Wednesday, 13 June 2018

My Diary … Platform Dress Code … What Can I Do? … Betty Higginbottom's Spiritualist Church Experience … Your emails... Community, Spirit and our SNU Churches. By Miriam Farrell Fitzgerald …

                                                         My Diary.

25th – Coatbridge Spiritualist Church.
30th – Saltcoats Spiritualist Church.
May –
24th - Arbroath Spiritualist Centre.

A big thanks for all three churches for inviting me along to take their services.

                                                     Platform Dress Code.

Many older Spiritualists are becoming unhappy with the attire of those on our platform, the medium and chairperson.  JB emails, the rot is setting in.  It started slowly and as nothing has been said to those dropping the standard of the dress code soon it will be anything goes on our platforms”.

JB – here is the SNU Platform Dress Code; -

All platform is asked to remember that they are representatives of the church and the SNU.

For the men the ideal dress; A suit a shirt and a tie
Smart jacket, dress trousers, shirt and tie.
Shoes suitable for a formal occasion.
In extreme hot weather, with consent of the chairperson the jacket can be removed.

For women ideal dress;
A dress and jacket.
Smart trouser suit.
Smart two-piece outfit i.e. blouse and skirt/trousers which should be of a suitable length.
All fabrics should be of a density that is not transparent.
Suitable shoes, not sandals.
Jewellery should be kept to a minimum.

For chairperson;
Ditto as above.

The chairperson having the responsibility to ensure that professional standards are achieved and maintained during events, all being representative of the church and the SNU

 Yes. This is the SNU dress code and in my experience most independent churches and mediums have adhered to this code.  In recent years I have heard churchgoers say that the dress code is being neglected by some churches and mediums.  Mostly by men.  Surely it is not too much ask to keep to the above dress code and show a little respect for spirit, our religion and the church?  The chairperson is in charge but needs the full backing of the committee if they stop a medium going on the platform when they are not suitably dressed.

As I have said before the tail seems to be wagging the dog as far as Spiritualism is concerned.  The mediums do as they please and few committees will stop them in their tracks.

I know I am going to get a lot of feedback which I will put on my July blog.

                                                         What Can I Do?

How often have we said and heard others saying “I wish I could do something to help, but what can I do?”  This is when we are being distressed at a situation in the family, neighbourhood, nationally or internationally.  Well, we cannot meet with President Kim Jong un to try to get him to adhere to the Human Right convention, although I would like to try.  What we can do is use our talents abilities and interests to make life a bit more bearable for those less fortunate than ourselves.  We all have something that can benefit others. Even the briefest smile can mean so much to someone who is lonely or depressed.

However, we can go further and use our talents / gifts to help others get their foot back on the ladder of life.  For the past two years I have been framing my paintings/photographs and passing them on to charities and individuals.  Recently I have started a new venture.  Putting bedding plants in small toughs and baskets and giving them to those who need a little brightness in their lives. I have enjoyed doing this and at the same time hopefully have brightened up the lives of others.
Others I know do similar things to help others.  They included taking people out to a putting green or a round of pitch and putt. Having a monthly coffee morning for the vulnerable in the area where refreshments and entertainment is free.  A friend who takes his dog to visit those near him who are housebound.  Offering to do small DIY jobs for those who cannot afford a tradesman.  Dog walking for those owners who are not fit to get out.  Cutting lawns and pulling weeds for those who are not able to do this. Taking others for a day in the country or at the seaside.

And remember the old saying “Tall oaks from little acorns grow”.  In doing this it boosts our confidence in ourselves and opens up new horizons for us.  Those we have helped hopefully start to take control of their life again and many go on to help others.

                               Betty Higginbottom's Spiritualist Church Experience.

I once got told off by a 4-Year-old in Church, she had been warned not to talk when the Man was on the stage talking, Of course I got a message and every time I answered the Medium she GLARED at me lol After he finished (And all credit to him for keeping his face straight) she told me I was naughty cause I had spoken when the Man was on the Stage. LOL. 

                                                              Your emails...

“Tom, when my father died from cancer in the early 60’s a doctor said to me that cancer would be on the run. Give it another decade as by then we will have many drugs available to prevent and cure this sort of thing.  How wrong could anyone be?”.  LH

 “Our church has modern music with lyrics written by our members”. L

“It does not matter whether it is modern songs or hymns it is the MUSIC that raises the energy in our churches.  Singing without music is a no, no for me”. Bess.

“I agree flowers do bring back memories.  Most of my family has moved on.  On the date of their birthdays I always but a bunch of their favourite flowers.  Sitting in the lounge with the flowers in a vase, a candle burning and listening to soft music the memories of that loved on come flooding back”. Cory.


When we look back on the long and colourful history associated with our Religion we tend to do so with rose coloured glasses. Spiritualist churches were packed to capacity in the past and those in attendance participated actively in the services, as opposed to just coming to get a communication from Spirit discarnate, which seems to be the reason many attends today. However, “the past is a foreign country... as L.P. Hartley states...they do things differently there!” We certainly did things differently in our past because society was different.

One of the beautiful elements about our religion is its progressiveness. We have long prided ourselves on our progressive nature and its movement forward in keeping with the society we inhabit but sometimes we need to look back to know where we have come from and then seek the best path forward. Modern society today has shifted greatly through the advent of technology and the exposure of evidential mediumship to the media has pushed many in the drive toward the entertainment industry which can be devoid of belief and reverence in favour of economics and status. As such our churches have been lacking in those confident to deliver and discuss the value and need of our philosophy, over and above those who readily attend to develop their evidential mediumship.

Our principles which are displayed in our churches, stand as a testament to our progressiveness. As the world continues to spin and society continues to evolve we have entered into the paradox of our age, more technology to communicate but less conversation or interaction on an individual basis. This can result in feelings of isolation and alienation for individuals who find themselves in need of a space to sit, to think, to be and to belong.  Our churches therefore become a necessary safe place, a sanctuary for those who need to hear their own spirit and communicate with it without the chaos of the world around them, to what their heart, soul and spirit actually need to hear.

Our churches are therefore more in need today than ever because they are the locations where we can demonstrate our connection to each other, build upon our sense of community, they represent a beacon of hope in a very dark world. In this respect it is necessary we support our churches, that we expand our sense of community. That we welcome those from all walks of life without judgement. Our churches become the space to communicate with the Spirit within and build upon and nurture that Spirit before seeking validation from the Spirit discarnate. We have a wonderful legacy, let us build upon it, embrace it and carry it forward and let us do so in communion with our churches, our philosophy and our evidential mediumship so that each aspect of our religion is supported equally and let us do so with courage and pride but always with conviction.

Friday, 27 April 2018

My Diary ... Music for our services ... The Biggest Threat of All ... Now is the Time ...

                                                            My Diary.


2nd - 5th It should have been five days at the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists, but inclement weather meant that Friday’s Awareness Group, Sittings on the Saturday and the two services on the Sunday were cancelled.  But as soon as the weather relented a little the Monday and Tuesday services took place as normal.

18th – The Sunday morning service at the GAS.

19th -  A long journey, but it is worth it for the great Highland welcome at Inverness Spiritualist church.

25th A much shorter journey this time to the Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church. (SNU)


                                                 Music for our Services.

After last month’s blog about the music in our churches I have had a lot of feedback supporting the hymns with up lifting lyrics in our Spiritualist hymnbooks.

GP - “Plenty of spiritualist church’s around so if you don’t like the music or format at one move to another.  A church cannot change what it does for every person that comes through the door”.

T – “I attend several our churches and they all have their own ways of working which I accept”.

BB – “Spiritualist are always moaning.  If it is not the music it will be that the tea is not strong enough in the tea room”.

Bert – “Too many with their feet hardly in the door are wanting to change Spiritualism for their own needs.  They should be told to accept our ways or move on”.

Here the top of the charts from the emails i received.

 From our Hymn Books

“All Through the Night”.                                  “Amazing Grace”.

“Into the Garden”.                                            “I Hear the Angles Singing”.

“The Absent Healing Hymn”.                            “One More Step”

“Keep the Beacon of Light Still Burning”.         “Morning Has Broken”.

“Joy Illuminates Everything”.                              “I Walk In The Light”

“I Danced in The Morning When the World Was Begun”.

And the more modern songs that were suggested to be Ok for our services; -

“I Can See Clearly Now”.                                          “Love Shine A Light in Every 

"Corner of the World”.

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”.                    “Any Dream Will Do”.

“Footsteps”.                                                             “I Believe”

"Wind Beneath My Wings” 

The lyrics of all above are perfect for our services. Even just the music of these songs being played while the congregation sits in contemplation.


                                                The Biggest Threat of All.


I wrote the following in a magazine recently; -

“Our biggest terror threat does not come from a human with a gun or a bomb, but from a disease.  How many of us know of a family that has been killed or maimed by a human terrorist attack?  Few of us will.  Now think of a family you know where cancer has not struck.  You will now see where by far the biggest threat comes from”.

A reader commented “TJ, I see you are of the Spiritualist faith, so why are your spirit guides not pointing scientists in the right direction to find a cure?”

A good question if you know nothing about Spirit Guides.  A spirit guide, in western spiritualism, is an entity that remains as a disincarnate spirit to act as a guide or protector to a living incarnated human being.  They can guide us in different directions, to show us different angles of situations around us, but they cannot take the final choice for us we have free will to make the final decision.

Cancer has been a problem throughout all of human history. A medical papyrus dating back to 3000 BC mentions this disease.  One would have thought that 5,000 years later we might have found a cure.

When President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971, there were high hopes that scientists were close enough to understanding the underlying causes that many cures were within reach.  Now we are at 2018 and Cancer  the name given to a collection of related diseases remains one of the world’s biggest killers, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths a year. In Europe alone.   
American Vice-President Joe Biden said “Our goal is to make a decade's worth of advances in five years.  There's no silver bullet when it comes to curing cancer, but a difference can be made in the incidence and management of the disease, even in the poorer countries of the world, if the right people – scientists, business leaders, politicians, data analysts – work together”. Breakthroughs in the understanding of DNA and genetic links  to cancer, screening programmes, less invasive surgical techniques have contributed to reducing the death toll. Yet as the medical advances have had success in cancer patients living longer the numbers being diagnosed are on the increase so it could be said this is a no-win situation.

So, are we getting guidance from Divine sources, and more importantly, are we listening? I am sure many involved in looking for cures are being nudged in the right direction, but are they aware of this?  Are they being allowed by the pharmaceutical companies to go in that direction?  (That direction may be holistic and the big companies usually steer clear of that area). 
We will be guided also.  Do we listen to the little voice in our head suggesting that we stop smoking, cut back/stop taking alcohol or be careful with what you eat?  It is not easy these days with so many additives in our food and the pace of life can make in near impossible for many to cook from scratch.  It is like everything else we have to take responsibility for our own backyard and not to blame outside sources for not doing the work for us.

Over the years I have mentioned how ‘God’s little helpers’ – flowers – have been a great benefit for so many that having difficulties mentally and physically.  Well now is the time to start planning what flowers you are going to plant in your gardens and baskets.  Even a few baskets and tubs filled with flowers in your garden can uplift so many who walk past.  Test have shown that Sweet Peas and Lilly of the Valley with their lovely scents can evoke memories of the past.  The flowers that bring back memories of the past to me are Cornflowers, Candytuft that I used to grow from seed when I was about five-years-old. Often when I am on the platform get Lilly of the Valley that is a sign a grandmother is coming forward. Even sprinkling wildflower seeds on a bare patch in the garden and leaving them to their own devices they will soon start grow and flower.  An added bonus to this is the flowers will soon attract a multitude of butterflies, bees and insects.

We Spiritualists should know to work with Mother Nature to make life better for others, other species and ourselves.

                                                   Hope on the Horizon?

Normally I would not discuss political matter on this site, but with what has been going on during the past two weeks I feel commenting on the following topics is not out of place

In an extremely troubled world where so many incidents could quite easily get out of hand, two glimmers of light have appeared.  The fact that North and South Korean leaders are talking and President Kim Jon un will soon meet President Trump is a miracle in its self.  I have said for many years that the leaders of neutral countries should have been negotiating with NK a decade or so ago.  Let’s hope that the current talks will be a success and step by step,   starvation and torture in NK will eventually be a thing of the past.  There will be no magic formula, but as long as one small step is followed by another small step a new dawn will break over the Korean Peninsula.

My next flicker of hope may only have been seen by few.  Normally I am against military intervention as so often it causes many more problems than it solves.  The attack on alleged storage of chemical storage depots in Damascus was like a surgeon using a scalpel to take out diseased tissue and leaving other areas alone.  Russia and Syria were told the attack were going to take place and they got their personnel out of the target area so there were no deaths.  Hopefully all chemical weapons are now destroyed and innocent men women and children will not have to suffer and die in such a horrible way.  The fighting, suffering and death will still go on, but a chemical weapons attack is a step too far and action had to be taken.  Syria is hell on earth at the moment and has been for seven-years.  A different situation entirely from the Korean stand-off.  Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world  must meet face-to-face with President Assad.  They owe it to the innocent of that region. The cannot keep walking by on the other side with their eyes closed.
I am sure the Divine Creator and the Spirit World will agree with me.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

           My Diary…


28th – 30th Central Association of Spiritualists, Glasgow.


6th – The Free Group Kilmarnock. 

13th – ASK, Neilston.   

                                               Spiritualist Churches and Pop Tunes.

“I am shocked to find that Spiritualist Churches even Christian Spiritualist Churches are changing from hymns to pop songs. What next, the prayer and the address to be cast aside?”  John L.
John – The modern songs I have experienced while taking a service as a medium or chairing has always been uplifting and the words just perfect for what we believe in. There are also members of some churches who write their own spiritual lyrics to popular tunes and I feel this should be encouraged.  The more involvement we have with members the better for our religion.  I don’t think we should dismiss hymns from our services completely as I find a great many of the hymns in the Spiritualist Hymn Book cheery and uplifting.  Maybe using both in our services or hymns one week and the more modern the next week

I think one of the reasons why the change to well-known music was because many of our churches don’t have music to accompany the hymns.  This can be a bit problematic at times.    That is why many churches stick to the same few hymns the ones the congregation knows.   On saying that there is no need for a service to lack music these days with so much on offer as far as the digital world is concerned.  The SNU also have a CD with music for the hymns in their hymnaries.
We notice the problems of other religions dwelling in the distant past and we should learn from this.  We should move forward with a tweak here and there to our services for a trial period.  One change that several churches tried and then most dropped was Healing during the Divine Service As a medium taking the service I found it a great benefit and raising the energies for the rest of the service.
As far as “What next, the prayer and the address to be cast aside?” This is happening as far as the latter is concerned. Many venues and I use the word 'venue' rather than 'church' because to be a church, part of a religion there has to be an address. Philosophy has been pushed into the background yet a night of philosophy can draw in a good number of people.

 As far as “What next, the prayer and the address to be cast aside?”  This is happening as far as the latter is concerned.  Many venues and I use the word venue rather than churches, because to be a church, part of a religion there has to be an address.  Philosophy has been pushed into the background yet a night of philosophy can draw in a good number of people.

You would think the prayer was safe in our churches, but the suggestion has been floated in the past that we would have better attendances if we dropped the prayer. If we drop the prayers it is time to move over to being part of the entertainment world. 

                                         Those Who Undo the Good That is Done

We Spiritualists and those of other religions constantly send out ‘healing thoughts’ to those who are suffering mental and physically illnesses. Yet, those who survive through our healing thoughts, medical treatment, and with their own positive attitude are in for a shock as individuals and the establishment make their life hell.
A professional footballer who had to have an eye removed in 2006 and still playing football has had to suffer abuse from fellow players and fans.  Horrendous that fellow players should act in such a way, but for fans to throw fake eyeballs onto the pitch in mockery of the player is the lowest of the low. Still staying with football, the treatment of another player hit the headlines.  A footballer who has suffered from depression and tried to take his own life has been called ‘psycho’ and mocked for slitting his wrists.  The torment has again not come only from fans, but also fellow players.  A team cannot vet everyone that comes through the turnstiles, but can they remove a player from their payroll who acts in such a way.  
If that is not bad enough we live in a society where those who have survived cancer and other life-threatening diseases are treated like lepers.  After suffering pain, stress and in many cases severe financial hardship, their worries are far from over. When these survivors should be looking forward to years they did not think they would have, they are in many cases treated like pariahs. 
Cancer survivors needing a relatively simple dental procedure have to struggle to find a dentist to treat them.  And others barred from receiving even the gentlest of spa treatments simply because they had had the disease. Relaxing facial, massage or eyebrow wax has been deemed out of the question. It has also been reported that a large number of spas have rules banning staff accepting cancer patients.  The blame for these refusals?  Said to be on insurance policies and unproven fears that treatment such as massages could worsen a patient’s condition. From travel insurance to problems obtaining a mortgage, many people find their cancer has left them as second-class citizens.

We must continue what we are doing but also go up a gear to help those I have mentioned.  Emails/letters to our politicians and give donations if we can and even volunteer to groups who fight such prejudice. 

                                   Ouija Boards for Children

The other day I received an email advertising Ouija boards.  As I looked down the list of boards for sale I was surprised to see how many there were on the market from prices £10 - £120 +.  I was just about to condemn the email to the recycling bin when I noticed that some were aimed at children.  On further investigation I found that toy shops were selling this product with retailers and manufacturers recommending suitable for 6-years-olds and upwards. 

The Ouija board in itself is not dangerous if handled in the correct manner and used by those who know what it is all about.  Used in the wrong hands especially when those participating are under the influence of drink, drugs and treating it as a bit of fun, it can be most dangerous. With nasty situations coming to the fore many years along the line. 

Many a time I’ve been asked to see someone who is being troubled by spirit in one way or another.  Asking my usual questions trying to find a reason as to why Spirit is making themselves known and acting the way they have been doing.  If a pattern is not starting to show I ask “Have you ever used a Ouija Board?”.  If the answer is “No” I continue with further questions.  If I am still getting nowhere as to why this problem exists, I again ask about the Ouija board, but this time go a little further with my question.  “Have you ever been in a room where such a board was being used {abused) even if you did not take part in anything connected with it?”  This time on many occasions the answer is “Yes” and is followed with “That was when I was at university etc and it was 30- 40 years ago.”

Through time I noticed this new pattern starting to show.  Even being in the periphery of this board being used (abused) can be enough to leave one open to problems with Spirit in years to come.  I am not trying to scare anyone, but this is what I have found happening to some individuals even after a considerable length of time.  In almost all cases the situations I have been involved with, they have not been severe, but severe enough for the person involved.   On the two occasions I have had to deal with victims who had actually used the board for fun their experiences were much more serious.   With those not having taken part in such experiments I look on the offending spirit as a bully.  And as we all know bullies in this dimension abuse their victim all the more if they see them getting upset.  It is no use telling the victim Just ignore what is going on”.  There needs to be help from those who know what they are doing.

So, targeting such a product at children and selling them in toyshops is diabolical.  Even having them on sale for adults is not something to be desired.  I am writing to my MP and MSP asking them their views and will let you know what they say in my next blog.

                                                   Your Chance to Make a Difference

This is the time for our AGMs and I hope members of churches turn up in great numbers and take things seriously.  Here is your chance to play your part and shape the future of your church and religion.  Don’t vote for your friends vote on to the committee those you feel will be an asset to the church and it’s future.  Vote for the person who will play an active part and not sit back proudly wearing the badge of ‘committee member’.  Speak up at the AGM let the committee know your likes and dislikes about the way the church is run.  This of course can be done at any time of the year by talking to a committee member or putting a letter into the suggestion-box.  Something every church should have.