Iona: A Contemplative Pilgrimage

May 28 – June 7, 2020

Details coming soon.

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Leaders
  • Testimonials
  • Price

Iona, a small island off the coast of Scotland, has drawn spiritual seekers to its haunting beauty and simplicity for centuries. A pilgrimage to this sacred isle invites us to draw deeply from this wellspring of spiritual vitality.

Only three miles long, Iona is a sanctuary and source of nourishment in a sometimes chaotic and stressful world. Centuries of prayers, woven into the very fabric of the land, invite us to see how God’s abiding presence flows through all of life, both mundane and momentous.

At the heart of the island community is the iconic Abbey church with its vibrant liturgies and worship. The worship life encourages Celtic Christian values so needed today: an open-hearted, expansive sense of community; an enduring steadfast love of creation; prayerful, engaged action in the world; and healing for the broken and weary.

On Iona, we will look to St. Columba and other Celtic saints as a source of inspiration. Their courage, risk-taking and love of God show us a new way of being and strengthen our confidence that God is wanting to birth a new life and vision in us, and through us, for the world.

This pilgrimage invites us to see the world through God’s eyes and be together in the flow of God’s grace. Nourished and renewed, we return home bringing the blessings of Iona to our communities and those we love.


In our own spiritual community, there will be times of prayer and reflection every day; plenary gatherings and small group sharing; daily opportunities to participate in the worship life of the Abbey; guided pilgrimage walks in the Abbey and across the island; ample free time for exploring on your own; and a day of quiet/silence for deepening our trust in the mystery of divine Presence. This schedule may change based on the movement of the Spirit and the needs of the community.

Also, please note that while there will be some restoration going on at the Abbey, it will be happening in the Abbey sleeping areas, and we will be staying at the inn nearby. The Abbey will be open for their usual services.

For answers to some frequently asked questions, click here.

Day 1iona_pilgrims
We begin our pilgrimage in Glasgow where we gather in the afternoon for welcome, introductions, setting our intentions and pilgrim prayers.
Overnight in Glasgow (Thursday, May 31, 2018)

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.
Overnight in Glasgow (Friday, June 1)

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.
Overnight on Iona (Saturday, June 2)

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.
Overnight on Iona (Sunday, June 3)

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.
Overnight on Iona (Monday, June 4)

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.
Overnight on Iona (Tuesday, June 5)

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.
Overnight on Iona (Wednesday, June 6)

Day 8
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 Fingals Cave are also available for extra cost.
Overnight on Iona (Thursday, June 7)

Day 9
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.
Overnight on Iona (Friday, June 8)

Day 10
This morning we seek to harvest some of the spiritual treasures of this pilgrimage and then retrace our steps back to Glasgow. Over dinner we will celebrate our pilgrimage journey and prepare for returning home.
Overnight in Glasgow (Saturday, June 9)

Day 11
After breakfast, we say goodbye and 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 10)


Carole Crumley is an Episcopal priest and an experienced pilgrimage guide to sacred and secular sites throughout Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. Formerly Shalem’s Senior Program Director, she is on the staff of Shalem’s Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & RetreatsProgram.

Leah Rampy, part of Shalem’s pilgrimage team to Iona, Edinburgh and the Pacific Northwest, is also a mentor in Shalem’s Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. She has a background in corporate management and leadership consulting as well as a deep passion for contemplative living and care of the Earth and is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Programs.

Bill Stone, Co-Director of Shalem’s Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative, 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.


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.”

$3,600 (*) per person, double occupancy
Pilgrimage registration is closed.

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.
$1,550 per person (interim payment) due January 1, 2018
$1,550 per person (final payment) due March 1, 2018
(Please include Single Supplement with final payment.)

Included in the Pilgrimage Fee:

Three nights in Glasgow (two nights at Glasgow Abode Hotel; one night at the Glynhill Hotel)
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 1, 2018 – 100% of monies received minus $500 non-refundable deposit;
Cancellations received between March 1 and April 30, 2018 – 50% of monies received minus $500 non-refundable deposit;
No refunds will be made for cancellations received after April 30, 2018.
Shalem reserves the right to cancel the pilgrimage for any reason, in which case you will receive a full refund of all monies paid.