Members, associates and friends

GalGael’s Iona pilgrimage, April 2017, by associate Alastair McIntosh 

The GalGael Trust

The GalGael Trust in Govan was founded 20 years ago. It grew out of the M77 ‘Pollok Free State’ motorway protest, when the late Colin Macleod said, ‘We’ve shown them what we’re against, now let’s show them what we’re for.’

Right from the outset Iona was an inspiration. During the protest, Colin and his wife, Gehan (who leads the GalGael), spent a weekend on Iona, soaking in the ancient stones and history of the place. If you walk round the GalGael workshop, you’ll see many of our people carving Celtic knotwork – the symbol of eternity and interconnection – as well as some fine Celtic crosses. Also, there is a strong appreciation of nature in the totem wolves, eagles, salmon and other creatures that are a frequent feature of GalGael art.

There is also pride that George MacLeod, who was substantially responsible for rebuilding Iona Abbey, had his church in Govan. We have his secretary’s old desk on our premises. It is not uncommon to hear people repeating phrases like ‘work is worship’ or, as a current GalGael banner has it carved in wood, ‘Work is the therapy.’

Many of our people were referred to or found out about GalGael as a part of wrestling with multiple issues such as addictions, mental health, trouble with the police, homelessness and long-term unemployment. The factor that connects all these is poverty. Through its training programme, ‘Journey On’, GalGael uses boats and boat-building and sailing as a metaphor for life’s wider journey, the pilgrimage of life.

Because of benefit restrictions and requirements, it is difficult for some of our people to leave Govan for long, so we plan most of our trips at weekends. John Maclean, the owner of the Iona Hostel, was keen to have his place benefit us during the off-peak winter season, and for two years running now has given us exclusive use of the hostel at a most generous rate for which it was within our means to fundraise. This year’s visit was sponsored by two private benefactors, the cost of the visit being just over £2,000, once ferries, meals en route, food for the weekend, minibus hire and all the rest had been factored in. This year we had 28 people in total: 22 in the hostel, 2 in the Shepherd’s Bothy and 4 camping. All of them were GalGael volunteers, ‘Journey On’ participants or staff/Board. A little overlap with last year was provided, but most of them had never been to Iona before.

We travelled up to Iona by two minibuses and two ferry trips. Blair again volunteered to be our cook, with his partner, Illy; and as they wanted to hold a hand-fasting while on Iona, we put them in the Shepherd’s Bothy as a working honeymoon.

The purpose of the visit

While the GalGael is not a religious organisation, and is made up of people of many faiths and none, I have organised and sought sponsorship for this trip because we realise that for many of our people the spiritual journey is a vital part of their coming into a better relationship with life. This goes not just for folk who have a presenting symptom such as an addiction, but it is true of all of us. Religion is important to some of our people, but most find it difficult to approach or unhelpful. There is, however, an openness to spirituality, but what does spirituality mean? The purpose of the Iona trip is to explore that question. We do so in a very open way, always mindful of Thomas Merton’s emphasis on the importance of protecting ‘the sanctuary of another’s subjectivity’.

Our main discussion points

After dinner on the Saturday evening I introduced the theme of spirituality. I was in the middle of suggesting that many of the problems in the world and within ourselves derive from an inner emptiness – when the outside door burst open, and standing there with beaming smiles were John, the hostel owner, and his partner, Rachael. ‘We just dropped in to tell you,’ he said, ‘that we’re so pleased to have you here on Iona.’

They left as quickly as they’d come, but their visit magically set the stage for what followed. Yes, the inner emptiness that so many of our people know is devastating, but there can be times in life when the door bursts open. Fresh avenues of welcome open up. People then divided up into groups of 2 or 3 and shared about times when they might have experienced such openings of the door in life.

After half an hour, we all got back around the table. Those who felt comfortable to do so shared from their experience. It was a very powerful session. One or two people found it a little too intense. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it made me aware that another time it would be wise to convene such a session jointly with one of our more experienced GalGael staff, especially given my poor hearing. Themes that emerged, both in this session and later in the weekend, included:

– Coming to GalGael was the door that opened in my life

– The clear air and water of Iona

– Seeing people helping each other without anyone asking

– The GalGael faeries at play, catching things that need to be done

– I was frightened to give a hand, and too proud to ask for help. But now …

– I was against Christianity and avoided it, but I’ve now seen other ways of understanding it

– The opposite of love is not hate. You can still enjoy yourself while hating. The opposite of love is fear

– I’m not yet ready to speak about what weighs me down

– My burden has been lifted

After drafting this report I circulated it to as many of people as I had contact details for, seeking their approval and any further comments. Two texted back. I have edited these slightly and made them anonymous. They give added insight into the depth of our sharing on Iona and the way that an implicit spirituality arose. These sentiments were shared by many of those present:

– I saw in the report that the opposite of love is fear. You might like to add that the reason is that Love in the true sense of the word gives you the freedom to be yourself in the way that the universe created you to be. The universe made you for a purpose! To love yourself so that you can give love to others and create a harmony not just on earth but throughout the whole universe. That is the power of Love that gives such freedom. As for depression the bottom line is fear. Fear can come in any shape or form however small. All you need is a trigger. It can happen out of the blue. If you imagine a clear glass of water and an ink drop goes in the glass of water, that ink drop bursts out and spreads throughout the glass of water, therefore becomes contaminated. That ink drop is fear. With fear there is no freedom. That is what depression feels like: it leaves no room for love in the glass of water because it is contaminated. True Love cannot be contaminated because Love and fear cannot coexist with each other. That is what depression does: it leaves no room for love in your whole being. That ink drop of fear goes into every cell in your body and mind. That’s what makes everyday living with depression hard to bear. You feel you don’t want to live. Love dispels fear by not bottling it up. Get medical help from a psychiatrist and family or friends that you can trust because you can’t do it on your own, nobody can, however strong you think you are. I know that from experience and I got help when I did not think it was possible. The truth is it is always possible. All you have to do is give out your hand and ask for help, which is what I did. Difficult though it may be because there is no other way to ask for help. So don’t let the ink drop rule your life because you are bigger than that. 

– I was thinking about what xxx had said about hate and fear. Fear tends to leave us feeling helpless and paralysed. Now I found myself thinking about hate. And I find this a more difficult issue to get to grips with. Hate can allow us to have a sense of power and control. We can dehumanise as a means to distance ourselves and to destroy that which we are more fearful of and threatened by. Hate and the sense of power that can come with it is very intoxifying. It becomes easy to find reasons to justify our thinking and actions. Extreme situations tend to generate extreme emotions. We see this in war and the after-effects in PTSD. What a heaven it is to be human and a hell it is as well. Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

What else we did

On the Saturday, we all went down to the Abbey to look around and see the stones in the museum. Historic Environment Scotland had provided us with free educational passes. In the Oran Chapel, Gehan sang powerfully in Gaelic from the Céile Dé tradition. While folk were looking around the Abbey, I dropped in to the Iona Community offices to have a chat with Rosie, the Iona Centres Director. When I came out everybody was laughing. It was clear some joke had been played at my expense. Only after we got home did I see the photograph taken at the Abbey altar. It’s the GalGael version of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. It had been Mac McKechnie who staged it. He’s one of our long-term volunteers and formerly SODP Operating Dept Practitioner in the army (RAMC).

On the Saturday afternoon some of us walked down to St Columba’s Bay. That evening, Alan Torrance presided over a hand-fasting on the beach where Blair and Illy made commitments to each other for the following year and a day. As the sun set in the west, the full moon rose in the east and a skein of wild geese flew overhead. As one of our people later said, ‘The presences were out in force – the sunset, the moon, the geese … and it was dry.’ One of the hostel staff, Collette, who came with us, drew an evocative picture by way of a card to mark the occasion for them. Beautiful!

On the Sunday we climbed Dun I, and Linda, who is both blind and deaf, insisted on giving it a go. She made it up to the top with surprising ease thanks to Richard, her carer, and to others who gathered round her for safety.

We made it back to Govan late on Sunday evening. Since then, a number of people have commented to me how the experience was uplifting not just for them as individuals, but also for the atmosphere in our workshop as a whole. That’s why this kind of experience matters. We are hugely grateful to our anonymous sponsors, and if anybody reading this would like to help us make another such visit next year, I’d be grateful to hear from them on [email protected]

Alastair McIntosh is a writer, broadcaster and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues, raised on the Isle of Lewis. He lives in Govan, where he is a founding director of the GalGael Trust. A Quaker, he lectures around the world at institutions, including WWF International, the World Council of Churches, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the UK Defence Academy (on non-violence), and regularly presents ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio. He is the author of several books, including Soil and Soul (Aurum) and Parables of Northern Seed (Wild Goose Publications).

 GalGael photos, artwork ©

The Saidiana Women’s Project – a ‘tremendous life-changing initiative’, from associate member Fridah Wafula in Kenya

The world marked International Women’s Day on 8th March, and in many cities, countries and regions across the world people gathered to give recognition of women’s contributions to society’s development. In Kenya, the government has declared zero tolerance to violence and exclusion against women, but the reality on the ground is different. Unfortunately, male chauvinism is the greatest obstacle to gender parity. In this age, these are shameful acts that demand every possible thing is done to accord women their rights.

The following, therefore, is a description of the activities of the Saidiana Women’s Project to date.

The formation of the project, way back in 1995, included the group’s initial objective of helping female Christians in the small village of Matunda in Kenya. The membership then was 21 women, who used to meet twice a month to encourage one another in the midst of high living costs and the suffering in families due to lack of funds to buy food, afford healthcare and the education of their children. Major engagements then were sewing and knitting activities to make school uniforms.

However, Saidiana really became what it is today after I journeyed to Iona to work as a volunteer housekeeper at the Abbey, about 20 years ago, and made friends there. The initial people to be involved with Saidiana then included Mary Duncanson, the Staff Coordinator on Iona, Mary Smith, Joan Miller, Madge and Neil, Sandra and Gordon, and other Iona staff and guests.

As a result of this, and hard work in Kenya, today Saidiana reaches out to more than 500 families, with its activities no longer confined to the village of Matunda but in at least four counties: Kakamega County, Uasin Gishu County, Trans Nzoia County and Bungoma County. The project handles such diverse activities as: Micro-entrepreneurship; environment and hygiene; HIV/AIDS care; kitchen gardening; rehabilitation and relief supplies; marketing of finished goods; water harvesting/provision; training activities; promotion of literacy; visiting/welcoming the stranger.

The Saidiana Women’s Project stands out as a non-profit, non-political voluntary organisation dedicated to improving the conditions of the rural poor through infrastructure development and income generation, besides delivering relief supplies. Our major concerns include poverty in rural communities and how the women and children can be empowered to live a sustainable life devoid of vulnerability in different forms. We focus on improving the lives of women and encouraging girls to be all that they can be through empowerment, education and employment. We find joy when a life is transformed.

Thanks to all those individuals, institutions and congregations for standing with the Saidiana Women’s Project through your contributions and prayers.

Special thanks to Joan Miller, the first treasurer of the project, and to Mary Smith, who has coordinated the project’s financial activities and reports to contributors to date.

Long live Saidiana and its friends for igniting this tremendous life-changing initiative!

– Fridah Wafula, Patron, Saidiana Women’s Project and associate member of the Iona Community

To contribute to the Saidiana Women’s Project, or for more information, please contact Mary Smith (see Members Book: Stewart Smith).

Saidiana Women’s Project photo ©

St Magnus Way opened by Ron Ferguson

Former Leader of the Iona Community Ron Ferguson recently opened the first stage 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. Member David McNeish (below), Minister of Milestone Community Church, Orkney, has been busily involved in this work as Chair of Orkney Pilgrimage.

Ron Ferguson opens St Magnus Way, from BBC News:

Magnus 900 anniversary marked with Orkney pilgrim route, from BBC News

Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon and David McNeish at Brough of Birsay, Orkney © Fionn McArthur

A tribute to associate Mairi Munro, by John Bell and Graham Maule of the Wild Goose Resource Group

Associate and former Wild Goose Resource Group member Mairi Munro died in April 2017. Following is an extract from a tribute to Mairi, from Goose Gander magazine. (Ed.)

Mairi Munro was fifteen when she came among us.

She was a regular at a large monthly youth event called ‘Last of the Month’ (LOTM), which took place in central Glasgow. Up to 400 teenagers came – most of them from outside the city – and Mairi was one of a contingent who were driven in from a church in Hamilton.

She was a keen singer and instrumentalist in choirs and bands and sometimes played her flute in whichever scratch ensemble led music in the LOTM closing worship. She was notable for her vibrant strawberry blonde/red hair and fearless ability to try anything – something which had surfaced at the age of fourteen, when she travelled, unaccompanied, on public transport all the way from Scotland to France to visit her pen pal.

During her years at university, she became one of the first members of the Wild Goose Worship Group – a loose-fitting collection of young people, many of whom initially claimed they couldn’t sing, but who began to passionately experiment with new songs, different methods of prayer, and a variety of ways to share scripture.

When in the late ’80s the Iona Community was looking for someone to take charge of its fledgling publications department – Mairi got the job. Within a few years, she then changed offices and became a member of the Wild Goose Resource Group (the full-time wing of the Worship Group), joining around the same time as Alison Adam. For a wondrous decade, together and apart, they cajoled, teased and encouraged people to try new things in worship, and were able to get music out of the most petrified of stones.

Mairi had a passion for the world beyond Scotland. She spoke French, German and Spanish, and spent a year as a volunteer in Malawi.

At the time, a crucial democratic election campaign was underway, with the people struggling to replace the repressive regime of Hastings Banda. The centre where Mairi worked was one of the few places that had a photocopier. Mairi spent many late nights reproducing campaigning materials for the progressive forces who eventually overthrew the dictator.

Later she would visit Guatemala, the Philippines and South Africa, always returning with stories and songs and testimonies to indigenous people’s cultural and political resistance in the face of tough odds. For her, going abroad offered the possibility of encountering and embracing other cultures – their food, music, dances and traditions which made the world a bigger place and the church a more clearly and intentionally diverse community.

In August 2005, she married David Ashley, an art teacher. They settled in Ellon, a town north of Aberdeen, where Mairi subsequently did some advanced music training in the Kodály method, and started a group for the parents of small children to enable them to sing to and with their offspring. She also went into schools to encourage reticent adolescents to sing.

The experience of having lived in, and learned from, three southern hemisphere nations confirmed in Mairi a strong belief that justice and reconciliation were integral to living out the Gospel. This showed itself in her immediate affection for people from the developing world. For a while she shared her house with Chitra and Sharda, a Nepalese couple who came to live in Glasgow, while Chitra, the husband, studied to be an evangelist. And in Ellon, the same passion enabled her to help her new locality become one of the first Fair Trade towns in Scotland.

Her marriage was blessed by the arrival of two children, Euan and Eilidh, who share their mother’s hair colour and who were her pride and joy.

Over three years ago, Mairi was diagnosed with brain cancer, and made aware that though medical procedures could extend her life, there was no cure. She bore this awareness with stoicism, determined to rid herself of what was surplus, to make her remaining years enjoyable with her family and friends, and to live life to its fullest until she died.

After four weeks in a small hospital not far from her home, she moved from life to Greater Life on 3rd April, the day on which members and associates of the Iona Community would name her in their prayers.

Our mutual friend and colleague, Christine Reid, spent significant time with Mairi (and two other friends, Christine Carson and Ruth Clement) preparing her for her death and helping her make decisions about her funeral. About her Christine remarked that, ‘Mairi could be many things. But the one thing she could never be was other than herself.’

May she rest in peace, rise in glory and enjoy the company of heaven.

– John Bell and Graham Maule

Photo of Mairi Munro, by Fiona Evans ©

A tribute to associate Bryan Owen

Associate Bryan Owen died of cancer during March 2017. Bryan was a teacher and minister – he also worked as an International Election Observer for the European Union, volunteered with the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh and was a prolific poet.

A powerful poem by Bryan here, from his time working as an Election Observer in the Balkans (Ed.):

Men are the cause

Men are the cause
and men are the means.

I see photos of dead mothers
holding their babies;
their blood runs red
in the dirt
on both sides of the border.

There is so much dirt.

A little boy went out to play;
he now lies folded like a rag doll
discarded on the road.
A burst football rolls lazily nearby.

Men are the cause
and men are the means
by which such suffering
is visited upon us.

And there is so much suffering.

In the name of their god
their leader
their book
their tribe
their party
their clan –
in the name of their foul and twisted beliefs
about those who live
on the other side of the line –
men destroy
all that is good in your hearts and mine.

Now is the time for all good men,
aye, and good women too,
to say ‘Enough!’

In the name of all those mothers
who lie in the dirt
shielding their babies from hurt,
in the name of all those children
who will never become
what they were meant to become;
in the name of all that is good
on this good earth:
we say ‘Enough!’

Men are the cause
and men are the means –
but only good men say
‘No more! No more! No more!’

– Bryan Owen, from We Will Seek Peace and Pursue It: Reflections and prayers for peace and reconciliation, Wild Goose Publications

Photo of Bryan Owen ©

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.

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.

The Iona Community’s Capital Appeal

Photo © Martin Johnstone, used with permission

Iona: a place where ‘the labels are off’, by member Molly Harvey

‘When you get off the boat on to Iona, the labels are off. And when you get back to Glasgow they go on again.’

Perceptive musings from Celia, a member of Glasgow Braendam Link (GBL), after a week at the MacLeod Centre.

GBL works in partnership with families in Glasgow living in poverty and social exclusion, with the purpose of encouraging them to speak out and be heard – about their lives. They, after all, are the experts.

‘The worst thing of all – worse than being poor, living in bad areas, having to choose between heating the house and eating dinner, all these things – is to know that you count for nothing.’

The annual Iona visits were memorable in so many ways.

So many ‘firsts’. Out of Glasgow, the journey, meals prepared for you, and sitting at a table to eat them, beautiful beaches, meaningful worship, not being judged, feeling part of the whole set-up …

Betty helped serve Communion; Cathy (overweight) climbed Dun I – and felt she’d conquered the world; children thrived in their own programme; other guests, the Resident group and vollies listened to their stories, and were deeply moved.

At the end of week assessment session, GBL members, over and over again, would say what a great thing it had been for them to serve the meals and do the chores with all these really ‘important’ people, like teachers, doctors, social workers, knowing each other on first name terms, and not being judged or written off as failures, as they were so used to.

But the really exciting thing was the response from the ‘important’ people. ‘Well,’ they so often said, ‘this has been a very special time for us. We don’t often have a chance to meet people who are struggling in their lives, except in a professional capacity, and this week we’ve got to know you as real people, and that’s been very special for us.’

There are not many places where the labels are off in this unique way. Our task is to ensure they are always off in our Centres, and to find ways of keeping them off in all our places of work and being.

– Molly Harvey,  from an upcoming book of Iona stories from Wild Goose Publications

Iona heart © David Coleman

Iona, Camas and the mainland

Palestine Matters: a workshop with Leader of the Iona Community, Peter Macdonald, Saturday 13th May, Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen

 

IGLOW on the march, from Chris Long, Iona Community Youth Resource Worker

IGLOW – the Iona Community’s group for young people in Glasgow – did the unbelievable and managed to drag themselves out of bed before midday on March 21 to attend the march to mark the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’. We dusted off the ‘No One Is Illegal’ banner we made at Youth Festival and made some more cardboard placards – and joined the throng. For most of the group it was their first march of this kind and they were surprised there were not more people their age taking part. The response from other participants was really encouraging for the group, many folk taking the time to encourage them for turning out and complimenting on them on the great banner.

Iona Community youth work

‘IGLOW on the march’, Iona Community Youth Department ©

Upcoming week on Iona: ‘Listening to fragility’, with Programme Worker, theologian and artist Urzula Glienecke, 2-8 September, 2017

Come to Camas in 2017 – upcoming Open Weeks!

Hebridean Adventure Camp, 22-30 June, 2017 (ages 13-16): Learning from the animals, developing the skills to listen to bird communication, exploring traditional arts of staying warm and dry with minimal equipment, martial arts, daily practice of using ‘Tools for being alone’ – passing on skills in being self-sufficient in nature and sourcing strength and clarity in yourself and the surrounding environment.

Community Kids, 5–11 Aug, 2017: Fun, laughter and making friends for life

Iona Community New Members, 19–25 Aug, 2017

Garden Week, 23–29 Sept, 2017: Tidying up the garden for winter, collecting seaweed, sorting polytunnels … rest and recuperation

Work Week, 30 Sept–6 Oct, 2017: Jobs for the end of season, getting us snug for the winter storms

[email protected]

Camas

The Camas Diary

The Camas Cross © Rachel Daniels

weeWONDERBOX: upcoming events and gatherings at the Iona Community’s new Glasgow base, from the Wild Goose Resource Group and Iona Community Programme Development

May 2017

Wed 3rd @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Wed 10th @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Wed 17th @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Fri 19th @ 7.00-10.00pm: The Wee Social Box
Wed 24nd @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Wed 31st @ 6.30-7.30pm: Iona Community Prayers for healing and laying on of hands

June 2017

Wed 7th @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Wed 7th @ 7.30-9.00pm: The Wee Song Box
Wed 14th @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Fri 16th @ 7.00-10.00pm: The Wee Social Box
Wed 21st @ 6.30-7.30pm: An Iona Community Liturgy
Wed 28th @ 6.30-7.30pm: Iona Community Prayers for healing and laying on of hands

weeWONDERBOX

weeWONDERBOX photo from WGRG/Iona Community Programme Development ©

Wild Goose Publications Week on Iona: ‘Weaving Words for Worship’, with Pat Bennett and Alison Adam, 20-26 May, 2017

‘What makes a good hymn or liturgy? Are the words and music we use in worship effective in helping people engage with and respond to the Gospel?’ We will explore these and other questions while working together to craft a short Communion liturgy for use at the end of the week, which will then be offered to Wild Goose Publications as a digital download.

With Alison Adam (worship leader and WGP author) and Pat Bennett (hymn writer and WGP author) in conjunction with Wild Goose Publications.

To book

2017 Islands Programme

Photo: Pat Bennett and Alison Adam ©

News and campaigns

Significant progress so far at UN negotiations, from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

From ICAN:

Recently negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons under international law began in New York. This first negotiation session revealed that the 132 countries participating share a vision of a world without nuclear weapons. And while some disagreement is expected, there was broad agreement among many countries on most elements of the proposed treaty.

Most noticeable was a clear focus on the humanitarian costs of nuclear weapons and the unacceptability of weapons designed to indiscriminately kill civilians. The executive director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn, said: ‘We made exciting progress … in our campaign to close the gap in international law and ban nuclear weapons. No one was distracted by the opposition. We look forward to closely reviewing the draft text.’

Significant progress so far at UN negotiations

ICAN’s report on the March negotiations

ICAN

Photo from the ICAN website ©

Inside the Syrian government’s plan to crush dissent, from Amnesty International

From Amnesty International:

The recent horrific chemical weapons attack against women, men and children in Syria violates international law, causing further terrible suffering and deaths of civilians.

Tragically, this attack is just one of the many ways civilians in Syria have been targeted. Amnesty just exposed the Syrian government’s monstrous campaign to crush dissent by executing between 6,000 and 13,000 civilians in secret at Saydnaya prison.

End the horror in Syrian prisons

Photo from the Amnesty International website ©

Christian Aid Week, 14-20 May 2017, from Christian Aid

We’ve been there for refugees since 1945. We won’t turn our backs now.

Christian Aid Week was set up 60 years ago to support our work with refugees in Europe following the Second World War.

Let’s act again now, to help relieve suffering and build a world where everyone has a safe place to call home.

Christian Aid Week

Photo from the Christian Aid website ©

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

From CAAT:

UK weapons are being used in Saudi Arabia’s devastating attacks on Yemen – attacks which have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster.

CAAT is taking legal action to stop the sales, but every day that the government refuses to act is another day of death and destruction. As we put the arms trade in the spotlight, please contact your MP to make sure Parliament knows that as long as the UK keeps arming Saudi Arabia, we have blood on our hands.

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia

Photo from the CAAT website ©

End Hunger, from Church Action on Poverty (CAP)

From CAP:

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.

End Hunger

 

The Iona Community at upcoming summer festivals

Heart and Soul Festival, 21st May, 2017, Edinburgh – a call for volunteers

In partnership with Place for Hope, the Iona Community is having a stall at this year’s Heart and Soul in Edinburgh on Sunday, 21st May. We need your help – even for an hour – to help set up the stall, chat to prospective visitors about our Centres and promote the Capital Appeal. If you can spare the time, please e-mail member Kate Potts (see the Members Book). Thank you.

Heart and Soul Festival

Photo from the Heart and Soul website, 2016 ©

Glastonbury Festival, 21-25 June, 2017

Located in the corner of the Field of Avalon, by the old railway track, the Iona Community has been a regular at the Glastonbury Festival for many years now. The Community offers a drop-in centre for conversation, worship and information on the Community and its concerns.

Glastonbury Festival

The Iona Community at Glastonbury © Shelia Doig

Solas Festival, 23-25 June, 2017, at the Bield, Blackruthven, Perth

The Iona Community and Wild Goose Resource Group will once again be at Solas as partners in the Just Peace Tent. Just Peace is a collaboration between Christian Aid Scotland, the Church of Scotland, the Corrymeela Community, Place for Hope, Progressive Christianity Network/PCN, WGRG and the Iona Community. We will be running a programme of events in the tent, including seminars, discussion panels, liturgies and Sings. Come along!

Solas Festival

Greenbelt Festival, 25-28 August, 2017, Boughton Estate, Kettering – a call for volunteers

The Iona Community and Wild Goose Resource Group will also be in action at this year’s Greenbelt Festival, as part of the ‘Northern Lights’ partnership venue, with friends from Church Action on Poverty, Fischy Music and the Corrymeela Community, Northern Lights will have stalls and talk-based sessions, and we also hope to be running sings, worship and other sessions in other venues in a shared programme with other contributors. Once again we are looking for volunteers to help with hospitality, so if you’re coming to Greenbelt and can offer your enthusiastic presence on the Northern Lights stall for an hour or two, please contact Pat Bennett at [email protected] Thank you!

Greenbelt Festival

Fishy Music and Greenbelt, photo from the Greenbelt website 2016 ©

Prayer

With your justice and peace at its heart: a prayer for the Iona Community, by member Peter Cope

Lord of our journey,
which begins in the first glimmer that you are there
and that you love me:
thank you for all those I meet on the same journey,
especially for those with me in the Iona Community.

Thank you for our faith,
and our willingness to ask hard questions about faith.

Thank you for our willingness
to share our vulnerability with each other,
and all our difficulties in being a Christian today.

Thank you most of all for our willingness to see you, Jesus,
in all those who feel excluded from society by poverty,
by sexuality, by nationality or any other barrier.

Please strengthen us in our conviction
that we must build a community for everyone,
with your justice and peace at its heart. Amen

Peter Cope, a member of the Iona Community, from an upcoming book of new prayers from the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications

Together on the road, by David Coleman ©

 

 

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