Iona, Camas and Glasgow

Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet), St Paul’s Youth Forum, Edinburgh’s Grassmarket Project – just some of the groups who have visited Camas this summer

For all the latest Camas news see the wonderful Camas blog:

Camas Diary

Camas photo, from the Iona Community website, photo ©

Camas 70th anniversary ceilidh, Saturday 18th August, 2018, Bunessan Hall, Isle of Mull

Camas Open Weeks in 2018

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).

To book, please contact Carol at: [email protected] 


‘Fresh harvest’ © Rachel Daniels (a former Camas volunteer), photo © Rachel Daniels

Iona Community Young Adults Group at Camas

A nice pic here of some members of the Iona Community Young Adults Group, who met at Camas in July for a planning meeting/gathering. More about this new group in the next Coracle!

Photo of Iona Community Young Adults Group ©

The ‘Iona Abbey Refectory Café’ is now open!, from Abbey Cook Anja Jardine

On Monday 2nd of July, the ‘Iona Abbey Refectory Café’ opened its doors to the public.

I think it was Business Director Bénédicte Scholefield’s idea to run a café in the refectory, to open it up to visitors to the Abbey. I loved the idea immediately, and having been very much involved in setting it up. I felt very proud when we welcomed our first customers on the Monday morning.

We have an amazing international core team: in front of house there are Hylke from the Netherlands and Miriam from Spain. In the kitchen there are Paty, a very talented and warm young woman from Paraguay, and Stina from Finland, who worked with me previously as a volunteer and is now employed as second chef. Community members, associates and former staff have joined us, or will be joining us, to make up the café team. There is lots of hard work to come, for sure, but we already love the interaction with the colourful variety of people coming through our doors. It’s like in the ‘olden days’ when the Community ran a coffee house.

So, if you are on Iona this summer (we will be open until the end of September) come and see us and have a big piece of cake.


Photo © Anja Jardine

‘I have but one weapon: His love’ – volunteering as resident musician on Iona, from associate member Philip Fox

‘Calling for volunteers’ is what it said, that e-mail I received from Iona back in February.

Despite a pretty full schedule in our home area I sensed a personal call, fuelled by vivid memories of more than a dozen past occasions when it was my privilege and joy to stand in for a resident musician if they were ill or going on holiday.

So for a month – amidst Abbey renovations, refurbishments and elements of uncertainty – I found myself musically contributing to the daily routines of worship, central to the life of the Abbey, and doing odd jobs as able!

What odd jobs? … Well, moving furniture and numerous boxes of ‘essentials’, including paintings; mowing swathes of Dunsmeorach and Shuna grass; weeding the herb garden; sundry laundry duties; bicycle puncture repair – first time I’ve done this in 50 years!; and delivering Coracles to properties on the island …

Events, highlights and Godlights: false fire alarms; watching the royal wedding with other vollies; persistent calling of a cuckoo for at least a fortnight; thick mist covering the island for more than a day; sailing trip aboard Birthe Marie and sighting porpoises; meals outside Dunsmeorach and in the Garden of Rest; basking in warm sunshine; the opportunity to write more music with a devotional focus; imaginative food a-plenty from magnificent cooks; spiritual joy and uplift not merely dominant in the Abbey but also in very focused ‘Lectio Divina’ Bible studies with Heinz and Margery Toller; prayer meetings at the Catholic House of Prayer; meeting and working with very special old and new friends; the ‘tissue-thinness’ of the place repeatedly revealing itself; a real sense of walking with divine presence, especially so at the end of my stay when joining in the Columba Day celebrations; ceilidh in the cloisters …

Finally, I was struck by words of St Columba, which were on a plaque on a chair in the Garden of Rest: ‘I have but one weapon. His love. I love and lo I conquer.’ This message in today’s madly conflicting world could hardly be more relevant. I felt urged to write the following, which a small group of us were able to sing in the morning service on 8th June, the day before St Columba’s Day:

Cantor: I have but one weapon. His love. I love and lo I conquer.

Cantor: When we’re at war in body or mind, confronting fear, the wrong, the blind,
do we resort to utmost force, determined to assert our rights?

Cantor: I have but one weapon. His love. I love and lo I conquer.

Cantor: Assailed by hate, the devil’s worst, exposing weakness and our sin,
what shall we do, what shall we say? Columba’s words show us the way:

Cantor: I have but one weapon. His love. I love and lo I conquer.

Cantor: Man’s manufactured guns and bombs, his nuclear lust beyond control
no victory gives, and snuffs out care. Will humankind His message share?

Cantor: I have but one weapon. His love. I love and lo I conquer.

Photo of Philip Fox ©

At the beginning of July, Iona Community member Colin Douglas (who has also been volunteering on Iona), completed a sponsored swim of the Sound of Iona in aid of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, and in celebration of his 76th birthday.

Colin says: ‘As a Kirk minister I have always seen the Iona Community as a welcome counter to belonging to a conservative institution like the Kirk. The Iona Community encourages me in my attempts to proclaim and embody the principles of the social gospel.’

It took Colin a mere 30 minutes to swim the Sound! And a nice bunch of abbey folk welcomed him at Martyrs’ Bay.

Congratulations, Colin – and thank you so much for your contribution to the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal. And happy birthday!

Photo of Colin Douglas ©

‘Isle of Iona Community Council’ message to the Iona Community on the launch of the public phase of the Iona Community’s Iona Abbey Capital Appeal …

Strange Majesty: the hymns of Leith Fisher, edited by Douglas Galbraith – new book from Wild Goose Publications

If ever a book was written about Leith Fisher’s life, it would need numerous chapters to cover his many gifts, interests and life experiences. Leith was a parish minister in the Church of Scotland in Glasgow and Falkirk, a member of the Iona Community, a broadcaster, contributing to BBC’s Thought for The Day; he served on presbytery committees, and was Convener of the General Assembly’s Panel on Worship. He was a gifted speaker (and also a gifted listener) and his pastoral abilities were legendary. In a tribute to him following his death in 2009 Leith was described as ‘one of the ablest ministers of his generation’.

For all his activity, Leith was also at his desk, sometimes late into the night, writing poems, articles, reports, life-changing letters, gospel commentaries, prayers – and hymns.

Seven of these were included in the fourth edition of the Church Hymnary (2005), and hymns like ‘For your generous providing’ and ‘Christ is our light’ are now established in the song of the church.

At his death Leith left a number of unpublished songs and hymns, the best of which editor Douglas Galbraith has had the privilege of bringing together here, with Leith’s pieces from CH4, in this collection.

Like most good hymns, these started life in a local parish or situation, and explore themes not easily found in the standard repertoire. They are set not only to known hymn tunes but to traditional Scottish melodies, including from the Hebridean tradition, which was a much-loved part of the author’s musical landscape.

It is hoped that these songs will add to the quality and breadth of the praise and prayer of the church.

Douglas Galbraith has edited several publications, including Leap, My Soul, hymns from Africa gathered by Tom Colvin; Worship in the Wide Red Land; The Church of Scotland Year Book; the church music magazine Different Voices, and was on the editorial committees of Common Ground and the Church Hymnary (CH4). He is a retired minister of the Church of Scotland and of the Uniting Church in Australia, and is a member of the Iona Community.

Strange Majesty

The warriors who do not fight, by Alison Phipps and Tawona Sitholé – new book from Wild Goose Publications

In September 2015 the world woke up to the fact that people seeking refuge from war and persecution were drowning by their thousands in the Mediterranean. From sub-Saharan Africa and conflicts across the Middle East bodies moved, died or survived. Alison Phipps and Tawona Sitholé were working together in Ghana at the time, which is where this conversation in poetry began. In an echoing call and response they offer words for these times of war; ways of wondering what it means to resist; to suffer with; to bear witness; to seek companionship; to be part of the agony of a family made in love, and parting, separated by land, sea and paperwork.

Alison Phipps is UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts; Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow; and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network.

Tawona Sitholé is a Zimbabwean writer and musician. He is Poet in Residence with the UNESCO Chair programme of Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow and is co-founder of Seeds of Thought, which promotes creative writing and performance.

This is a confluence of voices inspired by seemingly different, yet very similar, experiences, which forms a wholesome body that flows smoothly, massaging all your five senses.
– Chirikure Chirikure, poet, Harare, Zimbabwe

A special offering from two gifted lovers of the Word. The Word as a healer’s bittersweet medicine for troubled hearts and minds. The Word as nourishing sounds and voices that take us back to ancestral time.
– Kofi Anyidoho, poet and Professor of Literature, University of Ghana

Beautiful, heart-warming, poignant. I totally recommend this book.
– Amal Azzudin, Glasgow Girl and human rights activist

Luminous, beautiful and sore. Poetry that is lyrical and tender, wounded and elegiac, probing and incantatory. And above all else life-affirming.
– Karine Polwart, Scottish singer-songwriter

The warriors who do not fight



The Iona Community and John Bell at the Greenbelt Festival, 24-27 August, 2018

‘From darkness into dawn’ – an Easter retreat on Iona with John Bell, 17th-22nd April, 2019, from Iona Community Programmes Development Worker, Pat Bennett

We are delighted to announce that our 2019 ‘Seasonal Encounters’ programme at the St Columba Hotel will begin with a Holy Week retreat from 17th-22nd April led by Rev John Bell.

Running from the Wednesday of Holy Week through to Easter Monday, ‘From darkness into dawn’ will offer guests the opportunity – through John’s sessions and the liturgical dramas of the Holy Week services at Iona Abbey – to immerse themselves in a different way in the Passion Week narratives.

Prices start from £745 per person and include full board at the St Columba Hotel and programme fees. Book online via the hotel website or by calling +44 (0)1681 700304.

 Photo by A. Murray ©

Iona Prayer Circle

The Iona Prayer Circle was established by the Iona Community for people and situations that require prayer over a period of time. This network of prayer takes place across the world.

For more information:

Iona Prayer Circle

Iona Prayer Circle liturgies

Iona Prayer Circle Coordinator: [email protected]

Prayer Circle Photo ©

Members, associates and friends

Iona Community Co-Leader Kathy Galloway gives keynote address at Eurodiaconia Annual General Meeting in Poland, 13th-15th June, 2018

Eurodiaconia is a European network of 45 churches and Christian NGOs providing social and health care services and advocating social justice. The theme of Eurodiaconia 2018 was ‘What is the future of social Europe?’.

Kathy’s address here:



Photo of Kathy Galloway ©

Fundraising for Camas trip for refugees, from associate Angela Rennie

From Angela Rennie:

In 2016 I worked in the refugee camp in Dunkirk and met many amazing people. Some of these people are now resident in the UK, working hard, but with little resources for holidays. I would love to be able to offer them the opportunity of a break in a beautiful place – Camas Outdoor Centre on the Isle of Mull – and can do this (for 10 people) if we can raise £2000 by the end of July. 

For more information and to help

Thank you,


‘Camas folk’, by David Coleman ©

From Heartbeat and friend of the Iona Community John Philip Newell

From Heartbeat:

John Philip Newell teaches that the word ‘sin’ comes from the old German word sünde, meaning ‘to rip apart’ (sunder). In recent weeks, we at Heartbeat have been horrified, outraged and heartbroken by the sins at the border of the United States: families being ripped apart, detained and neglected.

Vanessa Johnson, a former Chair of the Heartbeat board, lives in El Paso, TX. We asked her to share some of her observations and reflections on what is happening in her community with us and with you. Last year, Heartbeat granted $5,000 to Annunciation House in El Paso to support their work with refugees. Annunciation House not only meets the immediate needs of individuals and families (many being released from detention), but also advocates for a humane response to the plight of migrants and fights against the rampant misinformation that is informing recent policy decisions in the U.S. Heartbeat is committed to continuing to support the work of Annunciation House and other similar organisations working to support migrants and refugees.

A letter from El Paso from Vanessa Johnson

Photo of Annunciation House from Heartbeat website, photo ©

Member Bob Thomas completes Columba Walk for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal and Friends Without Borders, by Bob Thomas

When Iona Community members were asked last year to think of ways of helping to raise money for the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, the old chestnut of a sponsored walk came to mind. Although the idea of walking between two St Columba churches was because of the saint’s connection with Iona, it also seemed an appropriate challenge for me to undertake because I have had some mobility issues. It seemed a good idea, now that I can walk a bit better, to contribute towards giving folk with mobility issues more ready access to the Abbey’s accommodation.  

We set off from St Columba’s (C of E) Church in Fareham, Hampshire after morning service on 3rd June and headed north along the disused Meon Valley railway line, now an excellent path for walkers. We picked up two long-distance walking routes in the St Swithun’s Way from Ropley to Farnham and the North Downs Way from Farnham to Guildford, where we were welcomed for Evensong at the Cathedral. Next we took the Wey Navigation canal-side path that led us to the Thames. From there it was along the river to Hampton Court and Teddington Lock, through Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath. We arrived at St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Pont Street, London to be welcomed at their St Columba Day service on 10th June. Overnight stays were varied: a pub b&b, a very generous homestay for pilgrims, the St Columba Retreat House in Woking and also with friends and family.

The purpose of the walk was, of course, to raise money but it was also a pilgrimage, allowing time and space for reflection, prayer, conversation and contact with interesting people and places, and opportunities to talk about Iona, the work of the Iona Community and the objectives of the Capital Appeal. My walking companion all the way to London was Chris Merrien, an Iona associate from Chichester. Two other friends walked from Fareham to near Weybridge and various other folk joined in along the way for a little stretch each. There were many casual conversations with folk out walking their dogs or hiking, and many positive connections and coincidences, not least the links between Iona and St Columba’s Pont Street, where the minister, Angus MacLeod, is a distant relative of George MacLeod and a descendant of one of Iona’s former ministers. A large piece of Iona marble adorns the entrance to the church.

As well as raising nearly £6000 for the Abbey Appeal, the Columba Walk has so far raised almost £1000 to help refugees and asylum seekers in Portsmouth through the charity Friends Without Borders, which was the subject of my Iona Community New Members Programme Project.

My connection with St Columba’s in London is continuing as I’m helping to coordinate a ‘Big Sing’ there with John Bell and others on 21 October 2018, which will hopefully raise some more funds for the Appeal.

Thanks to everyone who offered me their support for the walk, whether financial, practical or spiritual!

– Bob Thomas


Photo of Bob Thomas ©

Iona Community members take part in chain-in action for UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, from Angie Zelter and Trident Ploughshares

On 20th June, 2018, almost 50 people [including Iona Community members Jean Oliver, Douglas Shaw and Brian Quail] chained themselves to the railings at the Houses of Parliament, opposite Portcullis House. They were supported by another 50 or so people, which included a choir from Knighton in Wales, who handed out hundreds of leaflets. MPs were phoned and five came out. They were asked to back the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The protest was organised by Trident Ploughshares and supported by CND Cymru and CND Yorkshire.

Photo from Douglas Shaw ©

Glasgow’s Arms Fair – and a partially successful protest?, by associate Duncan Macintyre

The international Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference is a weapons fair held annually, attracting armament companies and military representatives from over 40 countries. This year, at the end of June, it was held at the SEC in Glasgow with lead sponsors BAE Systems and Babcock, two of the three main companies involved in the Trident renewal programme, and with approval from Glasgow City Council.  

In May a coalition of groups came together to protest Glasgow’s involvement with UDT and to highlight the contribution of the international arms trade to conflict worldwide. A protest was held at City Chambers. Letters and comment to the leader of the City Council were sent from a range of political, trade union, medical and church organisations with a lead from Scottish Peace Network, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Scottish CND. This led up to demonstrations in Buchanan Street on the Saturday before the event, and at the SEC when the arms fair started.

Did the protests achieve anything? It was of course too late to cancel the conference. But the ‘People Make Glasgow’ branding was removed from promotional material and the chairman of Glasgow Life has indicated that such events will be banned in the future.

On September 22, 2018 there will be a major protest against another huge factor in military build-up. Peace activists from around the world will join Scottish and UK society for a gathering at Faslane to emphasise that opposition to Trident is based on international and not just Scottish concerns and to call again for UK involvement with the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

For information on the upcoming Faslane rally

Photo from Douglas Shaw ©

New members of the Iona Community hallowed

Annie Benjamin, Judith Ilett and Jacqui Morton were hallowed as members of the Iona Community at a Community gathering in June. If you haven’t already met these wonderful, lovely folk – meet them here! (Ed.)

Annie Benjamin (the Netherlands):

‘Being hallowed was a really good experience: it was holy and down to earth at the same time. It really gave me a boost in life.

I wanted to become a member of the Iona Community because of the people, not because of the island: to be connected with people who feel a certain responsibility for ‘the earth and all its people’, for God’s world. I can’t do this on my own, but together we are so much stronger and we can help each other.

I’m working as a district nurse in Ede, the place where I live. It is interesting to care for people in their homes. It is hard as well, for people have to stay at home as long as possible, and sometimes I think: they can’t manage any longer. We do our best.

I’m in between volunteer jobs. I’d been a member of a liturgy working group for about ten years. Now I’m thinking of other things to do.

Lately I’ve been really inspired by the book/study guide Queer Virtue, by Elizabeth M. Edman. I want to tell some LGBT organisations in the Netherlands about this book; hopefully it will energise our movement. I think the book can help to revitalise churches as well. And I think it could be interesting for the Community too.

Other than that, I like to work in my allotment, write in my diary, read books, play the recorder, sing in the church choir and try to keep some order in my house.’


Photo of Annie Benjamin ©

Judith Ilett (England):

‘A successful and satisfying career in education (school and university) ended in a painful redundancy. I embarked on a gap year and was guided to Iona to work as a volunteer. It proved transformational. I was cared for, encouraged and challenged by Community members. My faith deepened and I began a new stage in my life walking alongside people on the margins. A training in chaplaincy prepared me for work in prison and mentoring ex-offenders. Currently I volunteer in a food bank and share life with refugees. I belong to the Cumbria Family Group. It is a blessing and a privilege to be a member of the Iona Community and I thank all who have supported and challenged me.’


Photo of Judith Ilett ©

Jacqui Morton (England):

‘I was ordained in the Church of England in 2000. My first visit to Iona was in 2001 with a Mothers’ Union group from Lincolnshire. I loved Iona so much I decided to bring my own group the following year – and have been almost every year since. I live in Alford and belong to the Norwich Family Group, and value the fellowship. The New Members Programme was another great opportunity for fellowship, and I have been investigating the issue of modern slavery, a particular problem in the food supply chain in Lincolnshire and in car washes; it’s something we all need to be aware of. I am now retired from my job as a senior information officer in the health service but continue my church ministry, introducing WGRG resources as often as I can! The hallowing service, indeed the whole weekend, was a wonderful time and I look forward to Community Week in the Netherlands.’

Photo of Jacqui Morton ©

‘Nourishing in body, mind and spirit’: Annual gathering of the New England region of the Iona Community, 8th June, 2018, from member Leslie Simonson

The coast of Maine is still exquisite after all these centuries … so the annual gathering of the New England region of the Iona Community saw us not only enjoying each other but also splendid early summer weather. We traditionally try to meet on the Friday/Saturday nearest to St Columba’s Day. The Prayer Book is our guide and friend. The planning group of three makes a great effort to recruit as many folk as possible to share in the leadership of each session. The Roman Catholic retreat centre accommodation is simple (and thus more affordable), the food is excellent, and we are becoming more and more acquainted with each other with each passing opportunity. One brand-new associate joined in this time around, and it is a special blessing to be able to grow our numbers as well as our depth of relationship.

Our enthusiasm ran high and joy ran free since we were barely a week past the announcement that the ‘Miracle in May’ had truly been accomplished! Phyllis Ives brought us some of the happy details.

Checking in with each other can often take hours because it is so long between gatherings, but our sharing is rich and our listening is deep, and worship, as ever when the Community gathers in any form, was very musical and memorable, nourishing in body, mind and spirit.

If you are contemplating a trip across the Hudson River, or across the Atlantic Ocean, the dates for next year are June 7th and 8th. Join us! ‘How good and how pleasant it is to live together in unity.’

– Leslie Simonson, for the group

New England gathering photo © Caitlin Purinton 

Melodies of a New Monasticism: Bonhoeffer’s Vision, Iona’s Witness: New book from Iona Community member Craig Gardiner

‘The New Monastic Movement is a vibrant source of renewal for the church’s life and mission. Many involved in this movement have quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conviction that the church must recover ancient spiritual disciplines if it is to effectively engage ‘the powers that be’. Melodies of a New Monasticism adopts a musical metaphor of polyphony to articulate the way that these early Christian virtues can be woven together in community. Creatively using this imagery, this book draws on the theological vision of Bonhoeffer and the contemporary witness of George MacLeod and the Iona Community to explore the interplay between discipleship, doctrine and ethics. A recurring theme is the idea of Christ as the cantus firmus (the fixed song) around which people perform the diverse harmonies of God in church and world, including worship, ecumenism, healing, peace, justice and ecology.

Craig Gardiner is Tutor of Christian Doctrine at the South Wales Baptist College and Honorary Senior Tutor, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University. He is a Baptist minister, amateur musician and member of the Iona Community.’

Melodies of a New Monasticism

A tribute to member Maggie Birley

Maggie Birley, beloved wife, mother, daughter and friend, passed away on the evening of the 23rd June surrounded by her family after a long struggle with cancer. We hold Maggie’s family and friends in prayers and love.

Following is a short tribute to Maggie by Co-leader of the Iona Community Kathy Galloway. A fuller tribute to Maggie will follow in Coracle.


Iona resurrection cross (MacLean’s Cross) photo by David Coleman ©

Upcoming Iona Community gathering

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).

Photo from the Mennonite Holiday and Conference Centre website ©

News, campaigns, rallies and resources

‘Together Against Trump’: National Demo, London, Friday 13 July, from the Stop the War Coalition

For more info

Nae Nukes International Rally, Faslane, 22nd September, 2018, from Scottish CND

From Scottish CND:

The aim of the rally is to highlight the strength of support from many UN member states for Scotland, a country hosting nuclear weapons against its wishes. As things stand we cannot become a party to the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons but there are lots of ways in which we can align ourselves to the Treaty. The September rally will be a fine opportunity to mark our determination to do so …

More information

Becoming Human Together: A theological reflection on migration, from Christian Aid and Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees

To download:

Becoming Human Together

Fix Universal Credit: Petition, from End Hunger UK

From End Hunger UK:

End Hunger UK’s national petition is calling on the Prime Minister to fix Universal Credit to prevent people going hungry. Evidence from frontline food aid providers across the UK reveals that the rollout of Universal Credit is currently causing hardship for vulnerable people, and putting pressure on emergency food supplies.

Fix Universal Credit: Petition

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

From the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is a community of people working together for peace, equality and justice, and against racism, occupation and colonisation.

Together we are the biggest organisation in the UK dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights.

PSC brings people from all walks of life together to campaign for Palestinian rights and freedom.

PSC campaigns

Photo from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website ©


Alison Phipps and Tawona Sitholé, two poems from The warriors who do not fight, by Alison Phipps and Tawona Sitholé, Wild Goose Publications

Two poems from The warriors who do not fight

Wild Goose Publications

Tawona Sitholé and Alison Phipps, photo ©


Practical theology and the NHS, by member Ian M Fraser

On the 70th anniversary of the NHS (Ed.):

Theology is a most practical and compelling discipline and its use is called for today as much as it was at any other time in history.

Speaking about his washing of the feet of the disciples, Jesus spoke of the sign he had given as making it clear that if he, the disciples’ Lord and Teacher, acted as a servant they should follow his example using two ‘ifs’: ‘If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.’ Theology demands action, not just words.

Take the NHS as an example. When Nye Bevan launched it in 1948 he declared it to be not only a socialist but a Christian enterprise. It meets up with the biblical affirmation that all human beings are made in the image of God: if the Queen and the poorest in the land have a health problem they should both get appropriate and adequate treatment.

I repeat my conviction that the NHS as a genuine public service is theologically rooted …

Ian M Fraser died in 2018. He was a long-time member of the Iona Community.

Photo of Ian M Fraser by David Coleman ©


With your justice and peace at its heart (A prayer for the Iona Community), by member Peter Cope

Lord of our journey,
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.

– Peter Cope, from We Bring You Everything and Tip It Out In Front of You: New Prayers from the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications


Share →

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop us a note so we can take care of it!