Iona and its Community

I  noticed an invitation from the Iona Community to spend time with them at Christmas.    They said, “Celebrate Christmas together on Iona. Time for reflection on the meaning of Christmas without the distractions of shops and grottos. Experience starlight as you can never see it in the city….”

Of course because it’s now quite close to Christmas all the accommodation on Iona might be full but if not I thought that for many people the island would be a perfect place to spend the festive season.

Christianity on Iona

The invitation particularly caught my eye because I recently had the chance to research the early stirrings of Christianity on Iona, its links with St Columba and the country we now know as Scotland, then only a number of small competing kingdoms. I have a short article about the history of Iona on my Scottish Islands page.

View of Iona

View of Iona
(image courtesy Jenny Ross)

While on Iona the past seems inescapable but much of the ‘present’ is focused on the work of the Iona Community which has much to offer not only to its members based on the island but to the many visitors who seek out its spirituality.

So if you can’t visit at Christmas why not go during 2014.  While this short blog post is designed only to give a flavour of what to expect if you check out the Iona Community website you will get the full menu.

Iona Abbey Centre

Much of the community activity takes place at the Iona Abbey Centre which, “comprises the buildings that were rebuilt by the founding members of the Iona Community and the buildings have retained a distinctly monastic feel. Built of stone and slate, the corridors and staircases link the shared bedrooms with the washrooms, the magnificent Refectory (dining hall), the Abbey Cloisters and the medieval Abbey Church itself.”

MacLeod Centre Iona

Other accommodation available is within “the Macleod Centre a newer building, and is especially suited to families, young people and people with impaired mobility. It is a spacious and light-filled building, built on two storeys around a grassed play area. The ‘Mac’ as it is known, has shared bedrooms for 5 or 7 people, cleverly designed to give each person space and a sense of privacy as well as community.

“A major feature of the building is its impressive, well-equipped craft room where guests are encouraged to explore their creativity. There is a small library and room for relaxation overlooking the lawn. A key experience of the week is the opportunity to gather round the wood-burning stove in the Community Room which is also used for meals and events.” More details about the MacLeod Centre and how to book.”

Camas, Mull

Also available is the outreach centre at Camas which, “welcomes groups and individuals to its pink granite cottages nestled in an isolated bay on the Ross of Mull, a mile and half away from the road.  The aim of the centre is to provide a safe haven for individuals to enjoy the company of their group, the wonder of Scotland’s west coast environment and to offer each person opportunities for personal and spiritual development.”   More about Camus.

Welcome to Iona

Of course in Iona there is also a community outside that of the one associated with the abbey.  The local tourist information centre, Welcome to Iona has information on accommodation, how to get to the island and other helpful advice