Iona, Camas and Glasgow

The National Youth Work Awards have been announced – and Camas has been chosen as a finalist in the category of ‘Faith-based youth work’. Congratulations, Camas team!

National Youth Work Awards

Camas Open Weeks 2019 – more weeks added!

Spring Work Week, 25th -30th March

Easter Holiday Family Week, 8th-13th April

May Garden Week, 6th-11th May

Community Kids and Local Kids Week, 29th July-3rd August

Hebridean Adventure Camp, 5th-10th August

Camas Ex-staff and Volunteers Week, 2nd-7th September

Woodland Week, 23rd-28th September

October Garden Week, 30th September- 5th October

Autumn Work Week, 7th-12th October

For information about the weeks and how to book:

Camas programme 2019.pdf

Camas Outdoor Centre

‘Camas farewell’ , photo ©, used with permission

‘Camas Outdoor Instructor’ vacancy, from Camas

We are currently recruiting for an Outdoor Instructor to lead activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, coasteering and hillwalks, for six months, from March to September 2019.

For full details and information on how to apply

Camas Outdoor Centre

Camas photo ©

Call for Iona volunteers for 2019!

Although our centres on Iona remain closed, we have a small staff team on the island offering worship in the Abbey, and preparing for the reopening in 2020. We are now looking for volunteers to join this team, between March and October of this year, to assist with music, housekeeping, maintenance, kitchen and bookshop duties …

For full details of what’s involved and how to apply

‘Friends on the road’ © David Coleman

Wild Goose Publications Lent and Easter resources

Lent and Easter resources from John L Bell and WGRG, Sally Foster-Fulton, Jan Sutch Pickard, Ruth Burgess, Thom M Shuman, Nancy Cocks, Ann Gerondelis, Pat Bennett, Elaine Gisbourne, Peter Millar, Rebeka Maples, Roddy Cowie, Ian M Fraser, Chris Polhill – and many other wonderful and creative folk …

Lent and Easter resources from Wild Goose

Call for new material to celebrate partnerships and marriages – from Wild Goose Publications

A call here for material for a new publication to provide resources for celebrating partnerships and marriages. If you would like to contribute – anything from a prayer to a whole liturgy – please e-mail your contribution to [email protected] by the end of April 2019. Thank you!


Hadeel & Fair Trade Pop-Up Shop, February 23rd, 2019, Iona Community Base, 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow, 11am-2pm, from weeWONDERBOX

Are you …

– interested in buying food and crafts in support of fair trade, justice and – in particular – Palestinian farmers and craftworkers?

– wanting to find unique gifts and show practical solidarity with oppressed people?

– keen to source ethical brands of products that you use regularly, but are not widely or often available in shops you frequent?

Our wee pop-up shop could be the answer to your shopping dilemmas!

Since November 2018, weeWONDERBOX and Hadeel have been collaborating to regularly offer this opportunity to source unique, hard-to-get, ethical products in central Glasgow, both in occasional pop-up shop form and also through the possibility of pick-ups of pre-ordered products at the Iona Community’s Glasgow base.

On February 23rd we will feature the pop-up shop, with plenty of time to browse, plus a short presentation … and of course, refreshments.

And there will be another pop-up shop on the 23rd of March.

2019 weeWONDERBOX programme

‘Greening the darkness: Ending Lent with the Book of Kells and care for the earth’, led by Iona Community members Rosemary Power and David Coleman, 10th April-13th April, 2019, St Columba Hotel, Isle of Iona

A three-day event exploring the ancient traditions of Iona through the icon-imagery of its great manuscript, the Book of Kells, with pilgrimage around the major sites of the island, and reflection on how we can best rejoice in and care for our world.

Rosemary Power is a writer and medieval historian who works in church ministry. Her books include The Celtic Quest (Columba Press), The Story of Iona (Canterbury Press) and (forthcoming) Image and Spirituality in the Book of Kells.

David Coleman is Environmental Chaplain with Eco-Congregation Scotland. He has a post-graduate diploma in creative media and has produced numerous animated films, plays and projected installations that present Christianity in new ways.

Prices for the three days, including bed, breakfast, two-course evening meal and course fee, start at £320 each for two people sharing.

To book: [email protected]

St Columba Hotel, Iona

‘Iona rainbow’, by Francis McEvoy, ©

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

‘The most special place in the world to us’: Capital Appeal update, from Coordinator of the Appeal, Christine Jones

With 2019 underway, the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal needs the final 10% of the funding target to ‘Cross the Line’. Through the extraordinary generosity of thousands of donors, we only need to raise a further £360,000.

The final phase of the building work at Iona Abbey set off in November 2018. Here is some feedback from the Development team, Walter Dunlop and Raymond Young:

‘… Site work on the second phase of the project began at the start of November 2018. This phase involves work to the Abbey guest accommodation … Progress onsite is on programme, and relations between the various groups within the team – designers, contractors, HES, NTS and IC – are constructive. It feels like a good delivery team for a very complex project …’

As the year gets underway – we have so much to be thankful for during 2018, most especially the 1,500 donors who gave so much. The smallest donation has been £1 and the largest £882,857.30p. Almost a third of the donations have come from donors outside the UK, demonstrating the international interest in and support for the Appeal.

Here is one of the many Appeal stories, shared by an American donor who learned about the Appeal via Facebook:

‘I’m sure you know the story of George MacLeod taking six young seminarians and six unemployed dockyard workers as the first ones to start the building project in 1938. My father, J. Ernest Somerville, was one of the seminarians. He was a member of Lord MacLeod’s church in Govan whilst growing up.

After my father became a minister and worked summers building in Iona, he was called to a church in the deep south in the US in Alabama in 1949. My brother and I were born (and still live) in the US, but we spent every summer in Scotland growing up. We made the pilgrimage to Iona every summer, and stayed in Bishop’s House with the MacLeods when we were there.

My father died before Lord MacLeod and, since then, I have not known any of the leadership of the Community but have continued to make the pilgrimage to Iona from Philadelphia every summer with my own children. It is the most special place in the world to us. Three years ago, my son brought his girlfriend and they became engaged on the island. 

This summer I am bringing 21 members of my congregation.

When I saw the Abbey Appeal on Facebook, and that it was to renovate the areas that my father helped to build originally in the ’30s-’40s, I knew I had to lend my financial support.

I sent my first donation and received a whole packet of John Bell books – what a surprise! I was at that time waiting to see what funds I would have available at the end of the year to complete my donation and was able to send what I could in a second donation.

Thank you for all the work that you are doing to continue what was started by George MacLeod, with my father under his wing.

In gratitude,


We have learnt so much on this journey of faith – not least that at the heart of this miracle is the strength of relationships between the Iona Community and people across the world, who have shared in community and are committed to issues of peace and justice.


Living Lord,
we give thanks for the miracle we are living through.
As 2019 unfolds, help us to tread with care and faithfulness.
Keep our feet on the ground and hold before us the question:
‘Why are we walking in this way?’
Remind us of our roots as the inspiration for conveying hope for the future.

– Christine Jones, Coordinator, Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Members, associates and friends

A Taste of Iona: the Iona Community and the Dutch Connection – new film from the Dutch Iona Group, from member Teun kruijswijk Jansen

A Taste of Iona, which was commissioned by the Dutch Iona Group, begins with the Celtic cross of De Bilt, showing the early connection of Celtic Christianity with the Low Countries. Then Dutch group member Quirine Lodder pilgrimages to Glasgow and Iona, and lets us experience what the Iona Community and Iona mean to her – there are interviews with members Peter Millar, John Bell and Pat Bennett. In the second part of the film, a picture is given of the activities of the Dutch Iona Group.

A Taste of Iona is in Dutch with English subtitles, is approximately 45 minutes long – and includes music by the Wild Goose Resource Group.

To purchase A Taste of Iona (E.15), contact Stichting Docete in Houten, Netherlands: [email protected]

The film is also available from the Iona Community Shop on Iona (£13.00).

Teun and Peter Millar on Iona

Kerkasiel in the Netherlands, from member Teun kruijswijk Jansen

23rd December, 2018: Since the end of October 2018 Dutch churches have been involved in what in the Netherlands is called kerkasiel. Kerkasiel is a customary law that gives a church the right to receive refugees within church buildings during a religious practice.

The Dutch Protestant Church of the Hague has given a temporary home to an Armenian family (a father, mother and three children) in the Bethel-chapel. Ever since that moment there’s been a ‘relay race’ of continuous church services, day and night, to keep off the police – and give a sign that it’s not human to deport three youngsters who have lived in the Netherlands since 2009. They are part of a group of 700 asylum-seeking children. Hundreds of pastors and church workers from all denominations, including members, associates and friends of the Dutch Iona Group, have led these services – with thousands of church members and guests attending …

Update, 31st January, 2019: On Wednesday, January 30th the longest church service ever in the Hague ended, after the Dutch government decided to accept about 700 children and their parents to stay in our country. The dark side of this is that it decided at the same time to accept fewer refugees from the camps in southern Europe!

Kerkasiel took 97 days and nights, 2330 hours, almost 1000 pastors, and there were 12,000 visitors.

Lots of the pastors and visitors were connected with the Dutch Iona Group and the Iona Community.

 We are thankful and concerned.

– Teun kruijswijk Jansen (Dutch Iona Group)

Kerkasiel photo ©

Mediterranean Hope, from associate Fiona Kendall

Iona Community associate Fiona Kendall is European and Legal Affairs Advisor for Mediterranean Hope, which is ‘a project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, born from the awareness of the dramatic situation of migrants from countries in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East who try to reach the coast of Sicily by sea and, in particular, the southernmost point of the island of Lampedusa’.

Read Fiona’s blog here

‘Like the crocus’: Creating green spaces with young people, from member Susan Lindsay

During autumn 2018 I worked on a project with the Royal Horticultural Society called ‘Green Plan It Challenge’. It involved a group of mentors working with young people to develop ideas around creating green spaces. Each team had to plan, research and build a model of their garden idea and present it at the Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. It was a chance for pupils who were struggling to fit into school to find a safe space to express themselves, to find their voice and work as a team.

My team were a group of teenagers from a high school in Kirkcaldy. Each member of the group chose a different season to represent. I was extremely impressed with their efforts. They used small pieces of yellow paper to make the most intricate and delicate daffodils for spring; orange and brown materials suddenly transformed into autumn leaves falling from trees and blowing across an eerie Halloween graveyard; trees with fairy lights represented Christmas; and coconut trees, summer. Watching awkward, troubled kids escape into a world of their own creation was a real joy. And they all gained a sense of pride. I listened while they spoke of having more confidence in the future. I enjoyed seeing them using gardening as a place where community can come together and people can be equal.

The importance of creating more green spaces for all to enjoy cannot be stressed enough and I feel that the generation of young people growing up today must be guided to see gardening/horticulture as a real and valid subject to study. The benefits of being out in nature are well-documented – and the planet needs us now more than ever.

As a creative person myself, I hope that the creativity in the teenagers I met will be like the crocus (Isaiah 35:1-2): 

‘Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.’

Photo from Susan Lindsay ©

A tatty wee guide to ‘green reading’, from Environmental Chaplain with Eco-Congregation Scotland and Iona Community member David Coleman

When  you hear ‘Heaven’look at the sky, and what is happening today. The sky is perhaps ‘out of reach’, but not remote to your experience. It’s always there. It doesn’t need to be talked about to be brought to mind. And it’s in danger, same as the earth! In the Bible, Heaven/Sky are the same word, most of the time. Heaven and Earth are one Creation, and belong together, in the same breath. Look it up! Next time there’s thick fog, have a walk in Heaven! But if you insist on separating them, experience Sky first of all, and only then bring your imagination into gear for Heaven.

When you hear ‘World’touch the earth, stroke an animal, drink water. Eat bread, exchange a sign of Peace. Don’t be funnelled down only into the genuine, but not universal, narrower meaning of ‘human culture’. ‘World’ includes every living thing, every creature. This is our starting point today. This is what God so loves that he gave his only Son … And the depths of the word’s meaning suggest something worth delighting in.

When you hear ‘Spirit’go outside and stand in the wind and feel its movement. Breathe in and out. Spirit, breath and the wayward gusty wind belong together in the Bible, and require no additional rapture to step into. But if you are given some sort of rapturous vision, remember, the community needs to interpret it, rather than just you yourself. 

When you hear ‘Redemption’ always substitute ‘liberation’. Christ and the truth (both, without conflict) set us free! Freedom goes with finding your place and purpose. Don’t wait till you’re dead to find it.

When you hear obedienceobediently and faithfully question who or what it is that you are being asked to be obedient to. When at Christmas someone sings ‘Christian children all must be/mild, obedient, good as he’, read again the only story we have of Jesus’ childhood, when he disappears in the middle of a crowded city and drives his parents to distraction.

When you hear servant/slave remember that it is the useless ones that do only what they’re told.

When you hear of God in Christ Jesusremember and respect how the Church has insisted on (though also often ignored) the full and unreserved humanity of Jesus, revealing the holiness of that of which he was made. Feel your own body. Go to the toilet. Get hot, get cold. The radical implication of the Incarnation, if you don’t limply pass it off as a mere metaphor, is that Jesus also shares our evolutionary history – thus also that of all living things.

Eco-Congregation Scotland

* David will be co-leading a programme at the St Columba Hotel on Iona in April.

 Photo of David Coleman ©

News from associate members Fridah Wafula and Marksen Masinde in Kenya

Hello there, and thanks for the Coracle news flash on the Saidiana Women’s Project in the recent issue of Coracle. We are happy to note that the project’s activities have been on a steady growth path, although every step comes with its own challenges. However, given the many friends of Saidiana, each and every challenge is bound to be overcome. We are happy to be doing what we do best, i.e., uniquely touching humble hearts in the villages: water harvesting, distributing relief supplies, microfinancing and empowerment, sewing and knitting, promoting literacy levels, HIV/AIDS care, and visiting and welcoming the stranger.

In recent news: in September 2018 we had the opportunity to visit Canada for a one-month stay with friends. It was good to experience their way of life and key day-to-day activities such farming, politics, church life and leisure. We also visited Parliament as guests of the Speaker of the Assembly, attending a morning Parliamentary session on Canada’s struggle to overcome its past injustices against the indigenous people’s in Canada. One reconciliation session we attended proved so moving that tears were left flowing uncontrollably on both sides when stories were shared. This helped us to realise that it was not only in Africa that colonisation did more harm than good. Today, negative aspects of colonisation still linger in Kenya, Canada and many other countries across the world.

We therefore pray that all people of goodwill across the globe talk more: to reconcile and heal more of such past injustices, so that the world becomes a better place for all of us to inhabit. Indeed, the world is big enough and has resources enough to accommodate us all.

Best regards,
Fridah and Marksen,
Saidiana Women’s Project, Kenya

Saidiana Women’s Project photo ©

‘Different light’: Church Action on Poverty Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, from Church Action on Poverty (CAP)

From CAP:

When Jesus’ followers witnessed the Transfiguration, it helped them to see the world and their mission in a different light.

On Church Action on Poverty Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, the Gospel reading for many churches will be the story of the Transfiguration. We invite you to join us on that day in looking at things in a different light, just as the Apostles did.

– Listen to stories of how Church Action on Poverty’s work transforms lives and communities.

– Commit your church to listen more deeply to people who have been swept to the edges of society by poverty.

– Explore new perspectives on familiar Bible stories.

– Hold a collection or soup lunch – raise funds to make voices heard, tell stories and call for action.

– Use our worship materials to reflect and pray for change.

Church Action on Poverty Sunday resources

Upcoming Balfour Project events in Glasgow and Edinburgh: 14th March in Glasgow … 17th March in Edinburgh

Both the events are free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.

Glasgow: Thursday, 14 March, 19:00 to 21:30: ‘Britain, Palestine, Israel: The News from Gaza, Dispelling Myths and Telling the Truth’. To book

Edinburgh: Sunday, 17 March, 13:00 to 18:30: ‘Tragedy in Gaza, Britain’s Legacy, Scotland’s Role’. To book

The Balfour Project

A tribute to Brother Thomas (1939-2019) of the Taizé Community, and former Iona Community member, from Taizé

Brother Thomas was formerly a member of the Iona Community before joining the Taizé Community, and always retained an interest in and links with our own Community. We give thanks for his many years of faithful commitment to the common life of the gospel. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

A tribute to Brother Thomas, from the Taizé Community









Photo/icon from the Taizé website ©

Upcoming Iona Community gathering

‘Singing the Lord’s song in a strange land: Spring Iona gathering’, led by member Craig Gardiner, Saturday, 13th April 2019, 11am-4pm, South Street Baptist Church, Exeter, from member David Osborne

By the waters of Babylon we lay down and wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps as our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors laughed, saying, ‘Sing us one of the Lord’s songs!’ But how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137:1–4)

And yet they discovered that they could. In their exile the Jews began to meet in small groups, which in time came to be called synagogues. There they talked, prayed, told their stories, studied their scriptures and sang together. Songs of lament like this one, and also, in time, songs of hope and of praise.

Many of us find that it is in small groups that we can share our frustration and grief for the world, our society and the church. And in so doing, through honest talk, prayer, reflection on scripture and in song, we can perhaps begin to hope. Sharing our different views and experiences, our insights and abilities, and our lost and renewed hopes we receive encouragement and new energy. Small groups have always been a key part of the life of the Iona Community.

Craig Gardiner is a musician, theologian, Baptist minister and member of the Iona Community. His recent book, Melodies of a New Monasticism: Bonhoeffer’s Vision, Iona’s Witness, compares the views and ideas of George MacLeod and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and traces how the Iona Community that MacLeod founded fulfils something of what Bonhoeffer envisaged. Using a key image of Bonhoeffer’s, that of making music, he gives pointers for the future of the Community, the church and society. 

The day will include worship in the Iona Community style, music, a bring-and-share lunch, a bookstall, information, discussion and Iona Community news from the South West and beyond.

There is no charge, but contributions are invited towards the cost: suggestion £7.

To book or to find out more please contact David Osborne at [email protected]


‘As the days lengthen’, by Jan Sutch Pickard, from the new Wild Goose Publications book Spring, edited by Ruth Burgess

Alpha and Omega, you were there at our beginning
and you will be there at our end.
Coasts and islands wait for the dawn,
the dark sea surrounds us like waters in the womb,
like the last river we have to cross.
We wait, trusting, seeing the sky lightening, horizons opening up,
colours of dawn dancing across restless waves.

Spirit of God, in Jesus, you shared our birth and our mortality,
and you are present with us now. We wait.
The clouds become bright, the rocks glow,
our hearts catch fire with sudden joy – the sun rises.
Rise in our hearts, we pray, today and every day.

God of creation, you greet us every new day,
and, as the days lengthen, we see green shoots of spring;
snowdrops, faithful in their presence year by year;
lengthening days and sunlit moments,
all these speak to us of your love.
We praise you for these signs of your life-giving Spirit
and for Jesus, who embodied that love,
who came to share our human lives,
calling men and women to follow him,
and to be salt and light in their communities;
Jesus who listened and shared meals, taught and healed,
walked country tracks and city streets in the land that we call Holy;
who kept the faith and challenged apathy and abuse of power;
who was rejected and reviled, tortured and nailed to a cross.
Who died.
And who rose again, like the sun in the morning,
so all the world can see that your love is stronger than death.
We praise you now in the power of the Spirit,
enlivening, encouraging – and present with us now.

– Jan Sutch Pickard, from Spring: Liturgical Resources for February, March and April, including Lent and Holy Week, Ruth Burgess (Ed.), Wild Goose Publications, 2019

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