3rd February saw me at the Sunnyside Spiritualist Church, Coatbridge. Robert provided the live music with his guitar and that fairly raised the atmosphere.4th – I was at the Cumnock Spiritualist Church and although there was a good turn out one little fellow was missing - Jack young, son of founders of the church Jacqueline and Iain McConnachie. Jack has been a little poorly recently and it was felt that staying cozy at home was best rather than taking the little lad out into the frost and snow. Jacqueline is an excellent Spiritual Medium and Iain when called upon gives a wonderful Spiritual address. Jack is a little star in his own with the article in the Scottish Sun “The Bravest Smile in the World”. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/scottishnews/4768271/The-bravest-smile-in-the-world.html.
I look forward to seeing Jack on my next visit.
19th – I was at the Glasgow Central Spiritualist Church (SNU) Berkley Street, Glasgow, for their afternoon service which is always well attended.
21st Now that the M74 has been completed it is a much shorter journey for me to the White Dove Spiritualist Church in Toryglen, Glasgow.
There have been many comments to “2013 - a Crucial Year for Spiritualism – The Religion” which appeared in my first blog of the New Year. The comments came by email, text, phone, face to face and even two letters. They were on all aspects of Spiritualism, so for the next few months my blogs will look at these comments as far as different aspects of Spiritualism are concerned. I have tried my best to give a balanced view of the comments sent to me.
There are many who agree that the general trend these days is that Spiritualism is moving towards ‘showbiz’. Some favour this while others have either stopped attending our churches or have moved to another Spiritualist Church where there is a more staid atmosphere.
Flo comments - “I am all for a more upbeat service than what I experienced when I came into Spiritualism 25-years- ago, but some of what we are seeing on our platform these days is going a bit over the top”.
James – I have been attending Spiritual services for over twenty years and. I notice little change, but I only attend SNU churches.
Joan – “The only difference at my church is that there is not a break between the medium’s address and the clairvoyance. This I find is a good move for the medium as they continue with the flow of the energies they have created”.
Jen - “My daughter I attends drama school and I am beginning to wonder if some mediums have been on the same course. This has only started to show in the past few years”.
Peter – “Never been in a Spiritualist church other than a SNU one and I feel things are as they should be”.
Pat – “I have been attending Spiritualist services for over thirty years in both Scotland and England. In those far off days I preferred the Scottish services as they were always that bit more relaxed and informal than in England. Both have now moved on and I am finding that these days services south of the border services are upbeat but not as glitzy as some of those in Scotland.
B – “Spiritualism caters for all... One can go dressed in a suite and a tie while another goes in very casual attire yet no one bats an eyelid. This is as it should be and another big plus for Spiritualism compared to other religions is the different ways each medium work, making every service different”.
Patricia – “I know of many whom say openly they go to our church for a laugh as it is the cheapest form of entertainment in town. As this group grows in numbers there is talk of leaving out the address so if that goes so do I also”.
Don – “Laughter has always been part of Spiritualism but these days I feel that many a medium feels they have got to have laugh after laugh after laugh. Why not leave it to Spirit as was done in the past?"
? – “Over the years I have taken many friends and work colleagues with me to church and in doing so giving them their first introduction into our religion. But not so often these days as I am embarrassed by what is going on in some of our so-called churches.
John – “I have only been attending Spiritualist Churches for two years so I cannot compare then with now. The Sunday night Divine Service is the highlight of my week. I only wish I had turned towards Spiritualism many years ago”.
Pete – I only attend the church because it is a good distance from our home. With poor public transport and my mother’s health not being that good I drive her there each week. I can take what you are saying about the change over the past few years. On many occasions the medium appears to be a celeb and Spirit is only the supporting cast. . In recent years my old mum has been a bit put out by mediums on the platform referring to her as ‘dear’, ‘pet’ and ‘love’. This would never have happened in the past. On saying all this when the time comes that my mother moves over to the Spirit World I will not attend any more services”.
E – “Notice how we don’t get any hassle from other regions these days? My theory is that Spiritualism moved towards new ageism and now on to entertainment that we will continue to destroy ourselves from within and soon will be no more.”
Betty –Each church has its own way of working as does each medium. With such variety there is something for everyone”.
Marie – “I am shocked that there are some congregations applauding not only after the clairvoyance but an odd time after the address. Who are they applauding the Medium or Spirit?”
Vera – “The way some churches advertise their medium on the Internet and from the platform is something that should be looked at. It is at time like an entertainer is being introduced”.
So a wide variety of thoughts about how Spiritualism is evolving.
The SNU and other major Spiritual organizations have strict guidelines but there are many independent Spiritualist churches which have their own way of working. It is just like the many different facets of Christianity. There will always be change; my gripe is not if it is working don’t fix it, but that we don’t just have change for the sake of change.
We hear of drastic proposals being suggested to bring in the young. I don’t know where these people are coming from as most the churches I serve have a good percentage of young people in the congregation. There will be sections of the community who steer clear of the word “church” so some of our Spiritualist Churches centres have dropped this work and replacent it with “Centre” or “Sanctuary”.
One new Spiritualist group not only dropped the word ‘Church’ for ‘Sanctuary’ but also decided to change a part of the Divine Service. It omitted the opening prayer and replacing it with a period of contemplation. That has been a well thought out change and does not take anything away from the Divine Service.
I agree with Marie about applauding after a service I find it embarrassing and just wonder what anybody visiting the church for the first time must think of us. But I realize that the applause is meant in good faith the congregation showing that they have enjoyed the service but it is a service not an evening of entertainment. This can easily be sorted out by the chairperson quietly mentioning this to the congregation.... BUT... here again I experienced after the service where the chairperson asked very respectfully that the congregation show their sincere gratitude to the Medium AND TO SPIRIT for their participation in the service. To which the congregation gave a short applause. The way it was done I found it to be very respectful...
Churches dropping the address is something that I have always been adverse too. As Patricia says some church committees will say “The congregation have told us they cannot be bothered with the address”. But those on the committee of a Spiritualist church have a responsibility. A responsibility to our religion, to Spirit and to the pioneers of our movement. People are more likely to be vocal if they don’t like something than if they do like it. What other religion would drop part of what their religion is about because a few say they don’t like it?
There is also “The medium will give a quick address”. This makes it seem that the address is not important and can put the medium under pressure. To be fair I once witnessed a medium’s address that lasted for 45-minutes and after that there was only time for two messages from Spirit. If that was to happen too often it would close our churches. Again if the medium is working through Spirit then let us trust Spirit to do the correct thing and usually that is a 10-12 minute address.
Joan makes an interesting comment “The only difference at my church is that there is not a break between the medium’s address and the clairvoyance”. I can work either way but some mediums feel that they need that little break while others are happy to keep going. Usually churches and mediums are flexible with this and there is no problems whatever way it goes.
Vera also brings up a good point “The way some churches advertise their medium on the Internet and from the platform is something that should be looked at. It is at time like an entertainer is being introduced”. Yes I have to agree with this. In recent years it is as if a few church notices and introductions are as if an entertainer is being introduced. One night the chairperson sounded like an MC in a boxing ring as he introduced me. BUT... this is not rife and should be nipped in the bud. Many doing this just don’t think that over playing the medium is putting Spirit and our religion in the background. Overall most of what has been mentioned in a negative sense can easily be put right if there is more training for those about to sit on a committee of a Spiritualist Church.
Spiritualism as a Religion will be judged by the way we behave in our churches so let us get it right.
No matter where I have been in the past few weeks the main topic of conversation has been horsemeat ending up on supermarket shelves. There are many who are shocked that they may have consumed the meat of a horse. They have no problem in eating beef, pork or chicken so why is horse flesh taboo? Maybe it is because of man’s closeness to the horse over centuries. The war horse was cherished as it carried knights of old into battle; in fact the British army were still using horses as pack animals in WWII. For centuries the horse did all the heavy work on farms and industry. Nearly all of us have had a ride on a pony or a donkey at the beach. And some have been lucky to have owned a horse or a pony as a pet. So there are many reasons why we find it abhorrent to eat the flesh of a horse. Usually when we think of a cow or a sheep we think of them being as part of a herd or a flock we don’t think or get to know them as individuals.
But our love for the horse has its limitations as we turn a blind eye when it comes to the racehorse. Most of us will have had a bet on a horserace at one time or another, even though it is only an annual bet on The Derby or The Grand National. Yet a percentage of each £ bet goes to help fund an industry - yes - an industry not a sport. And I don’t feel that this is the place to go into gory details of the Racing Industry other than to say it would not make good reading.
So should a Spiritualist abstain from betting on horseracing? Spiritualism is not a religion with a list of do’s and don’ts – so with our 5th Principle in mind – Personal Responsibility - it is up to the individual.
Roughly in parallel with my comments above.... A friend was in a supermarket the other day and as she went to lift down a dozen eggs she heard a conversation between a mother and her young son and daughter.
The young lad was telling his mother than she had put the wrong eggs in her trolley. “Those are not free range” he said”. The mother told the two youngsters that money was short this week and that she only could afford the cheapest eggs from caged hens. The two youngsters burst into tears saying that they were not going to eat eggs from hens that were treated so badly. They were so strong in their convictions that the mother put the eggs back on the shelf and said! “Well - we will do without eggs this week”.
As my friend was waiting till the mother was away from other shoppers and was going to give her the extra money for the free range eggs – three people came up to the family and discreetly gave them some money to get eggs from hens that would have room to move during their life. There are a lot of decent people around but we seldom notice them or their good deeds get reported.
But surely in a case like this no one should feel guilty if their finances could only stretch to eggs from caged hens? Not an excuse but saying to themselves “When I am in a better financial position the first think I will do is buy the eggs from birds that maybe have not been treated perfectly but then have not been confined to a few inches of space”.
The poem page this week has “A Horse’s Prayer”. This has been taken from a wonderful website In Praise of the Horse is Hoofbeat in Heaven's library of horse poems, prayers and stories that celebrate the spiritual horse as well as the unique bond between horse and human. This is a one-of-a-kind equine poetry site because the majority of selections were written by visitors to Hoofbeats in Heaven and/or members of our horse loss support group in honour of their heavenly horses. To date the library contains 131 poems, stories, and prayers. So relax, stay a while, and experience first-hand the wondrous bond that only a horse and his/her human know.
I am having a wee bit of a problem with the email address for this site but if you put up on your search engine; -
Hoofbeats In Heaven - In Praise Of The Horse