In 563 St. Columba and his colleagues founded a monastery on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. For centuries the monastery at Iona served as the primary center of literacy and learning in the region and was the missionary base for spreading Christianity among the people of the northern regions of what is now called Great Britain and into continental Europe.

Seminary of the Southwest builds on this heritage of the Iona monastery. As a residential center of literacy and learning for over 65 years, Seminary of the Southwest has a strong legacy of forming women and men for the service of Christ in lay or ordained ministry within the church and the larger society.

The Iona Center at Seminary of the Southwest seeks to expand the scope and depth of this literacy, learning, and missional activity by providing local and long-distance, high-quality, resources for theological education, spiritual and pastoral care training, formation for discipleship, vocational discernment, and missional activity in service to the world.

Spiritual Formation for Everyone

At the Iona Center, our core mission is to provide spiritual formation for everyone. The courses and programs offered by the Iona Center are meant to satisfy a wide range of formational needs. The Iona Center serves a broad range of people, from continuing education requirements for clergy, counselors, and others, to accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), to providing resources for lay formation and spiritual care in congregations, workplaces, and all settings where ministry takes place.

Curricula is developed and taught by the staff at the Iona Center, as well as members of the faculty at Seminary of the Southwest. The Iona Center intentionally creates content for priests and counselors in the same program as content for lay members of congregations, workplaces, and beyond, because it reflects our core belief that the work of these communities is intertwined.

A fully embedded program at Seminary of the Southwest, the Iona Center serves to collect and share the powerful formational resources of the seminary with the greater Church.

IONA Staff

The Rev. John Lewis
john.lewis@ssw.edu 

The Rev. Sarah Knoll Sweeney
sarah.knollsweeney@iona.ssw.edu 

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