Iona, Camas, Glasgow

Camas finalist at National Youth Work Awards

From Rachel McCann, a member of the Camas Committee:

‘Collecting our finalist certificate on behalf of the Camas Centre and the fab team there. Well done to Benjamin Stuart Raw [former Iona Community youth worker] for winning this category. A great night celebrating inspiring young folk and youth projects at the National Youth Work Awards.’

– Rachel McCann, member of the Camas Committee

Photo of Rachel McCann and Co-Leader of the Iona Community Kathy Galloway ©

Camas Open Weeks 2019

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’ © copyright, used with permission

ColumbaFest 2019 and Early Birds, from weeWONDERBOX

Early Birds will be interested in hearing that weeWONDERBOX’s biggest event, ColumbaFest, returns for a third year to central Glasgow on the weekend of 7-9th June, 2019

This year’s theme, ‘Wandering + Wondering’, invites us to consider the physical, spiritual and emotional journeys, voyages and pilgrimages we go on in life as we wrestle with faith, politics and art today. Inspired by the life of St Columba, current global events and a sense of adventure, we are developing a diverse programme of talks, walks, music, art, discussion and worship.

You’ll no doubt also be interested to know that so far we’ve confirmed the following contributors: John L. Bell, Jane Dallas Ross, Kathy Galloway, Mary Ann Kennedy, Debbie Lewer, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Alison Phipps and EXP Cowal. In addition there’ll be urban hikes and pilgrimages, creative activities, those regular features – a Columba Liturgy and Coffee, Croissants + News – and much more, soon to be added.

And fittingly, for Early Birds we have Early Bird Ticket offers (available at these discounts until 22nd April, 2019):

Adult Weekend Pass (Early Bird): £67.50

Concession Weekend Pass (Early Bird): £40.50

Youth (12-17) Weekend Pass: £27.00        

Group of 3 Weekend Pass (Early Bird): £180.00 … a saving of 20% on the full Adult price for the weekend

Group of 4 Weekend Pass (Early Bird): £225.00 … a saving of 25% on the full Adult price for the weekend

Group of 6 Weekend Pass (Early Bird): £315.00 … a saving of 30% on the full Adult price for the weekend

Youth Leader/Carer Weekend Pass: Free

Other Day and part-Day tickets will be released in a little while for pre-ordering. Tickets will also be available on the door on the day, too.

Keep an eye out for more programme announcements coming soon on:


ColumbaFest Facebook

ColumbaFest Instagram

weeWONDERBOX is a collaboration between the Iona Community’s Programme team and the Wild Goose Resource Group.

Columba head and shoulders on yellow back ground

Beyond Brexit: Prayers at a time of division, by members of the Iona Community – new download from Wild Goose Publications

Prayers and other readings – on the environment, the economy, workers’ rights, Europe’s peace project, borders … – from Iona Community members Rosemary Power, David Coleman, Ewan Aitken, Tony Phelan, Stephan Arras, Heinz Toller and Thom M Shuman.

Beyond Brexit: Prayers at a time of division

Autumn retreats on Iona, 2019, from Iona Community Programmes Development Worker, Pat Bennett

Following the success of our 2017 and 2018 Autumn Encounters series, we’re delighted to offer three further retreats this October -November.

Based once again at the St Columba Hotel, these 5-night, led retreats offer the chance to stop, draw breath and take stock against the beautiful colourscape of Iona in autumn.

Each retreat is very different – there’s a chance to immerse yourself in poetry, in creative seasonal playfulness of various kinds, and in an exploration the paradoxical play of light and shade in art and faith.

For further information on each retreat:

‘Ripening in Wisdom: Elder Poets as Sages for the Harvest of Life’, 18th-23rd October, with Mark Burrows, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

‘Kicking Leaves and Kindling Fires’, 23rd-28th October, with Jo Love, Wild Goose Resource Group:

‘Lighting the Dark, Darkening the Light: Exploring Shadows of Art and Faith’, 28th October-2nd November, with Debbie Lewer, University of Glasgow:

Prices start at £735 per person and include continental breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation and programme charges.

Places can be reserved via the St Columba website or by phoning the hotel on 44 (0)1681-700-304.

Photo from the Iona Community website ©

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Phase 1 work on Iona is completed – and Phase 2 work is well underway.

We need a final push to raise the last funds so that the residential and community space can reopen in time for Easter 2020 and the Abbey Centre can continue to be a living place of hospitality, where people can find sanctuary and inspiration.

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

I was a pilgrim
that summer
I went to Iona.

I worshipped in an abbey
and walked under stars.

I saw and heard God
in many new ways.

I went home
feeling good.

I went on living,
meeting God in new ways
in old places.
I was surprised.

Being a pilgrim
does something to you
that changes you forever.

It puts you
on the road
with God.

Ruth Burgess, a member of the Iona Community, from Iona of My Heart: Daily Readings Wild Goose Publications

(The royalties from Iona of My Heart go to the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal.)

‘Iona heart’ © David Coleman

‘Concrete and non-concrete’: St John’s Cross, Iona, from member Jan Sutch Pickard

This is the intriguing title of a study conducted in Iona over the last couple of years. Sally Foster from the University of Stirling, and a colleague, were looking at the story of St John’s Cross – of its origins, the fragility of its design, its downfall, and its restoration. But they were also looking at what it represents to the thousands of people who see it every year. This beautiful cross standing outside Columba’s Shrine is iconic – yet it is ‘only’ a concrete replica. But does that make a difference to the devotion it inspires? The study involved in-depth interviews with islanders, tourists, pilgrims, Iona Community members, staff in the Centres; there were sessions with the schoolchildren, and the showing of a film about the project to cast it in concrete, and the journey to put it back in place.

Some of you who read this may have been interviewed, and others may be interested in the conclusions of the researchers:

‘Concrete and non-concrete: Exploring the contemporary value and authenticity of historic replicas through an ethnographic study of the St John’s Cross replica, Iona’,  Sally M Foster and Siân Jones, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 25 (11)

‘The untold heritage value and significance of replicas’, Sally M Foster and Siân Jones, Conservation and Management of Heritage Sites, University of Stirling, 2019

I believe that this study is relevant to us because the whole Abbey is a piece of reconstruction (in which we as a Community had and have a part) and is still a place where faith is rekindled.

– Jan Sutch Pickard

St John’s Cross, Iona, photo ©

Members, associates and friends

‘The call of silence’: Dutch Iona Group weekend, 24-26th May, 2019, Dopersduin, Schoorl, from the Dutch Iona Group

The theme of this year’s annual meeting of the Dutch Iona Group is ‘Silence’. What is the nature of silence? What does it bring you … where does it take you? Silence is associated with the way in: into your soul, into God. During this weekend we will try to find the way in, but also the way out – into the world in which we live.


The Dutch Iona Group

Photo from Dopersduin website, ©

New members gathering at Ilkley, March 2019

From the Iona Community’s Facebook page:

‘Reflecting the Iona Community’s eclectic nature, a wonderfully diverse group of 15 folk on our New Members programme spent a weekend on the edge of the beautiful West York Moors recently. Alongside Co-Leader Christian MacLean and three other members, they spent time getting to know one another and exploring in more depth the life, spirituality and Rule of the Iona Community.’

A blessing on a new member of the Iona Community

May the grace of God shine on your face.
May the justice of God encourage you.
May the courage of God support you in the dark times.
May the power of God keep you humble
and the humility of God inspire you.
May the generosity of God surprise you.
May the radiance of God dazzle you.
May the faithfulness of God give you hope –
today and always.

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

New members at Ilkley photo ©

Glasgow Girls, from Chair of the Scottish Refugee Council and member of the Iona Community, Peter Lloyd

Did you get to see the inspiring musical Glasgow Girls that was in theatres here in Scotland in January and February? It told the true story of six girls from Drumchapel High who campaigned in 2005 for the freedom of their school friend Agnesa and her Roma gypsy family, who were grabbed in a dawn raid and driven to the detention centre at Yarlswood in England to be deported to Kosovo (deemed to be a safe country) where they would have been killed.

The local community supported the girls, whom they saw as their own, and who the media called ‘the Glasgow Girls’. The musical shows the successful return of Agnesa and her family, who obtained refugee status; but then showed the forced deportation of another family on a flight back to Afghanistan. The musical closed with the cast telling the packed audiences that all who fight for the rights of asylum seekers are ‘Glasgow Girls’.

So how can we support asylum seekers? In terms of a few current campaigns: encouraging your MP to support the Family Reunification Bill to allow unaccompanied children in the UK to sponsor their family members to join them here; to end indefinite immigration detention; and to ‘lift the ban’, giving asylum seekers the right to work.

But what is apparent from the inhumane way that so much of the asylum progress works is that it is based on the deliberate ‘hostile environment’ which in turn is underpinned by racism. So please pray against this evil and for all who suffer in so many ways from it.

– Peter Lloyd, Scottish Refugee Council

Scottish Refugee Council

Refugee stories

Scottish Refugee Council photo ©

‘Sanctuary, freedom and respite on the way’, from Iona Community associate John Leech in Tucson, Arizona

Since Epiphany I have been volunteering at the Sanctuary of Perpetual Adoration, a former Benedictine monastery which has been transformed into a temporary shelter for those who seek asylum in the United States. Here, quietly, with no fanfare, volunteers from various churches welcome individuals and groups, who receive hospitality: food, attention to medical needs, a place to sleep, warm clothing, and a chance to connect with the folk ahead on their journeys and the people back home.

These folk have been interviewed and released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and are headed by bus to connect with sponsors across the country – in Houston, New York, Chicago, D.C., Florida … They have come from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua. They tap the flags on the wall of the comedor as they go by, to show where they come from.

Today’s weary travellers have been accompanied by Our Lady of Guadalupe, or the Holy Child of Atocha. A century and a half ago, some of my ancestors were accompanied by a different holy figure, a former slave named Patrick. And they too sought sanctuary, freedom and a respite on the way from hospitable people who saw what was really going on.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Child of Atocha, Saint Patrick, pray for us. Jesus dwell with us forever.

– John Leech, Arizona

Photo of John Leech, by Adam Buchanan, © used with permission

Scottish Clergy Against Nuclear Arms (SCANA) annual peace witness at Faslane, April 13, 2019, from Iona Community member John Harvey

This year we’re holding our annual peace witness on Saturday April 13th, the day before Palm Sunday, at the North Gate of Faslane, between 12.00 and 1.00pm. It will follow the usual pattern, of prayers and readings and the sharing of bread and wine – no sit-downs or protests – and a picnic afterwards, if the weather is fine.


John Harvey

Photo © David Coleman

John Bell’s visit to Australia, 6th May-2nd June 2019, from our friends at the Wellspring Community

Tour dates:

Perth, 6-7 May

Adelaide, 8-10 May

Melbourne, 11-13 May

Brisbane and Gold Coast, 15-19 May

Sydney, 26-27 May

Newcastle, 29-30 May

Blue Mountains, 31 May-2 June

For more information

The Wellspring Community

Photo of John Bell, by A Murray ©

Associate member Gameli Tordzro and Ha Orchestra at Edinburgh Centre of African Studies (ECAS) conference, University of Edinburgh, June 2019

ECAS will host the 8th European Conference on African Studies, Europe’s largest and most international conference with an African focus, which will take place at the University of Edinburgh’s central campus on 11th-14th June, 2019. The conference brings together 1,500 leading researchers, policymakers and leaders from across the world. There will also be a complementary series of artistic and cultural events.

Ha Orchestra are on the programme:

12th June, 12:45-14:15, concert/workshop (St Cecilia’s Hall)

13th June, 19:00-21:00, concert (St Cecilia’s Hall)

14th June, 18:00-20:00, concert (St Cecilia’s Hall)

Gameli Tordzro is the Artistic Director of Pan African Arts Scotland, and founder of and composer for Ha Orchestra. He is the current Musician in Residence of University of Glasgow’s GRAMNet as well as a creative arts PhD researcher at the School of Education, University of Glasgow.

ECAS Conference 2019

Pádraig Ó Tuama completes term as Leader of the Corrymeela Community

From Corrymeela:

Pádraig Ó Tuama has been the Leader of the Corrymeela Community since 2014. Pádraig, from Cork, has been a member of Corrymeela since 2006 and will continue as a member of the community.

His time in his role has been marked by his characteristic interest in how language, story, gospel and dialogue can support the ongoing work of reconciliation and peace. Pádraig’s interests in poetry, religion and conflict have influenced his public voice on behalf of Corrymeela, bringing our message of Transforming Division through Human Encounter to thousands, through programmes, publications, trainings and broadcasts, both at home and abroad.


The Corrymeela Community


Photo of Pádraig Ó Tuama from the Corrymeela website, ©

‘Lifelines: Notes on Life & Love, Faith & Doubt’: podcasts from Malcolm Doney & member Martin Wroe


Two roads, from associate member John McCall in Taiwan

Dear Friends,

Yesterday I headed to the Second Crematorium south of Taipei to participate in the funeral of a wonderful friend and mentor. I met Dr Samuel Jang, an elder at the East Gate Presbyterian Church in Taipei, twenty-three years ago when we worked together leading an English Bible study for that congregation. I was studying Mandarin at the time, so it was a gift to me to be able to lead a Bible study in English.

Dr Jang was a man who had a contagious joy. He became a Christian in China when he was very young. He went through a lot when China and Japan were at war, and then managed to come to Taiwan, where he continued his medical studies. He became a dentist. He married a Taiwanese and they had four children who all continue to walk in Christ’s way. Dr Jang always shared his faith with his patients. He enjoyed teaching children in Sunday school and always told the other teachers that if they had a problem student to let that student join his class. He would then make that student the head of the class. The student was so busy helping Dr Jang, he or she had no time to make trouble. Many of these students, now adults, are the elders and deacons of East Gate Church. Dr Jang’s wife had a stroke and was bedridden for fourteen years. He cared for her with love and never complained.

The Second Crematorium in Taipei is huge. It is where the majority of cremations are done in the city. There are at least 15 chapels which cater to Buddhists, Taoists and Christians. The staff at the crematorium are adept at quickly changing these chapels with the symbols of each religion.

I arrived a little early for the service for Dr Jang and noticed about 60 young men all dressed in black T-shirts. Dr Jang’s service was to be in the Number 1 Chapel on the third floor and these youth were all congregating at the Number 4 Chapel on the same floor. I asked someone who they were, and was told that they were part of a gang. Gangs in Taiwan are called the Dark Way.

I decided to walk down the hall and meet some of these young gang members. I rarely wear a clerical collar, but had one on yesterday for Dr Jang’s service. When I walked up to this group of youth, they seemed surprised (understandably!). I asked a few of them how old they were, and most of them were in their late teens. I surmised that most of them had dropped out of school. When I asked whose funeral they were attending, they didn’t answer, as if they were not supposed to answer. But a few of them opened up and told me a little about themselves.

I thought back to two weeks before, when I was speaking at a joint aboriginal youth service. The youth there were about the same age as these young men. And yet the road they are walking is so dramatically different. Gang life here involves drugs and violence. These young men are being used by others. Their future will not be bright.

I then walked back down the hall to participate in the service giving thanks for Dr Jang and the life he lived and witnessing to our hope in the resurrection. I thought about Dr Jang’s willingness to come alongside troubled students, and so wished that these young men had positive role models in their lives.

As I stood to talk at the service, I couldn’t help but compare what was happening in those two chapels. A dark road and a road of light. And I shared that Dr Jang’s life is a challenge to all of us, to come alongside those who lead difficult lives. We can accept them and not judge. We can share the love of Christ, who knows their situations so much better than we do.

Two roads. I ask you to pray for these young men and so many around the world who are lured into a life which does not bring life. May we find ways to help them find life.


John McCall, Taiwan

Photo from John McCall ©

A tribute to Walter Fyfe, by Iona Community member John Harvey

Walter Fyfe, who has died aged 90, was one of the three original minister-members of the Gorbals Group Ministry. He was a member (twice) of the Iona Community, and on the Community’s staff for a few years, supporting unemployed men and women.

Walter (and his brother Andrew, also a member of the Community for a while) was born in Govanhill in Glasgow. After a distinguished academic career in Glasgow and New York (where he studied at Union Theological Seminary under Paul Tillich and graduated STM magna cum laude), he and his wife, Elizabeth, returned to Scotland, where he served for a few years as a locum minister in Dalmarnock in Glasgow. During his time in New York, Walter had become involved with the East Harlem Protestant Parish (EHPP), a ground-breaking experiment in inner-city ministry, in which young ministers and their families moved to live alongside the mainly Puerto Rican residents, to share their lives as far as they could, and to set up small faith communities in shopfront meeting places. Walter introduced a fellow Scottish student in New York, Geoff Shaw, to the EHPP, and, together with Elizabeth, and with John Jardine (another Iona Community member) and his wife, Beryl, the five of them eventually persuaded Glasgow Presbytery of the Church of Scotland to allow them to set up a similar experiment in Gorbals. This was in 1958 – and the Gorbals Group Ministry stayed there throughout the whole of the 1960s demolition and rebuilding of that slum area, and continued well into the 1970s.

Over the course of a varied and active career, Walter worked as a labourer in a local iron works; with the Council on the roads; as a shop steward, and then as an official of a trade union; as a lecturer in a further education college; and as the Senior Community Relations Officer of Strathclyde Community Relations Council. His time in Gorbals was marked by endless battles with slum landlords and Council officials, in his determined efforts to get justice and decent housing for his neighbours. In retirement, he and Elizabeth spent much time at their croft in Sutherland, while retaining their Glasgow base in Govanhill.

Walter was a man of deep learning and able articulation. He read and wrote widely, and enjoyed nothing more than a good-going discussion, which even if it ended in fundamental disagreement was still fine by him. He was a truly radical thinker, who combined in a unique way a willingness to act with an ability to argue his case with all. His commitment to the peace movement, to the causes of social and political justice and to the lives and the rights of ordinary working people never wavered.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, and by their sons Andrew and John and their families.

– John Harvey

John Harvey was a member, with his wife, Molly, of the Gorbals Group Ministry.

Photo of Walter Fyfe, from Andrew Fyfe, ©

Book review

In Your Loving Is Your Knowing: Elizabeth Templeton – Prophet of Our Times, edited by Peter Matheson and Alastair Hulbert, Birlinn, 2019, review by member Norman Shanks

This is a wonderful book! I do not remember ever being so excited by theological writing – except perhaps Hoekendijk’s The Church Inside Out in the 1960s or John V Taylor’s The Go-Between God in the 1970s; but these days now the bulk of my reading is newspapers and novels. However, I found In Your Loving Is Your Knowing unputdownable and recommend it with unqualified enthusiasm.

Elizabeth Templeton will be known to many of us who are in any way involved with the Iona Community. For many years she was a familiar figure on the ecumenical scene – as a speaker and workshop leader at conferences and seminars, whose insights and creative ideas never failed to challenge and interest and inspire. She was a deep and radically progressive thinker, outstandingly bright and well-read, with a background in philosophy and a wide-ranging interest in the arts and a commitment to exploring the relationship between faith and the social and political realities of daily life. Her style and material are a very appealing combination of the cerebral and the down-to-earth, full of humour and a seasoning of personal anecdotes and quotations from the poetry she loved so much.

Elizabeth had a pacifist and Presbyterian upbringing in Glasgow; after a distinguished school and undergraduate career she moved to Edinburgh to study theology, essentially as an intellectual and spiritual quest. Soon after the completion of her studies she became a lecturer, principally in the philosophy of religion; in the late 1970s she married a colleague, Douglas Templeton, lecturer in New Testament studies, described lovingly by one of the editors, Peter Matheson, in the book’s biographical introduction as ‘an eccentric traditionalist’, and, on leaving New College to look after her family, embarked on a remarkable career as a freelance theologian. She was a courageous raiser and explorer of the fundamental questions of life and faith. She had no time for dogmatic certainties or anything that smacked of exclusiveness (the book’s introduction concludes by saying ‘Freedom, community and inclusiveness as the pointers to the boundless generosity of God were her bywords’); a sense of provisionality and the need for openness in all thinking were strong and recurring themes. She refused to accept any division between ‘Christ and culture’, the so-called sacred and secular: rather there are insights to be gained from every aspect of experience, and her commitment to making theology accessible and recognising it as ‘the people’s work’ was reflected in her creation of a lively theological drop-in centre ,’Threshold’, that ran near Edinburgh’s city-centre in the 1990s. She had something of an ambivalent relationship with the institutional church: she served on several significant committees and working groups but expressed frustration at its apparent inability to move, change or respond adequately to contemporary intellectual and practical challenges; yet her ecumenical commitment continued unabated, and, after she and Douglas moved to Perthshire, she served faithfully and regularly as a lay worship leader in local churches. Latterly life was difficult, dogged by illness and by the tragic loss of her elder son Alan, who disappeared in 2006, and it was not until 6 years later that his remains were discovered.

Elizabeth died in 2015 aged 69 and this book is a very fine tribute and memorial to her life, an attractively produced collection of her talks and writings transcribed, put together and edited by a group of her friends as a true ‘labour of love’, some of whom, including kenspeckle luminaries such as Richard Holloway, Lesley Orr, Alastair Hulbert and Tim Duffy, have provided helpful introductions to the book’s six sections – Christ and Culture; Making Sense of Theology; The Common Life; Ecumenism; Living, Loving and Dying; and On Being the Church. The book’s epigraph sums up Elizabeth’s approach to the theological quest and whets the appetite for a thoroughly stimulating and enjoyable experience of (mixing metaphors, I know!) what is a true treasure-house of delights:

‘My whole vision of theology is a convivial, energising conversation, engaging every aspect of the self, and open to every partner from any quarter. That it is so often experienced, inside and outside the church, as a dry, remote, eccentric and restrictive discipline is tragic and needs remedy!’

– Norman Shanks

In Your Loving Is Your Knowing: Elizabeth Templeton – Prophet of Our Times, Birlinn, 2019

News and campaigns

Cyclone Idai Appeal, from Christian Aid

From Christian Aid:

An estimated 3 million people have been affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Those affected – especially those in remote areas – are in desperate need of food, water, clothing, shelter and medicine.

Christian Aid is acting as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to raise urgent funds. Working with our local partners on the ground in Zimbabwe and Malawi, we’re helping to provide much-needed emergency assistance.

Cyclone Idai Appeal

Photo from the Christian Aid website ©

‘Towards an independent Palestinian state – a Scottish Call to Action’, from the Balfour Project

From the Balfour Project:

At Glasgow University in March, 300 people heard former British and Israeli diplomats and distinguished journalists speak on ‘The news from Gaza: dispelling myths and telling the truth’. At Edinburgh University in March, 400 people heard politicians, former diplomats and others speak on ‘Tragedy in Gaza – Britain’s legacy, Scotland’s role’, looking at some of the history of Britain in Palestine, the current situation in Gaza and what Scotland and Britain should be doing now.

The Edinburgh conference concluded with a ‘Scottish Call to Action’ from the Balfour Project. The Call was presented by Sir Vincent Fean, British Consul-General, Jerusalem 2010-14, now Chair of the Balfour Project.

Read the Call here:

Downloadable pdf copy of the Scottish Call to Action

The Balfour Project 

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

From CAAT:

CAAT is challenging the UK government’s decision to continue to licence the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

Success! The Court of Appeal has granted permission for CAAT to appeal the legality of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT took its legal case to the Court of Appeal on 12 April, 2018 for a one-day hearing in an attempt to overturn a High Court judgment which allows the UK Government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

On 4 May 2018 two Court of Appeal judges, Lord Justice Irwin and Lord Justice Flaux, granted permission to appeal.

The case will be heard by the Court of Appeal on 9-11 April 2019.

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia

Photo from the CAAT website ©

‘Brunei must immediately halt plans to introduce stonings and other vicious punishments’, from Amnesty International

From Amnesty International:

‘Brunei must immediately halt plans …’

‘Don’t let the lifeline be cut’, from Church Action on Poverty

Local crisis funds are a vital lifeline for people who find themselves suddenly swept into difficulty. Yet across England, they have been neglected and removed.

Don’t let the lifeline be cut

Church Action on Poverty is an ecumenical charity dedicated to tackling the root causes of poverty in the UK. We have a vision of a fairer society with a narrower gap between rich and poor.


Piercings: a poem for Holy Saturday, by Janet Killeen

Teacher, inspector, a restless class.
I had been advised. ‘Go easy on him.
They’re a difficult lot to manage
and she’s quite capable of wrecking his plans altogether.
Loud. Can’t wait to get out. He’s doing his best
to pull them through the syllabus before the exam.
You’ll spot her straightaway. And the rest.’

So I have sympathy as he struggles
to take them through the story of an ancient passion,
sufferings and betrayal new as today,
stumbling at horror,
wondering at a daybreak, two days after.

‘So where’ (he was sweating) ‘d’you think
he went. What was he doing, those hours
after death and burial?’

The silence lasts for aeons.

His eyes flicker hopefully to the front,
the predictable triers.
The class stirs and shuffles, sighs.
Shrugs its corporate body.

Girl with piercings
of lips and brow,
black-nailed tips to fingers, hair spiked into thorns.
Jumper ragged over wrists to hide the slashes.
Her hand raised. ‘Sir.
Sir.’ I see his eyes shift. The door, the window,
the front row. Nothing.

‘Yes, Della?’ (O God, no, he begs.)
‘That’s easy, innit,’ she says.
‘He went to Hell to find his friend Judas.
He’d lost his friend. He went to find him.’

An indrawn breath.
Theology rocks.

Girl, Goth. Moth at the candle of self-harm,
just so He will find you, even in its flame.

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


‘The flyting o’ Life and Daith’, a song by Hamish Henderson, from YouTube

A good song for Lent and Easter … by the great man. (Ed.)

‘The flyting o’ Life and Daith’ (words), from the Scottish Poetry Library

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!