We will fight Trump’s effort to close U.S. borders, from Amnesty International
President Donald Trump has issued several executive orders related to immigration, including constructing a wall on the border with Mexico, building more detention centres, and stripping sanctuary cities of federal funding.
‘We will fight this dangerous move with everything we’ve got,’ said Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. ‘This wall would say that those from outside the United States, especially from Latin America, are to be feared and shunned – and that is just wrong.’
RESIST, from Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists delivered a message of love and progress to counter Trump’s hate and ignorance at the White House.
The majority of America didn’t vote for Trump or his agenda to strip away protections for the planet and its people, and we won’t let him destroy what generations have built.
WE WILL RISE. WE WILL RESIST. WE WILL RENEW.
Greenpeace and the environmental movement have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re going to work harder than ever. When Trump tries to weaken the Paris Climate Agreement, we will resist. When he tries to fast-track dangerous fossil-fuel projects like Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, we will stand with frontline communities to stop him.
Sign the pledge today to resist Trump’s dangerous agenda.
Photo from the Greenpeace website ©
Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Week of Action, 10th–17th February, 2017, from Scrap Trident
The United Nations negotiations in 2017 for a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, supported by a huge majority of the world’s governments, start in March in New York. The UK Government say they want multilateral disarmament, but they won’t take part. The Scottish Parliament would support the treaty, but is misrepresented by the UK. The international campaign ICAN has supported ordinary people across the world as well as at the UN to get the ban treaty this far.
ICAN calls for a global Week of Action from 10th to 17th February – and you can join in. Everyone should know about the ban, but the UK media are not reporting it so far, so it is up to us. There is now a Scottish working group to support activity here, and provide information and resources. We hope you will join in:
End Hunger, from Church Action on Poverty
Together, we can end hunger in the UK.
Church Action on Poverty (CAP) is working alongside many other organisations as part of the End Hunger UK coalition. Until the end of 2018, we will campaign for a UK where everybody has access to good food and nobody has to go to bed hungry.
The campaign starts with a Big Conversation, going on across the UK until March 2017. Individuals, churches, food banks and other projects are all invited to join in the conversation and ask the question: What does our government need to do to end hunger in the UK?
Fairtrade Fortnight, 27th February–12th March, 2017
Fairtrade Fortnight is a fun-filled highlight of the year, when campaigners, businesses, schools and places of worship show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food in developing countries.
Surveillance & Religion Network public lecture, by Dr Eric Stoddart, Monday 20th March 2017, 19:30–21:00, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh
Topic: Will using surveillance make good religion better and bad religion worse?
Speaker: Dr Eric Stoddart is Coordinator, Surveillance & Religion Network, and Associate Director, Centre for the Study of Religion & Politics, School of Divinity, University of St Andrews. He has been teaching and writing about digital, and specifically surveillance, technologies for the past 10 years. In this talk Dr Stoddart will explore the ways that religious groups draw upon surveillance technologies such as congregational data management, self-monitoring of spiritual disciplines, or CCTV deployed upon (and within) religious buildings. He will consider how these technologies shape their users and what that might mean for faith communities. He will suggest that religious groups need to find resources from within their respective traditions in order to employ surveillance in ways that are life-affirming and not, unintentionally, counter to human flourishing.
Iona, Camas and the mainland
Position statement of the Iona Community on Kairos Palestine
A working group of Iona Community members and associates was formed in 2016 to develop the Community’s engagement with the struggle for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine. The working group’s remit includes: education – the winter 2016/17 issue of Coracle features contributions on Palestine and Israel and suggested further reading; campaigning – the statement below outlines the Community’s support for the Kairos Palestine document and position on Israel/Palestine; the statement is a work in progress and will be refined in light of the Community’s ongoing discussions and feedback; action: the working group will encourage the Iona Community membership and other Christians to support the Kairos Palestine call and other initiatives in support of an end to Israeli occupation and a just solution to the conflict.
Photo © Mahmoud Alkurd, Network of Photographers for Palestine
weeWONDERBOX 2017 programme: events and gatherings at the Iona Community’s new Glasgow base, from WGRG 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. Most events will take place in the Iona Community’s new base at 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow.
Come to Iona or Camas in 2017 – see you there!
Check out the 2017 Islands Centres Programme and book a week on Iona or at Camas in 2017.
* Note: the season on Iona has been extended to the end of September, so several weeks have been added, including:
– Gathering Space weeks
– ‘Listening to Fragility’, with Programme Worker, theologian and artist Urzula Glienecke, 2-8 September
– ‘Heaven Shall Not Wait: Poetry of Protest’, with Jan Sutch Pickard, 16-22 September
– ‘The Pilgrimage of Life’, with author Alastair McIntosh, 23-29 September
At a crossroads? … vacancies with the Iona Community on Iona: MacLeod Centre Coordinator; Maintenance support/gardener
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 …
Deadline for application for Maintenance support/gardener: 12th February, 2017
Deadline for application for MacLeod Centre Coordinator: 16th February 2017
At the crossroads © David Coleman
Catch up on what’s been happening at Camas by reading the brilliant Camas blog.
Another beautiful, very atmospheric photo here from former Camas staff member Rachel Daniels. Thanks again, Rachel (Ed.)
‘Dawn’ © Rachel Daniels
Iona Community Youth department news, from Youth resource worker, Chris Long
IGLOW, the Iona Community’s new Glasgow-based ‘youth club’ continues, and now meets every other week. Our discussion and activities are around looking closer at race and prejudice; and we are continuing to secure funding to develop the group and work further.
Recently I was at an exhibition in the Barrowlands put on by KIN, who are a group of young people all with the shared experience of a close family member being in prison. One of the group has been part of Iona Youth Festival and helped lead Junior Youth Festival. The exhibition was a profound piece of work, with film, audio and print – a video here:
Topical new downloads from Wild Goose Publications – and an invitation to contribute to a new book by editor/author Ruth Burgess
The Rainbow Man: Reflections on homelessness, by Neil Paynter
Reflections on homelessness and about finding Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in down-to-earth places. Neil’s stories and poems come from his experience of working in homeless shelters in North America and Britain, as a nurse’s aide with the elderly and as a mental health worker.
Nature, Life and Being: A meditative look at climate change, the sacredness of all life and human responsibility, by Joy Mead
This download inspires us to be attentive, caring and empathetic with all beings.
The Colour of Love: Resources for World AIDS Day, by Tom Gordon
Reflections, stories and prayers for World AIDS Day, an occasion for showing support for those who live with HIV and remembering those who have died, for dealing with our prejudices as well as the disease. World AIDS Day is about people, and, in our common humanity, we remember that they are people like us.
Invitation to contribute to a new Wild Goose book, edited by Ruth Burgess
Ruth Burgess says: ‘I am looking for stories, biblical reflections, monologues, conversations and poems and scripts relating to passages in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha for a new book which will be published by Wild Goose Publications, hopefully in the autumn of 2017.’
Deadline: February 24th 2017, to [email protected]
The Iona Community’s 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.
The Iona Community has commissioned Tiree-based Roots Design Workshop to draw up proposals for reconfiguration of the existing accommodation in the Abbey, taking into account the considerable challenges of working in a listed building of significant historical interest, on a remote island. As a result of the survey of the building we have been made acutely aware of the critical need to carry out these works as a matter of extreme urgency.
In partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, we will ensure that active use of this iconic building, for its original purpose, is safeguarded for the future.
Photo by Martin Johnstone ©
Sponsored walk for the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal and for Christian Aid, 16th March–28th April, 2017, from Iona Community associate Peter Phillips
My name is Peter Phillips and I live in Lichfield. I volunteer for Christian Aid and am an associate of the Iona Community.
In March 2017 I hope to walk, by road, from Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire to Iona Abbey – a distance of 412 miles. By doing this I hope to raise money for the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal and for Christian Aid.
Throughout my walk I will need accommodation along the way – that is why I am now asking for your generosity and support. I will start my walk on Thursday, 16th March. I envisage walking 10 to 12 miles per day, hoping to arrive at Iona Abbey on Friday, 28th April. I will be looking for one night’s (two at the most) accommodation along the route. This could be in a church, a church hall or, of course, at a supporter’s own home. I will carry a sleeping bag, so no need for bedding, but it would be greatly appreciated if a meal could be provided by the hosts who are kindly offering me a sleepover.
Any help or support you can offer me to successfully complete this project will be gratefully received – not only by me, but by those who will benefit from the funds raised.
– Thank you, Peter Phillips
Photo of Peter Phillips ©
Artist and associate member Meg Wroe selling paintings and prints for the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal
Associate Meg Wroe has produced a series of beautiful paintings and prints of seascapes and landscapes of Iona, and is selling these, with the proceeds going to the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal.
For more information, please contact Meg through the Members Book or through her website:
Photo of Meg Wroe ©
‘Big Silence’ – a day of contemplation in aid of the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal, Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:30am–3:30pm, Mungrisdale Village Hall, Cumbria, from the Sacred Space Foundation and Iona Community member Stephen Wright
Contemplation is an entry into deep prayerful silence where we just ‘let God be God’. It’s a practice that is available to all, with many spiritual benefits. Led by Stephen Wright, one of the spiritual directors of the Sacred Space Foundation, this will be a day of quietness and inner reflection. He will draw on the Christian contemplative tradition, but in a way that is inclusive, whether you belong to a religion or not.
There’s no need to have practised contemplation: guidance will be given before each session, with some gentle reflective music at the beginning and end. Beyond that there will be abundant time for silence and stillness.
Refreshments will be provided. Please bring your own lunch. Places are limited.
To book and for information: [email protected]
There is no fee but we ask that everyone donates within their means to the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal. £25 per head is suggested.
Photo from the Sacred Space website ©
Ceilidh to raise funds for the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal, Friday 21st April, 2017, 8pm–11pm, University of Glasgow Chapel – featuring live music from Macappella Ceilidh Band
Tickets £10. Students & OAPS £5.00. Tickets available from John and Molly Harvey (see Members Book)
Venue: The University of Glasgow Chapel, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ
An Iona story: breaking the chains that bind us, by member Yvonne Morland
On my first visit to Iona I was a guest travelling with a group of mainly young adults with learning disabilities. It was a ‘mountaintop’ week, with the theme ‘Breaking the chains that bind us’. One young autistic man, with no formed verbal speech and a lot of agitated energy, was the trigger for a number of revealing experiences during the week. But perhaps my most vivid memory was of the midweek guest worship during which the gathered folk were draped and entwined in long paper chains. The climax of the worship, well-crafted by an imaginative Programme Worker, was everyone jumping up and throwing off the chains to be led by the young man, with boundless noise and whooping, in a dance out into and round the cloisters of the Abbey. Perhaps one of the few times in his life that young man was in the lead and at the centre of everything …
– Yvonne Morland
Iona communion © David Coleman
Walking, painting, meditating, storytelling, ceilidh-organising – so how can you use your gifts and talents, passion and interests to help support the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal and its work of renewing the common life? …
Please get in touch with us and let us know:
Thank you very much.
Photo from the Iona Community website ©
Members, associates and friends
Listen to Standing Rock, a reflection by associate Katharine Preston in America
Written in December 2016 (Ed.)
‘Love and faith come together, justice and peace join hands …’
Tears of joy run down the smiling cheeks of a 13-year-old Standing Rock Sioux woman. ‘It feels like I got my future back!’
A reprieve, as an advancing pipeline is halted in a small area of the vast American West.
As the world faces the most improbable and unpredictable transfer of power in American history, we must not let darkness overshadow singularly great and promising moments such as these. To those of us fearful for the future, the stand at Standing Rock, North Dakota, is of monumental importance, sustaining our hope.
For months, we watched fleeting glimpses on TV, Facebook, or online news websites: encampments of tepees, trailers and tents. There were young Sioux riding painted horses and leather-faced elders adorned with feathers beating drums around ceremonial fires.
‘Water protectors’ – the local Sioux nations gathered in camps alongside their water source, the Missouri River, to stop an oil pipeline scheduled to go underneath. Alongside were supporters from more than 300 other native tribes in the US, indigenous groups from other parts of the world, and non-native supporters. There were some brief clashes, a gravely disproportionate response from private security guards with dogs, followed by local law enforcement with fire hoses in freezing temperatures. In response, thousands of American veterans self-deployed to protect the protectors – a modern cavalry, but this time without guns and on the side of the native peoples.
By the beginning of December’s chill, the Obama administration knew that something must be done. The government agency responsible for permitting the pipeline delayed the process, calling for more thorough study of the environmental impact. Whoops of joy spread across the camps. Tears ran down the cheeks of elders and youth alike.
This is by no means the end. The 3.7 billion dollar pipeline, built by Energy Transfer Partners, is fighting hard in court, and perhaps only has to wait until Trump takes office in January to have the decision reversed.
But Standing Rock is a great deal more than just a pipeline and a protest.
Love and faith come together …
Love: Support for the actions of the Standing Rock Sioux remains stunningly widespread. People have shown up (10,000 strong at times), sent funds for food, wood, housing supplies, fuel, prayers, a school and health clinics.
Faith: The faith of the indigenous peoples made this possible. Their constant prayers appealed to the Creator spirit and the Earth Mother for strength: drums, songs, burning sage. In early November, to show support, an Episcopal priest from Standing Rock called for a gathering of clergy from all faiths. He expected 50. More than 500 showed up.
… justice and peace join hands.
Justice: Over the past 500 years, indigenous people who lived close to the lands we call America had many of their deep connections to the earth severed by colonisation, resettlement and broken promises. Again and again they lost land and control, but they did not forget. Deep in their spiritual bones, connections remained. We may never know why this particular witness evoked a rallying cry, but Standing Rock was an event that was waiting to happen. Blessedly, it was Indian youth, too often suicidal, who provided much of the catalyst and organisation, always listening to the deep wisdom of their elders. This gives new pride to their discouraged and embattled lives.
Peace: No guns, no alcohol allowed in the camps. Around the sacred fire in the middle of the largest camp, tribal drums beat, chants and songs call up spiritual strength. The prayers are for strength to NOT take up arms and fight, but to simply stand firm and protect. Non-violent direct action training is required of all participants.
Love, faith, justice, peace. And forgiveness.
At a ceremony near to the camps, American veterans knelt before the Sioux elders:
‘We didn’t respect you, we polluted your earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.’ (Statement of Wes Clark, Jr. to tribal elders)
Chief Leonard Crow Dog of the Sioux nation offered forgiveness.
Nothing can erase this grace-filled moment in the history of our country.
But Standing Rock is not just about a hopeful event in the Americas. Look around. Something has shifted. We see a divisive nationalism in many countries, but at the same time, because of the threat of climate change, we see a new awareness of our shared future. Indigenous people around the world lead us toward a reality they have preserved for millennia. This is more important than profits, they proclaim. We will not let corporations and politicians in their pay have the last say over something we need and cherish. Fossil fuels have given us much, but at great expense to many people and to land, waters and air.
As national governments – liberal and conservative – struggle to remain relevant in a populist world – there are stories of hope and sanity and compassion at the local community level. Native peoples lead. We must follow, saying ‘yes’ to citizens of flesh and blood, fresh water, clean air, healthy land, renewable energy, and communities that take care of one another.
We all want our future back. Listen to Standing Rock.
– Katharine Preston
‘Time for action against the far-right is now’, by Alison Phipps, from The National, 30th January, 2017
‘Last week I was celebrating the fact that both a friend and a member of my family have been granted refugee status, and indefinite leave to remain, respectively. It’s an amazing feeling – the knock on the office door, the happy light in the eyes banishing the darkness, the bubbling delight on the end of a phone. And then a seven-country ban was imposed by the President of the United States of America and leader of the no-longer-so-free world, Donald Trump …’
Alison Phipps is UNESCO Professor of Refugee integration through languages and the arts, University of Glasgow, Co-convener of GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network) and a member of the Iona Community.
Photo of Alison Phipps ©
Spirituality of Conflict: Reading conflict through the lens of the Gospel, from Spirituality of Conflict
Spirituality of Conflict is a website dedicated to reading the gospel texts through the lens of conflict and reading conflict through the lens of the gospel texts. We will publish reflections for the gospel reading for every Sunday of the three-year lectionary cycle, and also publish reflections for some occasions throughout the year – everything from St Patrick’s Day to World AIDS Day.
Spirituality of Conflict was initially imagined by Pádraig Ó Tuama, Leader of the Corrymeela Community. With generous funding from the JVM Trench Will Trust, the project soon gathered co-workers from other Christian witnesses across Ireland and Britain: the Mission and Discipleship Council of the Church of Scotland, the Iona Community, Place for Hope, the Irish School of Ecumenics, and Coventry Centre for Peace and Reconciliation of the Church of England. Coming from across Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Pentecostal backgrounds, the reflections reflect the ecumenical nature of the witness to peace.
The material for Year A was written over four residential gatherings in 2016. It was important to us to write these reflections in the context of friendship, community and discussion, sharing meals, sharing discussions about the dynamics of conflict and the gospels, and sharing our stories. Material for Years B and C will be made available in mid-2017.
An introduction to ‘Spirituality of Conflict’, with Iona Community Programmes Development Worker Pat Bennett, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Janet Foggie and Bishop Trevor Williams
Iona Community member Ian M Fraser in his 1ooth year!
A photo below of Ian at Family Group celebrating his 99th birthday!
Ian M. Fraser 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 numerous books, including Strange Fire, The Way Ahead: Grown-up Christians, and Reinventing Theology, 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 isle of Iona. Throughout his life Ian 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.
Happy birthday, Ian!
Ian M. Fraser photo ©
The St Magnus Way – a request for resources, from Iona Community member David McNeish
I am Chair of Orkney Pilgrimage, the group behind the launch, this April, of the St Magnus Way, a new long-distance pilgrimage route through mainland Orkney. The 51-mile route will be launched in stages throughout 2017, the 900th anniversary of the death of St Magnus.
We are using Bluetooth beacons along the route to enable those who have downloaded the St Magnus Way smartphone app to access resources relevant to that landscape and part of the story. We also want to provide a range of prayers, poems and thoughts that people can meditate on as they walk.
To that end we’d be delighted for suggestions of prayers, readings and poems to include in the resources. Don’t assume that because it is familiar to you it is on our list! Most will be recorded as audio files for people to listen to as they walk the route, and as pdfs for those hard of hearing.
If you have a suggestion, please e-mail it to me at: [email protected] by the 28th of February. If it is your own work please state you’re happy for it to be used in this way. If it is someone else’s, please do still send it, but if you know the author and copyright owner that would be a help.
For more information on the St Magnus Way, there is a Facebook page, and a website will follow in March.
– David McNeish, Minister, Milestone Community Church, Orkney
Photo: Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon and David McNeish at Brough of Birsay, Orkney © Fionn McArthur
The Open Door Community is moving to Baltimore, Maryland
On the 31st day of the month Iona Community members pray for our friends at the Open Door Community in the USA.
The Open Door Community is moving from Atlanta, Georgia, to Baltimore, Maryland, where it will be continuing its prophetic work of witness.
All the information about the move here:
Artwork © Open Door Community
‘Sing Out Strong’, a new project from Echoes of Silence and friend of the Community Paul Baker Hernandez in Nicaragua, from Paul Baker Hernandez
Humanity is at war with the planet. Fear, individualism, greed and planetary ravaging are rampant. This self-obsessed behaviour, of people and nations, means that countries such as the USA, by far the world’s worst polluter per person and currently the most powerful nation on earth, can elect someone who distorts truth, spews hatred and who is bent on disembowelling the Paris Climate Accords and gutting the US Environmental Protection Agency. Such actions will impact most savagely on the billions of already impoverished women and children of the planet, and can only render the current global environmental tragedy catastrophic. For true peace, to save life on earth, we must all go on a ‘peace footing’ …
Echoes of Silence therefore proposes that:
On January 1st, 2018 people everywhere come together, physically and virtually, in one immense global choir singing an ‘Ode to Earth’ based on Schiller/Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ (and universal sister/brotherhood), to challenge hate, bigotry and planetary destruction, and to call for the implementation of global interdependence implied in the phrase: ‘One Planet, One People’.
For more information and to get involved: [email protected]
Paul Baker Hernandez is an indefatigable peace and justice activist, who wields his beautiful self-crafted guitar, songs and stories in order to protest against harmful activities of corporate and international interests and war and to campaign for oppressed peoples and the planet. The life of this profoundly gentle, but deeply passionate, minstrel has moved from the UK – and Scotland in particular, where he was a monk – to Nicaragua, where he works with Echoes of Silence. The project’s aims are ‘Peace, Justice, Beauty. One Planet. One People’.
Photo of Paul Baker Hernandez ©
Some upcoming Iona Community gatherings
‘All are welcome’: Iona Community gathering in Coventry with Leader Peter Macdonald, Saturday, 1st April, 2017, from associate Christopher Hall
‘All are welcome’ to Warwick Road URC Church, 10 Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 IEX, on Saturday 1st April, 10am–4pm to share and hear local stories of welcome for people of all creeds, colour and origins, so as to encourage and empower mutual acceptance and understanding. Guests: Wasim Shah (Ahmadiyya Muslim Association) and Sue Sampson (Carriers of Hope, Coventry).
Peter Macdonald, Leader of the Iona Community, will share his vision for the Community and the plans for the transformation of the Abbey facilities.
There will be a prayer pilgrimage amid the ruins of the mediaeval Coventry Cathedral; and Evening Prayer is being said in Coventry Cathedral at 4.00pm.
Please bring your own lunch; drinks provided.
Wild geese © David Coleman
Kirchentag 2017, Berlin, 24th–28th May, 2017, from Rolf Bielefeld/the German Iona Group
Our preparation for the gathering of the Protestant Churches in Germany, the Kirchentag, has started! If you are thinking of coming please register via the Kirchentag website, and let us know if you can help at the Kirchentag Iona Community Centre: e-mail Rolf Bielefeld (see Members Book).
Photo from the Kirchentag website ©
‘Care and share’: Iona Continentals Meeting 2017, Salzburg, Austria, 7th–10th September 2017, from associate Evelyn Martin
Dear Iona friends on the Continent and beyond,
We are excited to invite you to our next Continentals Meeting, which will take place in Salzburg, Austria, 7th September–10th September, 2017. We will meet at the guesthouse of the Pallottiner Order of monks, right in the City of Salzburg. The theme of the gathering is ‘Care and share’.
For more information and a registration form, contact Evelyn Martin (see Members Book) by March 2017.
Wild geese in flight © David Coleman