After six hours driving and two ferries I am on Saint Columba’s ‘Iona of my love.’ . ‘A thin place where only tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual’ said George McLeod. ‘That man is little to be envied whose … piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona’ (Samuel Johnson).




I am here to lead a retreat on Celtic Christianity for the Iona Community..


The Abbey and McLeod Centre accommodations are being renovated, so we are betwixt and between different buildings.  We stay at Columba Hotel, which is owned by a consortium of residents and has an organic garden. Meeting venues include the village library, the Chapter House, the parish church and the hotel small dining room! Fortunately morning and night prayer can still be held daily in the Abbey. Last night I had the honour of taking the ordained person's role at Holy Communion. We ended marching round the abbey to the drum beats of an African song.




What a delight to meet my old friends Heinz and Marjorie Toller, who are the current wardens, Jennie, who used to pray in our Holy Island Prayer Room on her day off and is now Church of Scotland Minister for Iona, and Sister Pamela, whom I last saw when she ran Ditchingham Sisters’ Refuge in Norwich. She gave a talk in the book shop on Julian of Norwich. Tonight John Bell arrives to give a week-end retreat.




Most retreatants are  from the USA. What is all this about?  Grit in the service of God. An alternative model to Me-First Nationalisms. Calvinists and Lutherans getting excited about the Communion of Saints




Posted at 16:30pm on 26th October 2018
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