Introduction

Hello there, it really doesn’t seem like two months since my last newsletter – Time is just flying by! Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out my Treasurers questionnaire. The results have provided valuable feedback about the kind of training you’d like to see. I have already put together a short training video on income and expenditure, the Finance Committee are due to review it at their next meeting, if approved the video will be made available on the website. The NEC have been talking to Districts up and down the country, the “Meet the NEC” events are your chance as individual members to have your say on the future of our religion. If you were  not been able to take part then I hope you managed to fill out the questionnaire on the SNU website.  As most churches have now held their AGM’s I’ve had many questions an queries about what to do if positions on the committee have not been filled, but more on that later.

What's Going on

Since taking up the post of Church Relations Coordinator, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to and helping many of our Churches and Districts, to date I have received over 600 email queries  from Churches, 96 from districts and over 300 phone enquiries. I have been able to help and support many Churches, I recently visited Basingstoke Spiritualist Church, the church had been having difficulty forming a committee following the pandemic and had been closed for some time. There was a real will amongst members of the church to get the doors open again and to put the church back into the heart of the community. I’m happy to say that following a meeting with myself and President David Bruton the Church now has a new committee and is receiving help, advice, guidance support from the SNU, their first service is planned for June. They have the SNU behind them so I know it will be a success.

Individual Members Meeting

I was recently invited to attend the Individual Member’s Zoom meeting, arranged by our Individual Members Representative, Marie Lisseman. The evet was well attended, and it was great to meet Spiritualists from around the country and explain how the Role of Church Relations Coordinator can help them and their Churches. There was a fantastic discussion about the future of Spiritualism and how we can promote our principles in a 21st century setting. Marie will be arranging another event in the coming months, if you’ve never attendee one I’d highly recommend it.

Working with you

As Churches start to make use of the Church Relations Coordinator Role I’ve received some great feedback. I have been able to support the new committee at Altrincham Church by providing resources r for both the Treasurer and Secretary, It’s great to hear that they now have everything they need and are going from strength to strength, their president found the support really useful for the committee and certainly thinks that the role of Church Relations Coordinator is an asset to our Churches and the SNU. It’s great that so many of you are getting in touch, Newark pioneer Centre, Bloxwich Church and Paignton have all contacted me regarding their AGM to check procedures and to get advice on the next steps. I’m pleased  to say that they all received the appropriate advice and guidance and have all held successful AGM’s.

I have been invited to the open day at Telford 1st Spiritualist church which is been held on Saturday 25th June between 10.30am – 6pm There will be stalls, healing, refreshments and private sittings throughout the day. I’m certainly looking forward too meeting the team at Telford and supporting the church, if you’re free please come along and support Telford

Finally, after many months of waiting, the Charity Commission has agreed to review our latest edition of the Rules for Churches; we plan to publish these and issue them to the Churches in early June depending, of course, on our receiving formal approval from the Commission. We are working on formulating a training programme to explain to Churches the changes from the 2018 version and the implications of these changes on the approach to running an SNU-affiliated Church

Sharing

Amongst Churches and Districts there’s a common desire to share ideas and good practice so I’m including a few ideas that I’ve picked up as I go about speaking to our churches and districts.

East Midlands: Once a month the District Council holds a zoom event. They invite a guest speaker give members a talk and then open this up to discussion. The event is well attended and has been successful in encouraging members to get involved with the work of the DC. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one, Charles Coulston did a very thought provoking talk on “Our Secret Lives During Sleep” this was following  by a very informative questions and answer session.

Manchester: The Manchester District Council is looking to engage with the LGBTQ community as a way of reaching out and demonstrating that Spiritualism is an inclusive religion. As part of this the DC is speaking with the organisers of a local “Pink Picnic” and hopefully the DC will have stalls at the event to talk to the LGBTQ community about spiritualism as well as offering healing.

West Midlands: In the West Midlands they have a great approach to education. The District Council Education and Exponents’ Committee run courses on mediumship and healing and offer financial help via their trifold scheme

Guidance

Many of you have contacted me regarding vacant committee positions following your AGM, here are some of the most frequently asked questions, I hope you find it useful

Q

We don’t have a Treasurer; can the President take up the role?

A No, the only two officer roles that can be combined are Secretary and Treasurer.

 

Q

What do we do if no one meets the qualifications, can they still take up a role on the committee?

A If no qualified full member is willing to be appointed to a vacancy the committee must leave it unfilled and create an acting position for the same purpose.

 

Q

Are the qualifications for acting positions different?

A Yes, if the position is for acting President or Vice President then the person needs to be a full member of the church, has been a full member for at least two years and have served on the committee for at least 12 months in the last five years. For acting Treasurer or Secretary, the person needs to be a full member of the church and have been a full member for at least 12 months. Page 14, Rule 10, Rules for Churches 2018 gives further information.

 

Q

We have a member who’s willing to take up a role, but they do not meet the criteria, what do we do?

A

If no one meets the qualifications for the position, nor meets the criteria for an acting position then the church can request dispensation from the Union to allow the person to take up the role. Please contact the Church Relations Coordinator if you would like to request dispensation.

 

Q

We don’t have 6 people; can we still form a committee?

A No, the minimum amount of people needed for a committee is 6 – if you’re having problems forming a committee or finding it difficult to re-open following the pandemic, please contact the Church relations Coordinator who can offer you help and support.


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