Iona Retreat

On behalf of those lay and ordained leaders who are

renewing our congregations and restoring our world

We are pleased to announce our summer

Regenerative Leadership Retreat in Scotland on the Sacred Isle of Iona


A Celtic Pilgrimage of Renewal

July 12-19, 2014

We invite you to join us for a special week-long retreat at historic Bishop’s House on the beautiful island of Iona in the western Hebrides of Scotland, where a group of 24 spiritual pilgrims will go in search of that “fugitive faith we have allowed to run away from ourselves.” Inspired by the enduring wisdom of Celtic Christianity, this Regenerative Leadership Retreat will not only feed the longings of our souls in the good company of others on the pilgrimage, but help us shape the emerging future of a regenerative society that is now being born inside our communities of faith as they become local centers for spiritual, environmental and community renewal.

In our morning and evening sessions, we will circle around our daily themes using a combination of reflective reading, poetry, journaling, and small and large group discussions as we explore:

St. Martin’s Cross, Iona

  • the rich natural and cultural heritage of Iona, its history and its people
  • the extraordinary sixth-century mission of Columba and the Irish monastic schools that contributed to a social tipping point in civilization
  • the “contrary way” of Celtic Christianity and its ongoing contribution to personal and congregational life today
  • the story of the contemporary Iona Community and other innovative models of emerging religious life
  • the recovery of contemplative, prophetic and sacramental practices so vital to personal and community renewal
  • resources for worship and daily spiritual practice, including poetry, prayers and blessings from the Celtic tradition

Afternoons are free for solitude and personal reflection as you explore your own growing edge within, including walks and hikes to places of great natural beauty or historic interest, and ample opportunity to enjoy the companionship of fellow retreatants and new soul friends. There will also be daily opportunities to experience Celtic models of worship in our Anglican Retreat House, in the Abbey with the Iona Community, the Catholic House of Prayer and the Parish Church of Scotland, or amidst the many ancient “altars of unhewn stone” that the Creator has provided on Iona since time immemorial.

Depending on the level of interest, we may also want to hire an afternoon’s sail on theBirthe Marie, or hire a boat tour to see Fingal’s Cave on Staffa or the ornithological heavens of other nearby islands, and perhaps even kick up our heels some evening at a Ceilidh to enjoy traditional Gaelic music and dance. You may also wish to spend a week before or after our retreat on Iona experiencing other parts of the Hebridean islands and highlands of Scotland, or exploring other great cultural centers and historic sites you’ve always dreamed of seeing in the United Kingdom.

Iona is the spiritual birthplace of Celtic Chrisitanity and the home of St. Columba, the 6th century monk who founded a great monastic center of learning and art on this small Hebridean island “at the edge of the known world.” While Europe descended into the Dark Ages and the lamp of learning was nearly extinguished there, Christianity survived for a hundred years by clinging to these edge places – these “colonies of heaven” – during the great Celtic age. Yet from these outposts on the margins of the known world, Columba and the monks, abbots, and abbesses he influenced founded hundreds of monasteries in Scotland, northern England, and in Europe. Between Columba and his monastic pioneers, these new centers of liturgical, artistic, pastoral and scholarly excellence brought Europe through the Dark Ages and helped give birth to Medieval civilization.

  • Nearby MullNearby Mull
    Do you yearn to experience a pilgrimage to the sacred isle of Iona for personal and vocational renewal?
  • Are you looking for fresh inspiration and new resources for your ministry on behalf of a just and sustainable society?
  • Do you wonder what Celtic Christianity might have to teach us about renewal and transformation inour own time?
  • Are you willing to learn from the Celts about “going to the edge” within as we discover creative ideas and courageous ways to respond to the challenges that surround us all today?
  • Would you welcome an intentional community of practice to assist you in grafting Celtic sensibilities into your own life, leadership and community of faith?

In a time of great transition in our world and lives, our hopes for personal and social transformation must be nurtured with more intention within a supportive community of practice. This is our goal not only during this retreat, but upon returning home where the Center for Regenerative Society will help us perpetuate the Iona experience by continuing to link us to Celtic resources for the renewal of church and society, and by providing us with ongoing support as an extended community of engaged practice.

While together on Iona, we’ll explore alternative resources within “the contrary way” of Celtic Christianity and the modern Iona Community that can help us reverse and revive three neglected dimensions in Christianity today that are vital for transformation:Labyrinth, Columba’s Bay, Iona

  • contemplative practices that help us live and lead from within
  • prophetic practices that help us confront false religion and unjust society, offer alternatives, and demonstrate how we can live together in contrary ways
  • sacramental practices that instill a worldview of reverence for the earth

Come and see for yourself how the Celtic spiritual and monastic tradition can inform our task of renewing faith communities grounded in a reverence for all creation, the contemplative live, and the prophetic renewal of church and society.

Join us on Iona for the Celtic Pilgrimage of Renewal, where we intend to reunite our souls and roles, and inspire our communities of faith to become local centers for spiritual, environmental and community renewal, God’s seedbed for a regenerative society!

Retreat fee: $1300

includes tuition, food, and lodging for the week of July 12-19 on Iona (travel to and from is the responsibility of each retreatant)

Registrations and $1300 payment due May 31.

Click here for:

Facilitator Bios

Registration form, Questionnaire, & Liability Release Form

Travel Information

Click here for a slideshow of Iona

Contact us at