Iona Abbey Capital Appeal news

Holy and Humorous raises over £10,000 for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

‘Holy and Humorous’, four evenings of light entertainment with John Bell in benefit of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, has been an amazing success – with over £10,000 raised for the Appeal. Actually: £10,498.76.

Coordinator of the Appeal, Christine Jones, said: ‘This journey was about so much more than raising funds – we have been richly blessed. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way. Enormous thanks to John.’

John Bell at the Falkirk event, photo © Isabel Sarle

Columba walk for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal and Friends without Borders, from new member Bob Thomas

I am planning to walk the 75 miles from St Columba Church, Fareham to St Columba Church of Scotland in central London, arriving for the St Columba’s Day service at 11.00am on 10th June. ‘There must be an easier way for someone with a mobility issue to raise some money,’ suggested my friend. But that’s exactly the point! I have a wonky knee and walking any distance is a challenge these days. So a walk seems an appropriate way of helping to make the Abbey centre’s accommodation more accessible to a wider range of visitors, especially those with mobility issues.

The Iona Community’s commitment to accessibility and hospitality is important to me, and so is our commitment to social justice. So I’m also raising funds for Friends without Borders’ work with refugees and asylum seekers in Portsmouth. Friends without Borders was the subject of my Iona Community new members project last year.

If you can, please sponsor me at:

Bob’s Columba walk for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Bob’s Columba walk for Friends without Borders

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

– Bob Thomas

Photo: Bob at Camas ©

Wild gooseberry jam for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, from member Irene Stok in the Netherlands

This year I had lots of gooseberries in my garden, and so made jam and sold it in aid of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal – and received over 100 euros.

This summer there’ll be lots of gooseberries in my garden once more – and I’ll make jam again!

The Iona Community means a lot to me. It’s a group of people who live the gospel by doing not just talking. The hospitality, inclusiveness and humour are so good too!

– Irene Stok

Photo by Irene Stok ©

From Paraguay to Iona: a piece of paradise, by friend of the Community Rufino Olmedo

My name is Rufino Olmedo. I came to Iona in 2004.

When I went to Iona to volunteer it was a big challenge for me. Firstly because I had never been to another country, and also because it was my first time so far away from home. I am from a very little place in the countryside in Paraguay called Santa Maria de Fe.

When you arrive in Iona you do not know anyone – but in a matter of days they become your closest friends.

We were from different places: Germany, England, Scotland, the USA, Poland, Australia, Sweden, Tasmania, Czech Republic, Paraguay …

The weather was very hard for me. Sometimes windy, raining and cold, but this is an island, and a very special one: you’re never alone, and so get used to everything.

Mealtime is when you introduce yourself and try to share something about yourself and get to know more about each other.

My favourite time was coffee break, when we shared about our cultures and about our friends, and listened to music from different countries as well as tried different foods.

Life in the community was amazing – working together, singing and praying. When I missed home, I always had someone to support me. I spent time learning lots of wonderful things, and sharing in the church through the Bible and communion. I can also never forget the ceilidh in the village hall, and dancing with my friend Marion.

Life in the community made me stronger in faith. I learnt through sharing with other people regardless of their nationality, denomination, race or other things. Peace and beauty are found in perfect combination in Iona.

If I had another opportunity to go to Iona I would jump at the chance. It is the most magical place in the world and is a piece of paradise. God blessed me in many different ways there. Now I have lots of friends around the world. When I arrived on Iona I never thought that my life would change forever.

Thanks Iona and the people who run the Community, who opened our hearts and made us feel so welcome.

God bless you.

– Rufino Olmedo, Santa Maria Education Fund, Paraguay, from Iona of My Heart: Daily Readings, Neil Paynter (Ed.), Wild Goose Publications, 2018

Royalties from Iona of My Heart go to the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Iona heart © David Coleman

Iona, Camas, Glasgow

2018 Camas team and the 70th anniversary of Camas

Camas is now fully staffed for the 2018 season: Darragh Keenaghan joins as Camas Coordinator at the beginning of March; Rhyddian Knight/Laura Gamwell will be sharing the Gardener role; Hannah Blythe returns as a member of the Resident Team; Barry McLaughlin also returns as a Resident Team member; Sarah Price is a new member of the Resident Team – staff photo to follow.

Wishing you all a wonderful season.

And just a reminder – 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of Camas! To help celebrate, why not get on up to Camas for one of the wonderful Open Weeks below? See you there!

Camas Adventure Centre

The Camas Diary

Camas pirates © Camas

Camas Open Weeks in 2018 – family week, gardening weeks – and more

10-15 March: Tree Planting Week – Help us plant our new woodland! We have been busy fundraising for a deer fence to protect the trees, the fence is now up and it’s time to plant! We will be aiming to plant nearly 4000 trees with the help of volunteers from New Caledonian Woodlands, the Woodland Trust and you! (£200)

26-31 March: Work Week – Come and help us get Camas up and running for the 2018 season. With a variety of jobs from painting to sewing and mending there is a task for all ages and abilities. The week is mixed with plenty of free time to explore the local area and beautiful beaches. (£200)

2-7 April: Family Week – Spend a week living in community with other families in the remote Camas bay. We will be offering a range of activities including kayaking, climbing, trips to the beach and to Iona as well as cooking, time in the garden or reading your book by the sea. (£250 adult, £100 under 16)

16-21 April: Poetry and Place – Land and sea, the relationship between history and geography and community, all the things that go to make up a sense of place, have always been a source of inspiration for poetry. What better place than Camas, which has all of these in abundance, to spend a few days letting the creative juices flow. For anyone – experienced writers or beginners – who has ever felt they have a poem in them! Facilitated by Kathy Galloway. (£250)

7-12 May: Garden Week – A week at Camas getting your hands in the soil! Spend time in the Camas garden helping us set up for the season to come. A mixture of work, rest and play with garden tasks, walks to beaches, trip to Iona, kayaking and lots of tea and cake to keep you going! Suitable for all ages and abilities. (£250)

8-13 October: Garden Week – A week at Camas getting your hands in the soil! Spend time in the Camas garden helping put the gardens to bed for winter. A mixture of work, rest and play with garden tasks, walks to beaches, trip to Iona, kayaking and lots of tea and cake to keep you going! Suitable for all ages and abilities. (£250)

15-20 October: Work Week – Come and help us get Camas tidied away for the winter season. With a variety of jobs from painting to sewing and mending there is a job for all ages and abilities. The week is mixed with plenty of free time to explore the local area and beautiful beaches. (£200)

For enquiries and booking information, please contact Carol at: [email protected] 


Camas folk © David Coleman

Iona staff 2018 update

Heinz Toller will start as Iona Centre Manager in late February/early March. Peter Marshall is interim Iona Centre Manager until 1st March. Susan Allen continues as Shop Manager, Carol Dougall as Bookings Administrator, Anja Jardine as Cook, Shuggie Mailey as Maintenance Coordinator, Jeanette Sheldrick as HTC…

Thinking of you all as another busy Iona season gets into gear …

Another day

Another day –
a day that God has made –
the sky is mother-of-pearl
like the inside of a sea shell;
the sea is moving darkness
and then dancing with light
as the sun rises over Mull.
Every stone has its own shadow,
every blade of grass is shining.
Alarm clocks go off,
feet hit the floor,
porridge is on the stove,
bells ring, feet are on the stairs,
toast smells good,
folk gather,
grace is said,
cups of tea are poured,
the sun climbs the sky
and the big bell rings for worship.
Feet are on the road.
Now the world is on the move,
wheels are turning,
ships putting out to sea,
cows coming to the milking,
shops opening,
a catch being landed,
computers being switched on,
school bells ringing.
On the far side of Mull
bus engines start up,
wheels begin to turn.
As the sun travels across the sky,
folk travel toward Iona,
to the ferry:
the day visitors, tourists, trippers,
pilgrims on their way
at the beginning of the day –
the day that God has made.

– Jan Sutch Pickard, from Out of Iona: Words from a Crossroads of the World, Wild Goose Publications

Some of the Iona staff and other Community folk enjoying breakfast and a cuppa ©

Iona Community shop, Isle of Iona

From the Iona Community Shop:

The shop remains closed through February due to the re-slating of the Welcome Centre roof and other renovations to the building.

We are, however, working in the shop office, so our e-mail service is available – and we would be more than happy to receive your enquiries and orders:

[email protected]

It is expected that we will reopen in the first or second week of March.

March opening hours:

Tuesday–Saturday, 10:30 am–4:00pm

April–September opening hours:

Opening times will move to summer hours of business in the days before Easter.



Seasonal encounters with the Iona Community 2018, St Columba Hotel, Iona, from the Iona Community Programme team

28th March – 2nd April
‘Kissed-Pierced-Hidden-Revealed: Seeing God’s Passion
from Gethsemane to Glory’,
Dr Debbie Lewer

22nd – 27th October
‘Following the Celtic Way’,
Professor Ian Bradley

27th October – 1st November
‘Enthusiasm, Entropy and Ecology: A New look at the Psalms’,
Rev. John Bell

1st – 6th November
‘Adventures with God: An Introduction to the Gifts and
Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola’,
Rev. Alison Marshall

Venue: St Columba Hotel, Isle of Iona
Price: From £649 per person, per course, includes full board
and programme charge

Booking online or by phone:
t: 44 (0) 1681 700 304


Iona Community Youth Work update, from Iona Community Programmes Development Worker, Pat Bennett

As many of you will know, we said farewell to Chris Long at the end of January. Chris has been a hugely influential figure in the lives of many of the young people involved in our youth programmes and was instrumental in developing and consolidating the volunteer training programme which has seen a significant group of young people go on to help at residential and non-residential events and work on Iona or at Camas. We are deeply grateful to Chris for his contribution to the life and work of the Community, and for his love and deep commitment to all the young people with whom he has worked on our behalf. We wish him and Kim every blessing for their future journey. 

Although circumstances mean that we cannot immediately replace Chris we will be continuing with some contact work: Hattie Cooper Hockey will be developing and leading a Summer YouthFest at Camas, while Duncan Logie will be running IGLOW, our youth project based at Carlton Court. In addition, Davie Johnstone will be working on a community audit as a basis for future funding applications and the development of a sustainable work with young people in the future. All three have been regular members of our youth work over the last few years as young leaders at YouthFest and vollies at Camas and we are delighted that they are going to be working with the Community through 2018.

– Pat Bennett, Programmes Development Worker

IGLOW photo © Iona Community Youth Department. Used with permission

Thanks to Anne Walker, volunteer at the Iona Community’s Glasgow office

A wee thank you here to Anne Walker, who is a volunteer at the Community’s Glasgow office, and who does and gives so much.

A prayer of thanks for volunteers

You give of your time with a smile on your face.
You offer your skill as you take up the slack.
You take on these tasks with such genuine grace
when others are moaning and turning their backs (not really!).

Without you there’s lots that we’d not have achieved.
Without you the enterprise might have been scrapped.
So, thank you for giving us all a reprieve –
and saving the rest of us here from collapse!

We offer you thanks for the tasks big and small,
the work you’ve seen through, both hidden and clear.
From God’s faithful servants who’ve answered the call,
we give thanks to God for God’s good volunteers.

– by member Tom Gordon

Anne and Andrew, photo © Used with permission

weeWONDERBOX March events and gatherings, from WGRG and the Iona Community Programme team

March 2018

Mon 5th @ 7.30-9.15pm, The Wee Music Box: ‘Music, Mind and Memory’

Wed 7th @ 6.00-7.00pm, Wee Weekly Liturgy

Wed 14th @ 6.00-7.00pm, Wee Weekly Liturgy

Wed 14th @ 7.00-9.00pm, Pandora’s Box

Sat 17th @ 10.00am-1.00pm, Urban Pilgrimage, with member Iain Whyte

Wed 21st @ 6.00-7.00pm, Wee Weekly Liturgy

Wed 28th @ 6.00-7.00pm, Liturgy Of Prayers For Healing And Laying On Of Hands

For more info and the 2018 weeWONDERBOX schedule

Iona of My heart: Daily Readings, Neil Paynter (Ed.)new book from Wild Goose Publications

When editor Neil Paynter called for contributions to Iona of My Heart he wrote:

‘I’m looking for those human stories from Iona. You know the ones – we all have them. Stories about different folk coming together – people from different countries and backgrounds. Stories of encounter, challenge, exchange, connection, transformation. Stories about people and the power of the Spirit … Show why Iona and what the Iona Community does there is important to the world. Give it a human face.’

This book of four months of daily readings, which reflect the concerns of the Iona Community, is the result. The book can be used for group or individual reflection and is intended to inspire positive action and change in our lives.

Contributors include Ron Ferguson, Helen Steven, Nancy Cocks, John Harvey, Molly Harvey, Norman Shanks, Alastair McIntosh, Brian Woodcock, Martin Johnstone, Iain Whyte, Alison Swinfen, Jan Sutch Pickard, Joy Mead, Stephen Wright, Janet Lees, Thom M Shuman, Tom Gordon, Nicola Slee, Yvonne Morland, Kathy Galloway, Peter Millar, Ruth Burgess, John Philip Newell – and many other members, associates and friends of the Iona Community.

The royalties from Iona of My Heart will go to the Iona Community’s Iona Abbey Capital Appeal.

For more information and to order

Members, associates and friends

‘Silence and prayers’ during the World Economic Forum: a small sign of resistance and solidarity, from member Reinhild Traitler in Zurich

It had been snowing for 24 hours – big flakes dancing down slowly, covering the omnipresent black limousines of the big bosses stuck in traffic – when Christa Schüssler  and I arrived in Davos on the eve of the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in late January 2018.

For the past ten years, members of the Swiss Iona group have been going to the WEF to join the churches of Davos for the vigil ‘Silence and prayers’. The vigil is organised every year as a watchful Christian presence during the mega-conference. The Swiss Iona group is one of eight communities involved, both in Davos and in Basel, where Iona Community member Elisabeth Christa Miescher co-organises a similar prayer watch.

Our prayers accompany the process of the WEF: in short, the self-congratulatory elites of the world, who like to dialogue amongst themselves. There is little connection with ‘the people’ at the WEF. Organisations such as the former ‘Public Eye on Davos’ have stopped going as they found it next to impossible to have messages ‘from below’ listened to. And since demonstrations are no longer allowed (for security reasons), there is practically no place to hear ‘the other side’, except for in the space offered by the churches.

Every night throughout the WEF there was silence and prayers in St John’s Church up on the hill in the old town of Davos. In the intercessions we heard the unheard voices of people all over the world and prayed for them.

This year the Ecumenical Commission of Christian Churches in Switzerland awarded the ‘Oecumenica Label’ to the organisers of the Davos vigil, thus acknowledging their resilient and faithful presence amidst the hype and noise of the WEF.

The Swiss Iona group hope to be at Davos again: a small sign of resistance and solidarity.

– Reinhild Traitler with Christa Schüssler

Another world is possible  

We pray for all who keep a vigil:
for all who never give up hope that another world possible.

We pray for Daoud and his family in Bethlehem,
who try to keep their land by planting trees, vineyards, vegetables
and continue to talk to soldiers trying to confiscate the land
and to offer tea to settlers.
Like the huge stone at Tent of Nations says:
‘We refuse to be enemies.’

We pray for Sumaya in Birzeit,
who teaches young people non-violent communication.
She does not give up hope that justice and peace are possible
in Palestine and Israel.

We pray for the women in Africa
who have become agents of change thanks to the gift of a camel.
The milk nourishes the family, the dung improves the fertility of the soil;
they can grow more than they need and sell it at market.
These women have become more independent and have more influence in society.

We pray for interreligious cooperation in Kerala, South India,
and for the ongoing learning from other religions:
Namaste: ‘I greet God in you.’

We pray for all imprisoned persons,
for justice from wise and independent judges.
Loving God, be with all prisoners and their families.

We pray for the World Economic Forum in Davos.
May all the high-ranking people attending be inspired by Holy Ruach, God’s Spirit,
to work for peace and for the sharing of the resources of our planet.

God be with them
and with us as we work for another world –
which is possible.

– Prayer from the WEF vigil in Basel, from member Elisabeth Christa Miescher

Photo from Regula Rudolf ©

Taizé in Basel, Switzerland: a Pentecostal effect, from member Elisabeth Christa Miescher

Member Elisabeth C. Miescher helped host young folk during the 40th Taizé European Meeting of Young Adults in Basel, which took place from 28 December 2017 to 1st January 2018 …

Nearly 20,000 young people from 45 countries arrived in Basel on 28th December.

All over the town you could meet many groups of young people, enjoying making friends from elsewhere.

In the town of Riehen where I live, we had 500 guests. For some hosts and guests the language problem was very difficult – but it also had a Pentecostal effect. In my house we used English with translation for one Italian and sometimes translation into Ukrainian.

Every morning the guests met for prayers and workshops. On Sunday 31st December we went to the Roman Catholic Church of St Franziskus in Riehen where we all celebrated communion with bread and wine – it was the first time this had happened in 20 years. The Bishop had forbidden ecumenical communions, which had been a tradition in Riehen. It was a very special and encouraging celebration of sharing and belonging and walking together to a world of justice and peace.

Another great event was the midday peace prayer in the cathedral of Basel, where the nave was packed full with young people sitting on the floor like in Taizé.

On New Year’s Day we celebrated at 3am with singing, laughing and the sharing of champagne.

I am convinced that all these young women and men will bring more peace to our world. I heard from my guests from the Ukraine that they will stay in touch by social media and that they want to start a Taizé group in their country. All of them plan to go to the next Taizé youth meeting in Madrid.

It has been an encouraging experience to have these young people with me. I was sad when they got onto the local bus to the trams which would bring them to their buses for the long journey home … and I miss them.

– Elisabeth Christa Miescher

Peace witness at gates of Faslane: Saturday, May 26th, 12 noon till 1:00pm, from member John Harvey and Scottish Clergy Against Nuclear Arms (SCANA)


There will be a peace witness event at the gates of Faslane on Saturday, May 26th, from 12.00 noon to 1.00pm. This will take the form of a service and a symbolic act of witness – followed by a picnic!

For more information, contact member John Harvey (see Members Book).

Upcoming Iona Community gatherings

Invitation to a special Community Week: the Iona Community on the Continent, from members Jan Maasen and Desirée van der Hijden

Dear Iona Community Members,

We would like to invite you to the 2018 Autumn Community Week in the Netherlands. A Community Week in beautiful surroundings in the north-west of the Netherlands, about 5 kilometres from the sea. A week with the familiar rhythm of Community Week on Iona – but with a Dutch flavour.

When: Saturday 13 October (afternoon) till Friday 19 October 2018 (after breakfast)

Where: Mennonite Holiday and Conference Centre, Dopersduin

For more information contact Jan Maasen and Desirée van der Hijden (see Members Book).

A Dutch group gathering ©


International Women’s Day, March 8th: #PressforProgress

From the International Women’s Day website:

With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

So we can’t be complacent. Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. So together, let’s all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let’s all Press for Progress:

#PressforProgress NOW

International Women’s Day resources

Photo from the International Women’s Day website ©

International Women’s Day, from UN Women

From UN Women:

The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is ‘Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’.

On 8 March, join activists around the world and UN Women to seize the moment, celebrate, take action and transform women’s lives everywhere. The time is NOW.




Ecumenical Accompaniers for 2019, from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)


We have now opened the recruitment process for new volunteer Ecumenical Accompaniers (human rights monitors) to serve in the West Bank in 2019.

The application pack and essential documents are on our website:

The closing date is Wednesday 25th April.


Who do you say I am?, a prayer by member Kathy Galloway

Lord Jesus,
you are a Lord who walks beside your people.
So we pray for people who march for justice.

You are a Lord who raises up those who are bent low.
So we pray for those held down by the grindings of life
and the indifference of the world.

You are a Lord who feeds the hungry.
So we pray for all who long for bread
and the means to provide it.

You are a Lord who celebrates the small and the insignificant.
So we pray for the children
and for those who are never noticed.

You are a Lord who says ‘Follow me’.
So we pray for courage, faith and cheerfulness in our hearts
that we may take up the cross and find it leads to life.

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



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