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
Paul McMillan
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"We're an easy target": how a Tory manifesto pledge will tear families apart

Under current rules, bringing your foreign spouse to the UK is a luxury reserved for those earning £18,600 a year or more. The Tories want to make it even more exclusive. 

Carolyn Matthew met her partner, George, in South Africa sixteen years ago. She settled down with him, had kids, and lived like a normal family until last year, when they made the fateful decision to move to her hometown in Scotland. Matthew, 55, had elderly parents, and after 30 years away from home she wanted to be close to them. 

But Carolyn nor George - despite consulting a South African immigration lawyer – did not anticipate one huge stumbling block. That is the rule, introduced in 2012, that a British citizen must earn £18,600 a year before a foreign spouse may join them in the UK. 

“It is very dispiriting,” Carolyn said to me on the telephone from Bo’ness, a small town on the Firth of Forth, near Falkirk. “In two weeks, George has got to go back to South Africa.” Carolyn, who worked in corporate complaints, has struggled to find the same kind of work in her hometown. Jobs at the biggest local employer tend to be minimum wage. George, on the other hand, is an engineer – yet cannot work because of his holiday visa. 

To its critics, the minimum income threshold seems nonsensical. It splits up families – including children from parents – and discriminates against those likely to earn lower wages, such as women, ethnic minorities and anyone living outside London and the South East. The Migration Observatory has calculated that roughly half Britain’s working population would not meet the requirement. 

Yet the Conservative party not only wishes to maintain the policy, but hike the threshold. The manifesto stated:  “We will increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas.” 

Initially, the threshold was justified as a means of preventing foreign spouses from relying on the state. But tellingly, the Tory manifesto pledge comes under the heading of “Controlling Immigration”. 

Carolyn points out that because George cannot work while he is visiting her, she must support the two of them for months at a time without turning to state aid. “I don’t claim benefits,” she told me. “That is the last thing I want to do.” If both of them could work “life would be easy”. She believes that if the minimum income threshold is raised any further "it is going to make it a nightmare for everyone".

Stuart McDonald, the SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, co-sponsored a Westminster Hall debate on the subject earlier this year. While the Tory manifesto pledge is vague, McDonald warns that one option is the highest income threshold suggested in 2012 - £25,700, or more than the median yearly wage in the East Midlands. 

He described the current scheme as “just about the most draconian family visa rules in the world”, and believes a hike could affect more than half of British citizens. 

"Theresa May is forcing people to choose between their families and their homes in the UK - a choice which most people will think utterly unfair and unacceptable,” he said.  

For those a pay rise away from the current threshold, a hike will be demoralising. For Paul McMillan, 25, it is a sign that it’s time to emigrate.

McMillan, a graduate, met his American girlfriend Megan while travelling in 2012 (the couple are pictured above). He could find a job that will allow him to meet the minimum income threshold – if he were not now studying for a medical degree.  Like Matthew, McMillan’s partner has no intention of claiming benefits – in fact, he expects her visa would specifically ban her from doing so. 

Fed up with the hostile attitude to immigrants, and confident of his options elsewhere, McMillan is already planning a career abroad. “I am going to take off in four years,” he told me. 

As for why the Tories want to raise the minimum income threshold, he thinks it’s obvious – to force down immigration numbers. “None of this is about the amount of money we need to earn,” he said. “We’re an easy target for the government.”

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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