Iona Community tackles stigma and injustice of poverty

By agency reporter
May 24, 2013

The Iona Community is continuing its work in tackling poverty as it enters its 75th anniversary and the 1450th anniversary of Columba’s landing on the island.

Commissioners at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland gave the vote of thanks for their efforts yesterday, 23 May 2013, after receiving the report of the Iona Community Board, presented by its Convener Allan Gordon.

Mr Gordon said: “In most nations today, the gap between rich and poor is widening. In Europe there is a discernible trend to portray benefits systems as burden rather than a safety net and investment which provides social security for all citizens through contributions in national insurance and taxation.

“Part of this attack has been to characterize poverty as a matter of individual responsibility and blame and those living in poverty or with a disability have been increasingly stigmatised. This has directly affected a number of our members and many of the people the Iona Community works alongside.

“It has been a privilege for the Community to work alongside people on low incomes and benefits. In many instances we have done so in partnership at local and national area with the Church of Scotland Priority Areas Team and Faith in Community Scotland.

“The Community also collaborates with Church Action on Poverty and Christian Aid in awareness-raising and campaigning for fairer taxation and tax justice, and for effective financial regulation. Further joint initiatives are planned,” he added.

The General Assembly also heard how there has been a continued increase in membership applications to join the 270 current members who are spread throughout the UK and not just Scotland.

There has also been considerable growth in ‘Iona inspired networks’ in a growing number of countries including the Netherland, Northern Ireland, the USA and Australia.

* Iona Community:


The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is meeting in Edinburgh from 18-24 May 2013. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow and consultant Carla J Roth are there all week, reporting, liaising and commenting. They are also both associate members of the Iona Community.

* Ekklesia reports and commentary from the 2013 Kirk General Assembly, plus those from 2012 and 2011:

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