coordinator, member Rosemary Power
Rosemary Power has taken over Iona Prayer Circle responsibilities from Polly Burns. (Thank you so much for all you’ve given, Polly.)
Rosemary first Prayer letter and lists will go out in mid-March. She can be contacted at: [email protected]
The Iona Prayer Circle is a worldwide network which prays for people and places in distress. The Prayer Circle is part of the healing ministry of the Iona Community, established to help people having to cope with all that is a barrier to health and wholeness.
Prayer from Iona Abbey
God, our Creator, we are held in your everlasting arms.
Jesus, our Saviour, we are healed by your wounded hands.
Holy Spirit, be present as we reach out to one another in love.
Iona Abbey Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications
Photo © David Coleman
‘Conflictus’: new project between the Iona Community, the Corrymeela Community, the Church of Scotland, Place for Hope, the Church of England and the Irish School of Ecumenics … from Pádraig Ó Tuama, Leader of the Corrymeela Community
There is a new project that is happening between the Iona Community, the Corrymeela Community, the Church of Scotland Resourcing Worship Team, Place for Hope, the Church of England — through Coventry Reconciliation Project — and the Irish School of Ecumenics.
The project — called ‘Conflictus’ — is a gospel-reading project, and from early 2017 will provide a website with reflections on Sunday gospel readings. These reflections will look at the gospels through the lens of conflict and also look at conflict through the lens of the gospels.
Conflicts come in all shapes and sizes. We could say, perhaps, that, like death and taxes, conflict is inevitable. Some conflicts are the places where the finest art comes from. Other conflicts, however, like the conflicts in Ireland that led and were manifest in the Troubles, or conflicts between people of faiths, are entirely to be avoided or resolved.
What does it mean to have a spiritual practice while you are in the midst of a conflict — whether that’s a conflict to be learnt from, or a conflict to alleviate?
The group is meeting four times in 2016 to reflect on the gospels, develop writings, prayers and suggestions for personal, congregational or group discussion on the gospels. As I write, we are halfway through our second meeting, based in the Corrymeela centre on the north coast of Co. Antrim. Fourteen miles away, I can see the tip of the Mull of Kintyre and, on a good day, the islands of Jura and Islay are visible from a nearby shore. So much tension has passed between the peoples of these islands, as well as so much love. People of faith need a practice of prayer that can learn from these conflicts, not just avoid them. So much about the deepest desire of humanity, indeed the human condition, is revealed in conflict.
It is easy, too, to imagine that any conflict will be resolved provided it makes ‘my group’ happy. What happens if we need to find compromise, or some kind of win-win collaboration? How do we nurture a faith and spiritual practice that can move us towards these shared goals?
The gospels are full of conflicts – conflicts about who is or isn’t righteous; conflicts about who should or shouldn’t rule a particular land; conflicts about whether locals or foreigners are going to inherit a kingdom; conflict about what the identity of Jesus means when it comes to being present in a land occupied by Roman forces. Even Mary, hearing good news about her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy, ‘hurries across the hill country’. The theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, in Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet (Continuum), suggested that Mary’s hurry was due less to enthusiasm and more to the fact that the country was occupied by soldiers that may not have been trustworthy. The tension and conflicts within which these sacred stories are set are relevant to contemporary stories of nation and war and power.
Conflicts occur in small ways too — in the home, in groups, among the faithful. At one point in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus turns to his disciples and asks, ‘What were you arguing about along the way?’ (Mark 9:33). They had been arguing about who was the greatest – and the question we are left with is what measure of greatness they were using. Was it the one who had been most praised by Jesus? Or the one who had seemed to be most likely to stand at Jesus’ side should a revolution begin in Jerusalem? Was it the one who had welcomed a stranger, or was it the one who had hurried an interruptor away? Our daily lives are filled with small conflicts – conflicts that reveal our inner workings. How can we pray with these, and allow our selves to be revealed and renewed.
Once the lectionary resource is released, each of the contributing organisations will hold retreats and trainings and information days in their own local jurisdictions and with their contact groups. We are delighted at the friendship and collegiality between the organisations. Indeed, such is the enjoyment that we are being deliberate about including ideas for play, re-creation and enjoyment as part of the suggestions — conflict reveals what is deep in us, but play and imagination also reveal depths.
The Spirituality of Conflict development year is kindly funded by the JVM Trench Trust, and with funds and support from the contributing organisations.
– Pádraig Ó Tuama, Leader of the Corrymeela Community
Image from the Corrymeela Community website ©
A Good Society, from Church Action on Poverty (CAP)
The Iona Community, with many other organisations and folk, is presently involved with CAP in conversations about ‘a Good Society’ – which is about helping people in the UK’s most ignored and excluded communities make their voices heard, sharing new ideas about how we can build a Good Society and taking action to make that Good Society real.
More on this from Iona Community Programmes Development Worker, Pat Bennett, in a future Coracle or e-Coracle.
Members, associates and friends
Timeout days for NHS staff, led by Iona Community member Stephen Wright, from the Sacred Space Foundation
Retreat, relax, re-energise …
It can be tough working in the NHS: the pressures can seem relentless. We can become very stressed and not always find time to take care of ourselves. Come and enjoy a timeout day in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of Rydal Hall near Ambleside, in Cumbria: 22nd April or 16th September, 2016.
The day will be facilitated by Stephen Wright, an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria, who has a long history in nursing and providing staff support in the NHS. Stephen currently works for the Sacred Space Foundation, a local charity, providing help to those experiencing the extremes of stress and burnout. Stephen is also a member of the Iona Community.
For bookings and more information please contact [email protected]. (Places are limited to 20 each day so early booking is recommended.)
Photo from the Sacred Space website ©
Heartbeat Journey, Associate and former Warden of Iona Abbey Philip Newell
Former Warden of Iona Abbey and Associate member of the Iona Community Philip Newell is part of Heartbeat Journey. Heartbeat Journey ‘seeks to be part of healing in our world by providing fresh articulation for earth-honouring spirituality, facilitating interfaith relationship, and enabling young adults in contemplation and engagement’.
There is a good series of talks – on ‘the Non-violent force of love’, ‘Holy wholeness’, ‘Rebirthing’ and ‘Response-ability’ – by Philip on the Heartbeat website:
Philip Newell leading a pilgrimage on Iona, photo from the Heartbeat Journey website ©
Blessed be our feet, by Joy Mead
Blessed be our feet
that feel the beat
at the heart of life
and move us on
in dancing prayer.
Iona dance © David Coleman