Sounds of Iona – April 2024

Leader of the Iona Community, Ruth Harvey, offers some hope as Easter approaches.

At the ‘A Future With Hope: Resurrection not Restoration’ conference at New College on 9th March, Will Storrar (Honourary Professor at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton NJ) quoted Barbara Wheeler. In relation to understanding church decline, Wheeler offered both a hot and a cool explanation. The hot explanation led, she said, to hand-wringing anxiety focusing on the ‘if only we’d prayed more/been more evangelistic/been more committed to social justice’ lines. The cool explanation, on the other hand, focused on accepting that the world had changed and that we must learn and move on.  

Storrar went on to explore current sociological trends in Scotland in relation to church decline, choosing to look through the cool, rather than the hot lens. What followed was a day of reflection on the future of the Church, and the Churches of Scotland, led by a range of practitioners and academics.  

Storrar closed his own reflections with a meditation on the gift of the Easter weekend. Good Friday invites us to rage at the devastations in front of us. We need few prompts other than our news feeds to do this today. The ‘crucifixion’ of whole peoples, and of Earth, are stark. How do we channel and focus our grief, our devastation, our fear, our fury? In and through community, in local groups, regional gatherings and focused CCNs we do our best to ‘model the community we seek through the community we practice.’ All strength and solidarity to each one of you as you follow this path in community. 

Fear to hope

If Holy Saturday invites us to pause and to wait, to listen carefully to the ‘narratives of vulnerable stories’, then Easter Sunday, says Storrar moves us from fear to hope, from despair to courage. 

The latest updates from Human Rights Watch make for sobering reading. False or hollow hand-wringing optimism is unhelpful. I take heart from the hope of which Rowan Williams speaks: 

‘We’re going into one of those periods when the notion of steady social and political progress looks a bit hollow. We see tyranny and falsehood and totalitarianism resurgent all over the world when countries that have been democratic dip into an authoritarian darkness. It’s not looking brilliant out there….. yet even if there’s failure today, that failure is not final because the eternal remains.’ (from Hope and Time in the Journal of Oxford Graduate Theological Society) 

A Prayer for Friday 29th March 2024

Today, on this ‘good’ day,
in the presence of hostaged and famished bodies,
in the company of all who live in fear and despair,
on an Earth crucified by our greed,
we bear witness to
the power of grief and rage;
the gift of waiting and listening;
and the promise of new life
wrapped in eternal mystery. 


A message from Kairos-Sabeel

“This Easter, the genocidal war and humanitarian crisis in Gaza compels us to issue an Easter Appeal for your financial support as well as your prayers, advocacy and lobby for the people of Gaza —our Muslim and Christian siblings suffering the physical, emotional, structural and cultural effects of a growing genocide on the part of the State of Israel.  

You can find the English and German full appeal on the link below:” 


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