Presidents Blog 42

NEC Meeting Friday 5th to Sunday 7th October 2018

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.

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.


Chief Administrative Officer

It is with great regret that I announce to members that the Union has received a letter of resignation from Jane Barton, our CAO. Having undertaken this very demanding role for twelve months, Jane has reflected upon her personal circumstances and priorities and has decided to step down. She will leave the Union in mid-December and on behalf of the Union I would like to pay tribute to her for her unstinting hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty. The Officers of the Union are planning to start recruitment for a replacement CAO very shortly.


Attendance at the Cenotaph

The Union has been invited to apply for a representative to attend the National Remembrance service in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen on 11th November in Whitehall; the application process has been completed and we await a response from the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, which is coordinating the service.

**STOP PRESS** The SNU has now received an invitation to attend the service at the Cenotaph, a big step forward for Spiritualism which has long been wished for.

Click here to read more


Healing Forum

As a result of the Healing Awareness week held in May this year a cheque was presented by the President to the Sam Buxton Healing Trust for £1,182.50 during a visit to the Children’s Cancer Unit at Bristol Royal Infirmary. These funds were raised by healers around the country working to raise the profile of healing within society. The funds will go to help supporting healers working within the NHS and the Bristol project is proving the benefit that healing can bring when working together with traditional medical practices. 


Open University Research Project

The Union has been informed that the Funding Council rejected the application for funding for this project; however, the team are looking at other possible projects and are interested in working with the Union in the future.


Jarvis House

Jarvis House is the newly-acquired property adjacent to the Barbanell Centre which will house the newly-created accommodation block. Builders started work on 3rd September and to date the project is running to schedule and budget. The NEC have agreed to rename the building 'Barbanell House' following a suggestion from the Collegiate Committee, as the name 'Jarvis' came from a former leader of the National Union of Teachers, the building's former tenants. The project is scheduled to be completed by 9th December for handover and then this will allow time to furnish the rooms in time for the new Centre to come on-line in Stafford during January 2019.


Other changes are underway at the Barbanell Centre: a new fully refurbished kitchen has been installed and plans are underway with a view to re-engineering some of the work rooms to achieve the maximum efficiency for the Centre.



The NEC is pleased to announce the ordination of Minister Jackie Wright and our congratulations go to Jackie as she begins her new role within the movement.


Service of Acceptance

The NEC is pleased to announce the appointment of Marie Davies and Eamonn Andrews to the position of Officiant; our congratulations go to both of them as they begin their new role within the Ministry. Eamonn is the first member to be appointed to the Ministry in Northern Ireland since the passing of Minister Marie Pead, so this served for special congratulations on his achievement.


National Safeguarding Co-ordinator

The NEC is pleased to welcome Minister Kim Moore-Cullen, BSc., Cert.Ed to the role of National Safeguarding Co-ordinator, supported by her deputy, Minister June English.


IFN - Interfaith

The IFN have just published a new book, 'Connect', which provides a Youth interfaith action guide. This includes two contributions from the SNU in the form of the Golden Rule for Spiritualism and a short piece written by Individual Member Robert Dangerfield on why Spiritualism matters to him. Hard copies are available free from Redwoods and an electronic download version of the publication is also available on the IFN page of the SNU website.  

At a meeting of the Faith Communities Forum held at the Central Mosque in London matters discussed included a green paper from the government which focused on training faith leaders and discussion took place as to how we as faith communities respond to national emergencies. The strategic group is also working on looking at where faith communities fit into society and this work is ongoing.

The meeting also reviewed the treatment of Safeguarding issues within the different faith organisations and how we act to provide support where it is needed. It was highlighted that Safeguarding should be included at every Trustees meeting; the SNU already meets this requirement with the National Safeguarding Coordinator reporting to every NEC meeting via Vice-President Minister English.

Faith groups were also encouraged to meet with their local MP with a view to raising local faith issues directly and raising awareness within the Palace of Westminster.   

Interfaith Week takes place again in November this year to coincide with the National Remembrance Service; the Union will be working to promote the event through social media and would welcome stories from churches which take part in local interfaith events to support this growing national festival.


Diss Pioneer Centre

We are pleased to announce the dedication of the Diss Pioneer Centre.  The Centre, which was started over two years ago, has moved several times and had several changes in the management team; however, now they have settled at a new venue and the Union wishes the members every success. The Pioneer Centre’s chosen Pioneer is Maurice Barbanell and the President presented a copy of the original artwork from the Barbanell Centre, Stafford, which is a caricature of ‘Barbie’.



Work continues on improving the SNU websites and adding additional material; finally, after many months, SNUi members will now be able to renew their membership on-line without the need to contact Redwoods. Work is also underway to resurrect the project to allow forms to be completed on-line, which it is hoped will include Church Returns, Parts One and Two, and Wardens' Reports, and the scope of these will be increased as the systems are tested and developed. The quarterly review meeting for the website took place recently and we are working with the programmers to increase income from the on-line shop and to improve the connection between social media and the website.


Letting Guide for Churches

The Finance Committee has been working on developing a guide to help Churches with the letting of property; many churches around the country have either flats or houses as part of their site and this easy-to-understand guide will, we hope, provide a measure of support to Church Committees.


Spiritualist Philosophy – A new leaflet

One of the first of a suite of new leaflets to be issued nearly ten years ago was a multifold leaflet titled ‘Spiritualist Philosophy’. This has been out of print for a while and a new design has been produced, which we hope to launch in early November; these will be available online and from Redwoods.


GDPR Working Group

Several new documents will be issued in November with Church Return, Part One, to all Churches, which will include a new Privacy Policy to replace the one issued earlier this year and a form to obtain the consent of mediums to promote their work at the Churches. Other changes are planned as this project continues and a guidance leaflet is also to be created to help support a Church when it receives a Subject Access Request. An FAQ section around GDPR has now been added to the members' area of the website.


National IM Representative

Since his election Mark Bradley has been working hard to improve the situation around membership of the Union. He is working on a report which will be presented to the December NEC meeting with his thoughts on some of the issues we face to increase our overall membership, which has not grown significantly for many years. Once the NEC have had time to review Mark’s findings it is possible we will seek help from external consultants but this remains under review.


Policies and Procedures

The range of new policy documents has now been delivered to all three main sites; the Arthur Findlay College is reviewing the documents with a view to bringing them in line with the specific requirements of the College in relation to food handling and other catering requirements not needed at the other sites.


Charity Governance Code

Following publication of the Code by the Charity Commission the Union is planning to review its policies and procedures to ensure we are fully compliant with the new Code.

The Finance Committee have also, following guidance from the auditors, agreed changes to the information we publish as part of the Annual Accounts and Trustees report.


Tutor Training Day

Following the appointment of the new Education Committee it has been agreed to defer the planned Training Day due to be held in November, which will now take place on 18th May 2019.


Crunching the numbers

As part of measuring the success of the current Education syllabus the Education Committee has started to gather statistical data via a survey of students to review the number of students registering for each course, the percentage of students going on to completion and an overview of the grades achieved. It is also hoped to gather some qualitative data relating directly to the student experience and highlighting any problems which may be occurring. Both forms of data will be analysed in order to gain insight into issues or difficulties which need attention.


The Education Committee are also looking at the possibility of creating a two-tier system of marking students' work with ‘Markers’ and ‘Mentors’; the markers will simply turn the paper round quickly and the mentor will aim at supporting students who need a little more help in completing their courses. Many people take on SNU education courses after many years away from formal education and our aim is to do all we can to help and support everyone who enrols upon a course wishing to learn more about Spiritualism. 


Healing – the future

The Exponents Committee are working hard to develop the Healing Training Scheme; once the development stage is complete it is planned to introduce the scheme to each of the 14 District councils in turn during 2019. Additional resources will be provided by the Union to support the training of Spiritualist Healers within the movement.


Healing Survey

We have now received over 500 responses to our survey and the following items are to be considered:

  • The current view for the Foundation Course level in its current form is not suitable for current trainees, who are educated in a different way.
  • The current length of training has been noted as an issue which the new proposals will address.
  • CPD has always been a toxic issue for many healers and the latest survey continues to reflect this.
  • Healers feel that to evolve our form of complementary healing we clearly need to focus more on publicising healing to the public.
  • As two-thirds of our accredited Healers are over seventy it is clear we need to address our recruitment of a new generation.


Dress Code

The Exponents Committee has reviewed and refreshed the current platform dress code, which following agreement from the NEC will go to the General Purposes Committee for amendments to the Byelaws.


Table of Incompatibility

Following a recommendation from the Exponents Committee and agreement from the NEC it was agreed that in future exponents should be allowed to serve any suitable venue to do their job of promoting SNU Spiritualism.



Membership continues to grow! SNUi membership now stands at 1,357 and this is increasing slowly month by month.

SNUi has now made the switch to Zoom webinar, which has greatly improved the functionality of sessions on SNUi.

Following the appointment of the new SNUi Committee after the AGM the new Committee is getting down to work; plans are afoot to appoint a Booking Secretary  to coordinate and pursue ideas for new sessions on SNUi.

In January 2019 SNUi celebrates its tenth anniversary and plans are underway to mark this anniversary in an appropriate manner. New marketing material is planned both to mark the anniversary and continue to promote all that SNUi has to offer to Spiritualists around the globe.


Community Service Award

Established in 2017, this award recognises the Church which has made a positive effort to engage with its local community and to support initiatives; this year Kings Heath Church in Birmingham is the recipient of the award.  Congratulations to the Church!


SNU Today

SNU Today goes from strength to strength.  The latest edition was posted out as part of the September circulation and the magazine is packed with interesting articles about the Union and the wider movement. Individual Members are reminded that subscriptions fell due on the 1st October; the renewal fee is £26.00 and members wishing to receive their circulation electronically receive a discounted rate of £21.00.

Direct Debit forms are available from Redwoods, so you need never worry again about forgetting to renew your subscription.


Social Media

The Publicity & Promotions Committee are continuing to work hard to promote Spiritualism via social media; recent results include:

  • The Sunflower Healing Trust reached 3,300 people.
  • The Perspectives page consistently has 2,000 clicking through.


The Committee are planning a week-long campaign around the Union’s birthday, which is 17th October.



The Almoner

Minister Marian Bishop's continuing work as National Almoner brings help and support to many people around the world through the power of distant healing and the very fact that her email posts remind Spiritualists everywhere that people do care.

Following changes introduced as part of the GDPR legislation the NEC has agreed that in future only first names will be used in the Almoner's posts; the power of the spirit will still direct the thoughts and prayer to where they are needed most.


Focus on Religion

Minister Suzanne Gibson Foy reported two events which have taken place recently. Firstly, on 15th September the West London District organised a day to bring Churches throughout the district together. Alv Hirst attended to give a talk about promoting Spiritualism and the day proved to be a great success for everyone who attended.

John Blackwood OSNU organised an event in Edinburgh after being inspired during the AGM and on 16th September he and other Spiritualists took part in a Kilt Walk and raised £3,700 for Health in Mind. Congratulations to all involved.


Mind Body Spirit at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham

From 2nd to 4th November the Spiritualists’ National Union will have a stand at the Mind Body Spirit event in Birmingham; we are looking forward to this event and sharing knowledge of Spiritualism, so come along and say hello if you are planning to attend the event.


500 Club

The latest draw took place during the AGM, with one lucky member scooping a top prize of £1,000. Any member or Church or non-member wishing to join the scheme with a chance to win some excellent prizes should contact Jane Heatley at the Members Service Centre, Redwoods. The odds of winning a prize are 14 to 1, which is better than the National Lottery.


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting will take place at the Arthur Findlay College from 30th November to 2nd December 2018.  The next National Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Conference Centre on Saturday 2nd February 2019.


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]



Minister David R Bruton






Previous Blogs 

Presidents Blog | Edition 41 |

Presidents Blog | AGM Special |

Presidents Blog | Edition 40 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 39 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 38 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 37 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 36 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 35 | 

Presidents Blog | Edition 34 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 33 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 32 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 31  |

Presidents Blog | Edition 30 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 29 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 28 |