What is Wild Goose?
The Wild Goose Resource Group/ WGRG is about liturgy and worship, music, prayer, politics, diversity, devotion, participation, perception, curiosity and creativity, with a particular emphasis towards the training of the laity. It exists to enable and equip congregations and clergy in the shaping and creation of new forms of relevant, participative worship… and a few other nefarious activities.
Based in Glasgow, the WGRG is a semi-autonomous project of the Iona Community.
The Resource Workers are active throughout Britain and abroad, in local congregations, churches, schools, colleges, universities, at festivals, denominational conferences, training events and with voluntary organisations concerned with both social & international justice and creative possibility.
The resources (songs, scripts and liturgies and more) generated by the WGRG, as independent authors, have been used and broadcast world-wide, and to date, have appeared in published form in Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Frisian, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Scots Gaelic, Swedish and Welsh language translations. Their work in allying the worship of the church to the life of the world has been awarded honours by academic and religious organisations on both sides of the Atlantic.
In brief, Wild Goose are:
John Bell… preacher, hymnwriter, composer, lecturer and broadcaster, who spends much of the year travelling, mostly in the Americas and Europe. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Iona Community. During his studies in Theology, he became the first (and last) student Rector of the University of Glasgow. After a period in the Netherlands and two posts in church youth work, he became employed, firstly in youth work and then in the areas of music and worship, founding during that time, with Graham (below), the Wild Goose Worship Group and the Wild Goose Resource Group.
He is a past convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Panel on Worship and the committee that produced the ground-breaking Church Hymnary 4. In 1999, he was honoured by the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Royal School of Church Music which bestowed a Fellowship on him. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow. In 2013, he was awarded the Community of Christ International Peace Award.
John has produced many collections of liturgy, scripts, sermons and reflections, original hymns and songs (some in collaboration with Graham) and three collections of songs of the World Church. These are published by the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Publishing arm in Scotland and by G.I.A. Publications (Chicago) in N. America. He lectures in theological colleges in Britain and U.S., but is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at grass roots level.
John hails from Kilmarnock and like Johnnie Walker, the ubiquitous creator of the world-wide whisky, John shares an affection for colourfully, distinctive dressing (without the top hat, red coat, white britches and black knee-length boots).
Jo Love… pedagogue, arts worker, critical questioner, inveterate journal keeper and articulator of incisive observations. Jo is an ordained Deacon of the Church of Scotland and a Member of the Iona Community. She worked for several years in urban parishes, with much involvement in youth and children’s work, faith exploration and enabling creativity in worship. She then qualified in primary teaching before being enticed from the classroom into her post with WGRG.
Born and dragged up in the Kingdom ( …of Fife), Jo has a surprisingly normal and engaging personality. She occasionally indulges her love of beach combing and fondly reminiscing on past truck driving adventures. Drawing others into creative thinkings and doings is her passion and delight.
Gail Ullrich… administrator, who is based in the Glasgow office. Treasured by 99.99% of visitors, correspondents and all cats currently breathing.
As you will recognise, if the WGRG were a pop band, these crucial facts would cement their reputation as the 7th best tuba orchestra north of Lockerbie and south of Ashby-de-la-Zouche. But to be (slightly) more serious…
John and Jo are available to design and lead workshops, seminars, liturgy, quirky provocations and wee (or big) sings, in places large or small, on issues of life, faith and participation. In these, the aim is to enable folk to be curious and critical of the way-things-are and so to imagine other, ‘possible worlds’, whether liturgical, ecclesiastical, social or political.
In Glasgow, the group collaborates with the Iona Community’s Programme team in creating a programme of small, local and organic events, entitled weeWONDERBOX. These have included short courses on biblical reflection, one-off events with visiting contributors, group conferences, and the flagship annual urban festival, ColumbaFest. In 2019 we hosted, among others, the Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama, the Australian cartoonist and philosopher Michael Leunig, and folks from Danish and local churches for an international conversation on Living with the Bible.
Since 2004, WGRG have also worked with the Wild Goose Collective, a random, mainly Scottish-based group of colleagues, who occasionally gather to perform and record Wild Goose songs.
WGRG has to find a majority of its own funding. WGRG welcomes donations and other forms of financial support (Gift Aid) towards its work. If you are interested in supporting the work in this way, please contact the Group at the address below.
For more information about WGRG, contact:
Wild Goose Resource Group,
c/o Iona Community,
21 Carlton Court,
Glasgow G5 9JP, Scotland.
UK Tel: +44 (0)141 429 7281
WGRG/ Wild Goose Resource Group is a semi-autonomous project of the Iona Community, a charity registered in Scotland, No. SC003794.