Interfaith pilgrimage on Iona
Representatives from Scotland’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i and Buddhist communities travelled to Iona for a three-day pilgrimage in September.
The pilgrimage marked the 20th anniversary of The Scottish Religious Leaders’ Forum, a group dedicated to improving relationships between Scotland’s religious communities.
Mirella Yandoli, Interfaith Officer at the Church of Scotland, said the pilgrimage had been ‘transformative’. She said: “It is an achievement in itself to take such a diverse group to the historically sacred place of Iona, with each of us bringing something of our own of the sacred to share and learn and celebrate our differences and to ultimately feel a sense of unity of purpose”.
The Rev David Coleman, environmental chaplain for Eco-Congregation Scotland, said: “The pilgrimage has been an extraordinary and nourishing time of fellowship and respect. We have shared around the tables at mealtimes and in reflective sessions about the threats, hopes and joys that unite us as people of faith. It is vital to every spiritual tradition that we listen in solidarity for the voice of the Earth”.
Children at Iona Primary School met the religious leaders on Tuesday September 20 during a trip to the school. Pupils were able to ask the leaders questions about different faiths.
During their stay on the island, the Forum hosted a Service of Commitment in Iona Abbey. The service, which was livestreamed, saw leaders recommitting themselves to positive interfaith relations.
Ruth Harvey, Leader of the Iona Community, said: ‘The Iona Community longs for a just and peaceful world in which all of life can flourish. We strive, as a community and as individuals, to make a significant contribution to positive interfaith relations and to a more peaceful society.
‘We were delighted to host the Service of Commitment marking the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Religious Leaders’ Forum at Iona Abbey. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate good relations with dear friends from various religious traditions and, in good faith, share together those things which we hold in common as well as consider afresh those areas where we differ.’
You can rewatch the Service of Commitment on YouTube. (Please note that this video is slightly low quality in places.)