A Christian community based on an island has launched an appeal to raise £1.5 million to refurbish its famous abbey precincts amid fears for its future.

The Iona Community, famed as a haven for pilgrims, said in a report to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland its facilities do not meet guests’ needs or expectations.

It warned that: "If action is not taken now to improve the fabric of the buildings and the associated utilities, there is the prospect of the accommodation being unfit for purpose in five to seven years’ time which would in turn place the Iona Community's presence on Iona in serious jeopardy.

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"Failure to carry out the urgent works required will undoubtedly place the Iona Community's presence on Iona in serious doubt.

"The impact of this on the island community of Iona would be catastrophic."


The Iona Community celebrates 's presence at the island centres contributes significantly to the fragile island economy.

The report said "60 years of piecemeal maintenance and sporadic upgrading of internal services, electrical, water, sewerage and heating, have led to constant and uneconomic patchwork repairs".

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The leader of the Iona Community, Rev Peter Macdonald, said: "Building on the Benedictine pattern of worship, work and study, and the balance of contemplation with action, we plan to develop new programmes of formation, vocation and service for young people from different backgrounds and nationalities.

"We will also offer a short sabbatical programme for ministers and others who wish to explore the joys and challenges of life in community and the Iona Community’s Rule of Life.

"This is the most demanding challenge the Iona Community has faced since the rebuilding of the Abbey itself."

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The Iona Community was founded in Govan and Iona in 1938 by Rev George MacLeod and the original task of rebuilding the monastic ruins of Iona Abbey completed in 1965.

The Hebridean island is described as cradle of Christianity in Scotland, where Columba set up a monastic community in 563AD.