Ian Fraser, a member of the Iona Community since 1942, has first-hand knowledge and experience of basic Christian communities. At the time of the first publication of this book, in 1990, he had gained more than 30 years' experience of visiting and making personal contact with such communities around the world, through his work with the World Council of Churches, subsequently as Dean and Head of the Department of Mission at Selly Oak Colleges, and then as he and his wife Margaret built the basic Christian communities' resource centre at Scottish Churches House in Dunblane.
Basic Christian communities need to be understood in terms of their historical roots, their distinctive features and their experience of struggle. Ian Fraser starts by tracing that part of the rooting system which derives from the founding of the Iona Community in Scotland in the 1930s. He then draws upon various communities' own words to describe essential characteristics of their life, and goes on to offer some examples of their struggles and pointers to their significance. In an appendix he examines traditional marks of the church to demonstrate that the basic Christian communities are living a renewed orthodox faith, with a life-giving quality which is full of the promise of renewal for traditionalist churches.