Iona Abbey Capital Appeal news
A significant milestone! – work starts on phase one of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal project, from Coordinator of the Appeal Christine Jones
With £1.2 million raised to date through the generosity of many individual donors, fundraising activities and some Trust funding – work is set to commence on Phase 1 of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal project.
During winter 2017/18, construction of a new entrance will begin, providing a lift which will allow access to the first floor for people of all abilities. This significant milestone is the motivation to keep going! And preparations are also being made for Phase 2, with office space being relocated and adjustments being made for staff in the Welcome Centre. However, we still need a further £1.5 million to complete Phase 2, which includes significant renovation and insulation of the bedrooms, upgrading of utility services and – working in partnership with Iona Renewables and Historic Environment Scotland – the installation of a renewable-energy heating system.
So, now it’s time for us all to pull together and complete the task at hand. If you have not donated to the Appeal yet, would you consider making a donation to bring us closer to our target? And if you have already given, would you consider making another donation to help Phase 2 happen? Also, can you please continue to uphold the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal in prayer? In the words of the Prayer of the Iona Community:
O God, who gave to your servant Columba the gift of courage, faith and cheerfulness
and sent people forth from Iona to carry the word of your gospel to every creature:
grant, we pray, a like spirit to your church, even at this present time.
Further in all things the purpose of our community,
that hidden things may be revealed to us,
and new ways found to touch the hearts of all.
May we preserve with each other sincere charity and peace,
and if it be your holy will
grant that this place of your abiding
be continued still to be a sanctuary and a light.
Through Jesus Christ. Amen
For more information on the Appeal and to donate:
Photo: ‘Iona dawn’ © David Coleman
Associate member Twan Laan walks to Taizé and raises £6,850 for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal
Last summer, associate member Twan Laan walked from his hometown of Olten, Switzerland to Taizé in France for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal. About 85 people sponsored him – and he raised £6,850!
Thanks so much, Twan. And thank you to everyone who sponsored him.
Good folk, Please let Appeal Coordinator Christine Jones know what Iona and the Community means to you, and what you’re doing for the Appeal. Thank you so much:
Carse Family Group’s Iona Abbey Capital Appeal project, from member Ruth Burgess
The Carse Family Group is in the process of identifying churches, institutions and businesses that have a reference to Iona/its saints in their name. We intend to offer them a certificate to hang on their wall in exchange for a donation to the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal. So if St Columba’s Cafe, St Aidan’s School or the Iona Fashion Boutique is known to you locally – please let us have their address! …
Family Groups, Please let Appeal Coordinator Christine Jones know what you’re working on for the Appeal so we can spread the news! Thank you:
St Columba window, north transcept Iona Abbey, photo ©
An Iona story: Robert and Salah, ‘a bit of Iona’, by member Iain Whyte
One of the most satisfying things that I did as a student chaplain in Glasgow was to take groups of international students to Iona. You spend a lot of time trying to persuade them to go. And it’s after a few days there that they say to you, ‘Why didn’t you tell us it was going to be like this?!’
Two folk particularly stand out amongst those who were to have the Iona Community experience.
Robert was still in his teens. He had escaped from Rhodesia to Malawi, where Iona Community member and veteran African missionary Tom Colvin was busy getting passports for those fleeing white domination and sending them on to Scotland. The first port of call was Community House in Glasgow, where Community member Malcolm May was Deputy Warden. He phoned me to investigate accommodation, and within a few days Robert was staying with compatriots and on a nurse training course.
On Iona he quickly adjusted to the Abbey camp experience into which he threw himself – and the following year there was no difficulty in persuading him to help lead a week’s camp on the island on his holiday from nursing.
Salah was from Alexandria in Egypt. His course seemed to be well set towards a BSC in engineering at Glasgow University, before returning home. He was quiet, but enthusiastic about joining in with the variety of social events that the chaplaincy promoted. A week on Iona was one such and he attended everything on the programme, including Abbey worship.
The experience meant so much to him that he signed up for a second student week the following year.
Robert returned to Zimbabwe, having qualified as an accountant, but resigned from a government post when he failed to succumb to political pressure to sacrifice his integrity. Since then he has exercised a distinguished ministry in north and south London Methodist circuits. Attending one of his services I noticed a familiar nuance to part of the worship and told him. ‘Oh yes, that’s a bit of Iona,’ he said with a laugh.
Salah for some years has been spokesman for the Muslim Council of Scotland, bringing wisdom to broadcasts and statements on the crucial issues faced by Islam and being committed to interfaith understanding and peace, as is the Iona Community.
– Iain Whyte, from Iona of My Heart, Neil Paynter (Ed.), Wild Goose Publications (to be published in early 2018, with royalties going to the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal)
Iona heart © David Coleman
Iona, Camas and Glasgow
‘New ways to touch the hearts of all’: Iona Abbey Capital Appeal and Iona 2018
For over 70 years, the Iona Community has welcomed visitors from across the world to Iona:
– to take part in the rebuilding of the medieval Abbey living quarters
– to share in a common life of work and worship
– to experience the beauty, history and living community of Iona
– to find inspiration and faith in action for justice and peace.
The accommodation has provided a sanctuary for thousands of residential guests over many decades, but the Iona Community has been professionally advised that substantial work to the infrastructure of the Abbey is urgently required. This is a major undertaking given that the Abbey is a listed building of considerable historic interest on a Hebridean island. This work is to begin soon in close partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and in continuing consultation with island partners, businesses and friends.
The building programme, which is the subject of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, will have the following outcomes in sustainability, accessibility and flexibility:
– the Abbey as a building for living safeguarded for the future
– greatly increased access regardless of mobility
– reduced negative environmental impact, through use of sustainable materials, renewable energy and reduction of waste
– improved facilities and refreshed programme of activities
– increased capacity in guest numbers thanks to a 25% increase in guest season
– contributing to the local economy, safeguarding local jobs and offering further employment opportunities.
Iona 2018: This major and complex renovation project involves vacating the Abbey residential accommodation. Because of this, the Iona Community has decided that, for the first time for many decades, it will not be able to offer a residential programme during 2018. We see this sabbatical time as a positive opportunity to explore new kinds of encounter, hospitality and community, and to create new imaginative possibilities for shared experience. The Iona Community will therefore offer a non-residential programme, to include:
– daily worship in the Abbey Church
– the full operation of the Iona Community Shop and Welcome Centre
– a regular programme of talks, presentations, workshops and pilgrimage walks for those staying elsewhere on the island, and for day visitors; led and facilitated by members and staff of the Iona Community, these will focus on the life and work of the Iona Community, creative arts, prayer, poetry and peacemaking, pilgrimage and activism
– opportunities to visit Camas, the Iona Community’s outdoor centre two miles away on the Ross of Mull, and to learn about its ecological basis and its native species woodland.
In addition, the Iona Community, in partnership with the St Columba Hotel, will offer an Easter residential programme, and three autumn residential programmes.
The Iona Community remains fully committed to its presence on Iona, and to the island itself.
Iona pilgrims © David Coleman
Urban pilgrimages in 2018, from weeWONDERBOX/WGRG
A Saturday morning pilgrimage?
This is not round Iona, or Cuthbert’s Way or the Camino, but a focused stroll around Glasgow. The Wild Goose Resource Group are enabling a series of these on the third Saturday of each month, from February to April 2018. Each morning will focus on a different aspect of life and faith in the city.
The first pilgrimage, on 17th February, will be led by Kathy Galloway. Iain Whyte will lead on 17th March, and Graham Maule on 21st April.
Meet at the Iona Community office at 21 Carlton Court at 10:00am, to finish around 13:00 with optional lunch in nearby eateries.
Photo: Iona Community office ©
2018 Prayer Book, from the Glasgow office
Dear members and associates,
Prayer books will not be ready for inclusion in the next edition of Coracle but will be sent as soon as possible in 2018. Thank you for understanding this delay and please continue to use the 2017 book for the moment.
Vacancy at Camas – Resident staff team member
If you are interested in working with young people, in outdoor activities and communal off-grid lifestyle then please apply:
Deadline for applications: January 4, 2018
Camas photo ©
Community Kids Week at Camas, August 6-11, 2018
There will be a Community Kids Week at Camas (possibly with some local young people too) from 6-11 August, 2018.
If interested, call or e-mail Camas ASAP: 44(0)1681 700367, [email protected]
Camas artwork ©
Four Camas prayers, by new member Alex Clare-Young
God with carpenter’s hands,
help us to work together to ‘get stuff done’,
here in your creation,
for the building of your kingdom.
Spirit of wind and fire.
You breathe into spaces,
you combust into energy.
Help us to have the
inspiration and the energy
to do things differently.
God of challenge, grant us the discomfort of being stretched. Amen
God of journeys,
help us to walk the path provided,
to venture off of the motorways
and to seek toil as well as smooth walking. Amen
– Alex Clare-Young
Alex Clare-Young is a URC ordinand and is part of the East Anglia Family Group. He blogs at: ordinand247
Camas track © David Coleman
Chris Long moving on from his position as Iona Community Youth Development worker
After almost seven years, Chris Long (the gent in the photo back left wearing the cap) is moving on from his position as Iona Community Youth Development worker.
Chris, you’ve done such a brilliant job with the Community. Whatever you go on to do – your energy and talents, care, thoughtfulness, humour will be a gift any organisation or community. Go well …
For an interview with Chris, see the Winter 2017 Coracle (which is on its way). (Ed.)
Youth Festival photo © Iona Youth Department, photo used with permission
New publication from Wild Goose Publications: The Pieces We Keep: Stories for the seasons, by Katie Munnik
The Pieces We Keep is a collection of short stories told by vivid voices. Some voices are familiar: characters from scripture, history, folklore, myth and legend; others spring from the world around us and speak a modern tongue. Together, they direct our gaze to life’s small details – taking down the Christmas lights, swimming on a summer’s day, remembering the names of wild flowers, looking back and looking forward. The familiar becomes strange and the overlooked beautiful as Katie Munnik calls us to consider anew why stories matter.
The book charts the changing cycles and seasons of the year, reflecting the liturgical patterns of the church and all the weathers of our hearts.
‘Katie Munnik is an excellent storyteller … Her stories are flesh and blood, like the Christian and Jewish scriptures. They bring those big stories to life, while opening up new insights and perspectives.’
– Donald Smith, Director, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Katie Munnik is a Canadian writer based in Cardiff. Her work has appeared in Wild Goose anthologies as well as in magazines and journals. She has worked with congregations and communities in the UK and Canada, always asking questions and sharing stories. Her debut novel, The Heart Beats in Secret, will be published by the Borough Press (HarperCollins) in spring 2019.
For almost thirty years the Wild Goose Resource Group has been invited to participate in Greenbelt, the annual Christian arts festival, and for much of that time John Bell has been a keynote speaker. His topics have either been biblical or concerned with social justice. This year he offered a seminar entitled ‘Rampant Male Heterosexualism’, which attracted a huge crowd to the circus tent, the largest venue in the festival. However he didn’t have a great deal to say about heterosexualism, except that it was a bias and impediment when Christians began to talk about homosexuality.
He maintained that he has little time in ‘playing ping-pong with biblical verses’, particularly as those five texts which allegedly condemn homosexuality are neither clearly connected nor deal with the possibility of genuine same-sex love. An American academic theologian, Robert Gagnon, who has written a lengthy and celebrated book proscribing gay and lesbian intimacy, did not have his thesis applauded. Rather it was suggested that his somewhat subjective arguments, limited engagement with homosexual people and dubious Bible exegesis compromised his integrity.
Gagnon, for example, claims that the ‘sin of Ham’ was that he had gay sex with his father. Bell pointed out that this is not the first time the sin of Ham – a son of Noah who was cursed for finding his father drunk and naked – has been used to underpin a fatuous moral stance. During the apartheid era, the white Afrikaan-speaking church claimed that Ham was the progenitor of the black races whom God wanted to keep separate from the white.
What was not anticipated was that John Bell would ‘out’ himself in the course of his talk, which he did, not for any sensational effect, but in response to a number of instances in recent years where young people within Christian communities have taken or considered taking their life because they believed that to be gay was to be sinful or, as some theologians claim, ‘inherently disordered’. He was particularly moved on hearing a friend of his, an Anglican evangelical priest, speak of a girl in his congregation who in her mid-teens decided to live no longer, saying in a final tweet to a friend, ‘I don’t think that God can love me the way I am.’
These are the words with which John closed his talk: ‘It was the suicide of Lizzie Lowe which convinced me that as long as there are still young people who doubt that God loves them on account of their sexuality, then, those of us who are not constrained by our work, who are gay, and who know the love of God, should not keep silent.’
John Bell’s Greenbelt talk can be downloaded here: ‘Rampant Male Heterosexualism’
International Peace Award photo ©
Members, associates and friends
Tributes to long-time member Ian M Fraser – who will be 100 on Friday, December 15th, 2017
A tribute to Ian by member John Harvey, given at Ian’s birthday celebration in Alva, Scotland:
A tribute by Hugh Macdonald, from The Herald:
And a tribute by Ron Ferguson, from the Press and Journal:
About member Ian M Fraser:
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, A Storehouse of Kingdom Things, and Reinventing Theology as the People’s Work (Wild Goose Publications), 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.
Ian M Fraser, by Jenni Barr ©
Kirkridge celebrates 75 years, from associate Matilda Chase
From October 27-29th, 2017 the Kirkridge Retreat and Study Centre in Bangor, PA, USA celebrated its 75th anniversary! Folk from all corners of the U.S. and Canada came together to celebrate John Oliver Nelson’s creation of a centre inspired by George MacLeod and the Iona Community.
The 75th anniversary celebrations included the dedication of a new events barn built by supporters of Kirkridge, spirited singing from the Riverside Church Choir from New York City, and a litany of voices reading words of individuals who have made a difference in the ministry of Kirkridge: John Oliver Nelson, Daniel Berrigan, Abdul-Rehman
Malik and Dorothee Söelle – to name just a few.
Since 1942, Kirkridge has provided a place for rest and renewal to pilgrims along life’s journey. Our retreats, hospitality, gorgeous vistas and sacred grounds have blessed countless lives. Looking ahead, we plan on serving an even wider community of people of good faith, no faith, and interfaith – and providing safe harbour to all. We invite you, as pilgrims in search of a balanced life, to help us nurture the ground on which we stand and the people with whom we interact each day.
Matilda Chase is a former board member of Kirkridge, a member of the New World Foundation.
Photo from the Kirkridge website ©
Good news about Trump, a letter from associate Israel Nelson in Alaska
It is said that in carving the David sculpture, Michelangelo used a damaged piece of stone, one that had been rejected and was in the trash heap at the stone yard. When he came upon it, he became very excited and immediately had it sent to his studio, where he began feverishly carving as soon as the stone arrived. He carved day and night taking little time to eat or sleep. Finally, the work was finished and moved to where it was to be displayed. When it was unveiled, all who saw it were astonished. Someone asked him how he was able to carve such beauty from such damaged material. The sculptor replied, ‘I saw David trapped and I had to let him out.’
As bad as the news is about Donald Trump, there is good news wrapped up with the bad. His beliefs, attitudes and behaviours are among the worst of an elected statesman. During his election campaign it was revealed that he is a misogynist and abuser of women. Repeatedly he demonstrates his racism and hatred of refugees. He cares little about the long-term sustainability of Mother Earth. He is similar to the Russians at the time of the European discovery of Alaska, who nearly wiped out the population of sea otters in their greed for pelts. He appears to have joined with the Russian government in the effort to wipe out democracy as a treasured principle of governance. Only laws that support his greed for wealth and power are important to him. But redemption is always possible.
Luke’s account of the Parable of the Lost Coin (Lk 15:8-10) is instructive here. The poor old woman lost her coin somewhere in the house. Carefully she sweeps under the furniture and in all the corners of the house to remove the dust and dirt, hoping to find her coin. Her thorough attention to detail, and her faith, pay off: she finds the coin and invites her friends and neighbours to join her in rejoicing. Jesus uses the tale to tell his hearers that there is joy over the repentance of one sinner. In spite of all that is wrong about Donald Trump, we have faith that the United States can be redeemed from the destruction he has wreaked upon our culture.
Donald Trump’s assault upon our values and our ways of relating to one another are showing in bold relief how important these things are to us. Rather than defeating us, he is inspiring us to recover our awareness and practice of things.
Because of his selfishness, we are rediscovering the importance of generosity.
Rather than succeeding in undermining environmental care, he is spurring us on to care for Mother Earth and all her children with renewed enthusiasm.
We are discovering again how important civility is to support and demonstrate God’s grace.
Excellence is emerging as an achievable goal, rather than acceptance of his mediocrity and vulgarity.
All is not lost.
But it is equally important to recognise that we cannot take for granted our important values and practices. We must renew our practices and increase our attention to our values.
Trump’s assault upon us is driving us again to prayer. We covet your prayers for the United States that we may weather this storm. Since no nation lives in a vacuum, we underscore the need for prayer for the whole world. We are learning anew to trust God’s grace and mercy. When the good is finally restored, we shall treasure it even more. Just as the world learned from the experience of Hitler and Nazism how important true values are, so we are learning anew from Donald Trump how not to function as a nation.
Please continue to pray for us.
– Rev. Israel Nelson, Iona Community associate in Alaska
Photo of Israel Nelson ©
Real news: a poem for Christmas, by member Peter Millar
In the global turbulence we pause
to be silent, to speak from deep places.
And so – no calm acceptance
of homeless millions,
of a planet in tears,
of shock politics,
of the trajectories of hate.
We have seen further and the vision holds,
for the truths of Christmas remain true,
confirming the joyful fact
that all is not degraded in our human story.
In each new day, rich in surprise,
we recapture the possibility
of reaching out in love,
of rejecting fake news,
of belonging together.
Look and see!
The candles are lit, celebrating real news:
that hatreds fail,
that healings happen,
that barriers are broken,
that the arc bends toward justice.
Truly our days are infused with Light
and goodness and mercy shine brightly within them.
– Peter Millar, Edinburgh, Christmas 2017
Iona Abbey candles © David Coleman
Citizens’ Apology for the Balfour Declaration, from Member Eurig Scandrett
On 2nd November 2017 – 100 years from the day the Balfour Declaration was signed on behalf of the UK government – around 100 people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to make a Citizens’ Apology for the Declaration and its legacy: the dispossession of Palestinian land, ethnic cleansing, the displacement of Palestinians, and the ongoing suffering through military occupation, apartheid laws, exile and killings.
The event was initiated by Iona Community member Allan Gordon and led by Peter Macdonald, former Leader of the Community, and Iona Community members were well-represented. MSPs from the Parliamentary Cross-party Group on Palestine endorsed the apology and speeches were also given by representatives of the Palestinian community in Edinburgh, and Jews for a Just Peace.
Eurig Scandrett is a Lecturer in sociology at Queen Margaret University and a member of the Iona Community’s working group on Palestine/Israel.
Citizens’ Apology for the Balfour Declaration, Edinburgh, photo ©
Cyrenians, Edinburgh, member Ewan Aitken
For nearly 50 years, Cyrenians has served those on the edge, working with the homeless and vulnerable to transform their lives by beginning with their story, helping them believe that they can change their lives, and walking with them as they lead their own transformation.
The vision is an inclusive society in which we all have the opportunities to live valued and fulfilled lives. Cyrenians work to make that vision a reality by their mission to support people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey.
Iona Community member Ewan Aitken is the CEO of Cyrenians, Edinburgh. A link here to Ewan’s blog, with some recent news:
Photo of Ewan Aitken, from the Cyrenians website ©
Argyll associates help Peace Pledge Union, from associate Alan Hawkins
Argyll associate Mary Stirling was so disenchanted at the constant barrage of news of killing and war on television that she took it upon herself to investigate what she as an octogenarian could do about it.
Mary contacted the Peace Pledge Union, which is the oldest non-sectarian pacifist organisation in Britain – since 1934 PPU has been campaigning for a warless world – and laid out money to purchase white poppies. She and fellow Argyll associate Quaker Bob Dixon promoted these at the local Co-op in Lochgilphead, which had given them permission to be in the foyer on a Friday and Saturday morning in November. The pair were encouraged by the interest and support which many members of the public gave them – and not only did all of their white poppies get taken, they obtained more, which were also taken. Over £160.00 was raised for the Peace Pledge Union, as well as many members of the public being introduced to wearing white poppies: ‘to remember all those killed in war, all those wounded in body or mind, the millions who have been made sick or homeless by war and the families and communities torn apart’. The Peace Pledge Union ‘also remembers those killed or imprisoned for refusing to fight and for resisting war’.
– Alan Hawkins, Argyll associate
Photo from the Peace Pledge Union website ©
‘Positive Faith’: a new HIV/AIDS support and prevention project pioneered by friend of the Community Vincent Manning
A short film here of Vincent Manning speaking about the Positive Faith project. Vincent was Camas Coordinator in the late ’90s. Presently he is Chair of Catholics AIDS Prevention & Support (CAPS).
‘Easter, Saints and Spirituality’, a course/retreat led by member Rosemary Power at the St Columba Hotel, Iona, 9-13 April, 2018
An exploration of Iona’s ancient and more recent spirituality, with space for creative silence. With sessions on understanding the art and architecture of the ancient sites, the poetry and storytelling, and much free time to explore and dream. Three nights at the Columba Hotel, with breakfast.
Enquiries and bookings: [email protected]
‘Iona rainbow’, by Francis McEvoy ©
Former Iona Abbey musician Margaret McLarty releases her debut album – Brigid’s Birds
Brigid’s Birds is a collection of songs that draw inspiration from a landscape of people and places from Glasgow to Iona to a Zambian church and back again. Joined by Hinba bandmates and Iona Community folk Jane Bentley and Tom Sissions, and recorded by Angus Lyon at Gran’s House Studio, Brigid’s Birds has been called ‘a tiny feathery masterpiece’, ‘full of warmth and feeling’, the songs ‘wistful and poignant’.
To listen to some cuts and to purchase:
Artwork for Brigid’s Birds from Margaret McCarty’s website ©
Joy in Enough: awakening to a new economics, from associate Hilary Blake in York
Hilary Blake was Programme Coordinator on Iona from 2009-10 and is an associate member of the Community in York. Hilary has recently started working with Green Christian on a project called Joy in Enough, which is about engaging Christians with issues of sustainable economics:
‘Joy in Enough is a challenge to Christians in Britain, and an invitation to all people of goodwill, to join in building a just economy within the ecological limits of the Earth. Our current economic model is failing both people and planet. The warning lights are flashing red as environmental damage increases, debt and inequality levels rise, and communities and wellbeing are eroded. We are not powerless in the face of these challenges. A better economic system is possible, one that respects planetary boundaries and puts human needs ahead of profit. We are working towards that fair and sustainable economy, and working with the church to add a Christian voice to the growing calls for change.’
For more information and to get involved:
Upcoming Iona Community gatherings
Iona Community South West England spring gathering, Saturday 3rd March, South Street Baptist Church, Exeter, 11.00am till 4.00pm
Theme: ‘Poverty – what can we do?’
Open to all. For more information and to book please contact member David Osborne (see Members Book).
Iona Community 2018 AGM – celebrating 80 years of the Iona Community and 70 years of Camas, 1-3 June, 2018, Glasgow
Next year’s AGM is now booked for 1-3 June, at Renfield St Stephen’s in Glasgow. Because there will be no Community Week, the weekend will begin on Friday evening, go through the whole of Saturday and the final session will be on Sunday afternoon.
The programme will include a Service of Hallowing and Recommitment – and an evening to celebrate 80 years of the Iona Community and 70 years of Camas!
More news to come.
Iona Community on the move, photo ©
News and campaigns
Yemen Crisis Appeal, from Christian Aid
From Christian Aid:
Ongoing conflict across Yemen has pushed one of the world’s poorest countries to breaking point.
More than 10 million people need immediate lifesaving humanitarian assistance. We must reach families with food, clean water and healthcare quickly, before it’s too late.
In the last year, the escalating conflict has killed over 7,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and lost the country $19 billion.
Photo from Christian Aid website ©
Ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements: add your voice, from Amnesty International
From Amnesty International:
For 50 years, Palestinians have been forced from their homes, detained and killed – all to make way for more illegal Israeli settlements.
Products from those settlements often make their way into UK markets, and government is doing little to stop it. Urge the UK government to ban Israeli settlement goods now.
UK Poverty 2017: a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
From the JRF:
End Fuel Poverty Coalition
From the End Fuel Poverty Coalition:
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition is a broad coalition of anti-poverty, environmental, health, trade union and consumer organisations working to eradicate fuel poverty. We believe that everybody has the right to a warm, dry home that they can afford to heat and power.
Homeless Sunday 2018, from Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action
From Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action:
Each year Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action join in organising Homeless Sunday. 2018’s event will take place on Sunday 28th January.
Homeless Sunday is a chance for Churches and Christian groups from across the country to join together to pray, reflect and plan practical action on homelessness, but also for a united Christian voice to offer solidarity and be a prophetic voice for change.
(The Iona Community is part of Scottish Churches Housing Action.)
Seems shepherds always get the worst of it, by member Sally Foster-Fulton
Seems shepherds always get the worst of it …
Cold hillsides and rocky, barren places …
Sheep and sheep and more sheep – and sleepless nights counting them.
No camels to ride or gifts to bear, no wisdom either – just second-hand news.
Seems shepherds always get the worst of it …
Bathrobes and tea towels and the back of the stage – sharing one line:
‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has been made known to us.’
No tinsel or glitter or golden wings.
Seems shepherds always get the worst of it …
Minimum wage and zero-hours contracts.
No pension plan or savings account – no respect either.
Just systemic injustice that keeps them in their lowly places.
Seems they had something in common with the baby they visited.
Later, he would call himself a shepherd.
Later, he would lay aside his wants for the needs of his sheep.
Later, he would say ‘If you love me, you will feed my lambs.’
In the face of the worst, he would give his best.
So there is wisdom.
There is glory without the gold.
And there is hope that there will be justice for those who always
seem to get the worst of it.
Go well: a meditation for coming times, by member Ewan Aitken
May the silence speak to you.
May hopefulness lead you.
May forgiveness drive you.
May compassion fill you.
May love compel you:
to overcome hate, whatever the cost,
to welcome the lost and the suffering,
to celebrate difference,
to stand up for justice,
to work for peace,
to believe change is possible,
that good will prevail.
May this coming year
be all you wish it to be:
for those whom you love,
for neighbours and strangers,
for those with whom you disagree,
and for those who choose to see themselves as your enemy.
Go well …
– Ewan Aitken, from We bring you everything, and tip it out in front of you: New prayers from the Iona Community, Neil Paynter (Ed.), Wild Goose Publications, 2017