Iona is a tiny and beautiful Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland, cradle of Christianity in Scotland, where in 563AD the Irish monk Columba (Columkille) established a monastic settlement that evangelized large parts of Scotland and the north of England and became an important center of European Christianity. In the Middle Ages it became the site of a Benedictine abbey, and over the centuries it has attracted many thousands of people on their own pilgrim journeys.
The Iona Community was founded in Glasgow and Iona in 1938 by George MacLeod, minister, visionary and prophetic witness for peace, in the context of the poverty and despair of the Depression. From a dockland parish in Govan, Glasgow, he took unemployed skilled craftsmen and young trainee clergy to Iona to rebuild both the monastic quarters of the mediaeval abbey and the common life by working and living together, sharing skills and effort as well as joys and achievement. That original task became a sign of hopeful rebuilding of community in Scotland and beyond. The experience shaped – and continues to shape – the practice and principles of the Iona Community. - See more at: http://iona.org.uk/
Today, the Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations. By its very existence, the community is a “parable of community” that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.
Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having to fix the length of time too exactly.
Coming to Taizé is to be invited to search for communion with God through community prayer, song, silence, personal reflection and sharing. A stay in Taizé can help one step back from daily life, to meet a wide variety of people and consider one’s commitment in the Church and in society. During their visit all participants join in the community life and the daily program. http://taize.fr/
The French term L’Abri is translated "the shelter" in English. It is difficult to force L’Abri into a rigid category or come up with a precise description. It could be said to be an international study center and a residential community, while also being much more. In 1955, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, the founders of the work opened their chalet/home to those who were seeking answers to life’s many questions and L’Abri began.
We emphasize a biblical Christ centered focus; hospitality; cultural awareness, analysis and where necessary critique; growing in community with God and one another, through the power of the Spirit. Other important concerns, to mention a few, are apologetics, true spirituality, where Christ is understood as Lord of all life, and a Christian worldview. As the pressures of extreme forms of postmodernism and new expressions of pantheism and pragmatism rise and gain a foothold in culture, Christians continue to need to know how to navigate through the high degree of confusion to clearer thinking and living for the sake of Christ. L’Abri is dedicated to helping provide this, firmly believing that questions and problems about God and life can be discussed rationally and answers sought, without resorting to having to take a leap in the dark.
We are located in the small Alpine village of Huémoz, Canton de Vaud, and overlook the Rhone valley surrounded by a magnificent view of the Alps. From Geneva it is a 1½ hour train journey to the town of Aigle, followed by a winding trip by bus up the mountainside to L’Abri. http://www.labri.org/swiss/index.html
Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, lies few miles off the coast of Northumbria, and is accessible by causeway twice a day during low tide. Both an island and a picturesque village, Holy Island carries a wealth of history. One of the island’s treasures is Lindisfarne Priory, which was the center of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times. This peaceful setting was the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most precious books, in which the Gospels are lavishly illustrated with intertwined animals and birds, geometrical patterns, and highly decorated Roman, Greek and Germanic letters. The Priory was ransacked by Viking raiders in the 8th century, but the ruins are still impressive. Holy Island remains a place of pilgrimage today, infusing visitors with a sense of history and a connection to those long-ago Christians.