Members, associates and friends

Leader Peter Macdonald’s address to the General Assembly, and the 2016 Report from the Board of the Iona Community

If you missed Peter’s powerful address to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, you can get a wee summary here. Go to Tuesday, May 24, 2016 (PM) after clicking on this link.

Also, a link to the Report from the Board of the Iona Community, which was submitted to the General Assembly.


Photo from the Church of Scotland website ©

The Iona Community Capital Appeal

… Generations of people have been touched by the varied and vital work of the Iona Community – work we want to ensure continues to be a reality and not history. This is especially true of our presence in the Abbey on Iona.

As a proactive and forward-thinking organisation, we have been evaluating and reassessing what we offer to our guests and staff. Wide consultation and guest feedback have identified key issues about the building’s accessibility, flexibility and sustainability. These must be addressed in the next five years if the Abbey is to remain fit for purpose …

Capital Appeal information and to make a donation

Appeal leaflet cover


‘Iona has been a life-changing experience for me’: a thank you from Resident Group member Dora Nyamwija

Dora has been a Resident Group member and volunteer on Iona for a couple of years now, and is soon returning to her home country, Uganda. (Go well, Dora.) In the April e-Coracle she gave an update on her project to construct accessible toilets for special needs children in Uganda.

A heartfelt thank you here from Dora to the Iona Community and Community folk. (Ed.):

Iona has been a life-changing experience for me – a chance conversation in the Abbey on a trip to Iona opened up a whole new world. I was visiting the island with my adopted parents, Annie and Danny, when we overheard a member of staff talking about the upcoming visit of a Swedish Confirmation group. So I later returned to Iona as a guest, and discovered that volunteers from all over the world come to help run the Centres.

Within two years I was volunteering at the MacLeod Centre – and had a great experience; then applied, and came back as a Resident at the start of the next season.

Coming from a tiny village in Uganda, it was beyond my wildest dreams that I would be working on Iona, meeting guests and staff from all over the world. Every day is a learning day for me, and I appreciate the qualities of the people I meet. I have learnt many new skills during my time here that I will use back in Uganda, and it has enabled me to save up and contribute some money to pay fees for my cousins and support my family.

Also, with the generous support of friends, guests, well-wishers, islanders, staff and members of the Iona Community, we all managed to raise enough money to build accessible toilets for special needs children in Uganda in two different schools – a project that is still continuing.

I would like to thank the Iona Community for employing me and for being so generous and donating to the project. I am looking forward to marrying my boyfriend, Tom, when I return to Uganda, and will use the skills I have learnt to get a job and to improve the lives of disabled children there.

I hope the Iona Community is able to offer similar opportunities to other volunteers for many years to come.

– Dora

Dora project in Uganda

 Accessible loos project in Uganda, photo ©

Send me your Iona stories, from Wild Goose editor Neil Paynter

Dear members, associates and friends,

I’m currently editing a book of short readings to help highlight and support the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal.

I’m looking for those human stories from Iona. You know the ones – we all have them: stories about people and the power of the Spirit. About different folk coming together – people from different countries, backgrounds … Stories of encounter, challenge, exchange, transformation …

Show why Iona and what the Iona Community does there is important to the world. Give it a human face.

Deadline: June 30, 2016

Word count: Not too long, 500 words or shorter: [email protected]

Thank you.

 Iona mo cridhe

Iona heart @ David Coleman

Iona youth news: Bellahouston on Iona and upcoming summer Youth Festivals

Iona Youth Resource Worker Chris Long has recently returned from Iona after a busy and brilliant week with students from Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow. There were 42 students and 5 teachers; with a whole new staff team, Chris said, this was a ‘new step’ in the Iona Community’s long and still growing connection with Bellahouston.

Chris and folk are now in the middle of planning for summer Youth Festivals on Iona. The theme of the fests will be ‘Speaking Truth to Power’. More to follow in Coracle or e-Coracle later in the year. (Ed.)


Bellahouston on Iona, by David Coleman, used with permission, photo ©

Staff vacancies on Iona: Hospitality Team Coordinator and Assistant Shop Manager

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

Deadline for applications: 23:59 BST 6th June

For more information and application forms

staff arm in arm

Iona friends on the road, by David Coleman, photo ©

Camas Diary

There’s been quite a lot of activity on the Camas blog lately – so you’ll need to catch up! See you down the track.

Camas Diary

Camas Open Weeks 2016


Camas team 2016 and other folk

Camas team 2016 and some Iona Community folk, by Rachel McCann ©

Upcoming weeks on Iona in 2016

There are still guest spaces open for weeks on Iona in 2016. So what are you waiting for?!

Island Centres Programme 2016


Arriving on iona

On the jetty © David Coleman

weeWONDERBOX, from the Wild Goose Resource Group and the Iona Community’s Programme Team – events at the Iona Community’s new Glasgow base

There’s so much going on at the Iona Community’s (new) Glasgow base these days – from visits by groups from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, the U.S. … to talks by rice farmers Howard Msukwa and Kenneth Mwakasungula from Karonga, Malawi, who are part of Kilombero, a rice farmers’ association working in partnership with Just Trading Scotland …

Some of this activity is part of weeWONDERBOX, which was launched in May. What’s weeWONDERBOX? Well, if you don’t know already – see below – and come along to the upcoming June events, which are gatherings for Iona Community liturgy. Everyone welcome.

Much more from weeWONDERBOX to follow. (Ed.)

weeWONDERBOX is a series of face-to-face events that started in May 2016, and is a collaboration between the Iona Community’s Programme team and the Wild Goose Resource Group.

The vision that inspires us is the renewal of incarnational, face-to-face public occasions where committed, faithful folk can engage with the pressing issues and challenges of God’s world in all its glorious variety and contradiction.


These will primarily take place in the Iona Community’s new base in Carlton Court, Glasgow. In time, events further afield will also be organised (and announced).

weeWONDERBOX, June 2016:

Wed. 1st June @ 6.30pm: Iona Community Liturgy

Wed. 8th June @ 6.30pm: Iona Community Liturgy

Wed. 15th June @ 6.30pm: Iona Community Liturgy

Wed. 22nd June @ 6.30pm: Iona Community Liturgy

Wed. 29th June @ 6.30pm: Iona Community Liturgy, A Healing Service

For more info:


Wild Goose Resource Group


weeWONDERBOX logo ©

Iona Community member Susan Lindsay runs – and finishes – the Bethlehem marathon for Amos Trust

From Susan Lindsay:

I recently went to Palestine with Amos Trust to take part in the Bethlehem half marathon.

I raised over £1000 – thanks to fellow Iona Community members and associates, and I would like to thank them.

We visited Hebron, Jerusalem and of course Bethlehem. It was great. I wore a kilt for the run!

Some of the young people from the Alrowwad refugee camp in Bethlehem will be coming over to Edinburgh in the summer to perform in the Festival. They are very excited and very talented!

susan finishing 2

Susan Lindsay (in kilt) finishing the Bethlehem marathon, photo ©

Iona Prayer Circle news

Rosemary Power is the new Iona Prayer Circle Coordinator. The best way to contact Rosemary is through [email protected]

Also of note: an important new pastoral resource by Rosemary, Challenging Bullying in Churches, available from Grove Books.

Challenging bullying in church

Finding My Way: Memories of a Czech Dissident, new book by Iona Community associate Tomas Bisek

From the Church of Scotland website:

What would it be like for your family to be spied on, interrogated and terrorised – by your own government? That’s what happened to Tomas Bisek, a minister with the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, and his wife, Daniela, after they had returned from a year at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Now, Mr Bisek has chronicled those events, and much more about his life, in his memoir, Finding My Way: Memories of a Czech Dissident, 1939-2008


To order Finding My Way: [email protected]

Bisek cover

Columba’s Day celebrations in Manchester, 18th June, 2016

Join the Iona Community in the north-west for Columba’s Day celebrations, on Saturday 18th June in Manchester.

The day will involve a guided tour of Manchester churches followed by Columba’s Day worship at the Bishop’s Rooms.

The cost for the day is £10 waged, £7 unwaged, including guided tour and tea and coffee.

 For full details and to reserve your place: RSVP to Rachel Hockey (see Members Book) by Friday 3 June.

IMG_0991 - Version 3

Artwork © Kerry Davies

Some Saint Columba’s Day resources, from Wild Goose Publications

Some excellent resources here from Jan Sutch Pickard and other Community folk …

Bell, Book and Candle

To Love and Serve the World


Photo from the WGP website ©

No Extraordinary Power: a gathering at Faslane nuclear weapons base in memory of member Helen Steven: Sunday 5th June, from friend Penny Stone

There will be a gathering for peace and in memory of the wonderful Helen Steven at Faslane, on Sunday June 5th from 12.00 until 16.00. Please bring sandwiches and songs – there will be dancing …

For more info:[email protected]


 Witness for peace at Faslane © David Coleman

A tribute to associate Isobel Kelly, teacher and trailblazing minister, from the Scotsman

Isobel Kelly was one of the earliest women members of the Iona Community, and was a regular member of the Inverclyde Family Group.

A tribute to Isobel Kelly, from the Scotsman



Step by step,
in your footprints:
Brendan, Brigid,
Columba, Adamnan.

Step by step
in your footprints:
Margaret, Cormac,
Anna, Michael.

Step by step
in your footprints:
Sue, Kate,
Ian, Alice.

Step by step
in your footprints:
all you saints,
all you angels.

Step by step
I’m coming home.

– Ruth Burgess, from Living Letters of the Word, Wild Goose Publications

Photo of Isobel Kelly ©, source unknown, taken from the Scotsman


Peace Prayers at AWE Burghfield, 27th June, 2016, from London Catholic Worker and Trident Ploughshares

On Monday 27th June faith groups from across the UK will gather at Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment (near Reading in Berkshire) to witness, pray and take non-violent direct action against the construction of nuclear weapons. The action will be part of a month of action at Burghfield called by Trident Ploughshares.

More info


Solas Festival 2016, Blackruthven, Perthshire, 17th-19th June 2016

Solas takes place in the Bield at Blackruthven, Perthshire. The programme makes space for challenging debate with activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum. Solas offers a creative and entertaining programme for festival-goers of all ages in a safe environment.

The Peace Tent at Solas is jointly sponsored by organisations that work for peace and reconciliation and nurture spiritual and social growth within communities; in 2016: the Wild Goose Resource Group, the Corrymeela Community, Place for Hope, the Church of Scotland …



Photo from the Solas Festival website ©

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, 22nd-26th June 2016

The Iona Community has had a presence at Glastonbury for many years now, with a tent and space in the corner of the Field of Avalon. Community folk offer a drop-in centre for conversation, worship and information on the Community and its concerns.

Glastonbury spiritual support


Iona Com at Glastonbury

The Iona Community at Glastonbury © Sheila Doig

Greenbelt Festival, Boughton Estate, Kettering, 26th-29th August 2016

The Iona Community and Wild Goose Resource Group will be in action at this year’s Greenbelt Festival, as part of the ‘Northern Lights’ partnership venue, with friends from the Corrymeela Community, Church Action on Poverty and Fischy Music.

If you’re coming to Greenbelt and can offer your enthusiastic presence on the Northern Lights stall for an hour or two, we are looking to confirm a volunteer rota as soon as possible. Please contact Pat Bennett: [email protected]. Thank you.



Our friends at Fischy Music, from the Greenbelt website ©

‘Conflictus’: new gospel-reading project between the Iona Community, Corrymeela, the Church of Scotland, Place for Hope, the Church of England and the Irish School of Ecumenics

‘Conflictus’ is a new gospel-reading project 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. In 2017 the project will provide a website with reflections on Sunday gospel readings which will look at the gospels through the lens of conflict, and at conflict through the lens of the gospels. More to follow …


Photo from the Corrymeela website ©

Church Action on Poverty: building partnerships of hope and transformation

Growing numbers are going hungry, or trapped in poverty despite their best efforts. But people in poverty are usually blamed for their situation, or treated as powerless victims. Together, we can change that.

News and resources:

Church Action on Poverty

Church Action on Poverty


‘Someone like me’: a story from Iona, by John Harvey

When we were living at the Abbey, one of the groups who came regularly to stay with the community was from the Six Circle organisation. This movement brought together young men in custody (in those days, in borstal), teenagers under social work supervision, and folk from a hospital for people with disabilities (in this case, adults with cerebral palsy) for camps each summer, in the belief that living and working with each other would enable each group to learn from the others. One year, the group stayed with us for two weeks – and the magic, as so often on Iona, happened. People who would normally never have thought of meeting each other – never mind beginning to understand each other – gradually became friends – it was so moving to watch, and to be part of it.

On the last evening of their stay, we all shared in the evening Communion service in the Abbey. During the service we shook hands with each other as usual, offering each other a sign of Christ’s peace. The service ended and people left; I was the last out of the by then darkened Abbey. I came into the cloisters – and heard the sound of someone sobbing in a corner. When I went over, I found one of the borstal boys, clearly very upset. I went to comfort him, assuming it was because he was having to go back to borstal tomorrow.

‘It’s not that,’ he said, when he got hold of himself. ‘It’s just that I never thought anyone in a church would ever want to shake hands with someone like me.’

John Harvey, from Fire and Bread, Ruth Burgess (Ed.), Wild Goose Publications

5k framegrab 0019

Iona communion © David Coleman


‘A place of hope’, by Peter Millar

‘A place of hope,’
they say:
and in their thousands
they journey, year by year,
to this tiny island
on the margins of Europe.
Sunswept and windswept,
yet always deeply
a place of transformation.
A sacred spot on earth:
a pilgrims’ place
of light and shadow,
energy and challenge.
We need you, Iona,
with your alternative vision,
with your ever-present questions,
your often uncomfortable silence.
For you are a place of prayer,
of Christ’s abiding:
weaving a rainbow of meaning
through the endless busyness of our days,
holding together the frayed threads
of our fleeting devotion,
opening a path for healing
and for peace.
Not momentary healing
nor easy faith,
but struggle, commitment,
and an ongoing conversion
are your gifts for
our broken yet beautiful lives.

Peter Millar, from This Is the Day, Wild Goose Publications

Communion with gluten free

Communion © David Coleman

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