President’s Blog 54


NEC Meeting Saturday 12th & 13th June 2020


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.


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.


This is the third NEC meeting held via Zoom since the advent of the pandemic; the highlights of  the meeting are reported below.


Opening our Churches after the lockdown

The UK Government has announced that pending scientific advice Churches may reopen in England from 4th July; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are devolved administrations and they will set their own dates. The Union is committed to providing as much support as possible to each Church and a booklet has been published and sent to the home address of every Church President. The Union has also organised a Zoom meeting on 26th June, which can be attended by one person from each Church to allow the opportunity to ask questions so that everyone is clear how to manage the process of reopening safely.


Students wishing to transfer from SD1 PAS to TPS1 PAS

  1. Those who have previously completed SD1 as a stand-alone course within the last twelve months may enrol on the new Platform Accreditation Scheme but will be required to read and understand the content of the new TPS1 Course, as they will need to have the information contained therein to be able to successfully undertake the practical training sessions.


  1. Those who wish to enrol on the new Platform Accreditation Scheme but have previously completed SD1 as a stand-alone course more than twelve months ago will be required to do the whole new Platform Accreditation Scheme, including the TPS1 Course, as the new PAS training is very different from the old scheme.


  1. Those currently taking the Platform Accreditation Scheme may choose to transfer to the NEW Platform Accreditation Scheme and will be required to do the full TPS1 Course, of which they will receive a free PDF copy. They must do the new PAS training sessions; however, they will be credited for any services already signed off in their logbook. There will be no new registration fee. They will take the new PAS Final Assessment Board.


  1. No student on the current Platform Accreditation Scheme has to transfer to the new scheme; they can just continue to complete the SD1 and the old PAS Training sessions.


  1. Anyone interested in making any kind of transfer please contact Debbie Ridgeway OSNU, [email protected](not the SNU Head Office).


District Presidents' Meetings

A second update meeting was held with the District Presidents in May with a view to keeping all districts up to date with developments throughout the Union. It has been requested that this Zoom meeting become a regular fixture on the SNU agenda and this is under consideration.


District AGMs

The AGM of the East Midlands District took place on 6th June, the North Yorkshire AGM will take place on 20th June and West London's will take place during July, all via Zoom. All districts meet the criteria set down by the NEC and no elections will take place at any meetings.


Help for Churches with financial difficulty

The Union has now made grants to a number of Churches to support cashflow during the shutdown. Any Church experiencing difficulty should in the first instance contact Head Office.


Betty Soulby, President, Kendal Church

The Union wishes to congratulate Betty on her 100th birthday, which took place on 3rd June; a card and flowers were sent on behalf of the Union and I am sure all members will give her best wishes and many more happy birthdays. We also believe she is the oldest President in the Union, so she is certainly making history!


Audience with the President

Over the last ten weeks we have held via Zoom a weekly audience with the President, which has allowed the Spiritualist community to meet together and discuss many aspects of the movement with a range of guests. Attendance has been good, ranging from 60 to 241 people, and the response from the membership has been positive. The Audience with the President will take a break after the final session on 29th June but it is likely to return later in the year as a series of one-off specials.


Jo Cox Foundation

Given the restrictions of the lockdown the Union has been approached by Rev. Canon Mark Umpleby, Associate Priest, United Benefice of Batley, on behalf of the Foundation, which is planning a National Virtual Interfaith Service to replace the Great Get-Together this year. Four Spiritualist Ministers, David Bruton, Janet Parker, Steven Upton and Janette Cookson, all recorded video clips with the following words which are drawn from Jo’s maiden speech in the house of Commons:


We are inhabitants of one earth.

We come from many places, many backgrounds,

Many faiths and beliefs, and many ways of life.

We pledge ourselves to one another, to our communities and to this world

By the lives we lead,

By the attitudes we have, by the actions we take, and the hope and love we share,

Remembering that we have far more in common than that which divides us.


The completed compilation will be broadcast on the Youtube Channel of the Jo Cox Foundation.

Open University

The Union is supporting a funding application from the Research Council for the OU to conduct some research around 'Healing: Communities and Care', which, if successful, will take place in the East and West Midlands areas.


Rules for Churches 2021

The General Purposes Committee are currently putting the finishing touches to the new Rules for Churches; once the NEC have approved this it will go to the Charity Commission for approval and then be issued to Churches, hopefully in time for the 2021 electoral year.


Service of Thanksgiving for Opening of our Churches

The Ministers Administration Committee have written a special service which Churches may choose to use once they are open again; this will be sent in hard copy to every Church with the advisory booklet on reopening the Churches.


The Listening Ear

The service provided by Ministers to anyone who needs someone to talk with at these difficult times continues and can be accessed via the SNU website.


Promotion to the Spirit World

The following passings of members were reported by the Almoner: Elaine Brame, Gina Harris and Gordon Lappage. Our thoughts go to their families at this time.


SNU Accounts

After considerable additional work by the Finance team the auditors have signed off the accounts, which have required detailed budgets and cashflow projections for 2020. The Union is projecting a considerable loss this year as a result of the College being closed for much of the year but the directors confirmed that the Union has a sound financial foundation and will weather the storm of difficult economic circumstances which face us in the coming months.

After consultation with the District Presidents the Financial Director proposed that the Union suspend the payment of District allocations in this financial year and this was approved by the NEC.



To date this year, we have welcomed 100 new members to the Union worldwide, 58 of whom were from the UK. The new system of dropping the associate membership period seems to be helping the Union to grow its membership base, which is encouraging.


Temporary Changes for Trainee Healing Mediums

With effect from 18th June 2020 all Trainee Healing Mediums can count distant healing sessions in their logbooks. The restrictions of no more than two per week and no more than 25% being the same person still apply.

Distant healing counting towards the fifty practical sessions in the logbook will continue until social distancing regulations cease.

If they are a 'Supervised Trainee' they can self-certify (sign their own logbook) until their Church or IM supervisor restarts public healing; they will then revert to being supervised.

All DC training days can be conducted online. Go to: for dates and contact details.

For healing upgrade assessments, it is now to be one contact and three distant treatments. For the contact treatment the trainee must take with them someone from their own household or 'extended social bubble' to be their contact patient (this person could be a distant patient for other trainees). This will continue until social distancing regulations cease.


SNUi Logo


Minister Arthur Plumpton has decided to step down as Chairman of SNUi and on behalf of the Union I would like to thank Arthur for his considerable efforts over the last three years. The NEC agreed that Minister Simone Key would replace Arthur as Chairman for the rest of the electoral year and we wish Simone well in her new role.


SNUi has really come into its own during the lockdown and membership has grown to 1,270, with a full programme attracting many more people to the site. The Sunday service has been moved to 6.30 p.m. (UK time) and numbers in attendance have increased significantly.


Communications Director     

Our social media profile continues to grow, with the latest data recording that our Facebook page has been visited 3,479 times in the last 28 days and the page reach is now 47.3k, with 6,931 likes. The most engaging posts are currently ‘An Audience with the President’, which is reaching over 8k each time, with an average engagement of 1,200. The demographic is 79% women and 20% men, with the majority aged between 45 and 54 years. Instagram now has 1,301 followers reaching 488 accounts and 2,665.00 impressions.

The SNU Twitter page has 546 followers  and tweet impressions are 21k, up 26.9%.


In April our YouTube Channel gained 263 new subscribers, with 8,685 views and 111,230 minutes of video watched.


Zoom and the Churches 

The Union has worked hard to support its Churches as they venture onto Zoom for some of their services; concerns around Zoombombing have caused a few problems but, overall, many Churches have risen to the challenge and continued to connect with their congregations online.


Peace Service

Following the cancellation of the annual event at the Arboretum the Publicity & Promotions Committee are working to create an online service to replace the physical version in July and to provide a focus to involve all DCs. This will be promoted through the normal channels as the event gets nearer.


London Pride

The Union had registered its interest in attending this year's London Pride but, unsurprisingly, the event has had to be cancelled; places this year have been oversubscribed but hopefully we will be allocated a place next year and we will look forward to taking part.


Mapping our Members and Churches

The Communications Director has spent a great deal of time mapping the location of all SNU-affiliated Churches and Individual Members so that we can better understand the spread of SNU Spiritualism throughout the UK and clearly identify the potential for growing the movement, perhaps through the establishment of new Pioneer Centres.


SNU Website Perspectives

New contributions have been recently published from Ministers Alan Rawnsley, Jackie Wright, Richard Cuthbert and Janet Parker. The NEC also discussed the possibility of producing a printed book of all the Perspectives articles, as they really do make wonderful readings for Church services. OM1 will investigate this project and report back to the NEC.


Religious Education Council

The AGM was held via Zoom on 7th May and this was Minister Suzanne Gibson-Foy’s first meeting. Concern was raised over a consultation paper from the Welsh Assembly concerning the renaming of RE in Schools to 'Religion, Values and Ethics'.

The next meeting is due to take place on 10th November, hopefully in person.


Administration Matrix

Minister Alan Rawnsley has been working hard to develop a new tool which will be available online via the SNU website to provide a source of up-to-date information and a range of supporting documents which will be downloadable, covering a range of subjects:-


  1. Church Committee format
  2. Church Committee members' responsibilities
  3. Church Services
  4. Church Management General
  5. Members' meetings, including the AGM
  6. Complaints and disputes
  7. Policies
  8. Church Membership
  9. Finance
  10. Fundraising
  11. Engaging with your community


Each Church will be provided with a hard copy of the Matrix and also advised of a range of additional useful information which will be available online via the website. We hope that when this is launched it will provide all SNU Churches with a one-stop destination for a range of helpful and informative fact sheets to support the Church Committee in running their Church. This is also intended to support new people coming into office, where so often information does not trickle down from one set of Committee members to the next generation.

Task Weeks to the deadline Deadline
26-week deadline for AGM motions
26 wks + 2 days
15th January

(1) Issue of elective and non-elective nomination forms

(2) Issue of New Year circulation, including 26-week AGM motions
13th February
Receipt of elective nomination forms
31st March

(1) Auditors' elective nomination count

(2) Issue of elective consent forms
Was 1st April
1st July
Issue of Council NEC Member nomination forms
14 wks + 2 days
8th July
Deadline for AGM motions and amendments to 26-week motions

14 wks

11th July

Receipt of elective consent forms
15th July
Receipt of Council NEC Member nomination forms

11 wks

1st August

(1) Auditors' count of Council NEC Member nomination forms

(2) Issue of Council NEC Member consent forms
3rd August

(1) First issue of voting forms

(2) Issue of voting circulation

(3) Issue of motions to district councils, Branches and bodies

9 wks + 2 days
12th August
Receipt of Council NEC Member consent forms
17th August
Issue of Council NEC Member voting forms

8 wks + 2 days

19th August
Second issue of voting forms 6 wks + 2 days 2nd September

(1) Receipt of Council NEC Member voting forms

(2) Receipt of elective voting forms

(3) Receipt of non-elective nomination forms
5 wks

12th September

(1) Auditors' count of Council NEC Member voting forms, elective voting forms and non-elective nomination forms

(2) Issue of non-elective consent forms
14th September
Issue of AGM Circulation 3 wks + 2 days 23rd September
Receipt of non-elective consent forms

2th September


17th-18th October

Issue of post-AGM circulation
15th September

The AGM remains scheduled for 17th October at the Barbanell Centre but this will depend upon a relaxation of social distancing and the NEC will take a final decision at their next meeting before returning to our regulators for further guidance.


Policy Review

The CAO is currently conducting a review of all SNU policies with a view to identifying any gaps in the provision of SNU policy documents, which will be added at the direction of the NEC.


Meet the NEC 2021

Following the poor response to the Doodle Poll for 2020 it has been agreed that each DC will be approached to provide three dates for 2021 and these will then be allocated to members of the NEC to establish who is available to attend.


Churches under Support

It is agreed that the 2021 edition of the Rules for Churches will include provision for Churches under support, which previously has been at the direction of the NEC.


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 Church funds.

You have to be in it to win it!


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting is scheduled to take place on 17th July; this will now become a normal NEC meeting, to be conducted via Zoom.

The next Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Centre on Saturday 26th September 2020.


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]


In Conclusion

As we move forward towards the reopening of our Churches I can only reiterate that the Union is here to help and support all affiliated bodies; we need to carefully plan, manage and execute this process with the overriding aim of keeping everybody safe and carefully welcoming our congregations back to worship together after many weeks of relying on online services. I am confident that if we all pull together as one family of Spiritualists we can achieve this and as we seek to move forward to whatever the new normal holds for us we can play an important part in shaping a new, more caring and more spiritually informed and inspired society.



Minister David R. Bruton

President of The Spiritualists' National Union



Previous Blogs 

President's Blog | Edition 53 |

President's Blog | Edition 52 |

President's Blog | Edition 51 |

President's Blog | Edition 50 |

President's Blog | Edition 49 |

President's Blog | Edition 48 |

President's Blog | AGM19 Special |

President's Blog | Edition 46 |

President's Blog | Edition 45 |

President's Blog | Edition 44 |

President's Blog | Edition 43 |

President's Blog | Edition 42 |

President's Blog | Edition 41 |

President's Blog | AGM18 Special |

President's Blog | Edition 40 |

President's Blog | Edition 39 |

President's Blog | Edition 38 |

President's Blog | Edition 37 |

President's Blog | Edition 36 |

President's Blog | Edition 35 | 

President's Blog | Edition 34 |

President's Blog | Edition 33 |

President's Blog | Edition 32 |

President's Blog | Edition 31  |

President's Blog | Edition 30 |

President's Blog | Edition 29 |

President's Blog | Edition 28 |