Pilgrimage to Iona 2015
Iona is an island in the west of Scotland. It is a small place but has a great importance in the history of Scotland and of Christianity in Europe. In AD 563 St Columba settled there with a group of fellow monks and established it as a base for spreading the gospel through what is now Scotland and the north of England. Their monastery was destroyed by Vikings but in the Middle Ages Iona was the site of an important Benedictine monastery and considered a holy island.
That monastery fell into ruin but around 1900 the Abbey church was restored and in the 1930s a group of people from Glasgow started to rebuild the other parts of the Abbey. Out of that developed The Iona Community which now, among many other things, runs the Abbey as a place for visitors.
Shortly after we moved to Castle Cary several people, knowing that we were Members of the Iona Community, asked if we would organise a group visit to Iona. We had it in mind for 2016 but during August of this year we found that some refurbishment work on Iona was being rescheduled so 2015 was now likely to be better than 2016 -but we would have to move fast in order to book in a group at the Abbey next year.
We did this in the late summer of 2014 and 16 of us made a pilgrimage to Iona in August 2015:-
Sue Kellagher writes:-
For one week we became part of the community, sharing our daily lives
with residential members of the community and other visitors like us.
Someone, on our return, asked if it was a Retreat. It wasn’t.
We lived in community, each of us taking responsibility to help with the
day to day jobs which make up the common life of community living.
I was really impressed by the simplicity of living and worshipping. We were all
equal and nobody knew who was the university professor, doctor, teacher,
priest, pastor, minister or any other profession. No special clothes or robes
were worn by those who celebrated the Eucharist. The simplicity of sharing
bread and wine together on a long table was not only intimate,
but very powerful and transformative. Equally the service of healing for all was deeply spiritual
and we knew beforehand the community’s understanding of healing.
We all enjoyed a wonderful breadth and depth of sharing, caring, valuing and total lack
of condemnation in all we experienced - such a liberating dimension to life.
I learnt many new songs during the week, often written by members of the community
at various times. Easy to learn, but of great spiritual depth and
meaning. We sang often! All through the week we, as part of the community,
were encouraged to take this model of living together back into our own
communities. This is all about rebuilding the common life.
Iona, as a thin place, was indeed transforming in so many ways.
Each of us reached out and received in our own way. Life will never be the same again!
If you are interested in going to Iona we will gladly help you arrange your visit. So please do get in touch.
David and Madron Osborne email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01963 351275