Revaluing the Communal Joys: Iona Community’s Annual Report, 2019

These reports for 2019 were written before Covid-19 and lockdown, and reflect the context and time then (e-Coracle Ed.).

From the Convener of Council, Brian Crosby

Every year, the Iona Community publishes an Annual Report. The Annual Report is an important opportunity to give an account of, and reflect back upon, a whole year’s work. It also enables us to acknowledge and give heartfelt thanks to those whose dedication and commitment made it possible: our staff and volunteers on Iona, at Camas and in Glasgow, the members of our Council and committees, and the many supporters and well-wishers who have kept us going with their encouragement, their practical and financial support, and their prayers.

In May 2020, the world, and the Iona Community, is in a situation of unprecedented change and challenge. Some of our plans have had to be put on hold, or departed from entirely. Nevertheless, this is a comprehensive record of a year of very hard work and accomplishment alongside serious challenge and pain, most of all the pain of the death of Graham Maule at the end of the year, followed soon after by the death of Peter Macdonald.

When I first read the report, I began noting some eye-catching highlights to encourage the reader – but there were too many! I must simply suggest that you read it!

– Brian Crosby, Convener of Council

Introduction, Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway

We come into Thy house, our home,
once more to give thanks:
for earth and sea and sky in harmony of colour,
the air of the eternal seeping through the physical,
the everlasting glory dipping into time.
We praise Thee.

– George MacLeod

The integrity of creation:

The integrity of creation has been fundamental to the Iona Community since its beginnings more than eighty years ago. In 1948, George MacLeod, the Iona Community’s founder, wrote ‘What I find in the Bible is precisely that God is to be found in the material.’ When he went to the House of Lords in 1967, he was the very first peer to sit for the Ecology Party, later the Green Party. In the 1970s, the Iona Community installed solar panels in its outdoor Centre at Camas on Mull, where we have more recently also installed a wind turbine and planted thousands of trees. Since 2007, members have accounted to one another for their carbon footprint as part of their Rule of life. It is a particular delight to us that our Abbey home now has rooms which are highly insulated, that our heating will come from renewable sources, and that we are in partnership with Iona Renewables for all our buildings on Iona.

In one part of the Rule of members of the Iona Community they affirm: ‘We believe … that God has given us partnerships as stewards of creation and that we have a responsibility to live in a right relationship with the whole of God’s creation.’ Consequently – and given its ecumenical make-up – the Iona Community Board puts its weight behind movements in the wider Church for continued disinvestment in fossil-fuel companies.


In his wonderful, hospitable encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis has written, ‘The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on
an intensely personal meaning …’ Iona is such a place, not just for the Iona Community but for the many thousands who have visited and stayed with us in the Abbey in the past. In all of the Iona Community’s Centres – on Iona, at Camas and in Carlton Court in Glasgow – its members, staff and volunteers are always discovering that, when we open our doors, we let ourselves in for many kinds of opening.

We open our space. The idea of this is always easier than the reality, even with people we know and love. The challenge of being able to say, ‘Come in, make yourselves at home’ is a personal one, but it has social and political consequences which are raging around us at this very moment. And as somebody wise said: ‘As you build community you will feel inadequate, inept and judged. Show up anyway!’

We open our time. There’s a lot of work involved, and some people carry more than their share of this. But perhaps the most important time is that offered by the people who give listening time, and who accompany folk who may be walking a very hard road.

We open our minds – or it might be truer to say that we have our minds opened for us: in learning about places and situations we only had the vaguest notion about; in undertaking advocacy and support; in taking part in wider campaigns.

And we open our hearts. We cannot help but do this. We discover it is an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of opening our doors to strangers who become friends. We discover that it also means to laugh and sing and pray and sometimes weep with people. In the words of the old Celtic Rune of Hospitality, ‘Often, often, often, goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.’ Our holy spaces become for us a ritual of reversal in which we become the learners and the guests.

This is a hard time for the values of hospitality. So much of our current public discourse is turned inwards, fearful and self-absorbed. But for people of faith, the need to confront our fears and find ways to participate in these gospel rituals of reversal has never been more urgent. That is why revaluing the communal joys that so many people in our society have lost, is so central to our life and work. Inspired by our faith, we pursue justice and peace in and through community.

Graham Maule:

Almost the last public thing that Graham Maule did before his rapid illness and untimely death was to walk with Community members on the climate justice march in Glasgow last September. His death is a devastating loss to his family and friends, to his colleagues in the Wild Goose Resource Group, of which he was a founding member, and to the Iona Community, of whom he was a staff member for 35 years. The tributes that poured in from around the world, and his extraordinary funeral service in January, leave no doubt as to how greatly he will be missed as an artist, a singer and songwriter, as a liturgist, as a seeker of justice and as a beloved human being. Probably more than anyone else in the Community, Graham reminded us over and over, in a multiplicity of ways, that holy places are not just in beautiful, remote places, but that Glasgow is a holy city, a city on a hill. And he reminded us to sing, but keep on walking.

Rev Peter Macdonald:

At the time of preparing this report, the Iona Community family was severely shaken by the sudden and untimely death of Rev Peter Macdonald, minister at Broughton St Mary’s Church in Edinburgh and a recent Leader of the Iona Community. Peter will be remembered for his passion and commitment to the causes and concerns of the Iona Community, the strength of his leadership of the Community through searching times, his ability to touch the lives of many people with hope, purpose and a commitment to the Gospel, and the power of his preaching and public speaking to challenge, enthuse and awaken positive responses. Like Graham Maule, Peter has been a key figure in the life of the Iona Community for several decades. In his uniqueness, his place in the wonder of God’s work, and his ability to challenge and change the lives of many people, Peter will be sorely missed and rightly praised.

– Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-Leaders, June 2018-June 2020

The Iona Community

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal: ‘Sanctuary and a light’, Christine Jones

The final phase:

The Abbey, as a place of abiding on Iona, is once more nearly ready to provide ‘sanctuary and a light’. At the time of writing, builders are undertaking the final weeks of an extensive refurbishment to the community and living spaces, and the Building Development Team is working with the architect on the intricacies of ‘finishing off’: white goods have been ordered and beds are currently ‘being made’ to fit rooms, which are unique shapes and sizes.

A staggering 3.6 million had been donated by year-end, and the Core Fundraising Team is hard at work to raise the remaining £100,000 needed. Over 2,000 donors – from 19 different countries – have made contributions. It’s been a painstaking journey, and the project has also been costly for the small resident team on Iona, who have faithfully continued to offer welcome in the shop and ensure that worship continues in the Abbey.

During 2013, when the Appeal began, Rev Peter Macdonald, as Leader of the Iona Community at that time, welcomed a group of Patrons from Winchester College to Iona. In the early days, people from the College had joined George MacLeod’s team of builders: ‘This was no sleepy Benedictine foundation, but one that had more life than the winds and seas that beat upon the island – Iona, where it stood.’ (The Wykehamist, 5th March, 1940). During 2019, the College invited Christine Jones, Coordinator of the Capital Appeal, to share the story of the rebuilding (past and present) of Iona Abbey with current staff and students. George MacLeod’s ‘building project’ was 28 years in the making. The current work has taken a quarter of that time. However, there is no doubt that ‘his-story’ has inspired the dedicated project team and the many generous donors.

Reflecting on George MacLeod’s conversation with Scottish industrialist Sir James Lithgow: ‘If I give you £5,000, will you give up your pacifism?’ ‘Not on your life!’ ‘Then, I will give you the £5,000!’ That £5k would now be worth £334k, a fitting context to recognise that the ministry of the Iona Community has always been ambitious.

The challenge and the hope:

Wrestling with the wind and waves has involved more than living in the hope that the contractors are able to cross the Sound of Iona each Monday morning. The commitment for a sustainable redevelopment means that rooms are now thoroughly insulated, and accessible, and the elements will soon be harnessed to create heating for the accommodation through a renewable energy system.

Partnership has been fundamental throughout the journey, with Historic Environment Scotland, Iona Cathedral Trust, Iona Renewables and the islanders being central to both decision-making and fundraising. The achievement is all the more remarkable given that the successful £2.3 million initiative to rebuild the Iona Village Hall will also come to completion during summer 2020.

– Christine Jones, Coordinator of the Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal

Iona Abbey: A joyful, challenging and supportive experience, Heinz Toller

2019 saw yet another step change in the life of Iona Abbey. After the end of the refectory café project, the Abbey accommodation and ancillary areas were emptied of all furniture, fixtures and fittings and in November 2018 a ‘red line’ was implemented for Phase II of the refurbishment project. The only spaces accessible to community and public were the Abbey Church, the Cloisters and Chapter House and parts of the Abbey complex administered by Historic Environment Scotland.

A small but highly committed team of employees and volunteers, six of whom are longstanding members of the Iona Community, formed the resident community, holding the space for the many day and short-term visitors, providing regular daily worship at 9am, 9pm and 2pm (during the season May-October) and at 10.30am on Sundays.

Services were well-attended throughout, but especially on Tuesday evenings (Prayers for Healing), Thursday evenings (Ceilidh Communion) and Sunday mornings (Holy Communion); they were led by an increasingly able and confident team of resident members; island guests were at times invited and encouraged to make contributions to the services. Music was provided by a succession of volunteer musicians, always to a high standard but in varying styles and approaches. Much of the time there were as many worshippers attending as at times when the Abbey is open to guests.

This year, there was a particular focus on guests who were resident elsewhere on the island but wanting to engage with the Iona Community by exploring its ethos and different areas of its commitment. A number of sessions were advertised in the hotels, the hostel and other places of hospitality: What is the Iona Community?’; ‘6 Rs for the environment’; ‘Radical hospitality’; ‘My heart shall sing of the day you bring – singing for justice, peace and liberation’; ‘Wee and big sings with material from the Wild Goose Resource Group’; ‘Stories from Mull and Iona’. These were enthusiastically attended by many of the groups.

Throughout the year, the Community continued to be involved in the business of the island through participation in meetings of the island council, the island business forum, the ground-source heating and the village hall projects, as well as other areas of concern, lending support and giving encouragement wherever possible for the benefit of the whole island community. The staff team also organised a ceilidh in the Cloisters for Columba Day, encouraged a climate action day on the village green in the autumn (well-supported by islanders and guests alike and reported in the national press), and an Advent tea and carol-singing before Christmas.

In the summer, the Community provided a meeting facility in the common room of the MacLeod Centre for local activities ranging from Tai chi and Keep Fit to a wake held after a funeral.

In 2019 the Abbey continued to be a place of friendly hospitality, active listening, creative drive (2nd prize in the Mull & Iona Scarecrow Competition) and challenging encounter: exploring concerns of justice and peace, climate change and the relationship between contemplation and action; a home for a group of people exploring, modelling and celebrating ways of living in community; a space to nurture and resource people in and through service in the love of God.

For me and the small resident team, 2019 was a joyful, challenging and supportive experience of living, working and worshipping in a small, intentional and lively international community of people committed to the common life and prepared to go the extra mile.

– Heinz Toller, Iona Centre Manager, March 2018-February 2020

The Iona Abbey Centre

Iona Community Shop: A place of welcome, Marlene and Duncan Finlayson

The shop has had a good season, and continues to do well in spite of the challenges to the retail sector. Above all, we have tried to make it a place of welcome for the many people who pass through. To emphasise the social nature of the shop we have set up an area where people can sit with their hot drinks or browse. This has been much appreciated by visitors.

The shop is also a witness in that it allows people to read books and buy gifts that reflect the values of the Community. We have had several authors come to read from their work and do signings. These events were supported by islanders and visitors, as was the sale of bread, freshly baked in the MacLeod Centre kitchen two days a week.

The shop requires a lot of stamina from staff and volunteers, but work here brings great satisfaction. We have been blessed with volunteers who have shown great commitment to the job and to the Community. They have been willing to share their skills and ideas with us, making work a real team effort. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to them.

– Marlene and Duncan Finlayson, Shop Managers, February 2019-March 2020

The Iona Community Shop

The Camas Centre: ‘Best place ever’, Darragh Keenaghan

The Camas Centre on Mull provides residential opportunities for a wide variety of groups. Camas is a place of adventure, exploration and closeness to nature. It is also a place of refuge, offering a warm welcome in a wild landscape. For many people visiting Camas, this will be their first time in such a remote place with basic facilities. There is little phone signal at Camas and it can be a big challenge for folk to survive without the Internet and social media for a week. But nearly everyone, by the end of the week, says that they loved having some time out!

What makes Camas most unique is the focus on community-building and the time to really get to know people. The Camas team spend the whole day with the groups, eating meals with them and playing music and games in the evenings. This makes Camas more like a home away from home for the groups that come regularly. They have a genuine connection and sense of belonging to the place.

Lives being changed:

As an example of the difference Camas makes, here is an account from a single mum from Edinburgh who came to Camas on a family week with her seven-year-old son:

‘We had the most amazing time. From morning to night F ran and ran and ran! He explored the hills and beaches with amazing staff; they could not have been more inclusive and supportive. Staff organised ‘wide games’ for us, which meant running from one wild hillock to the next over and over again. They took us on walks to remote beaches and out kayaking in the bay. There was a group of about 12 other children there the same week as us. They played together all week, and while they weren’t doing an organised activity, they were rough-tumbling around on the grass or playing table tennis, hide-and-seek or ‘find the Jedi’. It was so good to see him gain confidence in his physical ability and to put him to bed at night knowing he had had so much fresh air and exercise.

‘It was also such a good week for me too; I didn’t run quite as much, but I walked a lot and was outside in the real beauty of wild nature and I had some great adult company. This break for me gave me more energy and inspiration to get outside when we returned to Edinburgh. We loved it so much and we felt so good after it, we went back this year, and we’ve booked to go back again in 2020. Without the discount for low-income families we wouldn’t be able to afford it. The Centre is run by hugely dedicated staff. It is really basic with no electricity and everyone mucks in with the cleaning, cooking and gardening. It’s a wonderful place and has become a real highlight in our year. F says it is his “best place ever”.’

– Darragh Keenaghan, Camas Coordinator, 2018-2020


Carlton Court, Glasgow: The beating heart, Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway

Carlton Court, on the south bank of the River Clyde on the edge of the Gorbals, is the Glasgow home of the Iona Community. Very near the city centre with excellent transport links, it houses the Community’s administrative and finance staff. These are the people who often don’t get seen, but are the beating heart of its work, and the Community is extremely grateful to them for their dedicated service. Carlton Court is an ideal location for a regular programme of urban events and encounters.

– Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-Leaders, June 2018-June 2020

Wild Goose Resource Group (WGRG): Liturgy, song and prayer

The work:

The WGRG is a semi-autonomous project of the Iona Community concerned with the development of liturgy, song and prayer, with a particular emphasis on training of the laity. It exists to enable and equip congregations and clergy in the shaping and delivery of contextual and relevant participative worship.

The team:

In 2019, the team consisted of resource workers John L. Bell, Graham Maule and Jo Love, and administrator Gail Ullrich.

John continued to work throughout the UK and overseas, visiting the Southern Hemisphere in May and fulfilling a busy month-long programme of engagements, from Western Australia to New South Wales, and the South Island of New Zealand. He also made three trips to North America where he was invited to churches, colleges, seminaries and retreat centres, and to speak at conferences, including the annual Summer Institute of Church Music in Ontario. John had the opportunity to work again in Germany with key people involved in producing the translated collection of WGRG songs, Freut Euch und Singt.

John’s UK work included the conference of the Hymn Society in GB & Ireland, Greenbelt Festival, the Diakonia Region Africa-Europe (DRAE) 25th anniversary celebration in Edinburgh, and a number of lectures for the Montgomery Trust, which enables groups to invite speakers to share insights into a deeper understanding of faith. John also continued to broadcast his BBC Radio 4 ‘Thought for the Day’.

‘And Jesus Said No’ – the thirteenth in the series of WGRG Liturgy Booklets – was published in 2019. It is a liturgy on sectarianism, which was written for and is dedicated to the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland on its fiftieth birthday in 2015, and includes two new Wild Goose songs.

Jo’s work in 2019 included being part of the worship team for Place for Hope’s ‘Gathering in Glasgow’; workshop days exploring the Bible with Church of Scotland Priority Areas; Holy Week worship on Iona; worship and reflections training with Iona and Camas staff teams; autumn retreat on Iona; and being music coordinator for DRAE.


At the Greenbelt Festival this year, the Northern Lights partnership comprised WGRG, Iona Community, Church Action on Poverty and Fischy Music, our venue offering worship, talks, music and art activities.


Graham Maule continued to be chief architect and catalyst for the weeWONDERBOX events programme, which was developed further in 2019 in collaboration with the Iona Community’s Programme Development Worker.

At the Glasgow base, ‘Wee weekly worship’ continued on a Wednesday up to the summer in the form of a monthly cycle of themes, then from September, Jo led ‘Picture the Word’, an experimental 10-week series of evenings exploring the Bible creatively. Graham guided a faith exploration course for Lent called ‘Countering Pharaoh and his Production-Consumption Society Today, using discussion and DVD footage produced by Living the Questions and featuring Walter Brueggemann.

Other events hosted by weeWONDERBOX were ‘Living with the Bible’, a two-day conference led by WGRG with participants from Danish and local churches; Art and Prayer workshops with Carol Marples of the Soul Marks Trust; ‘An Intimate Evening with Michael Leunig’, the globally renowned cartoonist and poet; and for the 10th consecutive year, we welcomed Pádraig Ó Tuama for our unique Glasgow-based Urban Retreat for Advent.

ColumbaFest, weeWONDERBOX’s flagship urban festival, built on its strengths and offered a fantastic weekend for its third year in Glasgow in June 2019. The theme of ‘Wandering & Wondering’ invited us to consider the physical, spiritual and emotional journeys we go on in life as we wrestle with faith, politics and art today, in a programme of talks, walks, music, art, discussion and worship.

Among Graham’s other ventures in 2019, he helped develop ‘The Sing Thing’ at Wellington Church in Glasgow – a weekly lunchtime gathering for communal singing and prayer.

Our year ended with the devastating event of Graham’s death on 29th December, which of course has a profound impact on the continuing work of the Wild Goose Resource Group. As we move forward, and in the midst of the deep sadness, we are enriched and inspired by what Graham has left us, and the transformative effect his life has had on others, far and wide.

– Wild Goose Resource Group

Wild Goose Resource Group

Programmes Development Work, Pat Bennett

On Iona:

We continued to offer some residential programmes on Iona through our ‘Seasonal Encounters’ series, run in partnership with the St Columba Hotel.

Retreats in Holy Week and during October and early November saw guests exploring the transitions from darkness to light, drawing wisdom for life from the late poems of some contemporary poets, engaging with the Bible in creative ways, and looking at shadows in faith, life and art. These programmes were once again very well-received with very positive feedback from guests and leaders alike.

We are very grateful to the Columba for their hospitality during our closure period, and the partnership with them – which has been very successful in a variety of ways – has provided helpful pointers for developing and deepening our relationships with other communities and businesses on the island in the future.

Mainland Programme:

In the first half of the year we continued to hold a weekly liturgy at our Glasgow Centre following a regular cycle reflecting the ethos and concerns of the Community. In the autumn and winter, we moved to different ways of encountering and exploring the scriptures under the aegis of Jo Love.

We have continued, in partnership with the Wild Goose Resource Group, to run a varied programme in Glasgow under the weeWONDERBOX label, including a third outing for ColumbaFest – our celebration of faith, culture, politics and creativity.

We have also continued to extend hospitality to individuals and small groups passing through Glasgow who want to engage with and learn about the Iona Community in different ways. Initial work on a core programme of exploration and training to be offered in Glasgow has been affected by the untimely death of Graham Maule. However, we hope to resume this when circumstances allow.

Youth Programme:

In 2019 we ran a scaled-back mainland youth programme through our IGLOW club until early summer, when those involved left school and college and Duncan Logie, our part-time Youth worker, moved back to the U.S. to begin his theological studies.

We continue to work with a group of young adults who have been involved in our Youth programmes over the last few years.

– Pat Bennett, Programmes Development Worker

Wild Goose Publications: the spirit and concerns of the Iona Community, Sandra Kramer

2019 was another busy and productive year for Wild Goose Publications. As well as several new books and e-books, we continued to publish short downloads for various occasions.

New books from Wild Goose Publications:

Spring, Ruth Burgess

Field with a View, Katharine M Preston

West, Kenneth Steven

Into the Foothills of Transformation, Donald Eadie

St Cuthbert’s Way (new edition), Mary Low

Whispers of Light, Joy Mead

Grace Will Walk Us Home, Thom M Shuman

Transgender. Christian. Human, Alex Clare-Young

Wild Goose Big Book of Worship Resources 2, the Iona Community

Sing But Keep on Walking, Jan Sutch Pickard

The Kentigern Way, Stephen G Wright

New downloads from Wild Goose Publications:

Other Fish to Fry, Sandra Sears

Fasts and Feasts, Thom M Shuman

In Light and Love, Peter Millar

The Temptations, Sandra Sears

Beyond Brexit, Rosemary Power

Fearful Visits to Gardens, Alison Swinfen

The Very Best Kind of King, Nancy Cocks

From Sadness to Joy (song), Philip Fox

Go Tell the World the Lord Is Living (song), Philip Fox

Lord of the Universe, Spirit of Fellowship, Roddy Cowie

Blessed Is the Love, Martyn Wroe

Bullying, Rosemary Power

In Shop Doorways and on Street Corners, Ewan Aitken

Poverty Makes Us All Poor, Sally Foster-Fulton

Might It Be Called Wisdom, Joy Mead

All Around Halloween, Ruth Burgess

I to the Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes (song), Philip Fox

Christmas Eve: The Dreamer, Nancy Cocks

A new download (Candlemas) from an already-published book was also added.

Although finances and resources are limited as always, we continue to work with great enthusiasm to produce new material which reflects the spirit and concerns of the Iona Community.

 – Sandra Kramer, Publishing Manager, Wild Goose Publications

Wild Goose Publications

Coracle: The magazine of the Iona Community, Neil Paynter

The Iona Community’s magazine is published three times a year, along with a regular e-Coracle, keeping readers informed about the life and work of the Community, offering resources for reflection and worship and giving a platform for the sharing of provocative and diverse perspectives on global and local issues of social justice.

Some Coracle highlights in 2019:

Co-Leaders’ letters on ‘Walking towards a different world’

‘A lifetime’s work’, Jean Oliver and Douglas Shaw, on their work towards a world free of nuclear weapons

‘Hearts that beat the same’, Chris Mercer, on supporting refugees and asylum-seekers in her community

‘Doing ministry differently’, Liz Gibson, on developing organic horticulture, encouraging social enterprise and offering hospitality on the Isle of Mull

‘Deepening belonging’, on the contribution of Associate members to the life of the Iona Community, Rachel Hockey

‘Spreading our wings’, on the Iona Community Youth Group, Laura Gisbourne

‘Connected through prayer and action’, on the witness of Iona groups in Europe

Reports from members at Extinction Rebellion Peace demonstrations

– Neil Paynter, Coracle/e-Coracle Editor


The Iona Prayer Circle, Chris Polhill

The Prayer Circle of the Iona Community reflects the belief that it is right and good to offer people’s troubles in prayer for God’s love and healing. People from around the world request prayer for themselves or someone they care about. Such prayer can be offered in a variety of ways:

By prayer in the Abbey service on Tuesday at 9pm

By prayer through intercessors, who receive a list and a request to pray for a particular group, though some pray for everyone

Through the ‘urgent group’ of intercessors. These people pray for those with immediate, urgent needs, such as needs around an upcoming operation, a sudden change in someone’s illness, or an interview with health officials or schools …

About 500 people are either sponsors of someone who is ill (which means they send the Prayer Circle regular health updates), those being prayed for or those interceding on their behalf. However, there are many others who contact the Prayer Circle Coordinator for prayers in the Abbey, some of whom have searched the Internet for groups that pray.

Each sponsor and intercessor receives a bi-monthly Prayer Circle letter, and intercessors also receive the updated prayer lists.

– Chris Polhill, Prayer Circle Coordinator

The Iona Prayer Circle

Membership, Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway

Six new members were welcomed into full membership at the Hallowing Service held in Glasgow University Chapel at our AGM in June. Currently, there are 14 people on the New Members Programme.

The Iona Community currently has 278 full members and 1400 associate members.

Iona Community groups meet regularly in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

The formation by a group of young people of a Young Adults Group with their own Commitments and programme within the Community’s membership structure was welcomed.

In October 2019, we were delighted to have our Community Week hosted by the Corrymeela Community at their beautiful Centre on the North Antrim coast. We have shared so much with Corrymeela over many years: some of our origins, our commitment to peacemaking, many shared programmes and pilgrimages. This week allowed us to share thoughts around our governance and organisational changes, and the challenges of Brexit, as well as many stories and much prayer, poetry and song. It was a week of great joy. We continue to walk in solidarity with the Corrymeela Community.

– Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-Leaders, June 2018-June 2020


The Leadership team, Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway

Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway are nearing the end of their two-year appointment as Co-Leaders [Co-Leadership period ended in June 2020]. Their role for this two-year period has had a particular focus on guiding the Community through a period of major organisational change across all its activities.

At the AGM in June 2019, a number of governance changes were agreed, which will see a strengthened Council of Trustees appointed, and a reduction in the number of operational committees and working groups.

The AGM also agreed to a reorganisation of the Community’s leadership, whereby this will now be held by a Leader with primary responsibility for the Community as a voluntary membership movement, and an Executive Director with primary responsibility for our business operations (three residential Centres, a publishing house and a book and craft shop).

The Leadership search process is almost complete [Ruth Harvey began as the new Leader of the Iona Community in June 2020]; the appointment of the Executive Director will follow shortly [Caro Penney began as Transition Manager in June 2020].

– Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-Leaders, June 2018-June 2020

The 31st day, Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway

On every 31st day of its monthly prayer cycle, the Community remembers those who have died since its formation in 1938 and prays ‘tell them we love them and miss them’. Last year these names were added to the 31st:

Ellen Moxley, Quaker, dedicated peace activist, recipient of both the Right Livelihood Award in 2001 and the International Gandhi Peace Prize (with Helen Steven, her life partner) in 2004

Graham Maule, artist, singer, songwriter, founding member of the Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community staff member since 1985

Peter Macdonald, minister and Leader of the Iona Community from 2009 to 2017 and a member since 1983, who died on 12th February 2020


I remember those who have died:
those who were part of my living
those who live on in my life.

God of the elements, you inhabit me:
family and friends and strangers
are at home in me,
stars and planets dance in my bones and blood.

I am me,
and yet I am more than me;
I remember, I learn, I dream,
I touch death and life.

God of eternity,
comfort your people,
living and dying.

Quicken us with wonder,
salt us with justice and integrity,
welcome us with love.

Ruth Burgess, from Acorns and Archangels, Wild Goose Publications

– Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-Leaders, June 2018-June 2020

In the name of the Committee, Tom Gordon, Convener; Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway, Co-leaders of the Iona Community (June 2018-June 2020)

Photographers: Pat Bennett, Clare Redfern, Bungie, David Coleman, other photos from the Iona Community website. Some photographers unknown. All photos © the photographers

The Iona Community

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