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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It's easy to see where Berlin is being rebuilt – just hit the streets

My week, from walking the streets of Berlin to class snobbery and the right kind of gentrification.

Brick by brick, block by block, the people are rebuilding the city once called Faust’s Metropolis. To see it clearly, put your boots on. One of the most bracing walks starts by the Gethsemane Church, which served as a haven for dissenters in the last days of the GDR and takes you down ­towards the Hackescher Markt.

Here, in what is still the eastern half of a divided city that wears its division more lightly, is a Berlin experience both old and new. In three decades of frequent visits, it has been fascinating to note how much this part of town has changed. Even a decade ago these streets were rundown. With crumbling buildings showing bulletholes, it wasn’t hard to imagine what the place looked like in 1945. Now there are lilacs, blues, and yellows. Cafés, bars and restaurants abound, serving the young professionals attracted to the city by cheap rents and a renewed sense of community.

 

Breaking the fourth wall

Looking north along Schliemannstraße, you’ll find a delightful vista of well-tended balconies. It’s a pleasant place to live, notwithstanding the gaggle of grotesques who gather round the corner in the square. On Kastanienallee, which forms the second leg of the walk, an old city feels young. It’s a kind of gentrification but the right kind. There’s more to eat, to drink, to buy, for all.

Berlin, where Bertolt Brecht staged his unwatchable plays, was supposed to have been transformed by a proletarian revolution. Instead, it has been restored to health by a very middle-class one. Germany has always had a well-educated middle class, and the nation’s restoration would have impossible without such people. The irony is delicious – not that irony buttered many parsnips for “dirty Bertie”.

 

The new snobbery

The British Museum’s survey of German history “Memories of a Nation” is being presented at the Martin-Gropius-Bau as “The British View”. Germans, natürlich, are curious to see how we observe them. But how do they see us?

A German friend recently in England  said that the images that struck him most forcibly were the tins of food and cheap booze people piled up in supermarkets, and the number of teenage girls pushing prams. Perhaps Neil MacGregor, the former director of the British Museum who will shortly take up a similar role here at the new Humboldt Forum, may turn his attention to a “German View” of the United Kingdom.

There’s no shortage of material. In Schlawinchen, a bar that typifies Kreuzberg’s hobohemia, a college-educated English girl was trying to explain northern England to an American she had just met. Speaking in an ugly modern Mancunian voice that can only be acquired through years of practice (sugar pronounced as “sug-oar”), she refer­red to Durham and York as “middle class, you know, posh”, because those cities had magnificent cathedrals.

When it comes to inverted snobbery, no nation can match us. To be middle class in Germany is an indication of civic value. In modern England, it can mark you as a leper.

 

Culture vultures

The Humboldt Forum, taking shape by the banks of the Spree, reconsecrates the former site of the GDR’s Palace of the Republic. When it opens in 2018 it will be a “living exhibition”, dedicated to all the cultures of the world. Alexander von Humboldt, the naturalist and explorer, was the brother of Wilhelm, the diplomat and philosopher, whose name lives on in the nearby university.

In Potsdamerplatz there are plans to build a modern art museum, crammed in between the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Philharmonie, home to the Berlin Philharmonic. Meanwhile, the overhaul of the Deutsche Staatsoper, where Daniel Barenboim is music director for life, is likely to be completed, fingers crossed, next autumn.

Culture everywhere! Or perhaps that should be Kultur, which has a slightly different meaning in Germany. They take these things more seriously, and there is no hint of bogus populism. In London, plans for a new concert hall have been shelved. Sir Peter Hall’s words remain true: “England is a philistine country that loves the arts.”

 

European neighbours

When Germans speak of freedom, wrote A J P Taylor, a historian who seems to have fallen from favour, they mean the freedom to be German. No longer. When modern Germans speak of freedom, they observe it through the filter of the European Union.

But nation states are shaped by different forces. “We are educated to be obedient,” a Berlin friend who spent a year at an English school once told me. “You are educated to be independent.” To turn around Taylor’s dictum: when the English speak of freedom,
they mean the freedom to be English.

No matter what you may have heard, the Germans have always admired our independence of spirit. We shall, however, always see “Europe” in different ways. Europe, good: we can all agree on that. The European Union, not so good. It doesn’t mean we have to fall out, and the Germans are good friends to have.

 

Hook, line and sinker

There are fine walks to be had in the west, too. In Charlottenburg, the Kensington of Berlin, the mood is gentler, yet you can still feel the city humming. Here, there are some classic places to eat and drink – the Literaturhauscafé for breakfast and, for dinner, Marjellchen, a treasure trove of east Prussian forest delights. Anything that can be shot and put in a pot!

For a real Berlin experience, though, head at nightfall for Zwiebelfisch, the great tavern on Savignyplatz, and watch the trains glide by on the other side of Kantstraße. Hartmut Volmerhaus, a most amusing host, has been the guvnor here for more than 30 years and there are no signs that his race is run. The “Fisch” at twilight: there’s nowhere better to feel the pulse of this remarkable city. 

This article first appeared in the 01 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Age of outrage