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The Iona Community

The Iona Community is an international, ecumenical Christian movement working for justice and peace, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.

Our Community was founded in Glasgow in 1938 by Rev George MacLeod. A visionary and a social reformer, MacLeod was driven by a belief that faith is grounded in action. In rebuilding the ruined accommodation at Iona Abbey, trainee ministers and unemployed workers lived, worked and worshipped together.

We are now about 280 Members and more than 2,000 Associate Members, Young Adults and Friends across the world. We remain true to that founding vision – sharing common work and community as we pursue justice and peace, in Scotland and beyond.

A Resident Group of staff and volunteers share a year-round common life, and maintain daily services of worship in Iona Abbey.

They welcome guests to share all aspects of their life, including meals and work tasks, and to explore issues of common concern, including trade justice, the environment, peace-making, inclusion and diversity, and interfaith dialogue.

Guests who join us in community will live in the newly refurbished living quarters of Iona Abbey adjacent to the twelfth century Abbey Church in which there is daily worship. Built of stone and slate, these buildings have been made fit for purpose for the twenty-first century.

A recent renovation, including a lift and accessible bedrooms, extensive insulation and full refurbishment of all bedrooms and bathrooms means that our living space is accessible to all and comfortable all year round. You can watch a series of films from the reopening of the Abbey in 2021, after the renovations.

Corridors and staircases link the shared bedrooms with the washrooms, the Refectory (where we eat), the Abbey Cloisters and the Abbey Church itself. The Chapter House, the Common Room, large and small meeting rooms, and the Ritchie Library are all available to our guests.

The Abbey Church is under the care of Historic Environment Scotland which is responsible for the upkeep of the fabric, the grounds and the museum.

The Iona Community warmly invites you to stay in Iona Abbey as our guest. Join us – for a short break or a week-long programme – in community life and in the work and worship that frames our day .

In our programmes, guests engage in conversation and action focused on justice and peace, embedded in the concerns of the Iona Community.  We explore faith, take part in creative activities, and discover community over meals.

True to its beginnings and the rebuilding of life in community, time staying at Iona Abbey includes time spent sharing in the practical tasks of communal living, including helping with cooking, cleaning and hosting. There is time and space to relax outdoors, explore the beautiful island with its white sandy beaches and inspiring wildlife, or simply to be quiet in the peace of the church.

Have a look through our Programme below. Click on each of the headings or images to read more about each week, and read through our essential booking information before making a booking.