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Of Flesh & Bones … a guide to doing worship well

25 June 2016 - 1 July 2016



Wild Goose Resource Group

Abbey & MacLeod Centres, Iona, 25 June – 1 July 2016


Worship is not primarily about the ego, personal taste, inflexible tradition or anaesthesia. It is about God and humanity.  To enable worship to be effective, to speak for and to people requires commitment, imagination and engagement. This is what the week is all about and it is open to all.

The Wild Goose Resource Group will be leading the week’s workshops, with plenty of singing, plenty of dreaming, plenty of people seeking ‘new ways to touch the hearts of all’. Each day has a range of activities: re-exploring the Bible, developing new musical repertoire, discovering hidden creative talent, and singing and praying together in a place which has been a cradle of Christian renewal since 563 when Columba lilted a Gaelic psalm.

Previous incarnations of these annual Wild Goose weeks on Iona have featured, amongst other things, how to teach songs to the unsinging, biblical film-making (which reduced Hollywood to insignificance), drumming for the arrhythmic, ‘Musica Scotticana’ for Sassenachs (a Scots word for foreigners), dry-stone dykeing with cardboard boxes, celebrating the Old Testament texts of the Psalms and Song Of Songs in multi-media liturgical installations and filling the Abbey cloisters with piles of re-cycled waste. This event will contain seminars and workshops both similar and different to those above.

As always, Scottish-based participants are warmly encouraged to book in advance despite the fact that the wee island isn’t far from Glasgow (though it’s quicker to fly to Montreal!).

You can download the ‘Of Flesh & Bones leaflet here.

The Wild Goose Resource Group

JLB_0410_John_Bell_MedQ-USEJO_at_CMU_workshop_Sep12_JGGrunau_2012_IMG_5112-USEGM_13_headshot_MedQ_USE… are John Bell, Jo Love and Graham Maule.

Over the past twenty-five years, the Resource Group has enabled, discussed, learned and argued about public worship throughout Great Britain and further afield.  Under the auspices of The Iona Community, the Group works across the denominational spectrum in the fields of music & worship.

The Group are completed and more than excellently enabled by Administrator, Gail Ullrich and Sales Administrator, Kirsty Campbell.

Deryl_Davis_Headshot_5.31.13_Copy_MedQ-USEDuring ‘Of Flesh & Bones’, John, Jo and Graham will be joined by Deryl Davis. He is a PhD researcher in Theology and the Arts at the University of Glasgow. He has taught drama for ministry, improvisation, and arts in worship for many years at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. and at local area churches. He has also worked as an actor and director in professional and non-professional theatre. Deryl has a particular passion for bridging life in the church and life in the world, which are, after all, the same place.


Both of the centres have shared same-gender rooms.  There are no en-suite rooms.

Abbey:   Most rooms are bunk bedded sleeping 2, with some sleeping 3, or 4 people of the same sex.  Abbey rooms are small, not much space for luggage, and up at least one flight of stairs.  While there is a ground floor annexe with 4 rooms, all meals are taken in the refectory, up one flight of stairs.  There are only showers, no baths.

MacLeod Centre:   Rooms sleep 5 or 7 people of the same gender. Half of the rooms are on the ground floor.  Each room has one top bunk.  Ground floor bathrooms, showers and toilets are adapted with mobility aids.

Disability Access:    The cloisters to the Church are ramped, but there are stairs to the dining or sleeping rooms in the Abbey. The MacLeod Centre is fully accessible.

Allocation of beds:   Please specify on booking form if a bottom bunk is needed.

Bed linen:   Provided. Please bring your own towels.

Internet access:    There is no internet access at the Abbey or MacLeod Centre.  Both nearby hotels do offer this service for a small fee.

Alcohol/ smoking:    Alcohol and illegal drugs are not permitted in any Iona Community premises.  Smoking is not permitted inside our buildings.


March – October: 9am and 9pm daily in the Abbey Church, except on Sunday when Morning Communion is at 10.30am and the Leaving Service is 8.15am Fridays. The Thursday evening service may be either communion or an agape.


Everyone eats together, guests and staff. Food is mostly vegetarian, simple meals. If you have a special diet – please specify medical needs on your booking form.  We cannot cater for reducing diets, or for very specialised diets or severe allergies. Times – generally, breakfast at 08.15, lunch 13.00, evening meal 18.00.


Task Teams:   All guests are divided into teams to share in common tasks: set tables, wash up, chop vegetables, clean toilets, lay a fire, etc. Tasks take approximately 30 minutes daily.


Arrival:   Weeks generally run from Saturday afternoon, leaving Friday on the 9am ferry.  We encourage you to arrive Saturday at 2.30pm (rather than 6.30pm) if possible, so you have time for tea and biscuits, and can relax and unpack before the 6pm evening meal.

Welcome Session:   7.30-8.30pm Saturday led by centre staff.

Programme Sessions:   These are led by the Wild Goose team.

Boat Trip to Staffa:   Optional, and an additional cost of around £30 sterling cash.

Pilgrimage:   A walk around the island, depending on staffing levels and weather conditions, may be offered;  either a pilgrimage on-road (2-3 miles) or off-road (6-7 miles over rough terrain). Please bring hiking boots with good grips and ankle support if you wish to join the off-road pilgrimage.  It is not possible to take part in the off-road walk if wearing only trainers, Wellingtons, or soft shoes.

The programme is not open to those staying in hotels or B&Bs.  It is essential to arrive the day the programme starts, i.e. Saturday.  It is not possible to book a programmed week but eat elsewhere.  Shared meals are part of the common life of the Community on Iona.


Payments / Cancellation Policy / Insurance:   Once your booking is accepted, any payments are non-refundable.  We urge you to take out appropriate insurance to cover against cancellations, as well as travel insurance.

After deposits have been paid, 50% of the balance is due 3 months before your arrival date, the rest 1 month before.

Payments can be made by sterling cheque or bank draft made payable to “The Iona Community” and drawn on any UK bank. Payment is also accepted by Credit Card (Visa or Mastercard) and by Bank Debit Card. If you wish to pay by either of these methods, write only the last 4 digits of your card number on the booking form.

The Bookings Office will then contact you for the rest of the card details, which you can then phone, fax or send in 3-4 separate e-mails. If you pay by card, the final balance will be taken automatically from the card on the due date unless you cancel your booking before that date.

Overseas visitors may also pay by bank draft/cheque drawn on any UK bank in pounds sterling.


Train or bus from Glasgow to Oban, ferry to Mull, bus through Mull, then ferry Fionnphort to Iona.  To arrive on Iona at the start of the programme, with time to relax and unpack before the evening meal, the Welcome Sessions and the Evening Service, you need to leave Glasgow around 0800.  You may need to stay overnight in Glasgow to do this.  The last train and bus with onward connections leave Glasgow around mid-day.


Below is a note of the cost for this six day programme. The adult prices include an amount to offset the cost of an increased specialist leadership team and materials, as this week is more highly resourced than normal programmed weeks on Iona.  All charges include VAT at 20%.

[Note: prices below are shown for the Abbey first, then the MacLeod Centre]

  • Adult: £ 414.00 / £ 383.00
  • Full time student/ Low income*/ 16-21: £ 202.00 / £ 187.00
  • Child (4-15): £ 167.00 / £ 157.00
  • Child (0-3): £0.00 / £0.00

A supplementary charge of £45 per Adult, £20 Student/ Low income is included in the above prices. * UK residents only

Bookings are taken only if participants plan to arrive at the start of the programme, i.e. on Saturday 25th June.

For UK residents – on the application form there is an opportunity to indicate if further subsidy is required. Please do not feel intimidated by this – the WGRG has an amount of subsidy available and we wish to allocate it as widely as possible. We are keen to ensure that no-one is excluded from this event for financial reasons.

How to Apply

Please send completed application forms (available from WGRG) as soon as possible to:

The Administrator, Wild Goose Resource Group/ WGRG, c/o The Iona Community, 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow , G5 9JP, Scotland.

Tel: 0141 429 7281

E: wildgoose@wildgoose.scot

Applications will be dealt with initially by the Wild Goose Resource Group in Glasgow. Places will be allocated to allow as diverse a group as possible to develop skills for use in local congregations, not on a first-come-first-served basis. (In previous years there has also been a waiting list for this event.)

When we allocate places, the WGRG office in Glasgow will send you a booking form. At that time, we will require a £50 deposit – to be sent with the booking form to the island booking office, not to Glasgow.

Please send no money until we advise you to do so.


25 June 2016
1 July 2016
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