Iona, Camas and the mainland

2017 Island Centres Programme

We are excited to announce that the 2017 Island Centres Programme and the 2017 Guest Week Calendar are now available. See you on Iona or at Camas in 2017!

programme cover

Islands Centre Programme cover photo ©

A psalm from the Abbey kitchen, by Jennifer Mayston

A beautiful piece about work and worship from former Iona volunteer Jennifer Mayston, who worked in the Abbey kitchen in 2015. Thanks, Jennifer.

A psalm from the Abbey kitchen

Praise the Lord in the chopping of a carrot,
praise the Lord in the beating of an egg,
praise the Lord in the frying of onions,
in all our actions, Praise you, Lord.

Praise the Lord in the kneading of bread dough,
praise the Lord in the baking of a cake,
praise the Lord in the stirring of porridge,
in all our cooking, Praise you, Lord.

Praise the Lord in the washing of dishes,
praise the Lord in the sweeping of the floor,
praise the Lord in sanitising surfaces,
let all our work praise you, Lord.

Praise the Lord in the eating of the food,
praise the Lord in the drinking of our tea,
praise the Lord in all our grateful graces –
in all our doing, praise the Lord!

– Jennifer Mayston

For information on working or volunteering with the Iona Community:



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‘Porridge steam’ © David Coleman

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

The Camas Diary

Castlemilk School, GRAMNet, Cre8 Macclesfield, Grassmarket Community Project, St John’s Youth, St Paul’s Glasgow, Muirhouse Youth Development, SiMY Community Development, the GK Experience, Barn Youth Centre, Faith in Throughcare, Iona Community kids, Iona Community New Members – just some of the groups Camas staff have welcomed/will be welcoming this summer …

Keep up to date on what’s happening at Camas by reading the Camas blog:

The Camas Diary

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Camas cross photo © David Coleman

‘A different future: some thoughts on the EU Referendum and young people’, by Iona Community Youth Development Worker Chris Long

If you missed this on the Iona Community’s Facebook page, here it is again:

‘A different future’


Iona youth and Leader Peter Macdonald at Edinburgh Stop Climate Chaos demo, 2015, photo by Neil Paynter ©

WeeWONDERBOX, from the Wild Goose Resource Group and the Iona Community’s Programme team


weeWONDERBOX 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).

We envisage a range of formats and types of wWBOX events, such as regular liturgies/services, discussion and reading groups, creative workshops, activist gatherings, wee sings, walks, pilgrimages, interviews, talks, presentations, book launches, concerts, ceilidhs, meetings for folk wanting to know more about the Iona Community’s concerns …

Upcoming 2016 events to be announced here


Liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration, Hiroshima Day, 6th August, by Norman Shanks, from Wild Goose Publications

A liturgy of commitment to standing on the edge and working for a transformation to another, more creative and just, world. Norman Shanks is a retired Church of Scotland minister and a former Leader of the Iona Community.

Liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration, Hiroshima Day, 6th August, by Norman Shanks


Iona Prayer Circle

Correction, May 2016 e-Coracle:

Rosemary Power’s new resource Challenging Bullying in Churches (Grove Books, 2016) was written before she became Iona Prayer Circle Coordinator and is separate from it. News from the Prayer Circle is a response to collaborative work. (Ed.)

Members, associates and friends

Focus on refugees, from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

From CTBI:

Focus on Refugees is a programme of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. The initiative aims to better inform faith communities and organisations about issues relating to migration, refugees and asylum in the UK and Ireland and beyond; to network together practitioners, and to encourage and educate through examples of good practice, facts and documented experiences; to provide opportunities for practical and prayerful action; to confront people of faith with the ongoing challenge of migration and ‘the refugee crisis’ through theological reflection.

Some reflections from the Focus on Refugees website, from Iona Community members Kathy Galloway, Alison Phipps and their colleagues:

Refugees want to be reunited with their families, Kathy Galloway and Maha Campbell

Their help and care for refugees oozes from a fountain of faith in Christ and a love for humanity, by Maha Campbell

Looking back at the Working Together in Faith conference in Edinburgh #SFARconference, Alison Phipps, Kathy Galloway

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Associate Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP)

Paul Nicolson, longtime campaigner against poverty and injustice, founder of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and Taxpayers Against Poverty, and Iona Community associate, has been in the news lately for his refusal to pay council tax and his subsequent court appearance. ‘I’ve tried all lawful means of opposing bad laws,’ Paul explains, ‘but oppressive UK poverty and debt get worse, hence civil disobedience.’

Paul’s recent letters and news from TAP:

Taxpayers Against Poverty


Photo of Paul Nicolson used with permission ©

Letter on the EU Referendum, from David Osborne, Iona Community Regional Convener in the South-west of England

Letter from David Osborne


Wild geese © David Coleman

On ‘Operation Condor’, a letter from member Ian M Fraser

From Ian M Fraser:

The verdict of the three-year court case on the collusion of the USA with right-wing governments in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay (‘Operation Condor’) has now made miscreants known. In 1973 I was in Santiago, Chile when Salvador Allende’s democratically elected government came under fire. I was there when he spoke to a crowd, announcing: ‘A stone’s throw from where I stand, newspapers are sold which tell lies about the regime. As long as I am in charge they will remain free to tell their lies.’ But the undermining of democracy prevailed.

In those days The Scotsman printed articles I submitted before the Pinochet coup, so I was able to help warn the public. Hillsborough and the ‘Operation Condor’ trials reveal the persistence, over decades, of the struggles for the truth. The tenacity testifies that there is that in human nature which is ‘planted more deeply than all that is wrong’ (from an Iona Community affirmation).

Ian Fraser

Ian M Fraser photo by David Coleman ©

Member Ruth Harvey appointed Director of Place for Hope, from the Church of Scotland website

From the Church of Scotland website:

Ruth Harvey takes over as Director of Place for Hope in October 2016. Ruth is a skilled trainer, mediator and facilitator in the field of conflict transformation and community dialogue. She has been a member of Place for Hope’s volunteer team of mediators and facilitators since 2011 and a member of the staff team since 2012. She currently has responsibility for developing training programmes and partnership relationships with a range of faith communities and peacemaking bodies. Ruth is a minister and a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She has been a member of the Iona Community since 1993 …



Photo of Ruth Harvey ©

Threads of Hope, new book from member Susan Dale, from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

On 1st October 2012, April Jones, aged 5, was abducted from outside her home in the small Welsh market town of Machynlleth. This led to the largest police search operation of its kind ever conducted in the UK, and a subsequent murder investigation and trial which was scrutinised by the international media.

This book uses a collaborative narrative research process to explore the lived experiences of one specific group of community members who responded to this event by setting up, and running, a therapeutic project to support the community between 2012 and 2014.

Dr Susan Dale works as a psychotherapist, researcher and writer in private practice and also works part-time as an editor for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She is a member of the Iona Community.

Threads of Hope



Dutch Iona Group gathering

From 20th-22nd May, the Dutch Iona Group held its annual weekend, this year on the theme of ‘Hospitality and the stranger in our midst’. Around 55 people enjoyed the hospitality of the Mennonite Centre Dopersduin in the dunes of Schoorl. (For reflection on the gathering see the summer edition of Coracle.)

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Dutch Iona gathering photo © Irene Stok

Open Door Community, Atlanta, Georgia

The Open Door Community is a residential community in the Catholic Worker tradition, which seeks to dismantle racism, sexism and heterosexism, abolish the death penalty, and proclaim the Beloved Community through loving relationships with some of the most neglected and outcast of God’s children: the homeless and our sisters and brothers who are in prison.

Open Door is one of the Iona Community’s sister communities.

The latest edition of Hospitality, Open Door’s newspaper

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Artwork from the Open Door Community ©

Kirkridge Retreat and Study Centre, Bangor, PA, USA

Since 1942, Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center has provided a place for rest and renewal to pilgrims along life’s journey. Find out what’s new with our good friends at Kirkridge:

Kirkridge Retreat and Study Centre


Photo of Kirkridge staff, from the Kirkridge website ©

Wellspring Community, Australia

Wellspring are a dispersed ecumenical community in Australia, who aim to live prophetically, see God’s presence in each moment and person, work for reconciliation and practise peace.

Wellspring is one of the Iona Community’s sister communities.

The latest edition of Wellspring’s magazine, Pipeline

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Photo from the Wellspring Community website ©


Save the Human Rights Act, from Amnesty international



From Amnesty International:

The Human Rights Act protects the fundamental rights we all have as human beings, and allows us to challenge the authorities if they violate them. It’s an invisible safety net for all of us, and a crucial protection for the most vulnerable: from women fleeing domestic violence to older people in care homes.

Don’t let universal freedoms turn into privileges for a chosen few. Call on the government to save the Human Rights Act.

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia, from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT)

From CAAT:

The High Court has ruled that we can take the government’s decision to keep arming Saudi Arabia to a Judicial Review. The courts will now consider the legality of the UK’s ongoing arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Please take action to build our voice against the arms sales.


Photo from the CAAT website ©

Poverty: Our Hidden Shame? – a new film by young people in Govan

Plantation Productions Create Crew, a group of 12 young people from Govan, worked for 6 months taking a participatory research approach to produce ‘Poverty: Our Hidden Shame?’, a film investigating the impact of austerity in their community. This project was commissioned by NHS Scotland and Oxfam Scotland, delivered in partnership with the GalGael Trust and Plantation Productions.

There have been some recent screenings of this film around Glasgow – so keep your eyes open.

Church Action on Poverty

What does it mean to be a church of and for the poor? And how can we build that church together?

Church Action on Poverty

Church Action on Poverty

Mexico – Homeless World Cup champions 2016

The Homeless World Cup 2016 was held in Glasgow in July – Mexico won both the women’s and men’s tournaments!

Homeless World Cup news:

Homeless World Cup


Photo from the Homeless World Cup website, by Steve Beddoes ©

‘Bob Holman was an anti-poverty activist who lived his dream’, from The Guardian

A tribute to a friend of the Community, whose work and witness challenged and inspired many of us:

‘Bob Holman was an anti-poverty activist who lived his dream’, by Mari Marcel Thekaekara, from The Guardian

A quote from Bob Holman:

‘Britain is marred by a lack of democracy, by the oppression of poor people. So what? My objections spring from my Christian socialism. I believe God created all people of equal value: it follows that all people should be given the opportunity to contribute to the shape of our society … I believe God made all people of equal worth: it follows that the resources of the earth should be distributed as equally as possible. I am sure that God, in the person of Christ, displayed a particular concern for the poor.’

– Bob Holman, from Growing Hope, Wild Goose Publications


‘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. Stay tuned.


Rolling blockade at Burghfield nuclear weapons factory

In June faith groups from across the UK, including Iona Community members, gathered at Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment to witness, pray and take non-violent direct action against the construction of nuclear weapons.

News of the blockade, from Trident Ploughshares and Red Pepper


‘Helen’s Hoolie’: gathering at Faslane for peace and in memory of Helen Steven

A couple photos here of some of the colour and Spirit at ‘Helen’s Hoolie’, a gathering in June at Faslane nuclear weapons base – for peace and in memory of Iona community member Helen Steven, whose witness lives on.

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Hoolie 3

‘Helen’s hoolie’ photos by Lily Greenan, Chris Booth or Ileana Thomson, all photos ©


The poets brought us hope, by member Rachel McCann

Inspired by a poetry reading featuring Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and others …

The poets brought us hope,
restored our humour and
renewed our hearts,
and reminded us of who we are,
and when we marched (when millions marched)
against attacking innocents and an unjust war
against making others less than we are,
when we stood together hand in hand
and ‘Not in our name’ was the chant …

Not in our name your twisted lies,
not in our name your whitewashed lives,
not in our name your bloodstained flags,
not in our name your Murdoch rags,
not in our name your vicious acts of hate,
not in our name your words that hurt.

In our name we stand again for peace,
in our name all are valued in this place,
in our name we give roses to a stranger,
in our name we celebrate our neighbour,
in our name we offer welcome and our love,
in our name we are one with all life.

The poets brought us hope.

– Rachel McCann


Photo © David Coleman


I believe in love: an affirmation, by member Elaine Gisbourne

In response to recent events in Orlando, Florida and Batley, England …

I believe in love
that lifts the heart like skylark’s flight,
and grounds the soul in earth’s deep song.

I believe in the tender love
of teenage kids on a playground swing,
who share a Coke and bag of chips,
and from his pocket he pulls a coin
to carve a heart on an ancient tree.

I believe in the unlikely love
that breaches borders and battlelines;
where curse and clash of conflict reigns
love cracks convention, sowing seeds
of hope in wasted lands of war.

And I believe in boy meets girl,
and girl meets girl and boy meets boy;
and I believe in love that stands
with tear-soaked eyes and grief-gripped soul,
where hate and fear have gunned young lives,
to hold aloft a fragile flame
of solidarity and strength.

I believe in a woman’s love,
who dared to build a place of peace
within the streets where she had grown,
to be cut down by cruel hands.
In senselessness, where is the love?

Still, I believe in love which heals
and holds and faces fear full on;
and generous love and open lives,
these lift the heart like skylark’s flight,
and ground the soul in earth’s deep song.

– Elaine Gisbourne


Photo © Jan Sutch Pickard

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