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Scotland: Voice from Iona (70 years ago)

70 years ago — October 1, 1951

The Scottish church “seemed to have nothing to say to the working classes of people and stood helpless during the depths of the depression that George MacLeod resigned his charge as pastor of a large working-class congregation in Glasgow in 1938 and founded the Iona Community, with ties dating back to the sixth century when Columba made his way from Ireland to Iona and thence took the gospel to Scotland. … MacLeod’s name is suspect in many circles because he dares hold and proclaim that the Christian faith as an Incarnational Faith is, therefore, concerned with social justice, with daily bread for the lowliest and the least of God’s children, with an economic witness as well as an evangelistic witness, if held with any conviction, impels the believer to express that faith in every aspect of life,” including how one votes, how one works, how the earnings are spent and how one shares with others. Ministers and craftsman spend the summer living and working in community on the island. During the winter they disperse to apply their learning on the mainland. In the community, the “daily rhythm of work and worship made worship a part of work and work a part of worship. The facing of difficult questions in the environment was conducive to constructive thought and an honest facing of one’s self and the world’s problems.”

From “Scotland: Voice from Iona” by W. Jack Lewis

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