Edition 63

National Executive Committee Meeting, 1st, 2nd & 3rd October 2021 via Zoom

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. If this is your first time of reading, I trust the information shared is useful in keeping you up to date with the workings of the Spiritualists’ National Union and the support it provides to its members and Churches alike. 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 with the view of increasing transparency and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.


 

Church Relations Coordinator

Following an internal recruitment process for this position, the NEC is pleased to announce that a member of the Union has been appointed to this new and exciting role. The role will be based on working from home, liaising with Head Office and reporting to the CAO. It is a full-time role and the NEC hopes the person will be in place to start work during November. Once the initial training and induction period is complete, all the Churches and Centres  will be informed about the contact details for our latest team member and we hope this appointment will serve to add considerable value to the range of services the Union offers to its Churches and Centres around the country.


The Arthur Findlay College

Virtual Autumn Open Week

As a new addition to the College programme we have launched an ‘Autumn Open Week’, running from 23rd to 26th October, which will feature a full programme of lectures, workshops, demonstrations, private sittings and spiritual assessments, all provided by the AFC tutor team. This event is now on sale and the programme is available via the AFC website: www.arthurfindlaycollege.org from where you can book a range of sessions.

 


Appointment of a new Tutor 

The NEC is pleased to confirm the appointment of Anne Marie Bond as a Tutor at The Arthur Findlay College; this marks the completion of a long process of study and assessment and we wish Anne Marie well in her new role as a Tutor within the Union.

 


New Committee appointments

Ann Dibben and Mary Watkin have been appointed as new members of the General Purposes Committee (GPC) and Chris Pelham-Wright has tendered his resignation from GPC; we thank Chris for his contribution to the Committee's work and look forward to working with Ann and Mary.


 

 

 

Coventry City of Culture Interfaith Day Open Day

As part of this year-long event Broadgate Church in Coventry held an Open Day and were joined by many other Churches, mosques, centres, gurdwaras and temples, which opened their doors to welcome people in with a view to allowing enquiries to broaden their knowledge of what the faith-based organisations within the city could offer. Attendance at Broadgate was encouraging and the Church President and other members of the Committee were on hand to give members of the public an insight into what Spiritualism had to offer.

 


Maidenhead Church – a new beginning

Finally, in September, the SNU Church in Maidenhead completed its move to its new centre situated on the banks of the Thames. Having been housed in a portacabin for fifty years, it now has its own three-storey building, which provides a Church hall and a range of ancillary rooms which can be used for the Church activities and an area that can be rented out to support the Church's income. The President of the Union conducted a Dedication service on 13th September, which was attended by representatives of the District Council, local Churches and longstanding members of the Church. On behalf of the Union the NEC wishes the Church the very best for what we hope will be a bright and progressive future for the Church.

 


Sub-letting Church Property

Many churches around the country have flats, houses or rooms they are able to sub-let which brings income into help the Church financially. The Union is increasingly concerned that tenancy agreements are entered into often by Church committees which can prove in the long term be detrimental to the interests of the Church. If your Church is in sole trust with the Union all rental agreements including either short term or long term commitments need to be referred to the Union in the first instance for advice and support. The Union is certainly not deterring churches from maximising their income from their property however this must be done in a way that protects the charitable interest of the Church. Church committees are reminded that their main hall and place of worship cannot be sub-let as this is against charity law however ancillary rooms can be sub-let and this often can provide a useful form of income especially in these challenging economic time. For further information and guidance a church should speak in the first instance to head office. 


Representation at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph

The Union has once again received an invitation for the President to attend the National Service of Remembrance; sadly, again this year no guests are allowed owing to the pandemic and there will once again be no reception after the service.


 

The Ministry grows

During its meeting the NEC approved the recommendation from the Ministers Administration Committee to appoint Lynn Parker OSNU to the position of Minister. Lynn’s ordination will be conducted in due course and the NEC gives Lynn its good wishes as she embarks upon her new role within the organisation.

The following members have also been appointed to become Officiants of the Union:

Andrea Dunn Linda Walker Gail Davies
Miriam Fitzgerald Jacqui McGleish Daniela Gervasoni

The NEC congratulates each of these ladies on their new appointment.


 

Ministers Congress

The Annual Ministers Congress will take place virtually on 16th October and will run from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. The event is open to all members of the Ministry and joining instructions will be issued in time for the meeting.

 


SNUi

SNUi reported that its weekly events dropped to 30 events per week during the summer with everyone away; from September these increased to 40 per month. The interest in its Philosophy evenings is growing and it currently hosts 15 practice circles. SNUi has also welcomed its first member from the Czech Republic and membership continues to grow.

 


Education & Exponents Committee 

EECom continues to hold Final Assessment Boards virtually via the Zoom platform, though the first in-person Board will be held in South Yorkshire District on 6th November for those who would prefer to take their FAB in person.

Leadership and Management (LM1) has 44 students applying to study the course to date; LM2 is also well underway and will be taken forward once the work on the updated SH1 is complete.

Healing training on SNUi continues to progress well, with attunement courses restarting in October. The ‘What happens next’ card has also been translated into Dutch.


 

Social Media

We now have 2,000 followers on Instagram and numbers continue to grow, with posts reaching between 400 and 5,000 screens and a total of over 4,200 in the last four-week period.

 

Twitter we have 819 followers and in the last four-week period we have reached 4,600 screens with our content. The SNU Facebook page has 8.6k likes and 9.2k followers, with top posts reaching between 2.2 and 3.2k.

 


Healing Couches within SNU Healing Services

At the request of EECom the NEC has agreed to remove the provision for the use of healing couches in SNU Healing services; this decision is based upon concerns around health and safety and the presentation of SNU Healing within the Churches. It is agreed that the prohibition will come into effect from 1st January 2022, giving healers time to adjust their practice to adopt the new arrangements.


 

SNU Media contact

The PR Officer has had discussions with Wild Bear Entertainment from New Zealand, Firecracker Films and BBC Scotland concerning a range of projects which could potentially involve the Union.

 

 


AGM Workshop feedback

The NEC briefly discussed the feedback from each of the Workshop sessions at this year's AGM; a separate meeting has been called to spend some more time on working through the range of subjects covered.

 


Rules for Churches 2022

It has now been nine months since the Union lodged the new edition of the Rules for Churches with the Charity Commission; after a recent call to its Helpline the Commission has responded to say it hopes to come back to us shortly, so, as things stand, the issue date to Churches remains as 1st January 2022. Should this have to be pushed back, the Union will, of course, inform the Churches of any necessary changes and the current edition of the Rules for Churches remains in place until the new edition is launched.

 


 

NEC Skills Audit

We have now completed our annual trustees skills audit to ensure that we have the right skill set at Board level; the changes since the last audit have been noted by the Board and training will be provided to bolster identified weak areas to maintain the Board's performance.

 


Strategic Plan

It is now over ten years since the Action Plan was established and the NEC has agreed to establish a working party to review and refresh the Strategic Plan to take account of the very different environment we operate within post-pandemic. It is agreed that we will conduct consultation exercises as part of the process to reflect the views from differing parts of the movement.

 


The Council 

The Council met virtually at the end of September and discussed a range of issues, which included the feedback from the AGM. The new system, allowing other members of the District Council executive committee to gain Council experience, will be established from the Council's next meeting in December and for that meeting every District will be able to send an additional representative to the elected National Councillor.

The dates for Council meetings are as follows:
Saturday 11th December Virtual meeting
Saturday 5th February 2022 Virtual meeting
Saturday 14th May 2022 In-person meeting
Saturday 24th September Virtual meeting
Saturday 10th December Virtual meeting
Saturday 4th February 2023 Virtual meeting

 


 

500 Club

The draw takes place once a quarter and next time it could be you who wins! Contact Redwoods if you are interested in taking part, supporting the Union and potentially winning some great cash prizes. Participation is open to non-members also, so why not ask your families and friends to join us? Churches and Centres are also welcome to take part, with any winnings going to help Church funds.

You have to be in it to win it!

 

 


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting is scheduled to take place on 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2021 and will be conducted via Zoom. The next Council meeting will take place on Saturday 11th December 2021, also via Zoom.


Your Comments

Your comments and feedback either from the AGM or on points arising from the Blog are always appreciated; please email the President directly: [email protected]

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Minister David R. Bruton

President of The Spiritualists' National Union

Thought for the Day

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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]

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