Iona Pilgrimage 2017

September 22- October 1, 2017

The island of IONA in the Scottish Hebrides has been a pilgrimage destination for Christians for over a thousand years. Commonly acknowledged as a “thin place” where the nearness of the realm of spirit is readily sensed, the numinous interplay of land, water, and light affords pilgrims to Iona an immediate experience of the spiritual inspiration and guidance the Celtic tradition has derived from nature. Be prepared to have your Unconscious stirred and your creativity energized by the natural and human-made sites of Iona that have inspired poets, painters, theologians, and mystics for centuries. Bring your sketch pad, camera, or musical instrument, your dream journal, and the open heart of a pilgrim and join us as we journey to this wondrous place. 

The pilgrimage will begin and end in Glasgow, Scotland, so that pilgrims can extend their travel as they wish before or after the pilgrimage.

The Leaders

Linda McFadden is a retired UCC minister who takes a Jungian approach to her life and practice as a spiritual director. She is a writer, photographer, and a musician.

Linda’s husband,
Philip Wiehe, is a retired Episcopal priest who takes a Jungian approach to Emerging Christianity and is a writer, dramatist, and musician.​ Linda and Philip have published two books about congregational dynamics.

“It is our hope that the pilgrims on this journey will open themselves to the creative spirit that abounds on Iona and bring along their journals, cameras, paintbrushes and musical instruments. Together we will encounter voices that speak in this liminal place as we explore its many treasures.”

Special Guest Leaders

John Philip Newell, the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey, he now divides his time between Edinburgh, where he does most of his writing, and travelling and teaching internationally. In 2015 he became the Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Spirituality at Iliff School of Theology in Denver where he offers a course every Spring. John Philip will be with us for our first two days on Iona. For more information go here.

John L. Bell is a hymn-writer, Church of Scotland minister, and a member of the Iona Community. He also travels the world as a teacher and gathers in the music that he finds. Along with his own compositions and world music he has published reflections on spirituality. More...

Music Leader
Lisa Whitfield
 has taught music and folk arts and served as director of Historic Johnson Farm in Henderson County, NC, from 1980 to 2006. Lisa is currently the director of Allelu!, a folk/traditional music group at St James Episcopal Church, Hendersonville. Lisa's instrumental gifts include guitar, ukulele, piano and autoharp,  and she is a songwriter of both sacred and secular music. 


(subject to some variation)

Friday September 22
11:00 AM Bus departs Glasgow airport for Oban – stop for lunch
3:00 PM Arrive Oban check in to hotel
5:30 PM Pilgrimage orientation
6:30 PM Dinner in the hotel

Saturday, September 23
8:00 AM Breakfast
8:45 AM Workshop with John Bell

12;15 PM Ferry Departure then bus and ferry to Iona
4:30 PM Arrive Iona
5:30 PM Pilgrimage theme presentation
6:30 Dinner

Sunday, September 24

8:00 AM Breakfast

10:30 AM  Communion service in the Abbey

12:00 PM Iona Community Introduction -- Abbey

(lunch on your own)

​2:00 PM Pilgrimage walk to St. Columba's Bay with

John Philip Newell

6:00 PM return

6:30 PM Dinner

Monday, September 25

​8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Morning Worship -- Abbey

10:00 AM Time with John Philip Newell

(lunch on your own)

4:30 PM Time with John Philip Newell

6:30 PM Dinner

Tuesday, September 26 - Friday, September 29

​The exact schedule for the next four days will vary depending upon the availability of resource people, weather, and other factors. There will be:

  • presentations on the intersection of creativity and Celtic Spirituality, Jungian Psychology, Progressive Christianity and other Wisdom Traditions
  • opportunities for worship in the Abbey
  • time to pursue your own creative impulses and sharing with others
  • an afternoon trip to Staffa (additional fee)
  • wonderful breakfasts and dinners in the hotel dining room (included)
  • lunches on your own – a chance to explore other restaurants on the island

Saturday September 30
8:00 AM Ferry departure; bus and ferry to Oban
12:00 Arrive Oban; lunch
2:00 PM bus to Glasgow
4:30 PM arrive Glasgow Airport, Holiday Inn, for check-in

       (this hotel night is included)

Sunday, October 1


Iona 2017

                      John Philip Newell

John L. Bell

Lisa Whitfield

This pilgrimage is sold out. You may add your name to the wait list here or sign up for Iona pilgrimages in 2018 or2019.

Linda McFadden            Philip Wiehe