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. 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.
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The strange death of boozy Britain: why are young people drinking less?

Ditching alcohol for work.

Whenever horrific tales of the drunken escapades of the youth are reported, one photo reliably gets wheeled out: "bench girl", a young woman lying passed out on a public bench above bottles of booze in Bristol. The image is in urgent need of updating: it is now a decade old. Britain has spent that time moving away from booze.

Individual alcohol consumption in Britain has declined sharply. In 2013, the average person over 15 consumed 9.4 litres of alcohol, 19 per cent less than 2004. As with drugs, the decline in use among the young is particularly notable: the proportion of young adults who are teetotal increased by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2013. But decreased drinking is not only apparent among the young fogeys: 80 per cent of adults are making some effort to drink less, according to a new study by consumer trends agency Future Foundation. No wonder that half of all nightclubs have closed in the last decade. Pubs are also closing down: there are 13 per cent fewer pubs in the UK than in 2002. 

People are too busy vying to get ahead at work to indulge in drinking. A combination of the recession, globalisation and technology has combined to make the work of work more competitive than ever: bad news for alcohol companies. “The cost-benefit analysis for people of going out and getting hammered starts to go out of favour,” says Will Seymour of Future Foundation.

Vincent Dignan is the founder of Magnific, a company that helps tech start-ups. He identifies ditching regular boozing as a turning point in his career. “I noticed a trend of other entrepreneurs drinking three, four or five times a week at different events, while their companies went nowhere,” he says. “I realised I couldn't be just another British guy getting pissed and being mildly hungover while trying to scale a website to a million visitors a month. I feel I have a very slight edge on everyone else. While they're sleeping in, I'm working.” Dignan now only drinks occasionally; he went three months without having a drop of alcohol earlier in the year.

But the decline in booze consumption isn’t only about people becoming more work-driven. There have never been more alternate ways to be entertained than resorting to the bottle. The rise of digital TV, BBC iPlayer and Netflix means most people means that most people have almost limitless choice about what to watch.

Some social lives have also partly migrated online. In many ways this is an unfortunate development, but one upshot has been to reduce alcohol intake. “You don’t need to drink to hang out online,” says Dr James Nicholls, the author of The Politics of Alcohol who now works for Alcohol Concern. 

The sheer cost of boozing also puts people off. Although minimum pricing on booze has not been introduced, a series of taxes have made alcohol more expensive, while a ban on below-cost selling was introduced last year. Across the 28 countries of the EU, only Ireland has higher alcohol and tobacco prices than the UK today; in 1998 prices in the UK were only the fourth most expensive in the EU.

Immigration has also contributed to weaning Britain off booze. The decrease in alcohol consumption “is linked partly to demographic trends: the fall is largest in areas with greater ethnic diversity,” Nicholls says. A third of adults in London, where 37 per cent of the population is foreign born, do not drink alcohol at all, easily the highest of any region in Britain.

The alcohol industry is nothing if not resilient. “By lobbying for lower duty rates, ramping up their marketing and developing new products the big producers are doing their best to make sure the last ten years turn out to be a blip rather than a long term change in culture,” Nicholls says.

But whatever alcohol companies do to fight back against the declining popularity of booze, deep changes in British culture have made booze less attractive. Forget the horrific tales of drunken escapades from Magaluf to the Bullingdon Club. The real story is of the strange death of boozy Britain. 

Tim Wigmore is a contributing writer to the New Statesman and the author of Second XI: Cricket In Its Outposts.