Issue 73

NEC Meeting

The NEC met virtually on Saturday 2nd December. 

Welcome to our new officers!

It was a pleasure to welcome new officers to their first NEC meeting. The newly elected Vice President, Marie Lisseman OSNU brings a wealth of skills to the NEC, not only a lifelong Spiritualist and proud church medium, but she has also worked on committees at every level of the Union. She is already hard at work and I am certain you will see her at a Church near you very soon!

The newly appointed Financial Director, James Underwood CSNU is a committed SNU Healer and Church President, bringing with him the knowledge of what financial pressures our churches are facing. His experience will ensure that our churches are represented and supported. Marie and James bring a commitment to serving SNU members and I am very excited to work with them to keep our union moving forward. Marie’s election to the post of Vice President means we had a vacancy for Ordinary Director 2 and the Individual members representative.

Marie Lisseman OSNU James Underwood CSNU

Pat Redman

As such, we welcome Pat Redman President of Manchester District to the NEC. Pat’s portfolio will cover community and volunteer engagement, helping you, our dedicated committees within our churches to find better ways to engage with your communities and also attract more volunteers to help run your church. I know from my consultation events around our Districts that this is a priority for churches and I look forward to seeing Pat’s impact.  

John Fitzgerald

To fill the role of IM rep, we have called on the considerable skills of John Fitzgerald. John is from Southern Ireland and has been, along with his wife Miriam, active in promoting SNU Spiritualism in their own community, John will have the task of carrying the individual members thoughts and opinions back to the NEC so we can be aware of your needs. Also, John will explore how we engage better with our overseas members, so they feel included and part of the family of Spiritualism.

President’s Fund

I reported that to date, I have visited 100 of our churches across the Union and met with seven of our District councils. Each one has helped to give me a more thorough understanding of their needs.

My newly established President’s fund, which I promised members I would establish and fund using money I earn at our teaching establishments, has paid out its first grant. The fund has supported Eden Progressive Church the sum of £300 for a disabled ramp to ensure their church remained accessible to all members of their community. 

Apply now

The finance committee considers all awards independently of me, but I want to encourage all churches to continue to apply for the funding.

President's Fund

J.J. Morse Award

Thew new JJ Morse award was presented to the first winners, the South Yorkshire DC. It was a great honour to present this to the DC President Minister June English.


Remembering Christine Thompson CSNU

The Union was saddened to lose Christine Thompson CSNU this year. Christine worked tirelessly for the Union serving on many committees and dedicating many hours of her time to the religion she loved.

We have decided to create the Christine Thompson award this will be given to a committee member at church or District level that has shown the same dedication and hard work as Christine for 5 years or more. I want to ensure that we are always recognising and thanking the volunteers working at the grass roots of Spiritualism.


The Cenotaph

I was privileged once again to represent our beautiful religion at the Cenotaph in Whitehall this year. It was beautiful and poignant occasion. Thank you for the honour of being your representative.


Match Fund Grants

We are making changes to the way we award the match fund grants for churches. Going forward churches with 'less than £10,000' in their bank account will be able to apply for a grant from the Union without first having to raise their own funds. We know how difficult it is for some of our churches to simply survive, we will not make it harder for you to keep Spiritualism alive in your community.


Saving Money - Postage

At our previous AGM, members asked us to explore online voting as part of our work to be more sustainable and save money on the cost of postage. In 2024, we will see the introduction of online voting for our Districts AGMs. We will continue to refine and improve the system so that it works for all members. Online voting has become a norm for many large organisations.  

The other way we are looking to save on postage is to stop the SNU diary. From the time it is printed it is already out of date, it costs a lot of your money to print a lot of hours to produce, and a lot of money to post.

The other way we are looking to save on postage is to stop the SNU diary. From the time it is printed it is already out of date, it costs a lot of your money to print a lot of hours to produce, and a lot of money to post. We are looking to replace it with an online version and Kyle Pedley is looking to produce an Almanac that has lots of useful information in but easier to produce and more informative. We know members will have strong feelings on both sides of this argument, so do get in touch with your thoughts! Last Year we gave every church £250 to help with the rising costs of fuel bills.

Last Year we gave every church £250 to help with the rising costs of fuel bills.

This year I am pleased to say, the Finance committee and NEC have agreed this year to give every church £100 winter fuel allowance.

Once again for those who can, please open your doors for those in your community that are most in need. I hope this money will continue to help our Churches be the warm, safe place that so many in our communities may need this winter.




VPS Report

Minister Julia Almond has been very busy with the MDC committee.

Service of Acceptance

A service of acceptance was held for Mary Watkin and Penny Hayward. Both now join our Ministry to carry on their important work.

New Training Programme

MDC have devised a new training programme for those studying to become officiants, this will be a mixture of zoom sessions and a weekend at the Barbanell centre. The minister’s congress was held on the 21st  October because of the poor weather conditions it was held on Zoom, it was a very positive and productive meeting.


Minister Colin Bates is working on the Fellowship of the Ministry to give our ministers and Officiant’s an opportunity to discuss concerns they may be having within this important role. Minister Sandy Hagger and Minister Matthew Smith have started work on new information to give support for bereavement, this information will be added to the website. Libby Clark OSNU is looking at how we support the aging population in our churches, by building up a community Ministry and how best to support our churches & centres with Pastoral care. Minister Brenda Newall continues to hold the book club 2nd Tuesday of every month this is open to all SNU members & SNUi members.


Libby Clark OSNU has taken over the role of Almoner after Minister Marian Bishop retirement. We thank Marian for all of her dedication to this role over the years, and thank Libby for stepping into the role. Libby has also set up an invitation to join her for a moment of peace on Mondays at 10pm if you would like to be part of this search on Facebook for ‘a healing minute for peace’ and then add yourself.



Safeguarding has been a priority for the SNU by ensuring we are all understanding of its importance. Head office has now sent the safeguarding pack to all churches and centres. If your pack does not arrive please contact Redwoods to inform them.

The safeguarding video is now available to watch on YouTube as part of SNU FILM.

The SNU realises the importance of safeguarding within our Religion, with this in mind the SNU is paying for one member of each church committee (the church safeguarding lead) to undertake a one hour online course provided by our partner 31:8. Please email the name of the safeguarding lead committee member to [email protected]

And remember there is always help and advice from our safeguarding team via the email [email protected]

Find out more here



The Finance committee are very busy ensuring the finances of the Union are implemented correctly and benefit our churches centres and members correctly.

We have had a professional valuation carried out on the antiques of the Arthur Findlay College as directed by our Auditors. We employed the services of Sworders Auctioneers, and they visited the college and carried out this important work. This not only gives us a better understanding of the monetary and historic value of the items, but also helps to ensure the correct insurance is in place to protect them.


Council member portfolio

Jean Smart CSNU has been extremely busy with her many roles, not only actively supporting the churches in her DC, but also training healers within our churches.

The council met at the Barbanell on the 23rd September 2023.

Lots of issues were discussed, the biggest one is how we can better unite our religion, churches and our Union.

We recently heard how difficult it is to navigate the rules of churches with regards to fundraising and the feeling that our guidance is overly restrictive in challenging financial times. As such, we have agreed to help our churches to raise much needed funds by allowing the following activities:

Oracle cards: for fundraiser readings-workshops-not on our platforms unless they are SNU inspirational cards for philosophy.

Crystals: for fundraiser readings- workshops- Not on our platforms or to form any part of our services.

Séance: Victorian evenings for educational purposes and fundraising. Only with a trained medium/tutor.

Trance; as per the church rules.

Supper with spirit: Fundraisers.

Psychic Suppers; fundraisers. 

OPEN DAYS: Twice yearly maximum.

REGRESSION: lectures-workshops only with a person qualified.

Meditation hours, mindfulness, open to the community not just the church members.


OD1 Portfolio

Adam Berry DSNU has established a steering committee who have put together a short video and questionnaire that will be sent out to members shortly.


OD2 Portfolio

Marie Lisseman OSNU has been working hard on celebrating our membership and looking at ways to increase it. She has held IM meetings regularly on zoom to further this aim. She has also worked to encourage the return of our lapsed members and to better understand the reasons for them lapsing.

Marie has also been working with the staff at Redwoods to try and rectify the issues with direct debits and the length of time it is taking for membership to show up on our systems. Marie has also been busy trying to build the bridges between the overseas and UK members, so every single member is involved in Union business and the religion of Spiritualism.


OD3 Portfolio

Anne-Marie Bond DSNU has been very active in her role within Diversity and inclusion. Promoting our Brotherhood of Man, with her team of volunteers she has held regular groups so each person can have their voice and speak openly about the issues they may be facing.

Watch out for more in 2024 and the exciting projects Anne Marie is working on.


Education and Exponents portfolio.

Minister Richard Cuthbert presented his report on Education and Exponents, healing and SNUi.

EEcom have been working very hard to complete the backlog of people who have been waiting for their final assessment boards. Richard is busy organising Training for the CSNU (assessing) helping to standardise/professionalise assessing standards.

The Healing committee held the Healing Day at the Barbanell centre on Saturday 28th October. This proved very successful. During the Pandemic the healing committee introduced Patient certified healing, this was a compromise to help our healers in difficult circumstances. This is now stopped and reverted to the usual route of church led healing. Patient certified healing will only be available now to those with specific requirements, this will only be allowed with special consideration from the healing committee.

Church relations report

Matthew Mold presented his report to the SNU.

Currently there are 33 churches in support and 1 managed church. He has been very busy travelling across the country to visit churches that need help and guidance. Matthew has produced training videos to assist our committees and documents to sit alongside the videos.

There has been a number of zoom training meetings for churches around how to run a successful AGM with 70 churches registering to take part in this.

Matthew has also set up a working group comprising of individual members, Church officers, DC officers to discuss various issues, currently they are working on a volunteer policy and then they will begin the arduous task of going through church rule book to make this easier for our churches.


Head Office/AFC/Barbanell

Sadly, the AFC is facing some serious building repairs in the coming year that will prove costly. The age of the building and neglect means the college will require new boilers, drains and windows. As it is an old building this brings with it higher cost and more expert people to carry out these repairs.

I am very grateful to the tutors and volunteers who are rallying to raise funds for the college.

Arthur Findlay College Just Giving Page

You can donate here:

Spirit Speaks 

Minister Matthew smith is looking to produce a book of inspirational readings entitled Spirit Speaks, inviting ALL Spiritualists’ to unite and send us your: Poems, Prayers, Inspirational readings, Pearls of Wisdom, Thoughts for the day. Suitable text will be used for the new book highlighting Spiritualist Philosophy for the 21st Century.

Closing Date for entries is Jan 31st 2024 email them to Matthew Smith below:

[email protected] 

Final Thought

As you can see your NEC are working hard for the members it serves. In January next year we will hold what I am calling a ‘root and branch’ meeting to look in depth at the fabric of our Union and what needs to change and how.  This will be the first in-depth meeting since the introduction of the three-tier system in the 1970s.  it will be the first of many meetings, and you the members will be consulted at every step to ensure you are supported and the Union is fit for the 21st century and beyond.

This will also be held separately at the Arthur Findlay College and Barbanell Centre, to ensure our teaching establishments are being run to the maximum capacity to benefit our members. 

Thank you to all of our members who give their time and energy for the betterment of Spiritualism. I am in awe of the work each of you do and I am always so proud to be your president. Let’s keep moving forward, together.


As always, I want to thank all our Committees and volunteers who help to make Spiritualism the wonderful religion that it is.

Minister Jackie Wright - President of The Spiritualists' National Union 



Our Promise 

We as your NEC continue to serve you and the churches