Eternal life and spiritual progression

A brief introduction of Spiritualist services and how to get involved

As Spiritualists, we practice our belief in the way in which we live our lives, working within our Seven Principles and continuing to develop our own personal bond with God and Spirit. Our lives are an eternal learning process, and as Spiritualists we know that life is eternal and continues after physical death.

Our 350 plus churches throughout the UK hold a Sunday Divine Service where anyone is welcome to attend. Services are taken each week by a different Medium, we do not have ‘resident mediums’, so each time the congregation hears another person’s point of view. The format of our services is much the same as many orthodox churches, prayers, hymns, an inspirational address, a reading.

The medium then gives messages to members of the congregation from their loved ones who have died. Imagine for a moment that someone that you love and care about dies, for example, your mum. You attend one of our churches and the medium speaks to you. They describe your mum, talk about her personality and what she is like, bring back personal special memories, perhaps mention other family members that she is with, they speak about specific things that have happened since your mum died, to let you know that mum still knows about her beloved family and is still aware of them. The sense of love, joy and peace knowing that your loved one is still spiritually around you is overwhelming and the comfort and relief that this brings for many is truly beautiful to witness.

Spiritual healing is an integral part of church life, each church has a team of healers who have undertaken a two year training course to ensure that they are working to the guidelines and code of conduct laid down by the SNU.

Anyone can attend to receive healing and it is important to understand that healing is complimentary to, not an alternative to, orthodox medicine. Many of our healers are now working alongside doctors in hospitals and clinics. Spiritual healing is a non-invasive, peaceful and powerful way of empowering the mind, body and spirit to aid the healing process.

Our churches run workshops on various aspects of mediumship that are open to everyone.
Most churches have classes that share the knowledge of Spiritualism, they are usually graded to allow a natural progression to take place. Through our classes one learns the history of Spiritualism, its background, structure and the organizational aspects of the SNU. We also discuss and the pioneers of our movement.

Meditation groups are usually the starting point for most people, learning how to calm the mind, find the inner peace and begin the attunement to the spiritual energies that surround us.
Awareness groups follow led by experienced mediums who help the individuals explore their new found abilities and experiment in ways to communicate with the spirit world that enable them to discover which form of mediumship is best suited, healing, communication, philosophy, spirit writing, psychic art etc.

Development classes are usually directed towards one particular aspect of mediumship and teach it much more intensively bringing in presentation skills and the legal, moral and ethical values and guidelines that we work within.

The SNU runs courses that can either be studied as a group, online, by correspondence or on specialised weeks at the Arthur Findlay College at Stansted, Essex this is the foremost teaching centre for psychic and spiritual studies in the world. www.arthurfindlaycollege.org The college runs residential weekend and week long courses that are open for anyone to attend to further their knowledge of Spiritualism.

Libby Clark is an Officiant of the Spiritualists National Union who has been a working Spiritualist Medium for 30 years. She is a Course Organiser / Tutor at the Arthur Findlay College, and works worldwide as a Spiritualist medium, teacher, healer, trance healer. www.libbyclark.biz
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Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan are both slippery self-mythologisers – so why do we rate one more than the other?

Their obsessions with their childhoods have both become punchlines; but one of these jokes, it feels to me, is told with a lot more affection than the other.

Andy Burnham is a man whose policies and opinions seem to owe more to political expediency than they do to belief. He bangs on to the point of tedium about his own class, background and interests. As a result he’s widely seen as an unprincipled flip-flopper.

Sadiq Khan is a man whose policies and opinions seem to owe more to political expediency than they do to belief. He bangs on to the point of tedium about his own class, background and interests. As a result he’s the hugely popular mayor of London, the voice of those who’d be proud to think of themselves as the metropolitan liberal elite, and is even talked of as a possible future leader of the Labour party.

Oh, and also they were both born in 1970. So that’s a thing they have in common, too.

Why it is this approach to politics should have worked so much better for the mayor of London than the would-be mayor of Manchester is something I’ve been trying to work out for a while. There are definite parallels between Burnham’s attempts to present himself as a normal northern bloke who likes normal things like football, and Sadiq’s endless reminders that he’s a sarf London geezer whose dad drove a bus. They’ve both become punchlines; but one of these jokes, it feels to me, is told with a lot more affection than the other.

And yes, Burnham apparent tendency to switch sides, on everything from NHS privatisation to the 2015 welfare vote to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has given him a reputation for slipperiness. But Sadiq’s core campaign pledge was to freeze London transport fares; everyone said it was nonsense, and true to form it was, and you’d be hard pressed to find an observer who thought this an atypical lapse on the mayor’s part. (Khan, too, has switched sides on the matter of Jeremy Corbyn.)

 And yet, he seems to get away with this, in a way that Burnham doesn’t. His low-level duplicity is factored in, and it’s hard to judge him for it because, well, it’s just what he’s like, isn’t it? For a long time, the Tory leadership’s line on London’s last mayor was “Boris is Boris”, meaning, look, we don’t trust him either, but what you gonna do? Well: Sadiq is Sadiq.

Even the names we refer to them by suggest that one of these two guys is viewed very differently from the other. I’ve instinctively slipped into referring to the mayor of London by his first name: he’s always Sadiq, not Khan, just as his predecessors were Boris and Ken. But, despite Eoin Clarke’s brief attempt to promote his 2015 leadership campaign with a twitter feed called “Labour Andy”, Burnham is still Burnham: formal, not familiar. 

I’ve a few theories to explain all this, though I’ve no idea which is correct. For a while I’ve assumed it’s about sincerity. When Sadiq Khan mentions his dad’s bus for the 257th time in a day, he does it with a wink to the audience, making a crack about the fact he won’t stop going on about it. That way, the message gets through to the punters at home who are only half listening, but the bored lobby hacks who’ve heard this routine two dozen times before feel they’re in the joke.

Burnham, it seems to me, lacks this lightness of touch: when he won’t stop banging on about the fact he grew up in the north, it feels uncomfortably like he means it. And to take yourself seriously in politics is sometimes to invite others to make jokes at your expense.

Then again, perhaps the problem is that Burnham isn’t quite sincere enough. Sadiq Khan genuinely is the son of a bus-driving immigrant: he may keep going on about it, but it is at least true. Burnham’s “just a northern lad” narrative is true, too, but excludes some crucial facts: that he went to Cambridge, and was working in Parliament aged 24. Perhaps that shouldn’t change how we interpret his story; but I fear, nonetheless, it does.

Maybe that’s not it, though: maybe I’m just another London media snob. Because Burnham did grow up at the disadvantaged end of the country, a region where, for too many people, chasing opportunities means leaving. The idea London is a city where the son of a bus driver can become mayor flatters our metropolitan self-image; the idea that a northerner who wants to build a career in politics has to head south at the earliest opportunity does the opposite. 

So if we roll our eyes when Burnham talks about the north, perhaps that reflects badly on us, not him: the opposite of northern chippiness is southern snobbery.

There’s one last possibility for why we may rate Sadiq Khan more highly than Andy Burnham: Sadiq Khan won. We can titter a little at the jokes and the fibs but he is, nonetheless, mayor of London. Andy Burnham is just the bloke who lost two Labour leadership campaigns.

At least – for now. In six weeks time, he’s highly likely to the first mayor of Greater Manchester. Slipperiness is not the worst quality in a mayor; and so much of the job will be about banging the drum for the city, and the region, that Burnham’s tendency to wear his northernness on his sleeve will be a positive boon.

Sadiq Khan’s stature has grown because the fact he became London’s mayor seems to say something, about the kind of city London is and the kind we want it to be. Perhaps, after May, Andy Burnham can do the same for the north – and the north can do the same for Andy Burnham.

Jonn Elledge edits the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric, and writes for the NS about subjects including politics, history and Daniel Hannan. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook.