President’s Blog 50


NEC Meeting Friday 29th November until Sunday 1st December 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 each 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.


Cenotaph National Service of Remembrance

Minister June English accompanied the President, as agreed, to Whitehall on 10th November to represent Spiritualism at the National Service of Remembrance. Another incredibly proud day for the movement, which according to social media has again been well received. Tony Ortzen has requested an article for Psychic News, which has been written to report the day to their readers. Sadia Bowering, the CAO, has located a report on a government website which states that we are to be permanently included; see below: 

‘Seven more faith and belief groups are to be permanently represented during the National Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph from this year, Faith Minister Lord Bourne announced today (17 October 2018).


Jains, Zoroastrians and Copts are among those faiths and beliefs that will now take part in this country’s greatest service to remember and honour the heroes of our past – making the National Service of Remembrance more reflective of modern Britain.


The addition of several smaller faith communities like Mormons, Baha’ís and Spiritualists, will reflect the significant but little-known contribution made by minority ethnic communities to Britain’s war efforts.


It also sends a strong signal throughout Britain and the world that this country values the contribution of its diverse communities.’

Source: › Society and culture › Community and society


National Interfaith Week

The week commencing 10th November saw the start of Interfaith Week. On Friday 15th the President travelled to Great Yarmouth as a moderator of the IFN FCF to represent Spiritualism at an Interfaith service and the IFN; the theme of the service, held in a Methodist Church, was the Brotherhood of Man.

We are pleased to note that Rawtenstall Church is joining with the Unitarians to hold an Interfaith service; we can only hope that other Churches will follow Rawtenstall’s example. So far there are over 500 events organised nationally to mark Interfaith Week and support for this important event seems to be growing within all faith communities.  


A final meeting has taken place with architects ahead of going out to tender for the new build Museum, which it is hoped will be started in May 2020 and completed by December and which will provide a custom-built facility to store and display many wonderful artefacts from the history of Spiritualism.



ITV Filming 2020

We are working with ITV to film a series at the Arthur Findlay College next year. So far over 150 students have expressed an interest in taking part and the production company are currently working on creating a shortlist; the Union will be consulted when the final list of participants is finalised. Filming is planned to take place in June and will follow the experience of a range of students attending the Arthur Findlay College. The series will also feature key people who work to make the AFC the special place it holds within the movement.

AGM 2020 / 2021

We have now visited the Holiday Inn hotel in Norwich, which is the proposed venue for the 2020 AGM; all seems to be well and we are confident this will be a suitable venue for our annual meeting. We are planning some changes to the way the event will be staged.

Having crunched the numbers for the proposed 2021 venue, the costs will be considerably higher than our normal price range. Merseyside and North Wales DC, which put the venue forward, is currently looking for an alternative venue which is within our budget so that we can keep the costs of attending the AGM within the reach as of many members as possible.


Brighton Amalgamation

On 23rd November the inaugural meeting of the new Brighton Church was held, which will be based at Edward Street. A range of motions was passed to enable the newly-amalgamated Church to function and it was agreed that the property at Boundary Passage would be sold, with the funds being held in a Trustees Account in the name of the new Church.

Going forward, the SNU will now have two Churches in Brighton and the NEC wish the newly-created Church every good wish for a strong future promoting Spiritualism in the Brighton area.


Yale University

The Yale University Research project continues apace and plans are underway for the next supervisory board meeting to be held early next year.


The Lyceum Day

The Lyceum Central Committee has announced that its annual Lyceum Day will be held next year on 15th February at Seaham Church.


Growing the Ministry

On 9th November at St Helens Church two new Officiants, Christine Bond and Barbara Evison, held their joint Service of Acceptance, and they were followed on 16th November at Glasgow Association by Ann Dibben. The NEC expresses its sincere congratulations to all three ladies as they begin a new chapter in their work for Spiritualism.


Ministers Congress

On Saturday 19th October the Ministers Congress was held at Welwyn Garden City Church, where seven Ministers and six Officiants attended. The day included a range of interesting and thought-provoking discussions and a recommendation was made to the NEC to appoint Spiritualist Chaplains to help meet the demand we are facing for prison and hospital visitors.


District Council Allocations

Following the discussion at Council the Finance Committee considered the annual allocation which helps to fund the work of the districts. The Finance Committee has developed a new funding formula, which will be implemented this year and will see each DC continue to receive funds from the Union nationally. However, it has been agreed that the formula for payments to districts will be reviewed every year going forward and will take account of each district's reserves.


Churches in Arrears

There are still 43 Churches who have failed to pay their capitation fees to the Union; Head Office and the Districts will be chasing these payments over the next few weeks. Churches are reminded that annual fees can be paid by direct debit and to achieve this Part One Church Returns need to be returned to the Union by the first week of January 2020 so that an accurate payment can be made.


Finance Committee Terms of Reference

The Finance Committee has now submitted terms of reference to the NEC and these have been agreed.


Guidelines for National Wardens

This publication is currently being updated and will be submitted to the January Finance Meeting prior to presentation to the NEC in February; the new booklet will then be sent to all National Wardens to help support them in their important role.


Contactless Payment for Churches

The Finance Committee has identified two systems which can be used, allowing collections and other payments to be taken using credit and debit cards. Negotiations are underway with both companies with a view to obtaining literature, which will be sent out to all Churches in the New Year. As more and more people carry less cash, adopting a system for accepting contactless payments in our Churches could become crucial.


Charity Commission Hoax Calls

The Financial Director reported that some Churches had received what turned out to be hoax calls claiming to be from the Charity Commission suggesting that Churches owed penalty payments. The only penalty payment levied by the Commission is a charge of £100 for late submission of annual returns. Churches are strongly recommended to take care if approached directly by any government agency and if in doubt refer the matter to the Union for advice.


Meet the NEC

This initiative was introduced some years ago to provide the Districts with the opportunity to meet with members of the NEC and question them over the work of the Union nationally. Each District has been asked to provide dates for the proposed meeting and then the CAO will allocate NEC members to attend. It is hoped that DC’s will use the opportunity to also involve Churches within their area to provide maximum benefit to the locality.


Individual Members Report

Following the discussion at Council and responses forwarded to the NEC from the IM Representatives on every district Su Evans, the National IM Representative, attended the NEC meeting and presented her report. This was followed by a positive and forward-looking discussion focused on the future of IM membership within the Union and the proposal currently before the NEC to drop the requirement for provisional membership. The NEC has agreed to draft a full response addressing all of the concerns and issues raised by the Districts and this will be circulated to each DC before Christmas. It was agreed to proceed with the removal of the requirement for provisional membership from February 2020 and interviews need not be conducted in the interim. The enabling changes to Bye-laws will be published in the February circulation and DC IM representatives are encouraged to check Byelaws B to clarify their role, which will continue after the changes have come into effect.


Kings College London Approach

Kings College in London have approached the Union to take part in a new research project they are about to embark upon to help the scientific and academic community understand mediumship. The President, Education and Exponents Director and Ordinary Director One will meet with representatives of Kings at Stansted in January to discuss the proposed collaboration.


SNU on Film

The NEC are looking to commission a series of short films to introduce Spiritualism and promote the work of the Union. A provisional budget has been agreed and we are seeking quotes from a range of production companies with a view to taking this project forward.

New Confidentiality Agreement

The Education and Exponents Committee (E&E Committee) have drafted a new confidentiality agreement which will take account of bringing Healing Receptionists into the circle of confidentiality; this was approved by the NEC and will be issued to Churches shortly.

Training Healers On-line

Following a recommendation from the E&E Committee it has been agreed that all trainee Healing Mediums can now complete their training on-line and they will be able to self-certify and ask patients to sign their log books. It has been agreed that a limit will be introduced of how many sessions can be signed off by the same person; this is to be set at no more than 25%, i.e. 13 of the 50 practical healing sessions to be with the same patient. This change now brings UK Healing Mediums into line with non-UK residents and produces consistency throughout the training of healers.

Spiritualist and Church of the Year Award

The E&E Committee has now reviewed the application forms for the above awards and these will be issued to members and Churches with the February circulation.

HAS Training Kit

So far 112 Churches have applied for, and been supplied with, the training kit to facilitate the training of Healing Mediums within the Churches.

Mentorship Training Schemes

Two new mentorships will be launched at the Barbanell Centre next year, one for Speaking and Demonstrating, tutored by Minister Judith Seaman and Minister Martin Colclough, and one for Healing, tutored by Andrej Djordjevitch. Members who are interested should approach the office at the Barbanell Centre in the first instance to apply: 01785 615513.


Accreditation of Prior Learning all change

The E&E Committee has agreed to rename the APL scheme to RPL to bring it into line with modern terminology, which is the ‘recognition of prior learning’.


Dictionary of Spiritualism

The E&E Committee is currently compiling a dictionary of Spiritualism, which it is hoped will be published in hard copy during 2020.

AFC Tutor to be recognised in Bye-laws

The E&E Committee have raised the point that nowhere in the Bye-laws is the role of AFC Tutor recognised; the NEC have agreed to refer this matter to the General Purposes Committee with a view to addressing this longstanding oversight, which means that all SNU exponents will now be included in the Bye-laws.


Complaints against Final Assessment Boards  

On the recommendation of the E&E Committee the NEC has agreed that once a board has been completed and the form signed to state that the student has been treated fairly no subsequent complaint to the Complaints Committee will be entertained.



SNUi Vi Kipling Award

This award, which has been rested for a couple of years, is to be resurrected and SNUi members will have the opportunity to vote to recognise the session leader who has the best following. A briefing document will go out in December and every SNUi member will have the opportunity to vote for the award.


Sharon Debartelo Carmack Resigns

Sharon has resigned from the Committee as the Education Coordinator but she will retain the position as National Representative for the USA. The Committee wishes her well in her new personal and professional commitments.

New Flyer for SNUi

With the 10th Anniversary ending in January 2020 the Committee has drafted a new flyer to promote the work of SNUi, which will be published in the New Year.


The SNUi Zoom facility continues to provide good service to members. A separate room has been established for the SNU with a view to holding more meetings via Zoom to help reduce the SNU carbon footprint and save the environment.

New website

A working party to discuss the new SNUi website has been created and includes Alv Hirst, Steven Upton, Arthur Plumpton and Daniella Gervasoni. The first meeting will take place in mid-December.


The top post on social media for this period was in relation to the SNU being represented at the Cenotaph; it was reported at the meeting as 36,000 views but this figure is still rising and could represent our biggest post to date.

Support for Churches

The Publicity & Promotions Committee continues to help Churches with issues around social media as requested and Churches needing assistance should approach the Committee.

SNU Today

Work is currently underway on the February edition of SNU Today; articles will include Spiritualist Genealogy, The Science Event at Ventnor Church, IMs who write about Spiritualism, The World's Big Sleepout, Guidance on writing motions for AGMs, The Cope project, The Church Training Day report, and the 10th Anniversary of the Peace Walk.

AGM 2020

The Communications Director has taken the time to interview a range of members about their thoughts for developing the AGM weekend; this will be fed back to the NEC with a view to developing the weekend further and adding value to the member experience.

World Big Sleepout

At the time of writing five Churches took part in the event and £1,650.60 has been raised, including Gift Aid on donations. The President, Financial Director and Communications Director took part at the Barbanell Centre and Danny Goodchild held his sleepout at Salford. Through social media the issue of homelessness was raised, with the UN reporting that 2% of the world’s population are homeless, which is hard to imagine in the 21st century. We are proud that Spiritualism continues to challenge social issues very much in the vein of the work of our pioneers, who were equally committed to supporting those in need in line with our Second Principle. Anyone wishing to support this worthy cause can still donate up to and including 24th December at:


Psychic News

We have two substantial articles in the December issue of Psychic News, one on the World's Big Sleepout and the other on the Cenotaph. A follow-up article on the Sleepout weekend will be featured in the January edition.     

Mind Body and Spirit Event

Minister Suzanne Gibson-Foy, Ordinary Director One, reported an incredibly successful visit to the NEC in Birmingham for this annual show in November. This is our second visit on behalf of the Union and over the three days we were able to promote Spiritualism in a very positive manner and signpost many members of the public to our Churches around the country. We also provided healing to 68 people, compared with 14 last year, and this allowed many people to sample Spiritualist healing for the first time. Footfall was much stronger this year, with every one of the three days being busy. The NEC has agreed to re-book for next year’s event and we see this as an important opportunity to continue to promote our religion in the public domain.


Focus on Religion Events 2020

The NEC has agreed to hold two FOR events next year, one on 25th April at Croydon and one on 20th June at Sheffield Attercliffe Church. Marketing for both events will be published in the immediate area closer to the event. Everyone is welcome to attend.


Training for Support Officers

Pat Seymour has issued the Support Officers Training Modules to all Support Officers and these documents will be issued to all newly-appointed Support Officers in the future to ensure that Churches in support are provided with practical help and advice with a view to returning them to normal operation.


Training Questionnaire

An email questionnaire has been issued to all DC Secretaries, all Church Secretaries and the Secretaries of all SNU Committees and 40 randomly chosen volunteers; anyone who has received this document is urged to complete it and return it to Minister Alan Rawnsley so that we can best assess the training needs within the Union and decide how we can effectively deliver support at all levels in a practical and progressive way.


National Council for Voluntary Organisations

The NCVO has been identified as providing excellent training packages and support for voluntary organisations and the NEC has agreed for the Union to join as a member so that we can fully access its services, which will in turn help support the Union and our Churches.


Peace Walk 10th Anniversary

A working party has been established under the Chairmanship of Keith Parsons, President of East London DC, to organise a special anniversary event to mark the 10th Anniversary of the dedication of our Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. Plans, which are at a very early stage, include each DC providing at least two representatives to lay a wreath on behalf of their DC; it is also hoped to encourage DCs to provide a free coach for Churches and members to attend the event. The service will be re-formatted to be followed by the Peace Walk and then the normal day will be extended to an additional event at the Arboretum, which may include afternoon tea. As soon as arrangements have been finalised this will be promoted to the wider membership. The event will take place on Saturday 4th July and we hope that DCs, Churches and members will save this date in their diaries.


Year of the Environment 2020     

This initiative will launch in January 2020 and the NEC have agreed to hold a Green Summit In Spring, which will be an on-line meeting to limit the environmental effect of the meeting itself. As soon as a date and agenda has been agreed this will be promoted throughout the Union and we hope that members will get involved so that Spiritualism can play its part in addressing the climate emergency.


Season’s Greetings

The NEC would like to extend its warmest wishes to our Churches and members everywhere for a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and spiritually enlightening New Year.

500 Club

Minister Judith Seaman scooped the fabulous first prize of £1,000 during the July draw; the draw takes place once a quarter and next time it could be you! Contact Redwoods if you are interested in taking part, supporting the Union and potentially winning some great prizes. Churches are welcome to take part.

You have to be in it to win it!


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting will take place at the Barbanell Conference Centre from 7th February to 9th February 2020. The next Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Centre on Saturday 1st February 2020.


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!

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.





Minister David R. Bruton

President of The Spiritualists' National Union


Previous Blogs 

President's Blog | Edition 49 |


President's Blog | Edition 48 |

President's Blog | AGM19 Special |

President's Blog | Edition 46 |

President's Blog | Edition 45 |

President's Blog | Edition 44 |

President's Blog | Edition 43 |

President's Blog | Edition 42 |

President's Blog | Edition 41 |

President's Blog | AGM18 Special |

President's Blog | Edition 40 |

President's Blog | Edition 39 |

President's Blog | Edition 38 |

President's Blog | Edition 37 |

President's Blog | Edition 36 |

President's Blog | Edition 35 | 

President's Blog | Edition 34 |

President's Blog | Edition 33 |

President's Blog | Edition 32 |

President's Blog | Edition 31  |

President's Blog | Edition 30 |

President's Blog | Edition 29 |

President's Blog | Edition 28 |