Wednesday, 21 December 2016

My Diary … 24,500 Hits … Spiritualism and Christmas … We Must Act Now to Save Our Religion … These Awards Must Go.



                                                             My Diary. 

November…

20th - Dunfermline Spiritualist Church SNU.  3 Lady Campbells Walk, Dunfermline, KY12 0QH

24th – ASK Dreghorn. 

27th – Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church SNU

December…

4th ASK Dunfermline,  5 Mowbray House, Main Street, Halbeath, Dunfermline, Fife, KY11 8EE


9th – 13th.  The Glasgow Association of Spiritualists,  6/7, Somerset Place, Glasgow G3 7JT.  A busy few days with four services, private sittings and an ‘open development circle’.


It is five years since I started this website.  I started it not to promote myself, but to promote Spiritualism – the Religion.  It has been extremely successful as in the past five years it has had 24,500 hits.






                                               Spiritualism and Christmas…

We have both Christian and non-Christian Spiritualist churches and most mediums serve both.   Recently I have heard comments that the latter should not celebrate Christmas in our churches.  Special services on Christmas Eve whether it be a simple candlelit service, a few hours of contemplation or meditation is out say some.  Others have said that a Christmas tree should not be in our churches.  This got me thinking.

If you stay in this country, you cannot escape Christmas no matter what religion you are or if you are of no religion.  How many Spiritualist do not send or accept Christmas cards?  Give and receive presents?  Will be willing to volunteer to work on Christmas Day to allow those who are Christians have the day off to celebrate with their families?  Sit down to a special dinner on the 25th?

Hindus do not recognize Christmas as a religious tradition, but many do celebrate it, treating the holiday as a secular festival.

There are Sikhs who do go and shop for presents and give them on Christmas Day.  Although Christmas is a Christian Festival, it is celebrated as a Cultural Holiday by many Sikhs who live in western countries.  Although many do not sing Christmas Carols they do enjoy them.

Since the Buddhist teachings are all about peace and goodwill toward mankind, Christmas is a time when Buddhists can focus on some of the similarities between their religion and Christianity. They enjoy decorating their temples with what most would recognize as Christmas decorations. They send and receive cards from loved ones. They hold vigils late at night and light candles.

Muslim groups and joining forces with Christian groups in Britain to help the country’s homeless and other vulnerable groups during the Christmas period. 

Organisations including Muslim Aid, the Al Khair Foundations, Streetlytes, and churches across the English capital London are expanding their efforts by providing meals and shelter packs to rough sleepers.

So why not Spiritualism?

So many people are sad and lonely at Christmas, that we should have our doors open whether it be for a cup of tea, a simple candlelit service, an hour of contemplation or meditation is out say some. 

The church I am a member and committee member off – the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists is opening on Christmas Eve for 1 hour from 4 30pm to 5 30pm.  This will allow anyone who feels the need of the Church just to sit in the quiet with their own thoughts of Loved ones passed or maybe send out Healing Thoughts.  You may come in any time within this hour & sit for 5min or the full hour whatever suits. It can be a lonely time of year for some people who have lost loved ones during the Christmas period. The Church will be in total Silence to allow you time for reflection and contemplation.
I took a look on the Internet and found that many of our churches, especially south of the border at this time hold special services at this time.  One stood out; Sunday night at York spiritualist centre we have our peace circle. We join together sending our loving energy for peace around the world. It is an evening of sharing our thoughts our stories or readings this is a night for all to come together as one and enjoy each other’s company”.  Something all our churches could do once in a while apart from Christmas.
                                                       


                              We Must Act Now to Save Our Religion.

Although Spiritualism is not a numbers game we have to seriously start taking note of the fall in numbers attending our services and the number of churches closing over the past year or so.   I have been talking this over with a few spiritualist friends and here are some of the comments;-

“Our numbers do drop in the dark nights of winter”.  Yes, they do, but not as bad as they have been recently and numbers have been dropping long before the clocks changed.

“Our numbers have dropped in the past, but we have always bounced back”.  Again, yes. But the attitude of the general public at present has changed.  Each year we see increases in psychic nights, fundraisers, (not organised by our churches) and even psychics taking part in cabarets.  We cannot complain about these nights as Spiritualism does not have a monopoly with communication with the Spirit World, but we should make the differences clear.

How do we make the difference clear?  This is in the hands of the churches.  Only use mediums who are willing to work in churches and do not succumb to party nights and working in pubs and clubs.  The medium should decide what path he/she is willing to take - path of religion or entertainment.  Not taking a divine service one night and then taking part the next night where drink is being served.  This is totally confusing to members of the public.

“Drink is not allowed to be served during the clairvoyance”.  On some occasions that rule is flouted by drink being brought in before the clairvoyance starts.

 “Most people these days don’t want church settings want large halls and in an environment where there is no hymns prayers and addresses”.  Yes, there are those who look on clairvoyance as entertainment, but there are also those who are grieving and the church setting is the place for them.

“Spiritualism needs to change if it is to survive”.  Some would have us surrender all to the entertainers, but we must not let our pioneers our religion down.  We can experiment with what we have.  Clairvoyance, Philosophy, Healing, Meditation and periods of contemplation.  We can mix this around at our services and not always have the same format.  Someone suggested recently that we should have a service where we leave out the clairvoyance on occasions.  In such instances, we could have prayers, hymns, philosophy, healing and a time for contemplation.  Sounds drastic, but not as drastic as abandoning all that we have worked for over the years.

“Change from the old dreary hymns to modern songs that have spiritual meanings”.  Yes, that is being done at many churches, but at the same time I find most of the hymns selected at our churches are cheerful.

“Maybe we have too many churches at the moment and the churches closing at the moment is natural waste”.  The cull will be beneficial to our religion”.  The sad thing is some of the churches closing have been churches that have been great teaching churches in the past

Church committees should use their powers and not book a medium who works in pubs and clubs.   Yes, that would be a start.  Maybe not an immediate ban, but let mediums who take part in such nights know that to protect our religion in the future we will not be booking mediums who participate at such venues.  Giving the mediums a chance to decide if they are Ambassadors for Spirit in a religious capacity or are willing to wander down the entertainment trail.

“What about fundraisers?”  These night make a lot of money for charities and needy individuals.  Helping charities and local individuals has been part and parcel of Spiritualist for a long time and I see no conflict here.  As long as it is run by churches.  Each church could hold 2-4 of these nights a year.  With churches arranging such nights Spiritualism the Religion is in charge, not individuals.  We must protect our religion or it will go under.

“Would dropping the word ‘church’ and replacing it with the likes of ‘sanctuary’ make any difference?”  We all doubted there would be much difference in numbers with this change.

“Do mediums who tour the country check they are not working in a town where one of our churches has a service that evening?”  We could not say for sure and we are going to check the Internet before we meet again.

“Facebook and Spiritualism – good or bad?”  In many ways facebook and the Internet have taken over from local newspapers in advertising a church and its services.  With the local newspaper there was a charge for every word, now with the new media the sky is the limit and it is free.  Some churches praise to the highest certain mediums.  “The medium on Sunday is the wonderfully talented *** ***”.  Does that mean that all mediums setting foot on their platform are not talented?”

"Mediums promote themselves “I am on at such and such a church this evening”.  Are they asking people to come and see THEM – putting themselves above Spirit and the church?  See how easy it is to tip the balance away from religion and closer to entertainment.  A medium once told me that he done this to promote the church, surely a church is capable of promoting itself?
“The title “International Medium”.  Most had a good laugh at this.  Unlike a sportsperson being selected for their country for being best at their sport, a medium working abroad could have been asked to travel because of befriending some at a Spiritualist college or on the Internet.  Churches should stop such nonsense from being mentioned on their platforms.  Not all Spiritualist mediums who have worked abroad want to be known by this title.

“The cost of workshops – is this  education only for the rich?”.  We all agreed we know of many who cannot afford the price of many workshops and feel left out.  Those who came into Spiritualism at the same time as myself had most if not all education free.  Churches should be able to get true Spiritualists to share their knowledge for only expenses or a small sensible fee.  Also mentioned are those who feel they are superior because they have been to a workshop taken by a so-called Spiritualist celebrity.  When I hear this my mind goes back to a summer many years ago, when I was on holiday and went out horse-riding every morning.  A retired top jockey spent a lot of time with me giving me tips etc.  I did not return from that holiday expecting a trainer to give me a leg-up on a horse running in the Champion Hurdle.
“Dress for the platform” We all agreed that female mediums were keeping a high standard, but male mediums were starting to be slipshod with their attire.  Surely it is not too much for a male medium to set foot on the platform with a jacket and tie.  Surely in respect to Spirit and our religion it is not too much to ask that a tie be worn.  Comments like; -
 “In modern society tie wearing is a thing of the past”. In our churches, we should expect such a thing to be the norm.

“Some mediums may not possess a tie these days”.  I am sure churches could have a tie at hand and loan it out for the service.

“There may be mediums who refuse to wear a tie”.  So, committees refuse to let them on their platform
Are only excuses for committee members not willing to run a church the way a church should be run?  Committee members will make-or-break Spiritualism as a religion.
We ended our last discussion group of the year after midnight hoping our views will put Spiritualism back on an even keel, but left concerned that the situation will get worse.





                                                       These Awards Must Go.
    

I am shaking my head as I look through the September edition of the SNU’s Today magazine.  Here we go again as the SNU hands out awards for Spiritualist of the Year and Church of the Year.  Surely this type of award has nothing to do with a religion.  Surely it is against all that we stand for?  Then as if to calm those who are opposed to this sort of thing, the last paragraph of the article we have the closing paragraph “Everyone in his own way makes a valuable contribution to Spiritualism.  Whether that contribution is great or small it all serves to make the movement stronger”.

Such awards will not make our movement stronger it will make many disillusioned.  If you have a good friend or member of your church who is a good letter writer there will be  a good chance of you or your church will be considered for these awards.   

The SNU already have in place awards that are fair and are more in tune with our beliefs.  The long service awards which are presented to Spiritualists who have been of great service to our movement.  Twenty-five-years (silver), 50-years (gold), 60-years (diamond).   I will be writing to the President of the SNU about this and let you know his reply.

A few years ago I brought this matter up at the AGM of our district council and received little or no support.  I said at the time it is only a matter of time before we have a TV programme “Medium’s X-Factor” and I am still of that view.













Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My Diary … Absent Healing Hymn … The Baton of Spiritualism … Changes to Our Religion … The Day the Nation comes Together … Names that do not appear on the Cenotaph … From Auschwitz-Birkenau to the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium … Flowers of Hope



                                                     My Diary…

October…

16th – Perth Spiritualist Church (SNU)

23rd – Largs Spiritualists Church.  Every night of the week there is a Spiritual Service somewhere in Scotland, but this is the only one of our churches that I know that has a service on a Sunday afternoon.

24th – Pollockshaws and District Spiritualist Church.

27th Arbroath Spiritualist Church (SNU)

30th – 1st November – Glasgow Central Spiritualist Church 64 Berkeley St, Glasgow G3 7DS

7th – Saltcoats Spiritualist Church.  A church that has been running for many years and going against the trend at the moment with close to a full house at every service.

13th – Ayr Spiritualist Church (SNU).  Probably my favourite hymn in the Spiritualist hymn book is sung at this church ever week and only at this church.  In almost quarter a century in Spiritualism this is the only church where I hear the;-


Absent Healing Hymn.

Enter in the Silence
Pause a while to Pray
Take the best that's in you
Give it all away
In our Healing Minute
Everyday we Blend
Loving thoughts We sent to
All our Absent Friends.

People tired and weary
Hurt by grief and pain
Sick in mind and body
All the World's the same
Father we would help them
Loving Thoughts, We send
Helping all Thy Children
With Thy Love to Blend

Father We are learning
How to live each day
Helping all Our Brothers
As We sit and Pray
There is much within us
We can always find
Willingly we give it
helping all Mankind.

Music:  In the Bleak Mid-Winter

Words Ron Bowers.




                                                        The Baton of Spiritualism

If only those in Spiritualism thought of their religion as President Obama though of his Presidency.  He considered himself as part of a team running in a relay race.  Being passed on a baton from the outgoing president, running a good race to make his team proud and then passing the baton of to the incoming president.  I urge spiritualists, mediums, healers, committee members and committed members of our churches to think in the same mode as President Obama.  For us to look on our time in our religion as being handed a baton from our pioneers and passing it on to future generations.  Not only passing our religion on, but passing it on stronger than it was when we are being handed the baton.  The thing about spiritualism today is that too many in the movement put themselves before our religion. Celebrity status and financial gain is their main aim.   Spiritualism must get back on track before it too late.  We owe it to the pioneers of Spiritualism.  

                                                               *****


 

                                            Changes to Our Religion.

I’ve had several emails concerning the drop in numbers of those attending our services and asking what I think the solution is.  I have contacted several Spiritualists for their views and they vary greatly.  To do nothing and ride out the storm - to massive changes to our religion.  Spiritualism is not about numbers – it is about being loyal to God and Spirit and the pioneers of our religion.  Yes, there can be changes, but for the good of the religion and not just to increase number.  I will give my views in my next blog and they might not go down well with many in our religion.





                                          
                                   
                                         The Day the Nation comes Together


Remembrance Sunday, a day that the nation comes together to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.  It is the only day of the year that the nation truly unites.  Then, the following day we are all back to normal in fighting our own corner and forgetting about the sacrifices made so we can live as we do. 
The effect of each war / armed conflict ripple outwards through several decades and for those that have been affected.    Those who have been injured the pain and disability can stay with them for the rest of their life, whether it be physical or mental.  Families have to carry on without a close loved-one.  There are those families who will mourn a loved one that gave up their life for their country, yet their names will never appear on a cenotaph.  They are the men and women who have not worn a uniform, but worked undercover behind enemy lines during war and in foreign lands during peace time giving their life for their country.  We must not forget them.


                                                         ****                

                                     Names that do not appear on the Cenotaph

Then we have a group that seldom gets a mention, but gave up their lives for the war effort.  In 1943 this country faced a crisis in coal production as there was only three weeks of coal stock available. This put the country’s ability to win the Second World War in jeopardy. The then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, charged Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour and National Service to increase coal production.  So, Mr Bevin decided that from all 18 to 24-year-old men conscripts drafted to serve in the armed forces one in ten were to be directed – on pain of imprisonment and irrespective of background or ability - to work underground in British coal mines.  Approximately 48,000 Bevin Boys (as they came to be known) undertook unskilled manual jobs to release more experienced miners to move on to coal production at the coal face.   There were many deaths and injuries in the mines, but there was little or no acknowledgement from the media (or officially) for their contribution to the war effort. Often, they received verbal abuse or were spat at in the street and asked, ‘Why are you not in uniform?  Coming from a mining family I always remember these men also on Remembrance Day.

                                                      ****



               From Auschwitz-Birkenau to the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.  

Still on the subject of war…  If I had to mention the two places that I have visited that overwhelmed me, it would be Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp in Krakow in Poland and attending the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.  Although not planned I was pleased that I visited Kracow before Ypres.  The former showed how barbaric and dark the human race can be - and the latter how we can overcome all the evil and return to the light.


I will not go into detail about Auschwitz-Birkenau as the displays were heart rendering and the atmosphere is eerie and silent.  It is often said that no birds sing or fly over Auschwitz.  I paid special attention to this and not a bird did I hear or see.   Isabel – my wife – said that as she turned away from the gas chambers as we were about to leave the camp she heard for a second a bird sing and into her head came the words “There is always hope.
Then the following year what an upliftment when we visited Ypres in Belgium and to the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony that has become part of the daily life in the town. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the area during WWI.  Every night since the end of WWII roads are closed as the people of Ypres take part in a moving ceremony.  The local people are proud of this simple but moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in defence of their town.





                                                   Flowers of Hope.

While talking to people of different nationalities after the service one old gentlemen said that on Remembrance Day he always plants bulbs and when they bloom in the spring to him is a sign of hope. The spring flowers show that even after the most severe winter or horrific war - brightness will always shine through in the end.  Since that day, I have always planted bulbs on Remembrance Day.

 












Wednesday, 19 October 2016

My Diary … Fifty Years ... Can Spiritualism Survive by Walter Taylor ... I disagree with Mr Taylor ... Rami Adham - The Toy Smuggler of Aleppo ... Your Comments.




                                                        My Diary…

September…

13th…  ASK – Cumbernauld.

28th - Prestwick Spiritualist Church.  It is always that little bit special to attend this church as it is in Community Centre, Caerlaverock Road, Prestwick, KA9 1HR.   Formerly Prestwick Public School which I attended for a few years. Entering the building brings back a lot of memories.  Although I only moved 23 miles up the road to Beith I have always wondered what happened to my old classmates.  In all those years I have only met one of them.

This month was intentional kept quiet so I could catch up with some of the paranormal research work I have been asked to do and for some lectures and workshops. 

And most importantly we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary.  Fifty-years how time flies.  It has just dawned on me that half of our married life we have been connected with Spiritualism.  More about this later in the blog.





                                                             Fifty Years.  


This month we celebrated our golden wedding anniversary – 50 years married. When someone made a comment married for half a century really made me think in-depth of the last half century.

If it had not been for Isabel I would not be where I am today as far as Spiritualism is concerned.  Isabel was the one who encouraged me to keep going to the development circle when I felt I was out of my depth.   Again, it was Isabel who gave me so much encouragement in the week leading up to my first time on the platform with four other fledglings.  For someone with zero confidence that short time linking with Spirit in public was a complete impossibility for me, or so I thought.  So, I owe a lot to Isobel as well as Spirit and many others in our churches who gave me the confidence and courage to continue along this path.

As I look back over the past fifty-years I feel a tinge of sadness for those couples who have not reached this milestone.  Those who have only had a short time to enjoy married life before one passed over.  And those who were so close to this anniversary or retirement, yet did not get to spend more time together.





                               Can Spiritualism Survive by Walter Taylor, F. S. N. U.

From The Glasgow Association’s  Beacon – May / June 1980


Part 1.

 The question as to whether man survives death is still scientifically, not yet proven.  I would like to state what I think is scientific evidence of human survival of death.  It will be scientifically proven when the evidence is of such a nature, as when for instance, we put the kettle on and know that the water will boil at a certain temperature.  This may seem realistically crude, but surely this is what we mean by scientific evidence?   This definition may seem philosophically disputable, but in what other way can we talk about scientific facts?

It would seem, looking at the Spiritualistic scene, that a scientific basis of the claims made by Spiritualists, will never be established.  Actually, it is far short of meeting any such claims!  There may be evidence coming through that satisfies an individual level, but it is consistently repeatable evidence that is required.   I may be asking far too much, but should we not be seeking a reliable system of communication which would lift the phenomena above the banal and the ludicrous?

I am going to make a suggestion that may not be welcomed by many, but I ask – Should we not seek a Dialogue with the Society for Psychical Research?  I anticipate cries of protest, but let me put the case to you.  First the S.P, R. does not exist to prove survival.  Its task is to experiment and explore physical phenomena. It has no fixed views nor creed nor dogma.  Its purpose is to “examine without prejudice or preposition, and in a scientific spirit those faculties of man, whether real or supposed which appear to be inexplicable on any generally recognised hypothesis”.  I am asking – is it too much to open us a discussion with the S.P.R. to discuss and experiment into psychic phenomena.   This is, or should be, OUR field.  Do we want to widen and deepen our field or are we content and happy with a comforting message from Auntie Mary who will assure us that all is well with everything and we have nothing to worry about?  Is that all there is to psychnomina I would wish to be counted out!       


                                                                 ****

I disagree with Mr. Taylor.  Within Spiritualism we not only believe that man survives death, we give proof.  Whether that proof is accepted by the scientific community is up to them.   We do not need to go cap in hand to other groups to get the scientific acceptance.   All groups have their own agenda and this changes from time to time depending who it at the top.  I can just see experiments going our way and then religions and other interested parties infiltrating the group to dumb down the results.

Hitler, the CIA and KGB have investigated all areas of the paranormal.  By the state of our planet today they have not managed to harness any of the power or knowledge to suit their own causes.  Why?  Why have they not harnessed or made a pact with those on the other side? Because it is not meant to be.  It is obvious that there will be those who will be negative in the Spirit World and they are being kept at bay by the positive realms of this dimension.  Thankfully the hierarchy of the spirit world are keeping any contact with subversive groups in our dimension at arm’s-length.

There are some who believe that Spiritualism is the sole agent for the Spirit World.  Although we may be the biggest player in getting Spirit’s message across I feel that in many ways our religion is losing favour with the Spirit World.  I believe that the powers that be are working more closely with individuals and small dedicated groups. 

Spirit has always worked closely with dedicated individuals, circles and groups.  Many an artist has claimed that their work has been influenced by an outside source. If only those seats of power took time listening to that little voice in their head.  Not telling them what to do, but giving them a little guidance as where to look to solve a problem.

Let me give one example Dag Hammarskj√∂ld (Sweden) second secretary-general of the United Nations, from 1953-1961. He died in an air crash in Africa in 1961 where the details still remain unclear and many still believe foul play was involved. 
He is looked upon by many as the best Secretary general the UN has ever had.   He gained a reputation as a peacemaker, man of faith and a man of peace.  He treated all around him in the same way whether it is a junior member of his staff, a senior politician or royalty.   The more I read about Mr. Hammerskjold they more I believe he has a close link with Spirit.  If only today’s world leaders look of Dag Hammersjold as a role-model, there our planet would be a more peaceful place

 I do agree with Walter Taylor that Spiritualism should be more than a comforting message from Aunty Mary.    





                                    Rami Adham - The Toy Smuggler of Aleppo.

After five years of civil war, Syrian children living in war zones have little to look forward to. But one man is attempting to bring gifts to Syrian children, along with essential food and medicines.  That man is Rami Adham. 
Few will have heard of Rami Adham a 44-year-old father of six, is a Finnish-Syrian originally from Aleppo who has lived in Finland since 1989.  Few ever get to know the real heroes of our time we are too busy worshiping celebrities of stage and screen.  For the past five years he has dedicated his life to helping children in Syria and has now visited the war-torn country on 28 occasions, bringing over 80kg of donated toys across the border from Turkey on each trip.




                                                        Your Comments.


Tom, a spiritual service is not like Royal Ascot it does not need a strict dress-code.  On saying that a suit and tie to be worn is not too much to ask a male medium who has been given the honour of taking such a service.
LL

Spiritualism has already surrendered to the entertainment industry so why not let the tie drop? 
B L

Bennie.  The story about the son going to the races in memory of his dead father, did he back a winner this year?
Sorry Bennie.  No fairy tale ending to the Peter’s story.   Of the horses Peter selected with names related to his father’s life the only one declared to run was Perfect Pasture.  
The horse started at the odds of 50/1 and finished 10th in a twenty-three runner field.  Peter’s final comment – “I hope my father enjoyed the day as much as I did”.
BV – Tom – I don’t accept your comment that Spirit Guides may be on strike, from what I have witnessed at my church recently, they are on a go-slow”.

“Tom, spot on with North Korea.  Leaving this country out in the cold at our peril.  Neutral countries must start to build bridges with NK. How about you be one of the negotiators?”   LN….