INTRODUCTION TO THE IONA COMMUNITY
The Iona Community is
- an ecumenical Christian community of people from different walks of life and different traditions in the Church;
- committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to following where that leads, even into the unknown;
- engaged together, and with people of goodwill across the world, in acting, reflecting and praying for justice, peace and the integrity of creation;
- convinced that the inclusive community we seek must be embodied in the community we practice.
We share a common discipline of:
- Daily prayer, and regular engagement with the Bible and other material which nourishes us
- Working for justice and peace, wholeness and reconciliation in our localities, society and the whole creation
- Supporting one another in prayer and by meeting, communicating, and accounting with one another for the use of our gifts, money and time, our use of the earth’s resources and our keeping of all aspects of the Rule.
- Sharing in the corporate life and organisation of the Community
The Iona Community was founded in Govan and Iona in 1938 by George MacLeod, minister, visionary and prophetic witness for peace, in the context of the poverty and despair of the Depression. The original task of rebuilding the monastic ruins of Iona Abbey was to serve as a sign of hopeful rebuilding of community in Scotland and beyond.
Today, we are about 270 Members, mostly in Britain, with 1000 Associate Members and 1250 Friends worldwide. The Iona Community welcomes people from all walks of life at its centres on the islands of Iona and Mull. It trades through Wild Goose Publications and the Iona Community Shop on Iona and resources a wide range of church and community organizations through its Wild Goose Resource Group. The Iona Prayer Circle is a worldwide network which prays for people and places in distress. Coracle is the magazine of the Iona Community, which seeks the exchange of thoughts and ideas as a basis for finding common ground.
Through participating in Family Groups, Regional Groups and Common Concern Networks, Members, Associate Members, Friends and our Young Adults Group share concerns, faith and tasks: a common life together.
Iona Abbey Centre
After 3 years of being closed to guests, the Abbey Centre will be open again in 2021, with a completely renovated building and new facilities. The global pandemic and its impact means that our capacity will be reduced to ensure we comply with government guidelines. The Resident Community of staff and volunteers will be hosting a residential programme and experience of living in community, initially for up to 21 guests a week (until such a time that Covid restrictions are loosened). We will also continue our ministry to the many visitors who come to Iona for the day, or who stay at other centres on the island.
The Resident Community will be leading daily worship in the Abbey Church and the Community’s book and gift shop will be open.
The MacLeod Centre will remain closed to guests (whilst accommodating some volunteers), but the Community’s outdoor centre at Camas, on the nearby Ross of Mull, will also remain open during 2021.
For more information about The Iona Community in general, explore the website www.iona.org.uk
THE IONA COMMUNITY’S WORK ON IONA
The Iona Community’s Abbey Centre on Iona exists today both as a resource and a challenge, not only to ourselves and to all who visit, but also to the wider Church and indeed to people of all faiths and of none.
The agreed six priorities of the Abbey Centre over the next 3 years are to:
- Offer all who come to the Abbey Centre a clear experience of the concerns of the Iona Community as reflected in our Rule, our Working Principles and our Charter.
- Develop a model of radical hospitality in the intentional common life of the Community, including those who come to live and work in the Abbey Centre, offering:
- A warm welcome
- Deep encounter and challenge
- An enriching rhythm of work and worship/prayer and action
- Increasingly prioritise as guests in our centres, those living with social, physical, mental and economic disadvantage, alongside a wider diversity of guests and visitors, building sustainable relationships before, during and after their stay.
- Facilitate a model of worship, prayer and reflection as part of everyday life, enabling members, guests and visitors to make more meaningful their Island Centre experiences and their lives.
- Offer innovative programmes, which challenge participants to work for peace, social justice and the integrity of creation, and explore the development of an Iona Community Learning and Equipping Framework, along with the local Island and wider community.
- Maximise the extraordinary dedication, skills and expertise of our staff and volunteers, through ensuring optimal staffing levels, clear roles and responsibilities, robust supervision and support, and opportunities for training and innovation.
(Taken from the 3-year strategic plan for the Iona Abbey Centre)
We hope this means that those who come to our centres will experience them as:
- safe places, in which to explore the meaning of Christian life together, both within the life of the mainstream churches and also within the many new ways of being church, and how to live a committed Christian life in a multicultural and multifaith world;
- places of openness, where people at different stages on their personal journeys can share and learn from each other what God is saying to and through them, and through the story of the Iona Community and the world-wide church;
- empowering places, from which people may go forward on their pilgrimage strengthened and emboldened to make a difference in the world in which they live.