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The NEC Reports

'The Presidents Blog'

SNU President Minister David Bruton

NEC Meeting - Friday 10th October to Sunday 12th October 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.

 

 

National Inter Faith Network (IFN)
The Spiritualists’ National Union is pleased to announce that it has now become a member of the IFN; this will allow us to develop a dialogue with other religions and religious organisations on a national level to support and develop the excellent work being done by many of our Churches at local level.

 

On Thursday 20th November at Stansted Hall a Festival of Peace will be held and invitations have gone to 16 local churches and faith groups to attend, together with representatives of the IFN.

 

This event is ticketed and tickets are available from Redwoods free of charge on a first come, first served basis. Call Claire on 01279 816363. An invitation is also extended to Ministers and Officiants who are available to attend on the evening. Minister David Hopkins, our Interfaith Ambassador, will be in attendance and taking part in the service.

 

The SNU Constitution

It has long been felt, following advice from our solicitors, that the Union needs to review and modernise its Memorandum and Articles of Association. Before any motions are placed before members it has been agreed to create a working party to look at the issues surrounding this task and suggestions have been made to establish a working party, which will in the first instance report to the National Executive Committee.

 

Council

The next meeting of the Council will take place at the Arthur Findlay Centre, Stafford on Saturday 1st November 2014; the meeting on February 7th 2015 will take place at Sheffield Attercliffe Church in South Yorkshire.

 

Our Big Year 2018

Although four years away the NEC is very aware that, given the necessary planning and preparation to host the World Congress of Spiritualists and the other major events planned, we need to begin work now and a working party has been established to begin the planning process with a view to enlisting support from all SNU Committees as we approach 2018.

 

Rules for Churches 2014

The new approved edition of the Rules for Churches has now been sent to all affiliated Churches in an A4 format to provide easy reference on the Church notice-board. An on-line version is also available on the SNU website.

 

Church Committees are reminded that each member of the Church Committee must be provided with a copy of the latest edition and the Union recommends that each Church carries a small stock of rulebooks should new or existing members require a copy. The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has now approved the 2014 edition for issue to all Scottish Churches and this will be sent out to these shortly, together with a letter of approval from OSCR.

 

We are now in a position to press on with the charitable registration of our Churches and all those which have registered with the Union for support in this regard will be contacted shortly to discuss the process.

 

New Members' Packs

A special welcome pack has been designed to be issued to all new members on joining as an Individual Member; this will include a letter of welcome from the President, a current copy of SNU Today, the 'One Union' magazine and a selection of leaflets and money-saving vouchers for services provided by the Union, the Arthur Findlay College and the Arthur Findlay Centre, making joining the Union really great value and a way to support the world's leading Spiritualist organisation. You can now join on-line via the SNU website and, if you opt to pay your subscription by direct debit and receive your circulation electronically, membership of the Union only costs 20 per year.

 

Many members now renew their subscriptions by direct debit, meaning that they no longer need to worry about sending a cheque or paying by phone; for more information speak to Redwoods.

 

The 2015 Yearbook was delivered this year in time for the 1st October subscription renewal, which means that everybody who has renewed to date has already taken delivery of the smart new black, hard-bound Diary, which allows you to keep all your appointments over a three-year period in order, as well as providing a wealth of information about the Union, its Churches, the Ministry and award-holders. Every Individual Member receives a copy of the Yearbook as part of their annual subscription but additional copies are on sale at Redwoods.

 

'One Union' Magazine

The next edition of the 'One Union' magazine has been produced, which will reflect all the changes and new appointments following the AGM in July; this will be sent to all new members of the Union.

 

Guidelines for Progressive Churches

This book has been totally reviewed and following proof-reading will be issued to all Churches. It contains lots of useful advice and information to support Church Committees on a range of subjects, all crucial in running a successful and progressive Church.

Course Updates

Work on the G1, SD1,2,3,4 and H1 courses is nearly complete and the new-look, revised and up-to-date course books will all be available shortly. Work is also planned to produce audio versions of the courses on CD to support students with special educational needs. Work is also underway to develop a theoretical Foundation Trance Course; the Education Committee will announce details of this in due course.

 

Consultative Conference 2015

Plans are underway for the Consultative Conference, which will take place at the Arthur Findlay College on Saturday 9th May 2015; the day will include two sessions dedicated to healing. A full programme and joining instructions will be issued early in the New Year.

 

Healing

Following a recommendation of the Healing Committee the NEC has agreed to approve that in future all trainee healers attending the SNU Healing Week at the College will be able to get only four signatures in their logbooks rather than the current seven; this reflects the training and practical opportunities provided during the week.

 

Annual Healing Day

Following a recommendation of the Healing Committee the NEC agreed that the third weekend in January would be dedicated to healing. It is hoped that most SNU Churches will introduce some form of healing within their Sunday services or consider extending what they traditionally offer for this Sunday only; it is hoped also that possibly Churches could hold a Healing workshop or demonstration on the Saturday, thus creating another event in the Spiritualist calendar dedicated to healing, which is such an important part of our work. A resource pack for Churches will be developed and made available ahead of the event.

 

New Accounts Assistant

Mandy Keymer is moving from the accounts office at the Arthur Findlay College to Redwoods to take on the role of Accounts Assistant with a view to supporting the accounts functions of the Union; we wish Mandy well in her new role and look forward to working with her.

 

Concessions

The NEC approved a recommendation that registered healing mediums over the age of 70 years would now pay only 10 to renew their healing registration; this was introduced with a view to helping and supporting elderly members and it will include the full healers insurance cover.

 

Healing Training

The NEC were asked to note that trainee healers still have five years to complete their training and apply for upgrade; it seems that there is some confusion relating to this requirement within some Churches.

 

Special Needs

The Education Committee is working to address the special educational needs of students; the provision of course notes either in a large font or on coloured paper or in audio format is something we are working on developing. At the next Course Organisers' meeting it is hoped to provide a speaker who can instruct tutors and course organisers on the ways we can help and support their students. Students who are experiencing difficulties should raise this with their tutor at the earliest opportunity. The Union is committed to providing inclusive education to all students.

 

Web Portal Project

Vice-President (Administrative) Chris James is currently working with Cozy Digital to establish a web portal to serve three new websites:-

  • Arthur Findlay College
  • Arthur Findlay Centre
  • Arthur Findlay Shop

This will see the launch of new, more user-friendly websites launched for both the College and the Centre and create the long-awaited on-line, one-stop shop for all Union publications, Church aids and products, making shopping for all your Spiritualist needs much easier in the future.

 

The new fibre-optic line providing fast digital web access to the team at Redwoods is due to go live very shortly, which is part of our ongoing IT policy development within the Union.

 

Arthur Findlay Memorial Dedication Service

Following the service conducted on 18th July a professional video record has been completed which marks this historic event; the video is available in DVD format from the Arthur Findlay College shop, costing 9.99 plus P&P.

Facebook

The SNU dedicated Facebook site continues to attract many members and new friends; the site now features podcasts produced by the Open Door Sanctuary in Canada, featuring some of our most notable pioneers in addition to our regular feature, ‘Thought for the Week’.

 

Ministers Administration Committee

MAC reported the ordination of Alan Baker from the Southern DC as our latest Minister and Brian and Ann Lamyman and Irene McGilvray who have been appointed as Officiants.

 

On 12th July the latest Presidents' Training Day took place, providing Church Presidents with the opportunity to receive some training in official services; this day proved to be very successful and the next training day for Presidents is already in the planning stage.

 

In 2015 MAC will launch Continuous Personal and Professional Development for all members of the Ministry; five venues have been confirmed around the country and all non-retired Ministers and Officiants are required to attend any one of the sessions. Retired Ministers and Trainee Ministers and Officiants are welcome to attend also. The day will include updates on current legislation, additional training to support the Ministry and the opportunity for a one-to-one consultation with a senior Minister. The venues are as follows:

 

31st January / 1st February at Sheffield.
14th / 15th March at AFC Stafford.
18th / 19th April at Darlington.
24th / 25th October at Bristol.
28th / 29th November at Cambridge.

 

Additional information will be sent to the Ministry in due course.

 

The Ministers Congress and the Council of Ministers will take place at Westbury Park Church in Bristol on 18th and 19th October 2014.

 

Finance Committee

The Financial Director reported that the 2015 budget was in development and, following advice from our accountants, Baker Tilly, we will be producing an 18-month budget going forward to ensure that all elements of income and expenditure are effectively managed.

 

The Arthur Findlay College continues to report a strong year's performance and plans are in place through the development of a Capex plan to continue investing in the College with a view to improving our students' experience.

 

Work is already underway to install the Science Laboratory in the Annexe loft; we are working very closely with Northampton University and acknowledge the funding provided for the project by both the Society for Psychical Research and the Friends of Stansted Hall. This is potentially an extremely exciting opportunity and will benefit the Union, the students who attend the Arthur Findlay College and the wider scientific community as the dedicated research facility comes on-line.

 

Work is already underway to plan the 2016 programme and bookings for 2015 are ahead of our projections, reinforcing our position as the place to study Spiritualism and the psychic sciences internationally.

 

2015 will see the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta and the College has been chosen by the local community to host a special anniversary event to mark Baron Mountfitchet, who was one of the ten barons in England to support the Magna Carta. We are working very closely with a range of local community groups to deliver a truly memorable day on 27th June 2015.

 

Open Week 2015 is also in the planning stage and it has been agreed that this year's event will be held over four days instead of the traditional five-day event. Open Week will now run from 2nd to 5th May 2015.

 

Development continues at the Arthur Findlay Centre and the new conservatory is complete; the Centre has been completely redecorated and free Wifi access has been extended to include the whole building.

 

At the end of November a special promotional evening will be held to promote the Centre and its facilities to local business and charities with a view to increasing external lettings. The management team are also working on a new marketing plan to investigate social media and more traditional avenues for marketing the courses based at the Centre.

 

Communications

New Healing booklets are under development and will be issued shortly, which will include:

  • New logbook
  • Overseas logbook
  • Healing Leaders book
  • FAQ's booklet
  • Hand placement booklet

SNU Special Days Calendar:-

The NEC has approved the annual calendar of Spiritualist events which will be supported and marketed at a national level; resource packs for Churches will also be provided as appropriate.

 

  • Spiritual Healing Day - third Sunday in January
  • 31st March - Spiritualists’ Day
  • Open Week, Arthur Findlay College - first week in May
  • Open Weekend, Arthur Findlay Centre - June
  • Spiritualists' World Peace Day - first Saturday in July
  • October 18th - Birthday of the SNU
  • National Interfaith Week - third week in November

 

Introduction to Spiritualism

A Powerpoint Presentation to support the delivery of this course is available on the SNU website and will be sent on disc to all District Councils shortly.

 

Spiritualists' Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum

The NEC agreed to approve a project by the stonemason to upgrade our memorial with the new SNU logo; work on this will be completed in time for next year's Spiritualist World Peace Day in July.

 

Church Signage

Working with the same company who supplied the signage for the Stansted Hall Estate, we have developed a flexible and affordable range of external signage for the Churches, including the new-style Affiliated Body logo. Still too many Churches fail to pay attention to their external appearance and marketing and the range of signs is aimed at addressing this. Prices start from 395, plus VAT, and further information is available from Redwoods.

 

Corporate Identity Manual (3)

This has been approved and will be placed on the website to provide guidance on the corporate image of the Union and use of its trademarks and tone of voice when representing the Union to external bodies.

 

Publicity and Promotions

Following the agreement to extend the contract with PR Prohibition, our public relations consultancy, the Publicity & Promotions Committee is working hard to build on the foundations established in the last year. The development of PR opportunities both for the Union and its Churches is top of the agenda and it was agreed that Alv Hirst, the Youth Ambassador and Vice-Chairman of PPC, will attend the next Council meeting to be held on 1st November to brief Councillors on the ongoing work of the Committee.

 

Practical Support for Churches

Minister Alan Rawnsley is working hard to develop a range of initiatives aimed at bringing practical support to our Churches. Pilots will be run in the North Yorkshire District with a view to developing effective and efficient ways to support both the Churches and their Committees.

 

500 Club

Any member, Church or non-member wishing to join the 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.

 

Next NEC Meeting

The next meeting of the NEC will take place at the Arthur Findlay Centre from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th December.

 

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: president@snu.org.uk

 

 

Thought for the day:

 “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present”

-Unknown

 

 

  - Minister David Bruton

 

Q&A's

If you have any question for the SNU President please email:
president@snu.org.uk