They were thirteen men, set loose on the wild Irish Sea. Throwing their sails to the wind, they wholly trusted the spirit of God to lead them. Their exile was self-imposed; it was known as White Martyrdom. They left their beloved Ireland not in search of adventure but in bold obedience. Their trust would be rewarded on this tiny white-sanded island off the western coast of what would one day be Scotland. From this small obscure island they would reach the world with the message of God’s love.
Even today, Iona remains an otherworldly place to visit. The tiny Iona Community, revived by George McLeod in 1938, still thrives, and it reminds all visitors that the vision and work of St. Columcille, started over 1500 years ago, continues today. You can visit on a mission, the beach where the tiny group of Irish monks first landed in search of God’s Wonder Voyage; or walk the pilgrim’s trails that bring any pilgrim straight into the heart of Iona. Imagine worshiping at the Cathedral that still stands on the foundation of the first monastery. For the pilgrim, Iona is one of those places that must be visited.
- Visit the Iona Abbey, where Columcille laid the foundation 1500 years ago.
- Pray upon the secluded beach where Irish monks first landed.
- Join a special compline service, focusing on pure worship to the Almighty.
- Hike the ancient pilgrims path that leads you to pristine beaches and up the holy mountain.
- Join an island wide traditional dance and enjoy the Scottish pipes.
- Spend some quiet time on one of the many beaches where you can frolic in the sand and breathe in the fresh air.
- Join in with other pilgrims to serve in the Iona Abbey, and experience a bit of what the life of a monk may have been like.
- Take time daily for concentrated prayer on issues that deeply affect our communities.
- Explore your gifts and talents considering how you might make a difference in your own community.
Every Wonder Voyage itinerary (mission trip and/or pilgrimage) is personalized to the desires, direction and personality of each group. This itinerary is only a description of the kind of journey we can create for your unique team.
- Day 1
Welcome to Scotland! After we greet you at the airport, we will head to the west coast for a three-day adventure to the holy island of Iona. Our first stop, however, will be in the coastal hamlet of Oban. This town, whose name means “Little Bay,” has been inhabited for centuries. From castles to churches to amazing coastal scenery, we will explore to our hearts’ content as we begin to immerse ourselves in the rich Gaelic culture.
- Day 2
Today we will take a couple of ferries and a bus to get to where St. Columba established his monastery here in the 6th century as a beacon of light to the world. Iona’s influence even continues today. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will establish a special place in your heart. After we arrive and settle in, we will show you some of the important spots on the island and prepare you for the journey of discovery.
- Day 3 & Day 4
There are precious few moments in our lives when we can stop and rest in God’s presence. The island of Iona provides an opportunity for just that. We come to Iona as pilgrims in search of Thin Places, places where heaven meets earth. We will take the opportunity while we are here to settle in to the rhythm of this place. We will participate in daily prayer and worship opportunities at the Abbey. You will have time during these two days to walk, think, journal, explore and spend time in prayer. May Christ meet us in a significant way while we are here.
- Day 5
Our next destination on our journey is the thriving city of Edinburgh. A city filled with stories of saints and sinners, heroes and scoundrels, royalty and poverty, Edinburgh will stir your imagination. In the afternoon we will introduce you to the history, architecture and culture that makes Edinburgh a one-of-a-kind place.
- Day 6
Your next full day in Scotland will be spent exploring Edinburgh. Whether you want history, sacred space, hiking, shopping or just wandering, the day will be yours. Our evening will come to a close with a very special meal.
- Day 7
You have spent the last several days discovering the thin places in an amazing land. You have seen where heaven and earth, ocean and land, day and night, collide and intertwine. You have immersed yourselves in a new culture. You have walked in the steps of royalty, saints, storytellers and sages. Our prayer is that as you re-enter your daily lives, you will do so with the peace that passes all understanding. May ”thin places” abound for you back home.
Legacy in Iona, Scotland
- *This is the base cost of the trip. Your cost may differ depending on housing, activities, etc.