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Presidents New Year Message 2015

December 31st 2015

In sentimental American movies, Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne is sung by crowds at the big New Year finale. In Bangkok and Beijing it is also ubiquitous as a song of togetherness and sad farewells, they presume it must be an old Thai or Chinese folk song; while in France it is the song which eases the pain of parting with the hope we will all see each other again - Oui, nous nous reverrons, mes freres, cen’est qu’un au revoir. Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.

This in essence is the true message of Spiritualism, looking back over the year which is coming to a close we reflect on the loss of those who have stepped through the door marked death, Minister Eric Hatton, Minister Dennis Jones, Minister Rose Percy, Minister Ray Barden, Glynn Edwards, Ron May, Iris Caulfield, Lily Sheppard and many more beside, each has played their part in what we call the movement, each dedicated in their own particular way and ready and willing to serve others. Mahatma Gandhi said; “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” The very nature of the word movement speaks to us of change and progress, the collective energy of the many and the will to make things better, to reach out to others and to walk with them into our shared future through fellowship.

Is it not fundamental to any system of belief to hope the practice of our religion and the development of our own individual and the collective spirituality of humankind will create a better world? At times our knowledge and understanding may bring us into conflict with the ideals of others who share a differing view of the world, this is illustrated all too often by the continuous conflict in our world. The horrors of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November quickly brought into sharp focus the divisions in our modern world and I am certain many were left questioning the values of a society which could perpetrate such violent acts against other human beings. Where is God to be found in all of this death and destruction? But if we truly believe God is present in all forms of life, perhaps it is us who are lacking the ability to see the true presence amongst us? We could endlessly debate our personal understanding of God but perhaps we should be prepared to accept our ability to measure and understand this universal force in our lives is very likely to change with our own growth. We are part of the very power we are trying to measure. So as the wisdom of years brings about a deeper view, as each days experiences, both good and bad mould that deeper understanding and spirituality within each one of us perhaps we should accept our view of God will change with our views on life. Is this not the essence of the movement we seek to belong to? Are the teachings of Spiritualism intended to bring us to a point of total understanding? I would suggest not, because to claim we totally understand suggests to me personally we have nothing new to learn, no more room to grow, no new experiences to be shaped by, our beloved movement will have lost its momentum and become moribund in a belief we have all the answers we need.

So if in turning a page onto the first chapter of a new year fills us with hope or despair, let us do so, brave in the knowledge that the spirit world will support us in our journeying, when we fail to allow the spirit to inspire and guide us we are left empty and devoid of the ability to build that future we all hope to share.

As in France they sing out Auld Lang Syne, let the power of healing re-enkindle the hope for tomorrow through the knowledge that we will meet again those who have stepped through the door marked death, reunited again through love in the spirit.

Within our Churches and groups and the wider community of the Union let us ever seek to find the reflection of the spirit in all we do and say and of course all we hope to achieve. The dawning of the new year means the AGM season will shortly be upon us again, some people will seek new inspiration to continue the work to keep the Churches functioning as centres of light and understanding open to all, whilst some people will decide to step back and allow others to come to the fore to share for themselves the joy of service. Help us each to see that our efforts are never wasted, we might feel under appreciated, that our contribution has gone unrecognised or we simply lack the energy to continue, but never forget the fundamental power of the movement is the collective energy of us all, guided and sustained by the power of the spirit, of God. This is the true message of Spiritualism as together we seek to make our individual marks on the blank page of the new year that lies before us.

Please accept my sincere good wishes for a Happy New Year, may 2016 lead you to fulfil your dreams and find the true happiness in the realization that through our efforts the movement as a whole steps forward to embrace the opportunities tomorrow holds, sure in the knowledge we still have much to learn but the will and determination to find the joy through that learning.

Minister David R Bruton
Spiritualists' National Union