Capital Appeal Information

Iona Abbey Capital Appeal, Update, March 2018

Christ, the Master Carpenter, who, at the last,
through wood and nails, accomplished our whole salvation,
wield well your tools in the workshop of your world,
so that we who come rough-hewn to your bench may be
fashioned to a truer beauty of your hand.
We ask it for your own name’s sake.

The wood, nails, roof tiles and paint are being fashioned at Iona Abbey and the Welcome Centre. During a recent conversation, Murdo, the site manager was amazed there hadn’t been more hiccups or delays. He went on to say this was ‘due to the excellent preparation by the design team and the architect’. The good news is, Phase 1 is due for completion mid May. As of 8th March, 2018 £1,451,260 had been donated which is a tremendous effort. Now, a big push is needed so Phase 2 can commence because every fallow year is costing £80k so the sooner we get the work done the better. Everyone can get involved and every effort counts. Pat Bennett and Graham Maule have brought their creative skills together and developed the Pilgrim £ resources that are now on the website. You can download and make up Pilgrim £ collection boxes ( Euro or Dollar) and encourage your church networks, family and friends to share the journey. Being a dispersed community creates the capacity to encourage wide-spread participation whilst Columba Day could present an opportunity to offer Pilgrim £ boxes as part of the celebrations. We’ll be putting Pilgrim £ boxes on the table in the south aisle of the Abbey so day visitors can join in. During February, John Bell offered four ‘Holy and Humorous’ events which raised an amazing £10,500. John said: “This has been the Community at its best, and a great delight to be involved in.” Thanks Gail for your help with arrangements. We discovered tremendous good-will towards the Iona Community, some wonderful stories and we learned the capital appeal is about much more than raising money. Wild Goose Publications are making significant contributions. Thanks to Sandra, there are now a selection of resources available for sale whilst Neil has published a new book, ‘Iona of my Heart’ and the royalties will be donated to the Appeal. If you are arranging an event and would like to sell these items, the Appeal team can get them to you. Our experience is, they fly off the table like hot cakes!

Observations of an MIR (Member in residence)

“Being an MIR in the Abbey during the current refurbishment phase is a different experience from the normal. For a start, there are no guests and a very much reduced staff. Where work is being done by the con-tractors, there are “red line” zones one is not permitted to enter, making one’s familiar routes “out of bounds.” One gets to the Refectory from the Burrows or the Pend by going through the kitchen, and the Library is inaccessible. I found bits of the Abbey I never knew existed. One is expected to muck in with various tasks. I found myself scrubbing floors in the bookshop where shelving had been moved during clearing up after rain had flooded through the open roof. Also, undertaking what seemed to be an archaeological excavation in the “glory hole” under the piano loft stairs in the Sacristy. Some weird and wonderful things in there! All in all however, there was a great atmosphere and the remaining staff are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.” Ron Reid

There is plenty planned throughout the summer and we’ll keep you up-dated.
Please be in touch with questions and ideas.

Kind regards,

Christine Jones on behalf of Iona Abbey Project Team

Capital Appeal Information – What is to be achieved


Generations of people have been touched by the varied and vital work of the Iona Community – work we want to ensure continues to be a present day reality and not simply history. This is especially true of our presence in the Abbey on Iona.

“Guests and staff alike, from many different backgrounds and countries, return home from their time in the Abbey with their horizons extended, their lives enriched, new friendships made, their commitment strengthened: long may this continue!” Rev’d Norman Shanks – former leader of the Iona Community

The Abbey is beloved by many, but is showing its age and its limitations. It is time to reevaluate and re-assess what we offer in the way of accommodations to guests and staff. Wide consultation and feedback have identified key issues about the building’s accessibility, flexibility and sustainability. These must be addressed in the next five years if the Abbey is to remain fit to its purpose – to welcome pilgrims, strengthening their own individual and corporate commitment to working for peace and social justice, worship renewal and rebuilding of community.

The Iona Community has commissioned Tiree-based Roots Design Workshop to draw up proposals for reconfiguration of the existing accommodation in the Abbey.  As a result of the survey, we have been made acutely aware of the critical need to carry out these works.

In partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, we will ensure that active use of this iconic building is safeguarded for the future.

The project

3-rtThe key areas of work required to welcome people of all physical abilities are:

  • new level access and doors.
  • installation of an elevator to the second floor accommodations.
  • reconfiguration of the refectory to create an inviting and accessible communal space.
  • room-4-2-300x267improved kitchen and servery facilities.
  • provision of new toilets and showers.
  • reconfiguration of bedrooms for single or twin occupancy.
  • enhanced lighting and design in corridors to aid access and mobility.
  • improved insulation and installation of a new heating system.

These improvements will enable the Iona Community to provide facilities which match our hospitality. They will also enable us to extend the guest season, to welcome more people and to improve financial sustainability across the organisation.  

The rebuilding of the Abbey captured the hearts and minds of a previous generation. To keep alive their legacy we must invest in the future. We invite you to be part of this challenging venture. We seek your assistance to raise the £2.5 million (approx $3.25 million) required to undertake this project. There are many ways for you to be involved and help in raising these vital funds.

We welcome individual and corporate donations or would be delighted to discuss contributions towards specific elements of the development. Your donations are vital to the success of the planned works.

To learn more about how you can participate in this effort, contact the Iona Community New World Foundation treasurer, Phyllis Ives. To view, download or print a copy of the Campaign Brochure (for donors living in the United States), Click Here for Brochure

Email:  Phone: 207-677-3203

“In a world where Madeline L’Engle lamented, “Christians have given Christianity a bad name”, the Iona Community presents a positive witness to biblically-rooted, socially progressive faith. We are delighted to help strengthen that witness by supporting the renewal of the Community’s island presence, furthering its outreach.” – Carol Myers (USA)

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To make your contribution tax deductible in the U.S., please send payments to the Iona Community New World Foundation, a 501(c)3 non profit organization. 100% of all contributions go to the Iona Abbey capital project.

Mail your contributions to:

Iona Community New World Foundation
C/O Kirkridge
2495 Fox Gap Rd,
Bangor PA 18013