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The NEC Reports

'The Presidents Blog'

SNU President Minister David Bruton

NEC Meeting - Friday 6th June to Sunday 8th June 2014


The President's Blog was established with the aim of keeping members fully updated about the work of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and developments which affect the Union and the wider movement.

Much of the work of the NEC is by its very nature confidential but every effort will be made to keep members up to date where appropriate.



Rules for Church 2014
Finally, after many delays, the Charity Commission has confirmed its approval of the new version of the Rules for Churches and the NEC has agreed that the 2014 edition will come into force on 1st August 2014. Churches are reminded that under the new provisions of the Rules each Church must provide a copy to each member of the Church Committee and make copies available to Church members on request. On 1st August an on-line version of the Rules for Churches will be provided in the MySNU section of the Union's website, providing free access to members. An order form will be delivered with the AGM circulation and should Churches wish to pick orders up from Conference to save postal charges, then they should contact Redwoods for their requirements. This same service is available for any other Church aids and merchandise; we now have available the new-style logo for internal use, produced on a clear Perspex with wall mountings, or a full light-box version of the logo or a replacement logo for original light-boxes. At Open Week we also launched a set of dedicated Committee badges for use in Churches which include ones for President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee member. For the AGM we will have available a Healing Leader's badge. The badges are high-quality enamel badges and cost 5 each from Redwoods; these will also be available at the AGM.


Rules for Churches Easy Guide
It is hoped to have this new publication available shortly to support the introduction and implementation of the new Rules for Churches 2014.


Charity Registration
As we were waiting for the issue of the new Rules for Churches prior to commencing the charity registration for Churches, this process will get underway following the AGM in July. A Church Trustees Manual is under consideration and this will be issued to all Churches to support them in their new status. It includes simple model policies which can be easily adopted to support and protect those taking on the role of Church Trustees or Committee members.


Continuous Personal Development (CPD) for all Ministers
Given the increasing workload of our Ministers and Officiants it has been agreed to provide Ministers with the opportunity to supplement their training, which is especially relevant to those people who were appointed many years ago. The Ministers Administration Committee will shortly be getting in touch with individual Ministers based upon their declarations in the Minister's Return.


Treasurer's Manual
The 2013 edition of the Treasurer's Manual is now available in Quicklinks, SNU Chruch Resources, Download section of the Website.


'Introduction to Spiritualism'
The new 'Introduction to Spiritualism' booklet launched earlier this year to provide new members with a good basic knowledge of our religion has been, overall, very well received. The publication will shortly be made available on-line via the MySNU section of the main website. We are also working to develop a PowerPoint support presentation, which will be available as a free download to support workshops and tutorial groups. Each Church has received a copy of the new course and further copies can be purchased from Redwoods at only 2.50 each plus p&p.


Greetings Cards
We have now developed a range of seasonal greetings cards to include dedicated SNU Ordination cards for new Ministers and a Spiritualists' Day card for use on Hydesville Day. These will be available at the AGM.


Healers' Resources
A new logbook, overseas logbook, Healing Leader's book, FAQ book, Individual Code of Conduct and 'Healing and the Law', together with 'Hands Placement' and 'Breathing Techniques', have been produced in an A5 version; the training logbooks have a special pull-out middle section to be returned to the Registrations Office, allowing the healer to retain his logbook and the information contained therein.


Curriculum Project
Head Office has now mailed out over 5,000 copies of the Curriculum booklet, together with a copy of 'The Philosophy of Spiritualism' and a range of leaflets, to the majority of secondary schools around the country. We have received several invitations to speak in schools as a result of this mailout. This initiative has been supported by an article in an RE Teachers specialist magazine and support resources are shortly to be placed on-line. One of our members, Craig Wright, who is a secondary RE Teacher, has also designed a lesson plan for the SNU to support further teaching of the subject and it has been accepted for publishing in the magazine ‘RE Today’


PR Project
As you will be aware from earlier Blogs, PR Prohibition was appointed in February to raise the profile of Spiritualism and the SNU in the media. To date they have been very busy and they are now working towards the Peace Walk at the Arboretum on 5th July; a radio studio has been booked in Leeds and they will be syndicating interviews around the country to really promote the event. The NEC has agreed a meeting with the company in late July to review the Key Performance Indicators we set and discuss plans for the future in the PR field.


Tim and Janette Abbott
Many members will be aware, following weekend press activity, that the Abbotts were recently charged with benefit fraud and tax evasion. The NEC at its April meeting took the decision to suspend both members pending their formal sentencing in the Crown Court. We are monitoring the situation and will take a decision concerning their future membership once the legal proceedings are concluded.


The Database
Webjam and Oomi, the next generation of E-Target, our main database, are soon to be commissioned and this will allow us to finally bring all administrative functions on to one system based at Redwoods. The increased functionality of the new system will allow us to greatly improve our services to Churches and members alike


Head Office
Following the establishment of the new Members Service Centre we are now pleased to confirm the recent appointment of a new member to the team, Anne Moldon. Anne who will be based at Redwoods will begin to develop a finance function at Redwoods, which will mean we can take back into head office some of the work currently undertaken by the SNU Trust. The aim is also to develop the accounts analysis function for the Churches with a view to helping them in the transition to charity status. On behalf of the NEC I would like to welcome Anne to the Redwoods team. We now have eight members of staff employed at Redwoods, which is an all-time high in recent history, and we hope, with the advent of new systems and working practices, we can really add value to the range of services we provide.


Youth Ambassador
Our Youth Ambassador has spent the first six months of his appointment gathering information to help him better understand the needs of the younger generation. He has now presented to the NEC a major project to explore the behaviour, experiences and perceptions of those who participate in Spiritualism (within the SNU), with particular emphasis on younger people, in order to develop a strategy aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of younger members and creating a coordinated system of support and development. The intended outcomes are:

  • To increase the number of young people getting involved in Spiritualism through the SNU and its affiliated Centres and Churches
  • To retain young people within the SNU and its affiliated Centres and Churches
  • To provide support to young people in relation to their development within the religion (knowledge and practice)
  • To improve integration within the SNU and its affiliated centres and Churches for all demographic groups
  • To encourage younger/newer members to become involved and engaged with the SNU and its affiliated Centres and Churches

    Dr Mandy Nelson, an Individual Member of the Union, will be working with Alv on this study.

Alv is also looking at working with members of the PR Committee to establish a presence at the London Mind Body and Wellbeing Festival in 2015 and Pride 2015, also held in London.


Range of Leaflets
We have recently added the following leaflets to our well-established suite, which are free to all SNU Churches:-

  • 'Do You Really Want to Complain?'
  • 'A Guide to SNU Training and Awards'.
  • 'A Guide to Private Sittings'.
  • 'Advice on dealing with contacts reporting unusual phenomena sometimes called haunting' (internal use only).
  • 'Developing your understanding of Spiritualism' (SNU Education).


New Complaints Procedures
Following the appointment of the Adjudication Coordinator earlier this year a full set of procedures has been developed and published in the Bye-laws. In practice this new strand to the complaints service of the Union is acting to speed up the way we handle complaints, which seeks to make the whole SNU complaints experience a less stressful and more streamlined process.


The whole procedure surrounding complaints has now been documented and training needs identified and delivered wherever possible. The whole process is now managed from Head Office, with one person overseeing each complaint from start to finish, avoiding, we hope, past bottlenecks in the system.


Arthur Findlay College

  • New beds and mattresses have been installed in all rooms.
  • A new coffee machine has been installed in the bar area.
  • Open Week this year proved to be very successful and the new themed days and the introduction of Master Classes was well received.
  • An American film company has recently spent a week at the College making a trailer, which will be presented to Sky Television with a view to making a fourteen-part serial about Spiritualism.
  • The whole estate has now being completely re-signed with new-style logos in the Sanctuary and the Pioneer Centre.
  • The Pioneer Centre has been refurbished with new carpet and lighting, making the whole ambience of the room greatly improved.


Arthur Findlay Centre

  • Work on the new Conservatory is now complete and once finishing with electrics and plumbing is complete the new room will be brought into operation to increase the offering of the Centre.
  • The 2015 Programme has now been published and is available on-line; for further information contact the Stafford centre or visit the website.
  • Work to redecorate several rooms at the Centre is also underway.
  • The Arthur Findlay Centre Open Weekend will take place on 14th and 15th June; tickets are available from the website.


'The Philosophy of Spiritualism' has now sold 46 copies to 30th April in the e-version; 'The University of Spiritualism' will be available shortly in this format.


The Union’s Facebook page continues to develop thanks to the work of Michael Flood; we publish a ‘Thought for the Week’ on the site and the President's Blog, together with a range of other features, is now available. Simply go to Facebook and search on 'The Spiritualists National Union'.


Churches under Supervision
The latest figures reported to the meeting for Churches under supervision are as follows:

Category 1 - 8 Churches
Category 2 - 31 Churches
Category 3 - 10 Churches
Category Managed - 4 Churches
Total under Supervision: 53 as at 7th June 2014.

A further six Churches were removed from supervision during the meeting.


World Congress
Final preparations are underway for the Congress to be held at Lily Dale later this month. Literature and merchandise have been packed and shipped to the US and a custom-made SNU display stand has been sourced in the US. The NEC have agreed to issue an open invitation for the next World Congress in 2018, using Stansted Hall as the venue.


Gordon Higginson Memorial Scholarship
This year's Assessment weekend took place at the Arthur Findlay Centre, Stafford at the end of May. 17 applicants were put through their paces and three candidates chosen, plus one person for the Healing Scholarship. All candidates will be informed by post this week regardless of whether they have been successful or not.


Colin Bates was ordained as the latest Minister during Open Week at the College. The NEC wish Colin well in his new role.


The Biennial Review
Forms were sent out by the Ministers Administration Committee in April and Ministers and Officiants are encouraged to return their forms as soon as possible.


The Almoner
The Almoner continues to work to support Spiritualists around the globe; her network of help and support is gradually developing and her regular updates now reach over 200 people each day.

Get Well Cards and flowers also help to brighten up the lives of many who have served the movement over the years. You can contact the Almoner by email :


Council Meeting
The next full meeting of the Council will take place at Sheffield Attercliffe Church on Saturday 4th October. A special open meeting will take place at the Church on the Friday evening, allowing people to meet with the Council and members of the NEC. The Council is adopting a policy of moving around the country for one of their two annual meetings to encourage members and Churches to raise their awareness of its work and function within the Union.


Next NEC Meeting
The next NEC meeting will take place at the Hilton Hotel, Stansted ahead of the AGM on Friday 18th July. The next full NEC meeting will take place on 1st to 3rd August 2014.


500 Club
Any member or Church or non-member wishing to join the 500 Club scheme with a chance to win some excellent prizes should contact Claire Shores at the Members Service Centre. The odds of winning a prize are 14 to 1, which is better than the National Lottery.


Stop Press
Minister David Hopkins, our Interfaith Ambassador, has just reported that applications for the national Inter Faith Network are now on-line; this organisation has effectively operated a closed shop since its inception in the late 1980s. The Spiritualists’ National Union now intends to apply to join this organisation with a view to raising our profile in Inter Faith matters to support the excellent work already underway in many of our Churches.


Have your say
As part of an ongoing policy of openness the NEC would welcome your views; please feel free to email your comments to me at

Thought for the Day -
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


- Minister David Bruton



If you have any question for the SNU President please email: