Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scotland Pilgrimage - View from Argyll Hotel on Island of Iona

Argyll Hotel 

The Argyll Hotel is located on the village street overlooking the Sound of Iona.  The pictures below were taken from the grounds of the hotel. 

Scotland Pilgrimage - Island of Iona - Catholic Center

This afternoon, Morag and I visited the Catholic Center on the Island of Iona.  

Cnoc a' Chalmain”, the “Hill of the Dove," has been established as a House of Prayer under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. It was officially opened by Archbishop Keith O'Brien in the spring of 1997, the 1400th anniversary year of St Columba's death on Iona.

Scotland Pilgrimage - Iona Abbey and Center

When we arrived last evening, Morag Liebert, RCWP, and I participated in evening prayers at the Iona Abbey Chapel. At Iona there is an active community who leads prayer each day. Last night they began with instrumental guitar music. The leader, a young woman, invited everyone to reflect on water and to participate in a mutual blessing. We sang a TAZIE  like chant of praise. The Iona Community is a Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship. 

Since we arrived, Morag and I have attended 2 ecumenical services led by women who are volunteers from the Iona Community. The Iona Community has a major focus on the mystical oneness, interfaith prayer, community, peace and justice. Over 100,00 visit each season. Their spiritual focus is beautifully stated below:

 “We are an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions in the Church engaged together, and with people of goodwill across the world, in acting, reflecting and praying for justice, peace and the integrity of creation; convinced that the inclusive community we seek must be embodied in the community we practice.”

I walked several miles today on his scenic road where I encountered cows and sheep and some pilgrims on the path. Weather is sunny and in the 60s. A heatwave for Scotland!

Argyll Hotel 

Last night Morag and I stayed at the Argyll Hotel on the Island of Iona. The hotel is a small owner operated hotel located on the village street overlooking the Sound of Iona. After all of our travels yesterday, we were happy to have a good night’s sleep. 
Here is a little history about Iona Abbey and Center

Just off the west coast of Scotland on the Isle of Iona, the Iona Abbey has long been a symbol of Scottish history and religion. It served as a mausoleum for many early Scottish kings, with more than fifty accounted for by the 16th century. It is one of the oldest religious centers in Western Europe. The Irish monk Columba arrived to the island in 563, establishing a monastery that survived for centuries to come. In around the year 1200 the historic Abbey and Nunnery were constructed. 

Responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland, it remains a symbol of Scottish Christianity that many still pilgrimage today. There are four impressive high crosses remaining, all of which can be seen in the abbey museum. The oldest, St. Martin’s Cross, dates back to the 8th century. The isle has a spiritual atmosphere and is today maintained by the Iona Community.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Scotland Pilgrimage - Travel to Iona from Edinburgh

Today, Morag and I left Edinburgh for Iona. We have taken three trains and are now on a Ferry to Iona. The beautiful pictures below are from our journey to Iona.

Power to the People: Life for Mother Earth and Her Children

Power to the People: Life for Mother Earth and Her Children

By Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

Despite the brutally hot weather, about 10,000 activists marched, danced and sang for a “Climate Revolution” and a “Ban on Fracking” on Sunday, July 24, 2016 in Philadelphia before the Democratic National Convention began.  We traveled from Maryland, New York, (including six buses from New York City) New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and states from across the country. The DNC had refused to include a ban on fracking in the Democratic Party Platform. On our bus were members of the Pledge of Resistance Baltimore, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Harford County Climate Action.

Gathering at Philadelphia’s City Hall with the statue of Ben Franklin looking down approvingly, some of us tried to cool off by wading through the sprinklers. We joined the march gathering behind the drone replica leading the Peace & Environmental Justice Contingent.

A band of musicians playing clarinets, tubas, trumpets, drums, and guitars gave us a playful spirit as we began. Our group carried my banner: STOP THE WAR MACHINE: EXPORT PEACE, which had been held as evidence after 13 of us had been arrested on January 12th, for daring to ask the Capitol Police to deliver a petition to President Obama to give a real State of the Union. On May 23rd the case was dismissed. However, the banner was not retrieved until July 14th.

Along the streets we met friends in the movement. Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK: Women for Peace walked over and gave me a hug. We came across Amy Goodman covering the march for “Democracy Now.” “Thanks for your good and holy work,” I said. Bernie Sanders’ supporters were everywhere.

Four of us held the banner high: Bernie Brown, Teresa Reuter Jeanne Dresser and me. Alongside us was Cindy Farquhar pushing Sharon Jones in her wheel chair. My partner, Max Obuszewski of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, walked alongside me with his signs: NUCLEAR POWER: Not Safe After All These Years and HOPKINS DRONE RESEARCH: Killing by Remote Control. Every so often he would nudge us to straighten the banner and to stop while media or citizens took videos or photos. Fortunately, now and then, we were asked if we wanted to be sprayed with water.

The march ended at Independence Hall where the Liberty Bell resides. We found a shady place to rest. At 3 p.m. I relinquished my spot in the shade to join the “It Takes Roots to Change the System People’s Caravan” sponsored by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. From the RNC to the DNC these human rights activists are calling for Justice For Berta Caceres, the Honduran environmental activist who was assassinated in March this year and to denounce US military aid to Honduras and its foreign policy destroying frontline and indigenous communities in Honduras and globally.

Just as I arrived, Caceres’ daughter, Laura, began speaking in Spanish that was translated into English. With a 10-foot puppetista of her mother behind her, she indicted the US government and military for financing and training the perpetrators of the violence that takes the lives of Honduran campesinos. She also talked about her mother’s spirit, vision and courage. I was quite moved by her strength of purpose so soon after her mother’s death.

Along with the other women I was invited to hold a fan with the picture of Berta Caceres in front of my face during a photo-op.

“Berta no se murio,” (“Berta didn’t die.”) an organizer called out in rhythm.
“Se multiplico” (“She multiplied.”) we affirmed.
“Berta Vive! Vive” she continued, adding that we should raise our left arms. “La lucha sigue sigue.”
Yes, “the struggle continues, it continues…”

Scotland Pilgrimage - Holy Island of Lindisfarne

On Thursday, July 28, Morag Liebert RCWP and I visited the Church of St. Aidan in Bamburg and Lindisfarne's monastic site of Celtic ruins. 

Today Morag and I will be traveling by train and ferry to the Island of Iona.

St. Aidan's Church, a place of worship, was founded on the site of the present church in 635 by Saint Aidan. St Aidan was called to Bamburgh from Iona by King Oswald to establish Christianity in his newly united kingdom of Northumbria.

No trace of that wooden building can now be seen – other than perhaps a beam in the Baptistery. Tradition has it that this is the beam that St Aidan was leaning against when he died and it is said to have miraculously survived two fires.

The site of St Aidan’s death is marked by a simple shrine within the present church. The church building that is now seen dates from the end of the 12th century.

This parish church has been a focus of pilgrimage over the centuries and modern day visitors and pilgrims are very welcome.

As well as being the Apostle of Northumbria, Aidan is rightly regarded as the Apostle of England. This parish church is therefore not only the “mother church” of the modern day Diocese of Newcastle but also central to the history of Christianity in this land.

For more about St. Aidan's Church, click on the link below.