The Isle of Iona is a small bit of rock off the west coast of Scotland. It is known for its beauty and sacredness. In 563AD the Irish monk Columkille established a monastic settlement there, and in the Middle Ages it became the site of a Benedictine Abbey.

George MacLeod founded the current community in 1938 and today it continues to be what he referred to as a “thin place,” where the material and spiritual worlds are separated by only the thinnest of margins.

Over the years there have been many leaders, or wardens as they are called, of this spiritual community that beckons pilgrims and seekers from around the world. For many years, John Philip Newell was the warden of Iona, facilitating retreats and digging deeply into the heart and soul of the Celtic community. On Wednesday, July 5, at 6 p.m. Mr. Newell will give a talk on the Vineyard, at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, sponsored by a diverse collection of houses of worship on the Island, along with individuals. The talk is free and open to everyone.

Mr. Newell now lives in Edinburgh but travels the world as a sought after speaker and retreat leader. He is also a prolific writer. His books include Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, and A New Harmony: the Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul.

In 2011, he was honored with the Contemplative Voices Award by the Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C.