Iona Pilgrimage: Glimpses of a World Made Whole

May 28 – June 7, 2020

This pilgrimage is currently FULL. If you would like to be on a waiting list, please contact
Shalem also is offering a pilgrimage to Assisi, and there are still spaces available in that pilgrimage.


Iona, a sacred island off the West coast of Scotland, is only three miles long. According to geologists, the rocks on Iona are some of the oldest on Earth, some 2.7 billion years old. On these ancient rocks, Columba, the renowned Irish saint, and his fellow monks arrived on Pentecost Day in 563. They discovered a wild and beautiful place battered by strong tides and fierce winds, but also a safe haven where they could anchor their souls and live into the promise of new beginnings.

Today, Iona continues to be an anchor for one’s soul. It is what some have called a “thin place” where the veil between heaven and earth seems nearly transparent. In a thin place, we are graced with a new awareness of God’s presence alive in all people, all things, all times and all creation. In the midst of a sometimes chaotic and broken world, we have glimpses of a deeper and truer reality – a world made whole.

St. Columba, other Celtic saints and the island itself will be our trusted guides on this journey. Our days will include times of silence and prayerful reflection; plenary gatherings exploring Celtic wisdom and small group times for deeper listening and sharing. We will have daily opportunities to participate in the inspiring worship life of the Abbey, as well as guided pilgrimage walks in the Abbey and across the island to Columba’s Bay. There will be ample free time for our own explorations and a day of silence for seeking the new beginnings that God is inviting and wanting to birth in us and in the waiting world.

Glimpses of a world made whole invite us to loosen our grip on old ways of doing and being. We begin to discover new callings and fresh possibilities. We are freer to respond in love and be part of the world’s healing. By the grace of God, we return home strengthened in soul and blessed with confidence in the truth of God’s presence everywhere, the oneness of Spirit and the wholeness at the heart of life.


Day 1iona_pilgrims
We begin our pilgrimage in Glasgow where we gather at 4:00 PM for welcome, introductions, setting our intentions and pilgrim prayers.
O/N Glasgow (Thursday, May 28, 2020)

Day 2
We continue building our spiritual community with a focus on contemplative pilgrimage, Celtic wisdom and small group sharing. We end this day with a Pilgrim Service of Blessing for the journey.
O/N Glasgow (Friday, May 29)

Day 3
We travel by bus through the beautiful Scottish countryside and arrive at Oban for a 45-minute ferry ride to the Isle of Mull. Our bus then takes us across Mull, and after another, shorter trip by ferry, we arrive on the Isle of Iona. We’ll check into the St. Columba Hotel in time for dinner and end our day with prayers in the historic Abbey.
O/N Iona (Saturday, May 30)

Day 4

We join the Abbey community for Sunday morning worship and an optional session afterwards in the Chapter House on “What is the Iona Community?” After prayers in the Abbey tonight, we enter into the silence of the island for deepening quiet.
O/N Iona (Sunday, May 31)

Day 5
We continue our reflections on contemplative pilgrimage and Celtic wisdom as we embrace the rhythms of the island. Guided reflections invite our awakening to the sacred in all of life.
O/N Iona (Monday, June 1)

Day 6
Today we deepen our experience in the Abbey through a guided prayer walk as we lift up story, image, prayer and song in this sacred space.
O/N Iona (Tuesday, June 2)

Day 7
Our journey today includes a pilgrimage walk to Columba’s Bay where Columba and his fellow monks landed in 563. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch along the way.
O/N Iona (Wednesday, June 3)

Day 8
This is a quiet day for solitude in community and for deepening our connection with the God of all creation. We bring this day to a close with a Contemplative Earth Communion Service.
O/N Iona (Thursday, June 4)

Day 9
This day is free for us to explore the island on our own, return to favorite places or discover new ones. Tours to the Island of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave are also available for extra cost.
O/N Iona (Friday, June 5)

Day 10
This morning we seek to harvest some of the spiritual treasures of this pilgrimage and then retrace our steps back to Glasgow. At day’s end, we celebrate our pilgrimage journey and prepare for returning home.
O/N Glasgow (Saturday, June 6)

Day 11
After early morning goodbyes, we begin the next chapter of our journey with a fresh sense of the new life and vision that God is seeking to birth in us and through us for the world. (Sunday, June 7)

This schedule may vary slightly based on the movement of the Spirit and the needs of the community.


Carole Crumley has led many pilgrim groups to Iona as well as to other sacred sites throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. She is an Episcopal priest, who served in three congregations and as canon educator and founder of the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage at Washington National Cathedral. Formerly Shalem’s Senior Program Director, she is on the staff of Shalem’s Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats.

Leah Rampy is a retreat and pilgrimage leader and on the staff of Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Programs. Formerly Shalem’s executive director, Leah is a student of Creation Spirituality and Celtic Spirituality and is passionate about contemplative ecology. She is the convener and guide for Church of the Wild ~ Two Rivers in Shepherdstown, WV.

Bill Stone has been part of Shalem’s pilgrimage teams to Iona, Edinburgh and Paris. A Presbyterian minister, he currently serves a congregation in New Jersey and previously spent seven years serving a congregation in Scotland. His time in Scotland nurtured a deep appreciation for Celtic spirituality and a love of hiking.

Price & Register Now!

This pilgrimage is currently FULL. If you would like to be on a waiting list, please contact
Shalem also is offering a pilgrimage to Assisi, and there are still spaces available in that pilgrimage.

Payment Schedule:

$500 per person (non-refundable deposit) due now to Shalem to reserve your space
Reserving your space is contingent upon receipt of your deposit.
$1,650 per person (interim payment) due January 1, 2020
$1,645 per person (final payment) due March 1, 2020
(Please include Single Supplement with final payment.)

Included in the Pilgrimage Fee:

Three nights in Glasgow
Seven nights at St. Columba Hotel on Iona
Breakfast daily, nine dinners, one picnic lunch
All entrance fees for sites included on the itinerary
Gratuities for drivers, housekeeping, dining and other staff
Travel by bus and ferry from Glasgow to Iona and return

Not Included in the Pilgrimage Fee:

Airfare to and from Scotland; airport transfers to/from Glasgow hotels
All lunches (except picnic) and one dinner
Beverages at meals except breakfasts
Excursions not on the itinerary

(*) A Caveat on Cost: Please be aware that should currency exchange rates and/or accommodation rates increase significantly over the next few months, we may have to request an additional surcharge. We appreciate your understanding.

Comprehensive Travel Protection Insurance: We strongly recommend this. Please consult your travel agent or visit one of the various websites such as


If you must cancel your reservation, refunds will be made as follows:

Cancellations received on or before March 17, 2020 – 100% of monies received minus $500 non-refundable deposit; cancellations received between March 18 and April 21, 2020 – 50% of monies received minus $500 non-refundable deposit; no refunds will be made for cancellations received after April 21, 2020. Shalem reserves the right to cancel the pilgrimage for any reason, in which case you will receive a full refund of all monies paid.


“I appreciated the slow, prayerful time together as community and in nature. The plenary sessions and lectures were incredible and life changing. This pilgrimage has brought me deep healing.”

“To experience the [journey] in a prayerful pilgrim community has been an extraordinary gift for me. I appreciate the careful and inspired planning that went into making each step a mindful, spirit-filled opportunity to open our hearts to creation.”

“I certainly am returning home with a heightened sense of God’s love and our potential to know that love and a renewed desire to help make that love manifest in the world.”