Farewell, for now.

Staff and volunteers saying farewell to Melanie on the Jetty

Image: Saying farewell to Melanie (front centre) at the jetty. Credit: Iona Community/ S. Cairns

What follows is a message sent by Melanie to the staff team at Iona Abbey. She sent it on her departure, after volunteering for a few weeks as an Abbey musician. We thought it had to be shared more widely since it is so beautiful and inspiring. It is shared with Melanie’s permission.


‘Thank you all for the beautiful time together in Iona!

I’m blown away (not literally, thankfully) by the beauty of God that comes to me as an “invisible embrace” (John O’Donohue) through this stunning island, through the music we created together, and through each of your friendship. You’ve all made this time really meaningful for me, and I feel so loved ❤️

Right now, I’m thinking of the “four movements of an embrace” (Miroslaf Volf) of (1) opening the arms, (2) waiting, (3) closing the arms, and (4) opening again/letting go.

And though the letting go is painful, I’m so thankful for the chance we had to embrace and be embraced, in the different ways God brought us together.

And I pray that as you go through the four movements week after week, volunteer after volunteer, that you will savour the different taste of God’s beauty that comes through through each person made uniquely and wonderfully.

Thank you for your interest in my life and creating a safe space for my true self to emerge.

Farewell, for now!’

Melanie, our first volunteer (that we know of) from Malaysia.

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