Iona Community

The Isle of Iona

Iona ChurchThe Isle of Iona is a small island off the west coast of Scotland, where in 563 Columba founded a Celtic monastery that was very influential in its own times. In the middle ages it was the site of a Benedictine abbey and over the centuries has attracted many thousands of people on their own pilgrim journeys.

The Iona Community, founded in 1938 by the Rev George MacLeod, then a parish minister in Glasgow is an ecumenical Christian community that is committed to seeking new ways of living the Gospel in today’s world.

The Iona Community’s statement of purpose states: “The Iona Community is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship. What we share, expressed in many different ways, is an experience of the liberating power of Jesus Christ, and a commitment to the personal and social transformation that springs from the vision and values of the gospel.” We at Kirkridge say this about ourselves: “Kirkridge is a retreat and study center rooted in Christ, close to the earth, where people of diverse backgrounds find community and experience the transforming power of the Spirit for personal wholeness, reconciliation and justice in the world. “ It is clear that these two organizations have much in common most especially the desire to be communities committed to transformation and justice in the world.

John Oliver Nelson, the founder of Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, was influenced by George MacLeod’s work on the island of Iona. For both men, the building of community was a critical piece of their visions for ministry in the world. Kirkridge has over its history had times when the building of community was successful and other times when it faltered. Many individuals travel to Iona and are inspired by the beauty of the island and worship in the Abbey. Returning to the US they too wish they could be full members of The Iona Community.

Here at Kirkridge we continue to live into the dream that John Oliver Nelson had for this holy mountain. We are excited about the opportunities to partner with The Iona Community so that together we can make a difference in the lives of people who share the dream of being a place of worship and community and to be committed to our ministry in the world. . In addition the partnership agreement has established the Chasing the Wild Goose programming at Kirkridge. We are offering at least four retreats a year at Kirkridge that are led by Iona Members, or on topics consistent with Iona (and Kirkridge) mission.

For more information on the Iona Community go to


Kirkridge Retreat Center

2495 Fox Gap Road

Bangor, PA 18013


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