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. 


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

24th – ASK Dreghorn. 

27th – Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church SNU


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.