February 24th – 28th I was at the Glasgow Association (SNU) over the five days the medium is busy with four services Open Circle and private sittings on four of the five days.
1st - March I was at the Blantyre Spiritualist Church. A busy church with a very enthusiastic committee and a lot of talent in their development circle.
2nd - was a full day of taking time for those who had contacted our churches for help or information.
3th- I was on a journey north to take the service at the Inverness Spiritualist Church (SNU). This city in the north, in fact all around the north east of Scotland there are many devoted spiritualists.
7th - my booking was cancelled so it let me put in a few extra hours voluntary work.
While at the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists on the 25th I waited on after the morning sittings as we were invited to a very special service. Minister Bill Thomson’s Ordination Service. Bill is the Spiritualist National Union’s latest minister.
Many people will be surprised that there is such a thing as Spiritualist Ministers, there are, although not enough.
Since 1939 the SNU has been legally recognized by the Home Office to appoint people who demonstrate the right characteristics to hold the highest office within SNU Spiritualism.
The Ministership of the SNU is granted to those who have been selected as worthy to represent Spiritualism by their educational qualifications, practical ability and good example they give as Ministers of Religion.
Our Ministers have the same rights and privileges as any other Minister of Religion. The Ministry is administrated by the Ministers Administrative Committee under the direct control of the National Executive Committee of the SNU.
There are both Ministers and Officiants (registered as Celebrants in Scotland) who work within the SNU Ministry
Duties of Ministers are:
§ To act as ambassadors for Spiritualism at all times
§ To actively promote Spiritualism
§ To conduct all Spiritualist Official Services on request
§ To advise SNU churches on request regarding all matters
§ To provide advice to individuals as required.
§ To train prospective Ministers and Officiants
§ Visiting prisoners as part of the prison Chaplaincy
§ Visiting hospitals in a Chaplaincy role
§ Providing a Chaplaincy service within the Armed forces
§ Where specifically trained to provide counseling services to individuals
§ To sign and authorize passports and other legal documents as defined by the Home Office.
One of the major roles within the Ministry is prison and hospital visiting and their importance cannot be over stated. The needs Spiritual of prisoners are often complex and demanding. It is their job to act as a spiritual advisor, to help the prisoner cope with life under very difficult circumstances. Also, by teaching them Spiritualist philosophy, it may be helping them not to re-offend when they are eventually released into the community.
Within hospitals the role is just as demanding, as part of the Chaplaincy team our Ministers may be called upon to administer prayer, advice on all aspects of death and what the patient believes follows, but our Ministers role is to try and remove the fears associated with actual physical death by increasing the understanding of the patient. More demanding are the responsibilities to the relatives of patients, our Ministers have to show unending patience and understanding to relatives mindful of never denigrating any other faith or belief system.
Additionally a significant part of the role in hospital can be removing prejudice from patients and hospital staff alike, patience and understanding of all individuals’ beliefs is a major attribute of our Ministers.
Officiant of the SNU (OSNU)
The appointment of Officiant is granted to those who have completed relevant courses of study and who are considered capable of conducting services such as marriages, funerals and naming ceremonies.
Duties of Officiants:
To act as ambassadors for Spiritualism at all times
To conduct all Spiritualist Official services on request
Where qualified to visit prisoners as part of the Chaplaincy
Where qualified to visit hospitals as part of the Chaplaincy
To assist in the training of future Officiants.
Why are there so few Spiritualist Ministers?
With the SNU it is not just a few weeks of courses and then one is ordained as a Minister. It is as one would expect a long journey from applying to be a Minister and actually being ordained. A lot of time, effort, determination and frustration is what one is signing up for. But the end result is worth it for the person who completes the course successfully, for Spiritualism and for those that the minister will help throughout his Ministry career.
Few can spare the time with bringing up a family, work commitments and other situations that befall us in today’s rat race. So although there will be new minister being ordained I cannot see the numbers increase dramatically in the next few years.
Bill Thomson is a Glasgow lad who became aware of spirit at the age of ten and went to his first spiritualist church, Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church two years later. Bill left Glasgow at the age of 16 and joined the army where he stayed for 14 years. After the passing of Bill’s parents he returned to Glasgow and took up the reins of developing his abilities as a medium by joining the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists where much of his development was done Bill also served on the committee of the Glasgow Association for 10 years as a member and also as a vice president.
As well as being a Minister of the Spiritualist National Union, which is the highest appointment within the SNU, he has achieved a great variety of awards with the Spiritualist National Union holding Diplomas in Public Speaking and academic B - Foundation, as well as Certificates of Recognition in Public Speaking and Demonstration.
Bill’s achievements don’t end there, as he is an approved tutor of the Arthur Findlay College at Stanstead and gives courses at the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh.
I am sure we all wish Bill well on his new path in this life.
Bill’s website is at http://www.thomson-medium.co.uk/
I feel that the SNU’s Ordination Service is one that all church mediums should sit through. To show that standing on the platform is not just a step in the direction of fame and fortune but that spiritualism the religion is judged by their actions on and off the platform.
I had planned in this blog to mention a bit about the lives of two great stalwarts of our religion Jock McArhur and Tilda Wilson from Fife who both passed away last month. But I have decided that a member of ASK Dunfermline would be better commenting on the lives of these two great ambassadors for spirit.
It does not bear thinking about, the trauma that the parents of those children who were in the Belgium coach crash in Switzerland are going through at this moment. The Situation was made much worse by the length of time the parents had to wait before knowing what children had survived or not. This incident is always a parent’s worst nightmare.
We must not forget the adults killed in the crash as most if not all of them, they will have children who are grieving at the loss of a father our mother. I am sure we all pray that those who have survived the crash soon recover form their physical injuries.
I am sure that those who have lost a family member or friend will get all the support they need from those around them and from the spirit world. Let us hope that the media gives them all the privacy that they need at this time.