Sunday, 27 March 2011

On the 2Oth I had one of the few Sundays so far this year without a service, and in fact, the only service I had last week being at Neilson, on Tuesday.   Sheila Caruthers is President of this busy church and an excellent medium in her own right. Sheila was one of the first mediums I saw on the platform when I entered spiritualism twenty-years-ago. 
But instead of having a lazy week I was as busy as ever. 
Things have changed greatly since I entered the Spiritualism movement twenty-years ago, which is only to be expected, but I wonder if it is for the better?  When I started attending a spiritualist church, I knew nothing about sitting in circle or even wanted too.  It did not want to appear impolite at turning down a request to sit in the ‘open circle’ that I took my first step into what was going to be a long journey, a journey that is still continuing.  I found it interesting and eventually applied to be accepted at the next intake for the ‘development circle’.  It was never in my mind at this stage, or even close to the end of the three year course, to target platform work.  All I wanted was to understand my psychic abilities and know more about how spirit work with us.

This was a ‘closed circle’ that had an intake each year and lasted for three years, with a different circle leader in charge each year.    The whole structure was well planned, taking one from learning about themselves, our spirit abilities and how work spirit with us.   All done slowly, giving one time to mature within their own personal abilities.  No certificates, no rushing on to the platform before the three years was up, or even a guarantee that one would be on the platform at the end of those three years.  Many in the circle were not sitting to be platform mediums but they benefited from those three years as it helped them in the lives, occupations etc. 

There are many one day or weekend workshops run by individuals these days but I do not feel this does the same job of helping one to develop their psychic and spiritual abilities slowly and steadily to their full potential.
Then there was the cost...  Almost all the development and  learning that I and many others had at ASK Stewarton, was only the church membership fee   Today for the individual, such training can be costly and that is why last week, being a quiet week for churches which I had planned, I spent several days taking workshops at little or no cost to those attending.   I took a meditation class for those who feel that it is impossible to still their mind, not to link-with spirit, just to have a little relaxing time without their mind being unable to switch off.    Working with a small group for a few hours in trying to get the key for each individual to make it easier for them to calm their mind. 
A full day of working with those who cannot find a circle to sit in.  There are many reasons for this, there is no spiritualist church or private circle near them, and they don’t have the time, or do not want to give the commitment to being part of a circle week in week out.  They have no ambition to appear on the platform of a church or to give private sittings, they just want to understand more about why spirit is around them and if they can use this in helping others etc.
Then another type of evening I enjoy, giving a talk on spiritualism with questions afterwards.  Such evenings usually run over time.
I am not saying that the way I came though my development is the only way, but I feel that I am a better person/medium because I had this training all from the one source and a well thought out course over the three years.  Like anything, slowly bringing to maturity usually gets better results than forced growth.
I sympathise with those starting out today on their spiritual journey, that the only way open for many is to seek the odd course/workshop here and there.  And that the cost of some of those courses can be prohibitive to many especially with high unemployment and pay freezes that affect many at this time.

For those in Glasgow and surrounding area Irene McGilvery and Bill Thompson are taking workshops at the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists throughout 2011.  I will look for anything suitable in other areas of Scotland and let you know about them in later blogs.
Why am I not practicing what I preach?  A good question.  With my travelling around to churches and doing pastoral work that I feel spirit has pointed me towards, an area that I feel is sorely neglected in spiritualism, I do not have the time.  But I do leave blanks weeks in my diary to do what I can in this area.

Monday, 21 March 2011

13/3/11 - After the AGM at Glasgow Spiritualist Association it was down the M77 to Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church (SNU) for the Divine Service.  There was a heavy downpour just as those going to attend the church would be thinking of leaving home, but that did not deter them as there was a good attendance.  Next time I am at the Church I must ask the committee if I can take a photograph of their amazing stain glass window and put it on this site for you all to see.
On Wednesday as I made my way to the Culmodden Drive Spiritualist Church, Maryhill, a hazardous journey in dodging pothole after pothole on the road, missing them all but the largest... grrr .  Has the Glasgow City Council Road’s department forgotten all about this part of the city?      But it was worth it as there is always a friendly welcome awaiting all who enter the doors of this church.  Angela (President) made an interesting comment while we were having a cup of tea.  It was about how the Japanese people in the areas of their country stricken by the massive earthquake and tsunami, were all pulling together and helping each other.  There were no media reports of looting that usually follows such disasters. 
Maybe the world would be a better place if we all took a more general sense of social responsibility that's very fundamental to Japan.  Part of that is self-regulation on the part of individuals; part of it is a society in which people are very conscious of their reputations in the eyes of their neighbours.  I have a friend in Japan and I have always been amazed at the high sense of responsibility she has to keep up the good name of her family, community and country. 
On Saturday I travelled to the SNU church in Albany Street, Edinburgh, for the Scottish and Irish District Council’s AGM.  Although this DC covers a wide area it would be nice to see a few more members attend this meeting and getting into meaningful discussion on how we can promote our religion as a religion, separating it from so much that seems to pushing towards entertainment and commercial business. 

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sunday 7th saw me over in Fife taking the service at Dunfermline ASK (Association of Spiritualists).  Jock McArthur and the church committee work hard to promote our spiritualist movement.  On every visit to Fife churches I always stop of at Ilarno’s in Kincardine for a fish tea.  They serve up the best fish supper in Scotland, well in my opinion.
On the Tuesday was off to the Coatbridge Spiritualist Church in Sunnyside Road.  A church that has been serving the local community for many years.
On Thursday it was an honour to attend Toryglen Church, a church whose founder and president moved to the spirit world only a short time ago.  I have mentioned Helen McEwen in an earlier blog.  Helen, although in poor health for many years, gave great inspiration to us all as she always had a smile on her face and I never once heard her moan.  It is great to see Bobbie keeping the church going and the people of Toryglen supporting the church.
Friday was a shorter trip to the Pyramid Spiritualist Church, Pollock, Glasgow. There is always a warm welcome from Jean, Sarah and Isobel and the rest of the committee.
Still on my travels on Saturday, leaving Beith with several inches of snow on the ground, the destination Glasgow Central Spiritualist Church to do sittings at their coffee afternoon.  Although the weather was terrible there still was a good turnout.
With all that and visiting those who have asked for help from churches I have been burning the midnight oil when writing a couple of articles on spiritualism but I am certainly not complaining.
One thing that amazes those looking at the spiritual movement for the first time is that in Scotland every night of the week there are spiritual services taking place.  Yes, even Friday and Saturday nights and they are well attended. 
The scenes on our television screens of the earthquake and tsunami that has devastated Japan are worse that any scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.  After watching such a movie we can walk away knowing that all those on screen were actors and came to no harm.  But what we are seeing unfold on our TV screens involves real people, people like you and me.  After the fear of the earthquake and tsunami those who have survived have to face the reality of having lost family, friends, homes and all their possessions.  I cannot begin to image that what it would be like to be in the survivor’s shoes.  Then there is the coming weeks without clean running water, electricity and all that entails.  PC, TV, electricity, tap water, forgo anyone of these for twenty four hours and see how we would feel.  I doubt I would last a full day without turning on a switch or a tap.  The Japanese people caught up in this disaster will have to put up with all of this and more for many years to come.  The media are quick to show scenes from natural disasters, rightly so, but soon drop the story although years of suffering lie ahead for those involved.
Let’s send out a prayer to all horses taking part in this year’s Cheltenham National Festival (?) which starts tomorrow. Thirty-two horses have died at this meeting in the past ten years.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Last Sunday I was at the   Love and Friendship Spiritualist Church, Langside Halls, Glasgow.  As is the norm there was a large turnout.  Maureen Land is President and she runs an excellent development circle (closed).  Maureen is one of the ‘old school’ who believes as I do that it takes time to develop for ‘platform work.
Thursday saw me at Gourock’s Lighthouse Spiritualist Church.  My first time at this church as its has only been open for a month.  Jenny Laferty is the President; she has been an active member of the Spiritualist movement for many years and is a week ken’t face in Gourock.
In my last blog I mentioned being close to a fatal accident on my way home. Well, on leaving Langside Halls on Sunday there was a cyclist lying on the road a few yards from my car.  I would have expected both ambulance and police to have been at the scene quicker than they were.  As far as I know the cyclist was not too badly injured Then on Thursday morning as I was on my way to see someone I come across a serious accident on a B road where either a police or ambulance helicopter was in attendance. . Many of us look on ourselves as good drivers and maybe become too complacent.  In the second it takes to change a CD or look at our navigational system a hazard can loom up in front of us and it may be too late to take evasive action. 
The AGMs at many of our churches take place this month and although it may seem appealing to get on a church committee and make decisions on the running of the church, it is a lot of hard work.  It is a commitment without much, if any praise.   There have been times when our churches have closed because they could not get enough people to come on to the committee.  I am still shocked at the closure in 1998 of the Langside SNU Spiritualist Church which had been flying the flag of spiritualism in that area for sixty-two years, because of lack of committee members.  A few years before it closed it was renamed but I cannot remember its new name.  Maybe someone can remind me.
Two victims of the Afghanistan campaign were flown home on the same aircraft, a dog handler and his dog, well done the MOD.    This should not be a surprise to anyone as the  MOD do take good care of their dogs injured in active service. Dogs injured in the field in Afghanistan are flown to Camp Bastion, just like human soldiers and then flow on to bases in Germany and Britain for further treatment if needed..  It has now been accepted by many vets that dogs can return from the front line suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

Hmmmmm I have just found out that I am a character in my friend Kirsten’s book.   "The Firefighter" is a short ghost story with a spiritual twist. Available to buy from for £6.99 + postage. Look under the name Kirsten Campbell.   The book is expensive for a short story; this is not the fault of the author.  If it is ever made into a film I wonder who would play my part?