The Iona Community has begun a major capital campaign to preserve the ancient monastery and meet the needs of the many pilgrims who come to the island for prayer and spiritual refreshment.
The Guardian reports:
A Christian community which attracts pilgrims from around the world to contemplate and pray amid the wild beauty of the Hebridean island of Iona is in “serious jeopardy”.
The Iona Community has launched an urgent appeal to raise £1.5m to redevelop the buildings of St Colomba’s monastery. Without the work, the community could become “unfit for purpose” within a few years.
In a report to the Church of Scotland’s general assembly, meeting in Edinburgh this week, the community said: “Significant needs have been building over a number of years … which, if not addressed imminently, will place the long-term sustainability of the centre at significant risk.”
It added: “The impact of this on the island community of Iona would be catastrophic.”
If action is not taken now to improve the fabric of the buildings and the associated utilities, there is the prospect of the accommodation being unfit for purpose in 5 – 7 years’ time which would in turn place the Iona Community’s presence on Iona in serious jeopardy.
The Iona Community has had a profound impact on the way Episcopalians and many other Christians understand themselves and Christian spirituality. The community’s website describes the Iona Community as “a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.”
We are an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions in the Church engaged together, and with people of goodwill across the world, in acting, reflecting and praying for justice, peace and the integrity of creation; convinced that the inclusive community we seek must be embodied in the community we practise.
The report goes on the state the goals of the project:
Sixty years of piecemeal maintenance and sporadic upgrading of internal services, electrical, water, sewerage and heating, have led to constant and uneconomic patchwork repairs. The following capital works are required to address this problem together with the challenges of accessibility, flexibility and sustainability. The key areas of work focus on:
- Ensuring access for people of all physical abilities
- The re-configuration of the existing staircase and installation of a lift to the accommodation area.
- Re-configuration of the refectory area (not currently accessible to those with any mobility issues) to create an inviting communal space.
- Re-configuration of the dormitory-style bedrooms to maximise space and create rooms designed for single or twin occupancy.
- Improved lighting in all corridors to ease access and create a safer environment.
- The upgrading and improving of all utilities.
- The replacement of all existing services, including the installation of a sustainable hot water and central heating system, with the necessary insulation.
Learn more here.