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August 2017 Edition 34

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The Presidents Blog | August 2017 | 34th Edition

NEC Meeting Friday 28th to Sunday 30th July 2017

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 fully apprised wherever appropriate.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
Following the Unionís report of the resignation of Ms S. McGee, the Chief Administrative Officer, which was received on 6th June, the National Executive Committee are pleased to be able to announce that Mrs Jane Barton CSNU has been appointed to this role and will join the Union at the beginning of October. Jane was recently appointed to the position of Ordinary Member 1 on the NEC and she will resign this appointment prior to taking on the role of CAO. The NEC intends to appoint a new member to take on the OM1 role and this appointment will be announced shortly.

Our sincere thanks go to Charles Coulston, who has stepped into the CAO role to ensure that the Union continues to function effectively.


Accreditation Director
Minister Carol Ellis


Training & Awards
Chairman - Minister Judith Seaman
Vice-Chairman and Teacher Training Coordinator - Linda Walker
Secretary - Chris Waddington


Kathryn Crossley - CAAS Coordinator
Trevor Barton - SNUi and APL Coordinator
Vanessa Follett - PAS Review Coordinator
Ex-officio - Minister June English


Healing Committee
Chairman - Minister Steven Upton
Vice-Chairman - Jean Smart CSNU
Secretary - Mark Bradley CSNU
Committee - Tim Smith DSNU


SNUi Committee
Chairman - Minister Arthur Plumpton
Vice Chairman Cathy Tsoukalas
Secretary Yoshie Miakoda Chihara
Council Rep Alan Baker
Ordinary Fredrik Haglund
Vacancy tba
Ex Officio Carol Ellis


Education Committee
Chairman - Minister Jenny Peacock
Vice-Chairman - Richard Cuthbert OSNU
Secretary - Christine Thompson CSNU

Patricia Seymour OSNU
Jane Barton CSNU
Helen Taylor OSNUv Ex-officio - Julia Almond OSNU


Ministers Administration Committee
Chairman - Judith Seaman
Vice-Chairman - Minister June English
Secretary - Minister Alan Baker

Minister Brenda Newall
Suzanne Gibson Foy OSNU


Complaints Committee
Chairman - Derek Pipe
Vice-Chairman - Russell Fitzpatrick
Arbitration - Gillian Grimson
Mediation - Larraine Kilarney


Communications Director
Alv Hirst


Publicity & Promotions Committee
Chairman - Joy Clark
Vice-Chairman - Andrew Manship
Secretary - Gillian Palmer
Committee - Amanda Fuller


Public Relations Officer
Minister Steven Upton


Collegiate Committee
Chairman - Minister Simone Key (Senior Tutor)
Vice-Chairman - Minister David Bruton (Principal)
Secretary - Ann Kelly

Minister Alan Rawnsely
Minister June English
Miss Julia Almond OSNU
Sandie Baker (Tutor Representative)
Tanya Smith (General Manager, Arthur Findlay College)
Seamus Davis (General Manager, Barbanell Centre)


Finance Committee
Chairman - Miss Julia Almond OSNU
Vice-Chairman - Minister David Bruton
Secretary - CAO

Minister Alan Rawnsley
Minister June English
Ernie Gray
Graham Hewitt (Trust Property Coordinator)
Lesley Gilbey (Finance Administrator)


General Purposes Committee
Chairman - Minister Tony Penketh
Vice-Chairman - Minister Judith Seaman
Secretary - Charles Coulston DSNU

Minister Alan Rawnsley
Derek Pipe


Ordinary Members
OM 1 - Jane Barton - Focus on Religion/ HR & Policy Documentation
OM 2 - Tim Coombe - Church Support & Pioneer Centres
OM 3 - Vacant

Council Rep to the NEC
Minister Lynn Bradley


Interfaith Ambassador

Minister David Hopkins


Minister Marian Bishop

Museum Curator:

Paul Gaunt


The Officers' portfolios were confirmed as follows:


President Minister David R Bruton

  • Collegiate Committee/Principal

  • Museum/Gordon Higginson

  • Memorial Scheme/Healing Forum

  • Ambassador

Vice-President Minister Alan Rawnsley

  • GPC/Head Office/ Complaints

  • Health & Safety/ Union HR & Policy

  • Lyceum

Vice-President Minister June English

  • MAC/Almoner/ Interfaith

  • Safeguarding

Financial Director Miss Julia Almond OSNU

  • Finance Committee/ Strategic Plan RE Council/ Action Plan/ Links with Education/ Risk Management


Meetings of the NEC and Council
Future meetings of the NEC and Council were confirmed as follows:


NEC Meetings 2017/18

13th, 14th, 15th October 2017 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

1st, 2nd, 3rd December 2017 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

16th December 2017 - Barbanell Centre (Blue-sky meeting)

9th, 10th, 11th February 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

6th, 7th, 8th April 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

8th, 9th, 10th June 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

20th July 2018 - Eve of AGM - Cedar Court Hotel

3rd, 4th, 5th August 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

5th, 6th, 7th October 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

30th November, 1st & 2nd December 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

8th, 9th, 10th February 2019 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

5th, 6th, 7th April 2019 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

7th, 8th, 9th June 2019 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford

19th July 2019 - Venue to be confirmed

2nd, 3rd, 4th August 2019 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford


Council Meetings 2017 /18/19
7th October 2017 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford* 3rd February 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford*

29th September 2018 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford*

2nd February 2019 - Barbanell Centre, Stafford*

* Venue subject to confirmation


Launch of a new Committee for the SNU

The NEC have decided to create a new Exponents Committee, which will take over the workload of Training & Awards and Healing. GPC will formulate the necessary changes to the Bye-laws and it is hoped to launch the new Committee in late September. Subject to the changes the proposed Committee will be as follows:

Chairman: Minister Judith Seaman (current Chairman of T&A)

Minister Steven Upton (current Chairman of Healing)

Mark Bradley CSNU

Boards Coordinator:
Dr. Chris Waddington CSNU

Teacher Training Communicator:
Linda Walker CSNU

Teacher Training Healing:
Tim Smith DSNU

DC Coordinator (PAS, CAAS, Healing upgrades, etc.):
Jean Smart CSNU

SNUi Rep:
Trevor Barton CSNU

Ex-officio member:
Minister June English

Focus on Religion - Discovering your Spiritual Self, Spiritualism for the 21st Century
The event in the North of England starts on Friday 11th August at 6.00 p.m. at Gateshead Eden Progressive Church; the team is as follows:

Minister David Bruton, Minister Alan Rawnsley, Minister Judith Seaman, Miss Julia Almond OSNU, Jane Barton and Alv Hirst.

This will be followed by a full day at North Lodge School, Birtley on Saturday 12th, which starts at 10.00 a.m. and finishes with a service at 6.00 p.m.

On Sunday 13th the team will move to Darlington Church, starting at 10.00 a.m. and concluding with a Rally between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m.

The team will also take the evening service at Darlington Church.

On Monday 14th the team will split up and visit Shildon, South Shields, Horden and Wallsend Churches.
Press releases will go out shortly and 9,000 leaflets are to be delivered locally to promote the weekend's events. Our thanks and appreciation go to both Birtley Church and the Northern District Council for their help in organising this event.

Rules for Churches

GPC have now completed the necessary changes required by the Charity Commission and these have been submitted to the Commission for their agreement. It is hoped now to produce the new Rule Book towards the end of the year in time for Churches to begin the necessary preparation for their AGMs in 2018.

The NEC has set a date for a bridal parade for our solicitors, which continues our policy of reviewing our professional advisors on a regular basis to ensure we are getting both value for money and appropriate advice in legal and financial matters.

The NEC has ratified the decision to sell one of our London rental properties; we take the view that the London property market has, after considerable capital growth, slowed and now is the time to draw some capital out of this market and look for other opportunities as part of a balanced investment policy.

The Ordination of Minister Arthur Plumpton took place at Stansted Hall on Thursday 27th July and the NEC would like to add its congratulations to Arthur as he begins his new role within the Union.

SNU Website
Work is well underway in the development of a new website for the SNU; the initial design stage and testing are complete and we will shortly begin to add content with a view to launching the site towards the end of September. Given the size of the current site, some 800 pages and the need to review and refresh much of the content, the plan is to launch and then allow the site to grow incrementally. We hope that members and the public alike will approve of the new modern site, which will lead our presence in the digital world well into the future.

World Congress
The second historic World Congress of Spiritualists will be hosted from 4th to 6th July 2018 at Stansted Hall. Most of the planning is now complete and the marketing for the event launches on 11th August. Accommodation at the College will be on a first-come, first-served basis and members wishing to attend are encouraged to book early, as international demand is expected to be large.

The Council of Spiritualists met again in July and they are working towards issuing a programme for the event based very much on the first World Congress held three years ago at Lily Dale towards the end of the year. So far six national organisations have committed to attend, which will see potentially Spiritualists from many countries meeting together to discuss the future of the movement internationally.

Great Get-Together
Jane Barton (OM 3) contacted all 14 districts to try to encourage Churches to hold events as part of this initiative in memory of Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered in her constituency. Several events did take place around the country and we have provided feedback to the organisers, which we hope will prove useful in planning future events. Our thanks go to the Churches that did take part; Spiritualists need to engage with the communities in which we work with a view to promoting the teachings of the movement to a wider audience.

Date Protection Act
Due to recent changes in Data Protection legislation we are working to develop our policy for the Union and in turn to produce some advice and support for our Churches in this important area. Once this is complete the relevant documents will be issued.

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations 2008
One of our award-holders recently received correspondence from their local Trading Standards Department concerning a demonstration of mediumship which was planned in the area. The Union contacted the local council, as we could not support the advice given requiring the award-holder to promote the event as being for entertainment purposes, which we believe undermines our religion. The event was finally cancelled by the award-holder. The Union advises award-holders to be very careful when conducting such public events outside our Church network, as if such events are deemed to be run for profit this could fall foul of current Consumer Protection legislation. If in any doubt members should contact the Union for advice on this matter.

Oslo Spiritualist Society

The Union is pleased to announce the application for association of the above society, which has been approved in principle by the NEC pending the completion of the full process of application.

SNUT New Memorandum and Articles

The NEC has held a joint meeting with the SNU Trust trustees to review and discuss proposals for the future of the SNU Trust with a view to the transfer of the organisation to a company limited by guarantee, which is the same model adopted by the Union many years ago. This will only be completed when the new proposals are passed by an EGM for members of the SNU Trust, which it is hoped will take place in the New Year. The Union is committed to work with the SNU Trust to complete this process as soon as possible for the benefit of both organisations and ultimately to continue to support our Churches in the future.

Grants for Churches

Application forms have been sent out to all Churches allowing them to apply for a grant up to the value of £1,000 on a matched-funding basis. The first tranche of grants was presented at the AGM in Runcorn to three Churches which met the criteria; a further tranche of money has been allocated to the second stage, which will be awarded in October. There is still time to make application, which should be sent to head office.

500 Club
The latest draw has just taken place during the AGM, with one lucky member scooping a top prize of £1,000. Any member or Church or non-member wishing to join the scheme with a chance to win some excellent prizes should contact Rachael Loukes at the Members Service Centre, Head Office. The odds of winning a prize are 14 to 1, which is better than the National Lottery.

Next NEC Meetingb
The next NEC meeting will take place at the Barbanell Centre on 13th, 14th & 15th October. The next National Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Conference Centre on Saturday 7th October 2017.

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:

'You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.'

-Christopher Columbus



Minister David Bruton