Edition 62

National Executive Committee Meeting, 6th, 7th & 8th August 2021 Held in person at the Barbanell Centre

 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.


 

Appointments for the new electoral year

The NEC welcomed Julia Almond OSNU back to the Board after a two-year break; Julia has taken up the appointment as the Education & Exponents Director responsible for Education, Healing and Training & Awards, delivered through the Education & Exponents Committee. Anne-Marie Bond has also joined the NEC as Ordinary Director Three, with special responsibility for the Environment, Diversity and Inclusion within the movement. The gender balance of the NEC is now seven female and three male members.

NEC 2021/2022

Nominations, Appointments and Portfolios

President

Minister David R Bruton                 

Collegiate Committee/Principal

Museum/GHMS/Healing Forum

Ambassador

Vice President

Minister Jackie Wright         

GPC/Head Office/ Complaints

Health & Safety/ Union HR & Policy

Vice President

Minister June English

MAC/Almoner/ Interfaith

Safeguarding

Financial Director

Danny Goodchild

Finance Committee/ Strategic Plan

Education & Exponents Director

Julia Almond OSNU

Education & Exponents Committee

Chair:  Judith Seaman

Vice-Chair:  Richard Cuthbert

Secretary:  Christine Thompson

Education Tutoring:  Lisa Dawson CSNU

Online Healing Training:  Annekee De Graauw CSNU

Healing:  TBA

Co-ordinators reporting to the Committee

PAS & CSNU Practical Training:  Penny Hayward DSNU

HAS & CAAS:  Kathryn Crossley OSNU

CAS Training:  Hazel Middleton

Teacher Training:  Tracey Matthewmann

SNUi Committee

Chair:Minister Simone Key (UK)

Vice-Chair/Members’ Liaison:Cathy Leigh Tsoukalas CSNUit (Greece).

Secretary:  Marilyn Marsh 


Committee

Daniel Feenix

Wendy Lyon DSNU

Iris Wuethrich CSNU

Julie Coyle

Robert Stead

Ministers Administration Committee

Chair:  Minister June English

Vice-Chair:  Minister Brenda Newall

Secretary:  Minister Suzanne Gibson-Foy


Committee

Minister Jenny Peacock

Lyn Parker OSNU

 

Complaints Committee

Chair:  Keith Parsons

Vice-Chair:  Russell Fitzpatrick

Complaints Coordinator:  Vacant

Mediation Coordinator:  Vacant

Communications Director

Alv Hirst

Publicity & Promotions Committee

Chair:  Joy Clark

Secretary:  Nathan Poole


Members: 

Philip Robinson, Eamonn Andrews OSNU

 

Public Relations Officer

Alv Hirst

Collegiate Committee

Chair:  Jackie Wright OSNU

Vice-Chair:  Minister David Bruton (Principal)

Secretary:  Ann Kelly


Members: 

Danny Goodchild

Minister Matthew Smith – Tutor Representative


In attendance:

Tanya Smith, General Manager, Arthur Findlay College

Seamus Davis, General Manager, Barbanell Centre

 

Finance Committee

Chair:  Danny Goodchild

Vice-Chair:  Minister David Bruton

Secretary:  Sadia Bowering


Members: 

Minister Jackie Wright

Minister June English

Christine Bond OSNU


In attendance:

Graham Hewitt – Trust Property Coordinator

Lesley Gilbey – Finance Administrator

 

General Purposes Committee

Chair:  Minister Jackie Wright

Vice-Chair:  Minister Judith Seaman

Secretary:  Charles Coulston DSNU


Members:

Chris Pelham-Wright

Lisa Dawson 


In attendance:

Sadia Bowering – CAO

 

Ordinary Directors

OD One

Suzanne Gibson-Foy – Focus on Religion, RE Council & Pioneer Centers, Individual Membership


OD Two 

Pat Seymour – Church Support & Training


OD Three

Anne Marie Bond – The Environment, Diversity and Inclusion

 

Council Director

Jean Smart

Individual Members National Councilor

Marie Lisseman

Almoner

Minister Marian Bishop

Interfaith Ambassador

Minister David Hopkins

Museum Curator

Paul Gaunt

Safeguarding Coordinator

Chris Pelham-Wright

Director responsible for Safeguarding

Minister June English

 

Faith Advisor to HMPS & YOI

Minister Janette Cookson

 

Faith Advisor to HM Armed Forces

Eamonn Andrews OSNU

 


 

Planned meetings for the new electoral year

Meetings for 2021/2022

Ratified NEC Dates     Venue  Status
6th, 7th & 8th August 2021  Barbanell   In person
1st, 2nd & 3rd October 2021   Via Zoom  Virtual
3rd, 4th & 5th December 2021    Via Zoom  Virtual
11th, 12th & 13th February 2022   Via Zoom   Virtual
8th, 9th & 10th April 2022  Barbanell   In person
3rd, 4th & 5th June 2022    Barbanell   In person
15th July 2022 - Eve of AGM Holiday Inn Norwich In person
5th, 6th & 7th August 2022   Barbanell     In person      

 

Council Dates Venue  Status
25th September 2021 Via Zoom   Virtual
11th December 2021     Via Zoom Virtual
5th February 2022    Via Zoom  Virtual
14th May 2022           Barbanell    In Person


 

Matters Arising from the AGM  

Motions: The NEC noted that all motions placed before the AGM were carried and the General Purposes Committee has already met and either made the necessary changes to the Bye-laws or placed them on its agenda for a future meeting.

 

Motion 8: Requiring a simple majority

 

That this Annual General Meeting requests the National Executive Committee to create a working party to include members from all levels of the Union (including church members and church committee members) to evaluate and consult on the operational, organisational and administrative structure of churches affiliated to the Union, with a view to making proposals for adapting the way churches are structured and operate in the future.

West Midlands District Council

 

NOTE OF EXPLANATION: While perhaps the current structure for churches worked well during the twentieth century, the West Midlands District Council suggests that it is time to reconsider the operational and administrative structure of the Union's churches, in order to better reflect the needs of society and the time that people have for volunteering.

 

The NEC has agreed to create a working party to undertake the requested review; although the structure and terms of reference of the body and the scope of its remit have still to be finally agreed, the outline plan discussed by the NEC is as follows:

 

Representatives of the following tiers:

Level 1 National    2 persons, one of whom should be from the NEC

Level 2 District      4 persons drawn from different districts

Level 3 Church       6 persons drawn from different Churches

 

It is also envisaged that the NEC meeting in February 2022 will receive a report of work in progress and that a Consultative Conference for the whole membership will be called in April 2022 with a view to capturing the views of the wider membership and perhaps, should the need arise, bringing forward motions for the 2022 AGM; these can also meet the deadline for motions.

 

A further announcement regarding this working party will be made once the final details have been agreed and ratified and the appointments made.


 

Membership Feedback 

Overall, we have received a considerable amount of positive feedback regarding the second virtual AGM held in July this year. The NEC has also agreed to start work without delay on consulting about how best to make the 2022 AGM a hybrid model including membership in attendance in person and allowing members to also join the meeting and vote virtually.

The newly-adopted format for the Sunday meeting was also well received and we agreed that, going forward, the awards ceremony will be held virtually and recorded to provide an edited version to be included within Sunday’s proceedings. A fuller version of the ceremony will also be provided via the website. This is so that the people who are the recipients of the awards will be seen, avoiding the need for District representatives to accept awards on their members' behalf.


 

A return to contact healing 

Following recent announcements by the UK Government and the devolved authorities for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and with the lifting of the majority of Covid-19 restrictions the NEC has considered its position of allowing Spiritualist Healing Mediums to return to the practice of contact healing within their practice. 

It has been agreed that from 1st September 2021, that registered SNU Healers will be able to provide contact healing on the understanding that they continue to use a face covering throughout the healing service and we reiterate the continued adherence to the protocol of hand sanitising both before and after each healing session with an individual patient. The Church or centre is also required to conduct a suitable risk assessment prior to the recommencement of Healing services where contact healing will be practiced.  Should healers not be comfortable providing contact healing due to personal reasons or on health  grounds they are at liberty to continue to provide distant healing only, this is their choice. It is strongly recommended that when a patient  attends a healing session they are asked which form of healing they prefer, contact or distant, as registered healing mediums have to be aware some people may still be nervous about direct human contact in which case distant healing should be provided.

Some Churches have approached the Union regarding the mandatory requirement for all healers to be vaccinated prior to returning to healing practice. Having consulted member organisations in the Healing Forum the NEC has agreed that we have no legal basis to insist on mandatory vaccination and as such Churches should not adopt this practice as it could potentially infringe members civil liberties.

Like all guidance and advice relating to the pandemic, the Union will keep matters under constant review and should the need arise to change this latest policy we will publish any update through our usual channels.  


 

A new tutor at the Arthur Findlay College

The NEC was pleased to confirm the appointment of David Schiesser as a full tutor at the Arthur Findlay College; the NEC congratulate David on this achievement and wish him well for the future.

 


Autumn Open Weekend

Following  on from the success of our first virtual Open Week event in May the College has organised an Autumn Special between 23rd and 26th October. The program will be on the College website shortly and sessions will be on sale just as soon as the event goes live.

 


Interfaith Week

The clock is ticking for Interfaith Week, which takes place in November; with less than 100 days to go the Union is making plans to play a full role in this year’s event and encourages our Churches to do likewise. For further details visit: https://www.interfaith.org.uk


Care in Funerals Project

The Union has worked with Aberdeen University in a project to measure how Covid-19 has had an effect on funeral services and death rites within our religion.


 

World Congress 2022

The organisations responsible for organizing the World Congress have now agreed to hold the planned 2022 event as a virtual event, with the 2026 event taking place in person in Canada.

 


SNUi Logo

SNUi Open Weekend, 6th & 7th November
At a ‘Blue Sky’ meeting recently we agreed to hold an Open Weekend, aimed at helping people worldwide to understand the phenomena and philosophy of Spiritualism. We intend to produce short podcasts explaining what the psychic faculty, mediumship and spiritual healing are, as well as our philosophy, presented by different speakers. These will be numbered and progressive for people to follow. Our aim is to invite people ‘outside’ Spiritualism to learn through down-to-earth basic talks, hopefully encouraging them to explore Spiritualism further. These podcasts will be available on YouTube and Facebook and would be retained as a ‘library’ of subjects for newcomers.

As a consequence of these podcasts, we are inviting people to ask questions on Spiritualism and ancillary issues, providing a questions and answers session.

 


Social Media
Facebook: 9.1k followers, Post reach 20,000, top posts, Peace Service at 7k reach, Pride at 5.3k

Twitter: 800 followers, Reach 6.1k
Instagram: 2k followers, Post Reach 800
YouTube: 2.7k subscribers, last 90 days 1.2k hours watched

 


New Music

Both the hymns and the new songs pages were published on the first day of the AGM; all the tracks can be downloaded. Covers are designed and files ready for when we know how many pre-orders we have. Anyone wishing to place an order for a hard copy should contact Head Office.

To download the mp3 files for free please click here

 


London Pride

We have been allocated space on the parade. This is a good opportunity to promote Spiritualism and the Union to the LGBTQ+ community. Posts speaking to this community are always very well received and we have an opportunity to build further bridges. Sadly, we have just been notified that the event will be cancelled this year but we look forward to taking a full part in 2022.

 


NEC Skills Audit and Appraisal

Trustees are required to complete the skills audit to assess any gaps in knowledge or training requirement; it was also agreed to conduct an NEC appraisal early in 2022.

 


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 1st, 2nd and 3rd October 2021 and will be conducted via Zoom.

The next Council meeting will take place on Saturday 25th September 2021, also via Zoom.


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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

You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying; what you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.  

-Timber Hawkeye

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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]

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