2018 Programme

We are still here ….worshipping, welcoming, wondering…….

Although our centres on Iona are closed to residential guests this year, the Iona Community remains fully committed to its presence on Iona, and to the island itself. There will continue to be…

  • Daily worship in the Abbey Church at 9.00am and 9.00pm.
  • A warm welcome to day visitors and guests staying elsewhere on the island. We are hoping to be able to run some stand alone programme sessions once we regain access to the Abbey Centre refectory and common room but we cannot release any details of these at present. Once information becomes available it will be published here on the website and advertised around the island.
  • Opportunities to visit Camas, the Iona Community’s outdoor centre two miles away on the Ross of Mull, and to learn about its ecological basis and its native species woodland
  • The full operation of the Iona Community Shop and Welcome Centre

In addition, the Iona Community, in partnership with the St Columba Hotel, will offer an Easter residential programme and three autumn residential programmes.


Why are we closed to residential guests in 2018?

For over 70 years, the Iona Community has welcomed visitors from across the world to Iona:

  • to take part in the rebuilding of the medieval Abbey living quarters
  • to share in a common life of work and worship
  • to experience the beauty, history and living community of Iona
  • to find inspiration and faith in action for justice and peace

The accommodation has provided a sanctuary for thousands of residential guests over many decades, but the Iona Community has been professionally advised that substantial work to the infrastructure of the Abbey is urgently required. This is a major undertaking given that the Abbey is a listed building of considerable historic interest on a Hebridean island. This work is to begin soon in close partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and in continuing consultation with island partners, businesses and friends.

The building programme, which is the subject of The Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, will have the following outcomes in sustainability, accessibility and flexibility:

  • The Abbey as a building for living safeguarded for the future
  • Greatly increased access regardless of mobility
  • Reduced negative environmental impact, through use of sustainable materials, renewable energy and reduction of waste
  • Improved facilities and refreshed programme of activities
  • Increased capacity in guest numbers thanks to a 25% increase in guest season
  • Contributing to the local economy, safeguarding local jobs and offering further employment opportunities

This major and complex renovation project involves vacating the Abbey residential accommodation. Because of this, the Iona Community has decided that, for the first time for many decades, it will not be able to offer a residential programme during 2018. We see this sabbatical time as a positive opportunity to explore new kinds of encounter, hospitality and community, and to create new imaginative possibilities for shared experience.