Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sanctuary changes format of Divine Service.... Your comments on 2013 – a Crucial Year for Spiritualism... Bullying...


15th to 19th April we where based in Folkestone but travelled throughout Kent and we had a day trip over to Calais. Usually during such trips I try to meet up with fellow spiritualists or researchers, this time it was the latter...

16th April - I took the service at the Inverness Spiritualist Church (SNU) at the Smithton Hall.  This church is always well supported and has a very active committee which has done a lot over the years to promote spiritualism in the North of Scotland.   It is now two years since Rupert and Niki Baxter-Smith stepped down from the committee.  Niki as president for almost a decade Rupert, treasurer for the same length of time.   But is good to see that although their health is failing a little both still manage to get along to the church, in fact Rupert was chairing for me on my recent visit.

25th It was a pleasure to be part of the development circle whose sitters as I have mentioned before are so enthusiastic and have a great thirst for learning.

28th I was at the Milngavie and Bearsden Spiritualist Sanctuary. This sanctuary has only been open for eight months and already has made great inroads to improving the spiritualist movement. More about this in a moment.

Recently there have been calls for the change in the format of our Spiritual Services. Some interesting new proposals put forward that are worthy of debate but others it looks like change just for the sake of change.  Do we need changes to our format?  Like everything else we cannot stand still and should always try to move forward, go with the flow, about big changes to bring in the younger members to our churches.  Personally I don’t think here in Scotland we have a problem in getting the young to attend our churches.  But we cannot make radical changes to suit one group who are not yet members of our movement at the expense of those who have attended our churches for years.  We cannot let the tail wag the dog.
Here in Scotland, Glasgow in fact, we have seen change to our service, a small tweak here and there which has added, not detracted, from our communication with God and Spirit.  In August last year Glasgow medium Elizabeth Halliday was guided to open a spiritual place of worship and into being came the Milngavie and Bearsden Spiritual Sanctuary - not Church.  Now I know a lot of our Spiritualist places of worship have dropped the name “Church” for ‘Centre’ but that title can be confused with Psychic Centres by the general public.  I feel the “Sanctuary” was a good move.
Then the time of the Divine Service - a Sunday afternoon.  I know of only one other church in the area which holds a Sunday afternoon service.     This gives the people of Glasgow an alternative from the one morning and many Sunday evening services we have at the moment.
The changes did not end there as Elizabeth decided to omit the opening prayer.  In its place there is five minutes of contemplation which gives us our own personal space to link with God, our loved ones in Spirit, or just to reflect on our week. Not something I would have considered but I must say that I was impressed as with each minute for reflection passed’ I could feel the atmosphere getting stronger and spirit drawing closer There is still the closing prayer.
The “healing Service takes place during the Divine Service.  Three minutes session of Healing for each patient and each session is finished by the gentle clash from mini-cymbals.  All this adding to the atmosphere within the church and we all get the benefit of the healing energies.
Small changes that have made a big impact to the Divine Spiritual Service in a positive way.  No shouting about change – no dramatic changes – just a small tweak here and there.  I would recommend committee members of Spiritualist Churches in the area go along to the Fraser Centre, Douglas St, Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 6PA and experience this change in format.  It may be for your church or it may not but go along and see.
Keeping with Elizabeth’s Sanctuary...  Laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in Whitehall has for a long time been an issue between the SNU and the British government, considering that other UK religious denominations are represented at the national service of remembrance and Spiritualism is not.. But individual spiritualist churches throughout the country do take part in local remembrance services, the Stirling church (SNU) being one. Recently I asked Stirling churches President Linda Buchan how this came about and she replied “We were asked to take part in the service”. Well, it was the same with the Milngavie spiritualist sanctuary they were asked to take part in the local remembrance ceremony even though they had only opened its doors a few weeks ago. I hear constantly from spiritualists “We never get to the remembrance day services”. Well, if your church is not asked to take part it is up to you to ask to be included. 

Continuing with your comments on my “2013 A Crucial Year for Spiritualism”.
Vera emails; -“Maybe the way some of your churches advertise the mediums to their platform is a big part of the problem.  My spiritual church will put in our advert in the local paper something like ‘The medium for Sunday evening is John Smith from wherever’.   But some churches go over the top with their comments of the medium especially on facebook, so what have the general public to think?
Yes this is a good point this has been creeping in for some years now and something that can be easily rectified if the committee is willing to put the church and spirit before or on an equal footing with the medium.
Dawn is on roughly the same track with “Not so much on their websites but certainly on facebook mediums seem to advertise themselves as being at a particular church and the way they put it is is as if they want their fan-club to come along and see them.  Surely a regular church goer would turn up at a church what every medium was on?”
Yes – again the emphasis being on the medium not the religion or Spirit.
Ralph – “Lack of education as to what spiritualism is about.  A couple of workshops and many feel they know it all, whether it is on the platform or opening a church.  There is little deep-rooted knowledge of what spiritualism is really about these days”
Again the fast-tracking that we experience in our everyday lives and has certainly entered our movement.
 Anne “Money is at the root of all the problems spiritualism has to day.  Too many wanting to make a living out of their psychic abilities, a good living.  Our churches were closer to Spirit and God when we had amateurs on our platforms.  Many use our churches as a springboard to a lucrative career. Maybe we would see a big change if churches banned those from their platform who participated in theatre performances and house-parties”.
Strong words from Anne and in the end if things go the way they are going, it might come that we have to take drastic measures.  But surely before we reach that a little common sense all around can sort things out?  But are we too far down the entertainment and financial paths for common sense to sort it out?  I believe in the end a compromise can be found by the mediums/churches making a decision as to what path they are on.  Either the path of religion or entertainment or making a good living from their abilities.   Make that clear and we can all live in harmony.

I have taken the following from Facebook: -
The boy you punched in the hall today. Committed suicide a few minutes ago.
That girl you called a slut in class today. She’s a virgin.
The boy you called lame. He has to work every night to support his family.
That girl you pushed down the other day. She’s already being abused at home.
That girl you called fat. She’s starving herself.
The old man you made fun of cause of the ugly scars. He fought for our country.
The boy you made fun of for crying. His mother is dying. You think you know them.
There are so many forms of bullying and it can have a devastating effect on those at the sharp end.    Some don’t realise that they are causing so much suffering with their little jokes at the expense of others.  What they think is a sense of humour is actually a form of bullying. Then there are those who get morbid satisfaction with outright bullying.  The more they see the victim getting distressed the stronger and more constant the bullying becomes. 
Recently I was talking to victim of bullying who just could not take any more. They said they had been bullied for years and in the past only managed to cope because they knew that when they got home and slammed the door closed they were was safe.  Safe till the next time they went to school, their workplace or shopping
But now-a- days with modern technology they could not even get a little respite in their own home. They were bullied by text and email.   This forced them to give up their mobile phone and Internet connection.  But they still worry about what is being said about them on the social networks. They were getting to a stage where they did not want to go out at all; their quality of life was zero.  They felt that death was a better option than a life of being continually bullied.
Thankfully in this case help came over the horizon in the form of a new work colleague.  Within days of starting in the job he set in motion the work’s procedure to stop bulling in the workplace.  The victim now getting the help they should have got a long time ago.   The scars of the bullying run deep in their mind and we can only hope and pray at the age of thirty-five they can finally lead a life free of fear and persecution.

Not all victims of bullying are so lucky.  On a regular basis we see in the media that someone has taken their own life because of bullying.  Many a time it is someone of school-age whose life has barely began, yet in their short time on the earth plane was like being in hell.






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