Iona, Camas and the mainland

Vacancy on Iona: Iona Shop Manager

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

Applications for Shop Manager, by Sunday 25th September, 2016

For more information and an application

abbey at sunrise

Iona dawn © David Coleman

Seven Days: Stories and Reflections for the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, Jan Sutch Pickard and members of the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications


Take seven days in September, in the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Take seven very different experiences of the land and people now divided by the Separation Barrier.

Take a commitment to justice and peace, and a desire to build bridges.

Take seven members of the Iona Community: Rosemary Power, Norman Shanks, Colin Douglas, Runa Mackay, Eurig Scandrett, Warren Bardsley, Jan Sutch Pickard … and you will have, in this download, a reflective resource for this week, a small contribution to our shared task of ‘dismantling barriers’.

Seven Days: Stories and Reflections for the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Wild Goose downloads

weeWONDERBOX events and gatherings in 2016-17, from the Wild Goose Resource Group and the Iona Community’s Programme team

weeWONDERBOX is a series of face-to-face events running from September 2016 until the end of June 2017. It‘s a collaboration between the Iona Community’s Programme team and the Wild Goose Resource Group.

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 …

Most events will take place in the Iona Community’s new base at 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow, but in time, we envisage events further afield may also be organised as part of the programme.

2016-17 weeWONDERBOX events



2016 Iona Youth Festival

A great smiley photo here from this summer’s Iona Youth Festival. Read about Youth Fest in the upcoming autumn Coracle, in an interview with Iona Community Youth Resource Worker, Chris Long.

youth fest

Photo from Youth Fest © Used by permission

2016 Camas season update, from Camas Coordinator Abbi Mason

From Abbi Mason:

As I write this (beginning of August), we are now nearing the end of the Priority Area groups time. We’ve had six youth groups from Glasgow come and fill the centre with energy, songs and general mayhem. In amongst this we had an expedition for some young people from the GK Experience, where they got to camp out at Carsaig arches and sail on Mark Jardine’s boat – accompanied by dolphins!

At the moment we have an adult group in from Faith in Throughcare, who offer support to adults who are in and out of the prison system. It is always a very rewarding week for the Camas staff, as well as lots of fun. It being an adult group, the participants freely share the impact that coming to Camas has had on them, and reflect on how to incorporate what they have gained from the week back into their lives at home. Right now, as I glance out the office window, they are all in fancy dress racing chariots they’ve made out of barrels and old tyres and completing the Camas Olympics!

The rest of the season continues to have back-to-back groups, with Community kids, two weeks of youth groups from the north of England, who both have a long history of bringing young people to Camas. The last week in August is going to be a Duke of Edinburgh Award week and an earth-oven building week where the two groups will combine to build Camas a pizza oven in the garden!

Autumn will see New Members week; a visit from a special needs school; Caledonian Woodlands, a work group helping us maintain the woodland area; Garden Week, with an emphasis on harvesting hazelnuts to begin our tree nursery next spring – and finally Work Week, where we will begin to get the centre cleaned and packed down for winter … Phew! …


The Camas Diary

Coasteering by Rachel Daniels

Coasteering at Camas, by Rachel Daniels, photo © Rachel Daniels

Iona Prayer Circle, from Prayer Circle Coordinator, Rosemary Power

From Rosemary Power:

The Prayer Circle continues to be a large, quiet and significant part of the life of the Iona Community and the wider movement. Some three hundred people receive the requests for prayer. They commit themselves to praying regularly for the needs of individuals and situations on one or more of the Circle’s seven lists. Many make the Tuesday evening ‘Service for Healing’ in Iona Abbey a special time to join in prayer from wherever they are in the world. Urgent prayer requests are passed on from the Circle to the Sacristan, to be included in that night’s service.

A new leaflet explaining the Circle and how to send in a request or become involved will be available shortly, and the information is also on the website.

Sponsors (people who send in prayer requests) and Prayer Circle members receive a short newsletter along with the two-monthly updated lists. This includes a list of causes for thanksgiving that are a sign of the effects of prayer, and an encouragement.

At present, some short liturgies, for private or small-group use, are being prepared to cover the main areas for which we get prayer requests. They are:

– Thanksgiving

– For a sick child

– For a difficult family situation

– For a person with a short-term illness

– For a person with a terminal illness

– For a person with a chronic long-term illness

– For a discernment

– For a person who has suffered at the hands of others

– For an international situation

It is a privilege to have been asked to take on this role, and suggestions for the future would be welcome.

[email protected]


Abbey candles photo © David Coleman

Members, associates and friends

Hallowing of new Iona Community members at August Community Week on Iona

During summer Community Week on Iona, August 6-12, the following good folk were hallowed as new members of the Iona Community: Valerie Allen, Simon Barrow, Simon Evans, Neil Galbraith, Patrick King, Helen Wass O’Donnell, Rosamond Wass O’Donnell, Carla Roth, Rosemary Rymer, Stephen Rymer, Douglas Shaw, Jill Stoner.

Below – a lovely photo of Iona volunteer staff Jona Welsch, Paty Enciso and Lol Wood making preparations for the hallowing buffet, and a link to a Hallowing buffet photo album, by Deputy Hospitality Team Coordinator, KJ Andersson. The album really shows the incredible care, attention and love the Iona staff put into making the day such a special one. Thank you!

2016 Hallowing photo album, by KJ Andersson


Photo: Mac kitchen staff Jona Welsch, Paty Enciso and Lol Wood, by KJ Andersson, photo ©

The ‘Singing Children of Africa Choir’ 2016 UK tour, from associate and Iona Community Membership Secretary, Lynn Harper-Baldwin


For 10 years now Lynn and her husband, Mike, have been involved with the charity Educate the Kids in Kenya, helping to raise money for children to have a better education and clean water to drink, and helping to host the ‘Singing Children of Africa Choir’, a Educate the Kids project, on tours of the UK.

Educate the Kids was founded in 1998 by Maureen and Ian McIntyre after visiting Kenya and being moved by the poverty there. Lynn says: ‘The charity is run completely by volunteers so every penny goes out to Kenya to help the kids there. The only paid personnel are the teachers and staff at the schools and orphanage in Kenya.’

Lynn and Mike also sponsor a young boy, Alex, through the charity and have got to know him quite well over the past 10 years; he is now 14 years old. ‘It’s been great to see personally the difference that sponsor money has made to his life,’ says Lynn.

During their 10-week tour, the ‘Singing Children of Africa Choir’ will be performing in Scotland, Yorkshire, London, Somerset … at schools, nursing homes, churches … Last year they sang at the Scottish Parliament – to a rousing response. Listen to them here. (Ed.)


Photos: top: some members of the choir, photo ©; above: Lynn with friend Charo, who was the first boy in the Educate the Kids orphanage

‘Beautiful Resistance’: Alrowwad Youth Theatre 2016 UK Tour, from the Amos Trust and member Susan Lindsay

Iona Community member Susan Lindsay has been helping to welcome and host 14 young people from the Alrowwad Cultural Association, which is in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The group is on tour performing ‘Beautiful Resistance’, a theatre piece which promotes human rights through creative and non-violent responses to the contemporary situation in Palestine. The young people will be performing/have performed in London, at the Edinburgh Festival, the Just Festival, the Festival of Politics, the Greenbelt Arts Festival, and at special events in Bristol, Leeds and Derby. (Ed.)

From Susan Lindsay:

Below is a photo of the Alrowwad performers – the group smiling after arriving in Scotland. Their UK tour, supported by the Amos Trust, will help them to have a taste of normal life: for a while they will get to escape from the tear gas, guns and domination that make up the daily lives of Palestinians, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Their performance at the Just Festival on Tuesday 16th August in St Johns’s Episcopal Church was fabulous! These brave young people are the embodiment of hope and love. Tomorrow night the village of Aberdour are holding a welcome party in the church hall, and then on Saturday, we are all going to Kinghorn beach for a ‘guddle’, beach comb and BBQ. More news to follow …

Beautiful Resistance tour

About Beautiful Resistance: Alrowwad Centre for Culture and Arts, from Amos Trust

Amos Trust


Alrowwad Youth Theatre performers, photo © Susan Lindsay

‘Conflictus’, a new gospel-reading 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

‘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 news to follow …


Photo from the Corrymeela Community website ©

Travelling companions: tributes to Iona Community members who have recently died

A tribute to member Danus Skene, by Greg Russell, from The National

Tribute to Danus Skene

A tribute to associate Kate Robertson, by Ken Ross, from the Scotland Malawi Partnership

Tribute to Kate Robertson

Tribute to associate John Burnett, from member David Osbourne

John first became involved with the Community in the fifties and was a very active associate member, visiting Iona often, leading a Bristol Iona Group and an annual gathering through till the nineties. He sadly died in early August. Many longstanding associates and members may well remember John from meeting him on the island or in the South West of England. We give thanks to God for his life.

A prayer for travelling companions

We recall them with prayers of gratitude –
travelling companions.

Those who walked with us,
sharing song and laughter
and tears and passion,
and faith and doubt and dreams.
Together we built community,
and tried to change the world,
praying, ‘Your kingdom come.’

And those who walked ahead,
dreaming dreams, taking risks,
breaking new ground.

We recall them all.
They all walk ahead of us now,
on the next stage of the journey,
on a road still hidden to us.
They give us reason to keep going,
to honour them, keep faith with them.
They invite us to face what will be,
to embrace mystery
and be unafraid of that which we cannot know.

We recall them with prayers of gratitude:
they are not our past, but our future.

Brian Woodcock, from In the Gift of This New Day: Praying with the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications


Maclean’s Cross photo © David Coleman


Pilgrimage from Iona to Glasgow: a journal of reflections by member Stephen Wright


In 2013, during the 75th anniversary year of the Iona Community, Stephen Wright, as part of his new members project, made a pilgrimage from Iona to Glasgow. Stephen explains:

As one of a group of new members of the Iona Community, we each undertook to do a project of some sort. Lots of people pilgrimage to Iona in their spiritual search. However, the origins of the Community, despite the name, were not there, but in Govan during the Depression of the 1930s. So, in the 75th anniversary year of the Community, why not pilgrimage in reverse: from Iona to Govan to highlight our origins and produce a “report” along the way? …

Over 13 days and 155 miles I passed through bucolic idyll and industrial wasteland, traversed mountain and valley, sailed across ocean and loch and tramped through bog and along city streets. I met folk of all sorts along the way, had conversations rich or shallow, and was often asked, “Why Iona to Glasgow? Surely it should be the other way round?” Such judgements create dualism: God in this place but not in that place …

As I have grown older I have come to appreciate that the sacred is everywhere. There is nowhere that God is not. Perhaps that is one of the “products” of pilgrimage: an evolution of consciousness, of realisation that it’s not about where we are in place and time, but our awareness of God, wherever and whenever, that matters …’

Pilgrimage from Iona to Glasgow, by Stephen Wright. (22.5MB) Stephen is a gentle, thought-provoking, very human companion to walk alongside.

Stephen Wright is a Spiritual Director at the Sacred Space Foundation. Previously he worked in academia and as a nurse in the NHS.

Photo of Stephen Wright ©


Bridges not walls, by Jan Sutch Pickard

God-with-us, you sit down in our midst.
Nothing can separate us from your love –
not towering concrete walls
or the deep darkness between searchlights;
not distance from friends
or despair in our hearts
that the world’s wrongs cannot be changed.
You are with our brothers crowded at the checkpoint,
with our sisters witnessing for peace:
you sit down in our midst.
Born into poverty, to displaced people living under occupation,
you shared our human lives,
and we know that your love can never be contained
by the walls of separation.
You sit down in our midst, God-with-us.

Jan Sutch Pickard, from Seven Days: Stories and Reflections for the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, Wild Goose Publications



Photo © Tomo Jesenicnik |


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