NEC Meeting Friday 7th June until Sunday 9th June 2019


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. It is posted on the main SNU website shortly after the NEC meeting and also shared via social media, meaning that it now reaches several thousand people with each new edition.


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.

Annual General Meeting

The 117th AGM will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on 20th and 21st July; for more information visit the website:

2019 AGM page

All members registered with the Conference hotel will automatically receive the necessary reports and paperwork; however, if you have booked your accommodation yourself, please contact head office and they will be pleased to post the necessary paperwork out in time for the meeting.

All accommodation and the Crowne Plaza are now fully booked but there are several hotels in the vicinity that still have availability. We look forward very much to welcoming you to Glasgow for this important annual event, when we meet together as friends to discuss the future of Spiritualism.

The NEC has just agreed the recipients of this year’s prizes, which include Spiritualist of the Year, Church of the Year and the Community Service Award; nominations have come in very well this year, making the job of narrowing down all the worthy applicants particularly difficult. All awards will be announced and presented at the AGM, so good luck to all the applicants.


Peace Walk

The annual Peace Walk will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 6th July; this year the service will start at 2.30 p.m. and take place in the newly-built Conference Centre, which will be followed by the traditional walk to our memorial.

We are this year appealing for photos of family members who served in the armed services, which will be used during the service; if you can scan these to the Communications Director this will be greatly appreciated. [email protected]  

As usual this year the Barbanell Centre will be providing a buffet tea, to be followed by an Evening of Mediumship with AFC tutor Lynn Probert; for further details contact the Centre direct on 01785 615513. Limited accommodation is also available at Barbanell House, our new facility at the Barbanell Centre.


National Training Day

The Union is organising a national Training Day at the Barbanell Centre on Saturday 7th September. Each Church will be invited to send two delegates and the event is free of charge; a buffet lunch will also be provided as part of the day at no extra cost. Invitations will be issued shortly; limited accommodation will be available at Barbanell House and you should contact the Centre to book your accommodation only, which will be at your own cost.

The draft programme is as follows, though this is subject to change:

10:00 – Introduction and welcome. Talk on duties and responsibilities of trustees

11:30 – Out of church:

  1. Healing (including new HAS Q&A)
  2. Fundraising
  3. Multi-faith organisations, events

12:30 – Feedback, sharing what has been learnt

1:00 – Lunch

2:00 – How to use social media to promote your church

3:00 – In church:

  1. After evidence? What does being a Spiritualist mean?
  2. Membership, your church's future
  3. New services

4:00 – Tea break

4:30 – Summary

5:00 – Day close


Historical Dates

The NEC has agreed to add the date the Union joined the Interfaith Network to the important historical dates to be included in the Diary when it is published in the autumn.


Focus On Religion

A special day has been organised at Southampton Spiritualist Church, Cavendish Grove, which will take place on Saturday 22nd June; invitations will go to everyone in the vicinity but attendance on the day is free of charge and open to all Individual Members and Church members. We look forward to welcoming you to help shape the future of the movement – a day of activities focused on spirit teaching, meditation, connection, healing, discussion and Q&A, a day not to be missed by anyone wishing to serve spirit!

Spiritualism: A way of life! A religion for living in the modern world. 


Southampton Shirley Church opens its doors again!

After being closed for nearly two years a successful EGM was held on 25th May to elect a new committee for this Church in Southampton. Work is underway to clean the building and prepare it for opening to the general public and fellow Spiritualists alike; no firm date has yet been set but we hope to see the Church open very shortly and the Union wishes everyone involved all the success in the world after a very sad period in the Church's history which saw its doors closed after mismanagement by the Church officers. We would also like to pay tribute to Julie Grist, President of the Southern District, and her team for their hard work, support and determination to see this church rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes; thank you, Southern DC, for your support to the Union.


Arthur Findlay College

Open Week at the Arthur Findlay College 2019 proved to be a great success, with many hundreds of people visiting the Arthur Findlay College over the four-day event to enjoy this unique annual event and get a taste of the work the College undertakes throughout the year. Our thanks go to all the tutors and course organisers who took part and the many volunteers who give up their Bank Holiday weekend and work hard to deliver Open Week. Thanks also go to the Gordon Higginson Scholarship students who also took part for the third year running and acquitted themselves very well indeed. Thanks also to the dedicated staff, who put so much effort into making the event run like clockwork.


Yale University approach

Professor Al Powers from Yale University Medical School has approached the College with a view to forming an alliance to run a dedicated study into unusual auditory experience.

A Skype meeting has taken place and we look forward to having further discussions with the team at Yale in the future as the project develops.


Healing Awareness Week

This now annual event in its third year took place at the same time as Open Week; the new dedicated website was online and working with social media and healing mediums throughout the UK to raise awareness of the benefits of healing in the modern world. The College held a special Sound Healing event as part of Healing Awareness Week and, together with a raffle held on the SNU Healing Week at the AFC, we hope to be able to make a substantial donation, which will go again this year to the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, which supports healers working in the NHS. The annual event is organised by the Healing Forum, which represents all the major healing organisations in the UK, and the SNU is proud to take part and support both the Healing Forum and Healing Awareness Week.


Northampton University and the AFC Laboratory 

Working again with the team from Northampton University, a new dedicated research project has been launched which will see mediums from around the UK travel to the Arthur Findlay College to undertake a series of tests which have been designed to better understand mediumistic experience and create a body of data which will, it is hoped, be published in an academic journal. This is an exciting time at the College and we watch with interest as this project gets underway, headed by Professor Chris Roe, over the next two months.


Barbanell Centre

The new extended car park at the Centre is just getting a new application of tarmac as the last stage of the refurbishment, which has seen nearly £1m invested in the Stafford Centre. Work is also underway to bring new courses to the Centre in 2019/20 and popular AFC Course organiser Paul Jacobs is working closely with us to help develop the Centre's programme.


Invitation to the Royal British Legion Roundtable on Remembrance 

A meeting will take place in London towards the end of June and the President has been invited to represent the Spiritualists’ National Union at this event, which will help to ensure that the diverse faith community in the UK is fully represented in connection to the Remembrance events both nationally and locally.


Official Engagements

The President has officiated at a rededication service for the centenary of Sutton-in-Ashfield Church in the East Midlands. He also represented the Union at the funerals of Minister Dorothy Taylor and Minister Lily Bees. The Good Friday Rally held at Ware attracted many Spiritualists; the President took part in a very special traditional Spiritualist service with three hundred people in attendance, which was a wonderful opportunity for Spiritualists from many different Churches and Centres to meet together and celebrate and share their religion.


National IM Representative Report

To date we have 1,634 fully paid-up Individual Members, 308 provisional, 473 unpaid full and 241 unpaid provisional, making a total of 2,656 Individual Members, with 549 awaiting upgrade.

Anyone who wishes to renew their annual Individual Membership subscription should contact Head Office. Setting up a direct debit for your subscription means you no longer have to remember to renew; everything happens automatically and it gives you one less thing to think about. Speak to Head Office about setting up a direct debit for your IM subscription renewal.


The Ministers Congress

This year’s Ministers Congress will take place at Welwyn Garden City Church on Saturday 19th October; the event will again be held on one day to avoid the need for accommodation and reduce costs to the Ministry.


Interfaith Ambassador

The Faith Communities Forum meeting was held in London on 14th May; Minister David Hopkins, the Interfaith Ambassador, and the President were in attendance to represent the Union.

The first topic for discussion was climate change and reflections were shared from the Sikh community, followed by a more detailed account from the Quakers.

The meeting then received a presentation from two representatives from the Home Office Hate Crimes Team and new funding was highlighted which has just been put in place by the government to support places of worship with security and other issues.

Other matters were discussed, including the Campaign for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the national living wage, Mental Health Week and human trafficking.

It was agreed that smaller organisations would no longer need to pay the minimum subscription of £250 to encourage smaller groups to engage with IFN.

Interfaith Week takes place again this year between 10th and 17th November to coincide with the National Service of Remembrance and Churches are encouraged to seek out and get involved with their local interfaith groups.

At the AGM in July the SNU representative will complete his three-year term of office as a trustee on the main board and due to the voting system the SNU will now step back, allowing other organisations to take a turn of representation on the board. Our thanks go to David for his service in this important position and he has without doubt done some excellent work to promote Spiritualism and the SNU within IFN. 

At the meeting the President also took the opportunity to present David with his Diamond Service award to mark his sixty years within the Union; at the request of the IFN this was done before the main meeting got underway but we have received several positive comments from other faith leaders on how we had honoured the work and dedication of one of our own Ministry.

Congratulations, David; may your work continue for many more years.    


SNU Trust

The Union is pleased to note that, finally, the establishment of the new company limited by guarantee which will replace the former Trust is now complete in its setting up and it is hoped to start lending to Churches again in the very near future. The Union wishes the newly-established Board of Trustees all good wishes as they develop the work of SNUT to better serve our Churches around the country.


If your attending our 2019 AGM please take part in the Trusts AGM Q&A, everyones invited to ask questions and share views.


SNU Final Accounts 31st December 2018

The annual audit process has once again been completed thanks to the hard work of the Finance team and during a meeting with Price Bailey, our auditors, it was noted that most outstanding items in the audit report had now been addressed, meaning that the Union is in good financial shape and is fully compliant with all of the regulatory requirements of both the Charity Commission and Companies House. The Annual Trustees Report and Accounts will be published shortly and is available to members either in hard copy from Head Office or as a download from the SNU website.


Healing Accreditation Scheme (HAS) Rollout

Despite a few teething problems the new HAS scheme for the training of Healing Mediums has proved to be positively received and the final District presentations will take place over the next few weeks. The Exponents Committee has asked the General Purposes Committee to update the Byelaws to ensure that compatibility with the new HAS is in place.


Special Learning Needs

Following requests from students for help with specific learning needs, dyslexia in particular, one of the members of the Education Committee has been tasked with the role of Learning Needs Coordinator and is looking at ways to help and support students who need this specific form of help with their courses.



In recent months, due to increased demand, the Education Committee has had problems with providing tutors to students on some popular courses; work is underway to recruit suitable people to work as mentors and markers in line with the new system of marking for SNU courses.


Education Training Day

Due to issues around planning, the Training Day which was due to take place in May 2019 was cancelled and it is now hoped to hold a full Training Day in the spring of 2020.



Doris Friedrich, who is the Editor of the SNUi newsletter, has now been appointed to the SNUi Committee.


The transition to Zoom, our new platform for broadcasting on SNUi, was completed on 1st May; the quality and reliability of the new system are a great improvement on Mega Meeting, which represents a positive move forward for SNUi and its growing membership.


Social Media

Developing the presence of Spiritualism and the SNU on the internet falls to the Publicity & Promotions Committee. It is a positive development that more churches are starting to share and comment on posts and, generally, sharing is on the up; this is helping us to reach more and more people and to keep Spiritualism in their awareness. The Union now has 400 followers on Instagram, which is proving to be a better tool than Twitter. The PPC page on Facebook has now been closed, which allows us to concentrate on the main SNU Facebook page, which is gaining more likes and followers by the week. The Hydesville campaign reached 52k people and the Healing Awareness campaign reached a respectable 34k.

Examples of top performing posts:

  • Rededication of AFC Library: 9.5k
  • Thankyou to Healing Mediums in our Churches: 8.4k
  • HAW video message from the President: 6.1k
  • Sri Lanka, call for Healing prayers: 8.2k
  • HAS launch: 4.8k
  • Website perspectives: 5.9k


Stronger networks

The PPC Committee will have a presence at the SNU AGM again this year with a view to creating stronger links with our Churches; it has been established that there are lots of positive things happening out there which we are simply not aware of and we should celebrate and encourage the great work done collectively in the name of Spiritualism. If you are attending the AGM, please go and speak to Alv Hirst, our Communications Director, who will be very happy to talk to you.


PPC recorded quite a lot of material during Open Week at the Arthur Findlay College and this is currently been edited into small mini-podcasts, which it is hoped will help grow our audience.

Traffic to the main SNU website continues to grow, driven often by social media activity; in the first four months of 2019 we have had 61,434 visitors to, compared to 45,617 for the same period last year.


World’s Big Sleepout

This event is due to take place in December 2019 and aims to raise awareness about homelessness across the world. The NEC plans to register a ‘small sleepout’, which will take place during the NEC weekend in December, with members of the NEC sleeping out both to raise awareness and to fundraise to help support homeless charities. More information will be published over the next few months and we hope that some of our Churches will also get involved and help with the fundraising for this important cause in our modern society and a practical demonstration of our Second Principle.

Where did I put my sleeping bag? 


Mind Body and Spirit Event, Birmingham NEC

Suzanne Gibson-Foy, our  OM1, is busy organising our second visit to this busy forum for all things spiritual; we have booked a stall similar to last year and Suzanne is working with the Head Office team on the design and layout of the stand with a view to attracting as much interest as possible and helping to raise the profile of Spiritualism.


Data Protection Policy

To reflect the demands of the SNU operating outside the EU the Data Protection Policy has been reviewed and amended; this mostly applies to the work of SNUi but it is important when managing data that we reflect the standards and legal requirements of all the countries we operate in around the world.


Complaints Working Party

The first meeting has taken place of the new working party which is looking at our current complaints system to ensure that it is both user-friendly and fit for purpose. It is hoped to introduce a flowchart based upon Byelaws F which will help parties to a complaint to navigate the system in a clear manner. This is very much work in progress but it is hoped to see some tangible results before the end of the year.


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting (pre-AGM) will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on Friday 19th July. The next full NEC meeting will take place at the Barbanell Conference Centre on 2nd, 3rd and 4th August 2019. The next National Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Centre on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September 2019.


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 [email protected]


Thought for today

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

-Marilyn Monroe

Minister David R Bruton

President of The Spiritualists' National Union


Previous Blogs 

Presidents Blog | Edition 45 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 44 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 43 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 42 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 41 |

Presidents Blog | AGM Special |

Presidents Blog | Edition 40 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 39 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 38 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 37 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 36 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 35 | 

Presidents Blog | Edition 34 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 33 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 32 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 31  |

Presidents Blog | Edition 30 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 29 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 28 |