Edition 64

National Executive Committee Meeting, 3rd, 4th & 5th December 2021 via the 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.


 

Covid-19 new variant

Since the conclusion of the NEC there have been considerable developments around the effects of the new variant which is sweeping the country. Churches are now required to ensure that attendees wear masks for all services and church activities; a full review of the changes to the legislation in England and the devolved nations is published on the SNU website and shared by the SNU social media channels. In view of these changes the NEC has agreed the following statement in relation to Spiritualist Healing delivered within SNU Churches, which is provided with a view to supporting healing groups and keeping both healers and patients safe:

 

‘Spiritualist healing should take place in a room which is well-ventilated with good air flow to protect against airborne transmission of any virus present. 

Spiritualist healing mediums should wear face coverings in order to minimise risks to others. If a healer cannot wear a face covering  due to medical reasons, then they should not take part and should send absent healing from another venue. Churches may wish to encourage their healing  mediums to take a lateral flow test before attending Church. These are freely available and recommended by the government as a way of reducing transmission.’

 

The Union remains committed to supporting its Churches through these difficult times and we will continue to update advice for all nations of the UK as the government advice is revised and updated.


The Arthur Findlay College

Reopening

The Collegiate Committee continues to review a range of factors, all of which impact on our ability to reopen the College to students. We still aim to reopen in spring 2022 but of course this is dependent upon the effects of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and also the need to take account of international governments' reactions, which could negatively affect students' ability to travel to the UK.

 


Increasing the AFC Environmental commitment

With the closure of the College to students for nearly two years we have continued to provide learning opportunities on line through our virtual courses. From Open Weekend in May our virtual courses have been driven through a company called Ticket Tailor who have just announced an important initiative:

 

‘At Ticket Tailor we are committed to growing better, not just bigger and in that spirit we have decided to donate 1 pence (1.32 cents) to charity for every ticket sold. This year you have collectively sold 6.6M tickets through the platform, and so our total donation pot comes to £66,000 ($87,000 USD). 

 

Though there are so many worthy things we could put our money towards, as a team, we chose climate causes because we believe it is the most pressing issue of our time and as a global business, it’s something that will affect us all.’

 

So each time you book a virtual course with the AFC you are also helping the environment.

 

 


Church Relations Coordinator



Matthew Mould, a member from Manchester, joined the team at the beginning of November and after a two-week induction at Head Office he is now out in the field working to support our Churches. Matthew can be contacted via tel: 01279 816363 or email: [email protected]

Alternatively contact Matthew via our online form:

Contact Me


 

 

 

Rules for Churches 2022

It has now been eleven months since the Union lodged the new edition of the Rules for Churches with the Charity Commission; we have still not received any response, so the NEC has agreed to delay the issue of the new Rules until June 2022 so as to avoid any problems with Church AGM procedure.

 


Complaints Committee - New Panel Members

The NEC has been concerned for some time about the lack of people either available or prepared to undertake Complaints Committee enquiries on behalf of the Union. Following an exercise 21 names were presented to the NEC for consideration and following NEC agreement these people will be written to and invited into training with a view to strengthening the pool of people for the future.

 


Interfaith Week

Interfaith Week 2021 was broadly a virtual event again this year; the week in England began with the National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph in London. Spiritualism was once again represented by the President of the SNU; the service observed all the necessary Covid safety measures and, sadly, again this year only one representative per national faith group was allowed to attend. The Scottish Interfaith Week was moved this year to coincide with COP26, which took place in Glasgow. The Communications Director and John Blackwood OSNU organised a virtual service, which included contributions from many Scottish Churches and members in Scotland, England and Ireland; the service proved to be a great success and represented a fitting contribution to Scottish Interfaith Week.

The President joined faith leaders from other religions to record a message which was broadcast on Monday 15th November to mark Interfaith Week and this was shared widely through SNU social media channels.


SNU Complaints

The Complaints Committee and the General Purposes Committee have held a number of joint sessions to undertake a full review of   Bye-laws F. The Union has experienced an increasing number of complaints over recent months and moves are underway to review     the process with a view to ensuring that we are supporting all parties involved. 


 

Withdrawal of Healing Upgrading Certificates

A decision had been taken some while ago to no longer issue upgrading certificates to newly qualified healers on the basis that there was no provision within the Bye-laws for this issue. The NEC has agreed to reverse this decision and Head Office will resume the issuing of certificates; any Healers who have been upgraded since the change of practice will now receive a certificate.


 

The Growing Ministry

The Ministers Administration Committee were pleased to report the successful completion of Final Boards.

Lynn Parker OSNU was ordained as our latest Minister at Crewe Church on 13th November. Lynn is the first person to be ordained since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Andrea Dunn and Gail Davies have also had services of acceptance as newly appointed Officiants and Miriam Fitzgerald, Jacqui McGleish, Daniela Gervasoni and Linda Walker have all arranged their services of acceptance, which will take place shortly, either virtually or in person where circumstances allow.

The NEC extends its warmest congratulations to all of the new members of the Ministry and wishes them well as they embark upon their new roles.


Ministers Congress

Ministers Congress this year took place virtually on Saturday 16th October and was well attended. A range of items were included for discussions but the Congress discussed at length the role of Superintendent Ministers and a number of points were formulated for referring to the NEC.

 


Almoners Network

The Almoner continues her sterling work to support members who are ill and cards and requests for healing have been sent out when appropriate.

The Almoner also noted the passing to spirit of the following members during the year:  Eileen Ledger OSNU, Sheila Brightley, Mary Eddie, Avril Uppington, Jean Besrutchak, Keith Smart and Joan Lainchbury.

Anyone wishing to contact the Almoner should email Minister Marian Bishop: [email protected] 

 


Updating the published accounts

With a view to increasing the ease of understanding of the published annual accounts the Finance Committee has recommended to the NEC updated wording for the various funds within the Union; the NEC have now approved this and it will be implemented when the 2021 accounts are published.


 

SNU Reserves Policy

The Finance Committee has also been working upon strengthening the reserves policy in the light of recent experience throughout the pandemic with a view to ensuring that our current policy is robust and appropriate for the charity going forward. The initial draft documentation was reviewed by the NEC and this will be referred back to Finance for some additional work prior to the publication of the policy to members.


Budgets

In preparation for the 2021 audit, which starts in December, the Finance Committee have produced budgets and cashflow statements for a range of scenarios with a view to ensuring the effective management of the Union’s finances across the organisation during these turbulent times.


 

Healing Mediums

During 2021 60 applicants have been upgraded as Approved Healing mediums and some additional healers have completed re-registration after allowing their registrations to lapse.


Healing Accreditation Scheme (HAS)

Following changes to practice since the pandemic SH1 has been reviewed and updated; the new version is currently with the Education & Exponents Committee for proofreading ahead of publication early in the new year.


 

 


CSNU(h)

There are nine students who have now completed the SH2 and are currently doing their practical training towards CSNU(h); this is a big step forward, as it is some considerable time since anyone has taken this course.

 


SNUi

A working party has been established to address the need for increased events in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Japan, India and Singapore; this of course needs to take into account the different time zones across the world. The Japanese members of SNUi have now arranged for 'The Philosophy of Spiritualism' to be translated into Japanese.

All regular weekly events have now been added to the programme for 2022, which currently equates to 1,500, with further additions to be added in due course.

 

The Chair of SNUi requested the appointment of Daniel Feenix as Vice-Chair of SNUi to replace Cathy Tsoukalas, which was approved; Cathy continues to work hard for SNUi and will remain on the Committee in her capacity of Members’ Liaison and Assistant Programme Coordinator.   

The NEC wish Daniel well in his new role at SNUi.

 


 

Social Media

Changes to Facebook are forcing the Publicity & Promotions Committee to come to terms with a new back office system but ultimately this will help in the running of Facebook and Instagram in one place.

 

Top posts this month have been:

  • SNU’s Birthday, 11.2K (900 on Instagram)
  • Cenotaph images on Remembrance Sunday, 10.8K (584 on Instagram)
  • Tekla Khan for Black History month, 6.9K
  • Animal healing service, 4.9K
  • Karl Francis for Black History month, 4.2K

A detailed breakdown of age of users for Facebook and Instagram is as follows:

 


Individual Members

The national Individual Members Representative has been working with Suzanne Gibson-Foy (Ordinary Director 1) to create a meeting for Individual Members; there is provision for this within the Bye-laws, though it has been many years since the last meeting took place. A meeting was arranged via Zoom on 30th November and 74 Individual Members attended, which is an excellent start. The evening began with some philosophy and this was followed by a questions-and-answers session and discussion, which raised some interesting points, which will be referred back to the NEC. The next meeting is planned to take place again via Zoom on 1st March 2022; the event will be promoted within the pages of SNU Today and via our social media channels.

 


The development of a new strategic plan

As part of responding to the motion passed by members at the AGM the NEC has begun to work on developing a new strategic plan. This initiative will be led by Julia Almond OSNU, Education & Exponents Director, and the President. An introductory framework and exercise has been developed and this was tested with the full NEC, following which it will be taken to the National Council before it is rolled out in the New Year to the districts, Churches and Individual Members. The aim is to provide a broad and wide-ranging consultation exercise with as many stakeholders as possible.


Diversity and Inclusion

Anne -Marie Bond the newest member of the NEC is working hard to develop her new portfolio which includes diversity and inclusion within the Union and the wider movement. She has booked a virtual discussion session for people of colour as the first stage in a wider discussion which we hope will promote inclusion throughout the organisation. Anne Marie is also working on the environmental initiative, with the year of the environment coming to a close at the end of the month the NEC is committed to keeping climate change and the environment high on the agenda in coming years with a view to promoting what we can do individually, within our churches and centres and at home to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

 


The AGM 2022

After agreement by the NEC to operate the 2022 AGM as a ‘hybrid’ event a meeting has now taken place with our audio-visual company and MiVoice, the voting provider, and quotes have been received and approved. A booking form will go out with the February circulation for members to register their interest either for the in-person package or the virtual package. The Union of course reserves the right to switch the meeting to a fully virtual meeting should the pandemic not improve, making an in-person AGM too difficult to arrange. We will, of course, keep members fully informed. The location for the in-person meeting remains the Holiday Inn in Norwich.


Union Mileage Rate

The NEC is very aware that following the rise in petrol prices over the last few months our SNU mileage rate needs to be reviewed. This matter was referred to the Finance Committee, which agreed to link the Union's rate to that provided by HMRC; this will now be benchmarked on a quarterly basis and the rate will change in line with the direction from HMRC. This rate is set to have no tax implications for the person claiming.

From 1st January 2022 the mileage rate will rise to 45p per mile plus 5p per mile for each passenger carried on Union business. This rate applies to the Union nationally and all the District Councils but Churches and Centres are still at liberty to determine their own mileage rate, for example when paying mediums for their travel.


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 11th, 12th and 13th February 2022 and will be conducted via Zoom. The next Council meeting will take place on Saturday 5th February  2022, also via Zoom.


Happy Christmas!

On behalf of all members of the NEC we extend our good wishes for a Happy Christmas and a spiritually enlightened New Year to all members, churches and centres around the world.


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Minister David R. Bruton

President of The Spiritualists' National Union

Thought for the Day

You do not find the happy life, YOU MAKE IT

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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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