08 Jun June Christa’s Corner
On Thursday, June 15th, 6 members and close friends of our church family will be departing for Scotland on our pilgrimage to Iona. After a day and a half of travel, by plane, bus, train, ferry, bus, ferry, and foot, we will spend the week living in Christian community at the Iona Abbey, which holds a great place of spiritual significance for Presbyterians. For the week at the abbey, which will involve 40 pilgrims plus staff, Iona is very clear that we are not there for a retreat and we are not there for a conference. While there is a programmatic element to the week, their primary focus is teaching what it means to live in Christian community together and to follow the rhythms of worship, work, play, and study.
There is no “typical schedule,” but each day involves morning and night worship, work tasks (preparing and cleaning up after a meal and doing “housework” around the abbey), time for group study, time to enjoy fellowship over meals, and free time to relax, hike around the island, and do any personal study. Special events on the island include a Monday night ceilidh, or traditional Scottish dance, hosted by Iona’s permanent residents, a spiritual pilgrimage hike around the island, which includes visits to many of the sites connected to the islands historical and spiritual history, and an afternoon boat trip out to Staffa, which is the Scottish side of Northern Ireland’s famous Giant’s Causeway.
At the end of our trip, we will travel together back to Glasgow. From there, three members will fly home, two will remain in Scotland for several days of personal travel, and I will travel for two weeks of vacation in Northern Ireland, the Scotland Highlands, and London, England. I will return to the office on Sunday, July 9. We look forward as a group to sharing our experiences with you, and if there is interest, we can plan for another Iona pilgrimage in the future.