First, I would encourage you to Google Iona Community and visit their webpage for the most comprehensive information about the Community.
There is an Isle of Iona — off the west coast of Scotland and there is an Iona Community. The two are NOT one in the same, but they do share a relationship.
The island has been a central part of Christianity in Northern Europe since the mid-500’s when Columba landed here with a group of fellow monks from Ireland. There were, archeologists tell us’ already people inhabiting the island at that time. Columba set up a thriving, although vulnerable, community of monks and nuns whose purpose was to spread the Gospel. Ultimately they were eliminated by Viking raiders.
The Iona Community had foundations on the island, but not until the 1930’s. Rev. George MacLeod, a Scottish minister, felt that new clergy (all men at that time) were out of touch with their parishioners; the clergy being educated and the majority of the congregation not being. He began to bring clergy and tradespeople to Iona to rebuild the ruin of the Abbey church and related buildings. There are amazing images of tents on the Abbey grounds as the groups gathered during the summer months to work together.
From out of that experience grew the Iona Community, an ecumenical Christian group that has members who must meet a rigorous induction process to join, as well as Associate Members and Friends of the Community. The Community meets a couple of times a year on a wider scale, and more frequently in small groups not unlike John Wesley’s bands, holding one another accountable for their actions. The community has five basic principles that it holds important, including prayer, Bible reading, and seeking justice or righting injustices.
The Community operates two centers on the Isle of Iona for people to come and stay as guests for a week at a time. These guests learn first hand what it means to live in community and share common resources. The centers are managed and maintained by a group of Resident staff and Volunteer staff. Resident staff serve longer period of times ranging from 1-3 years and volunteers serve shorter time frames ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months.
And for the next six weeks I will be such a volunteer
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