Presidents Blog 41

NEC Meeting Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August 2018

The President's Blog was established with the aim of keeping members fully updated about the work of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and developments which affect the Union and the wider movement.

Much of the work of the NEC is by its very nature confidential but every effort will be made to keep members fully apprised wherever appropriate.


Elections and Appointments 2018/19:


President Minister David R Bruton                  

Collegiate Committee / Principal / Museum / Gordon Higginson Memorial Scheme / Healing Forum / Ambassador

Vice-President Minister Alan Rawnsley                  

General Purposes Committee / Head Office / Complaints / Health & Safety / Human Resources & Policy


Vice-President Minister June English                      

Ministers Administration Committee / Almoner / Interfaith / Safeguarding


Financial Director Miss Julia Almond OSNU               

Finance Committee / Strategic Plan / Religious Education Council


Education and Exponents Director

Minister Steven Upton


The Exponents Committee will be as follows:

Main Committee members:

Chairman Minister Judith Seaman

Vice-Chairman                         Mark Bradley

Secretary                                Christine Thompson

Rep. to Healing Forum              Tim Smith (also upgrading documentation and publications)



Teacher Training Co-ordinator                Linda Walker

PAS & CSNU Co-ordinator                     Vanessa Follett

CAAS Co-ordinator                                Kathryn Crossley

HAS Co-ordinator                                 Jean Smart

SNUi Boards & APL Co-ordinator            Trevor Barton

SNUi Healing Co-ordinator                     Andre Djordjevitch


SNUi Committee

Chairman                            Minister Arthur Plumpton

Vice-Chairman                     Cathy Leigh Tsoukalsa

Secretary                            Angela Foster

Council Rep.                        Minister Alan Baker

Ordinary Member                 Daniela Gervasoni

Ordinary Member                 Karen Francis

Ordinary Member                 Charles Seaman

Ex-officio                             Minister Steven Upton


Education Committee

Chairman                             Chrissie Waters

Vice-Chairman                    Richard Cuthbert

Secretary                           Joan Dempsey


Jacky Ellis

Robert Dangerfield

Debbie Ridgway


Ministers Administration Committee

Chairman                           Minister June English

Vice-Chairman                    Minister Brenda Newall

Secretary                           Minister Suzanne Gibson Foy

Committee                         Minister Jenny Peacock


Complaints Committee

Chairman                         Minister Judith Seaman

Vice-Chairman                  Russell Fitzpatrick

Complaints Coordinator     Gillian Grimson


Communications Director

Alv Hirst                                                                                            


Publicity & Promotions Committee

Chairman                             Joy Clark

Vice-Chairman                    Andrew Manship

Secretary                              t.b.a.

Committee                            Rachel Casson


Public Relations Officer

Minister Steven Upton


Collegiate Committee

Chairman                             Jackie Wright OSNU

Vice-Chairman                    Minister David Bruton (Principal)

Secretary                              Ann Kelly


Miss Julia Almond OSNU (Finance Director)

Minister Simone Key (Senior Tutor)

Sandie Baker (Tutor Representative)

Loraine Todd

Tanya Smith (General Manager, Arthur Findlay College)

Seamus Davis (General Manager, Barbanell Centre)


Finance Committee

Chairman                             Miss Julia Almond OSNU

Vice-Chairman                    Minister David Bruton

Secretary                              Jane Barton (Chief Administrative Officer)


Minister Alan Rawnsley

Minister June English

Ernie Gray

James Underwood

Graham Hewitt (Trust Property Coordinator)

Lesley Gilbey (Finance Administrator)


General Purposes Committee

Chairman                             Minister Tony Penketh

Vice-Chairman                    Minister Judith Seaman

Secretary                              Charles Coulston DSNU


Minister Alan Rawnsley

Derek Pipe

Jane Barton (Chief Administrative Officer)

Ordinary Members

OM One         Minister Suzanne Gibson Foy (Focus on Religion)

OM Two         Pat Seymour OSNU (Church Support)

OM Three      Vacant

Council Member to the NEC

Minister Lynn Bradley



Minister Marian Bishop


Museum Curator

Paul Gaunt


Safeguarding Coordinator

Minister Kim Moore-Cullen


Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator

Minister June English

Interfaith Ambassador

Minister David Hopkins


Faith Advisor to HM Prison Service, Youth Offenders Institute and HM Armed Forces

Minister Steven Upton


NEC Meetings 2018/2019


October /

November         5th to 7th (Barbanell Centre)

December         30th November, 1st, 2nd December (venue to be arranged)



February            8th, 9th, 10th (Barbanell Centre)

April                    5th, 6th, 7th (Barbanell Centre)

June                   7th, 8th, 9th (Barbanell Centre)

July                     19th (Pre-AGM Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow)



General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The GDPR Working party is working through all the requirements of the Act and following the issue of policy documents to Churches in April further documents will be issued shortly. It may be the case that we need to amend the Privacy statement but this is all very much work in progress. The Union is currently working to support Churches in order to ensure that they are compliant.

Further guidance to be issued by the Committee will include:

Healing Books in Churches; The Almoner - possible changes to service; Volunteer agreements; Consent form for mediums.

The Union has discovered a useful website which can also provide useful help to Churches:


It has been agreed to produce a Church Committee Induction / Welcome  pack which will provide all the necessary information to support members of Church committees in their work.

As part of the ongoing GDPR the Union will also review its staff contracts and service agreements for contractors to ensure that they are compliant and that all data held both within Head Office and at satellite sites is managed in an appropriate manner.

The Union is also in the process of reviewing its Document Retention policy again with a view to ensuring that we only retain documents that are necessary; all complaints paperwork will in future be returned to the Chairman of the Panel, who will arrange to return it to Head Office for secure disposal. The necessary changes to Byelaws F will be considered by the General Purposes Committee.

It is hoped to create an FAQs section on the main SNU website, again with the view of supporting the Churches.

The Exponents Committee will also be asked to review the Healing Cards with a view to creating a suitable card for use with children.

Other works in hand in relation to GDPR include a form of acceptance for the liability of costs, which will include a new paragraph to remind both the appellant and the respondent that all correspondence will be shared with both parties.

The Union also intends to write to the Information Commissioner's Office to explain the difficulties this new legislation is causing; the workload to meet all the requirements is placing considerable additional work on to the staff at Head Office and will in turn have a knock-on effect in our Churches.


Barbanell Centre

Following a tender process contractors have now been agreed for the work to remodel Jarvis House; it is hoped to have the contractors on site by the end of the month and we still aim for completion before the end of the year. The installation of the new kitchen at the centre will take place in September and it will bring the facilities up to the standards of a professional kitchen.


Building the Future of the SNU

The NEC are of the opinion that the Action Plan needs to be revisited with a view to creating a stronger strategic direction for the Union going forward. It has been agreed that a day will be held in conjunction with the next Council meeting to hold a collaborative planning event and various members will be invited to take part. Its aim is to identify a shared vision about what the SNU aims to achieve, to involve key stakeholders in determining future priorities and to enhance communication within and across the committees.


Building the Membership

The Union is concerned over current levels of membership both of the Union and its Churches; the new IM Representative, Mark Bradley, is currently preparing a paper for the NEC looking at ways to encourage members to support the Union. We are also exploring the possibility of engaging some external consultancy around membership organisations and how we can best support our members and add value through their membership. We will also look at sharing some of this information with our Churches to support them in their work.


NEC Workload

The NEC is always concerned that it struggles to allocate time to planning our future and looking for ways to better promote our religion. With this in mind we have agreed to hold a full NEC teleconference between meetings with a view to dealing with some of the work, thus freeing up the agenda time for other business.


Charity Governance Code

Copies of the Charity Governance Code have been circulated to all members of the NEC and we will use this as a tool to benchmark the work of the Union to ensure we are fully compliant with current legislation and best practice in the sector to deliver public and community benefit.


Ministers Annual Report

The newly-formulated report for Ministers and Officiants has gone out with a return date of mid-August; the report is designed to better reflect the work of the Ministry and details have also gone out for the Ministers Congress and the Council of the Ministry, which will take place at Sheffield Attercliffe Church on Saturday 20th October. Following requests from the Ministry this will now be a one-day event.


Peace Service

Despite it being a very hot day we had a good turnout for the Annual Peace Service and Walk to the SNU Memorial. It is possible that this will be the last year the service will take place in a marquee, as the Arboretum is currently undertaking a multi-million pound building project to provide new custom-built facilities on site.


Interfaith Ambassador's Report

The Interfaith Ambassador attended the National Meeting and AGM held this year in Derby. The theme of the meeting was 'Young People and Interfaith Engagement Making a Difference'. The main speakers during the day were young people themselves or those actively involved in promoting multi-faith activities and events. The day included the launch of the new version of Connect, which included a statement from Robert Dangerfield, an Individual Member from the West Midlands District Council:


“In an increasingly multi-faith world, it is so important to promote respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others. It is the knowledge and understanding we gain in identifying the many similarities between our faiths that can help to unite us, and, as a consequence, we are more able to effect change, promote harmony and achieve peace in our world, through working together in the advent of these universal aspirations.”

Robert, Spiritualist


Finance Committee

The Panel Warden's Report Form is currently under review with the Finance Committee and once this work is complete the new form will be piloted prior to its introduction for all Churches.


Making Tax Digital

Work is underway to train staff using SAGE accounting with a view to the Union becoming compliant with the new requirements of HMRC for online filing of accounts.


The Finance Committee has now updated the guidance for Churches around Gift Aid and how it is operated and this new leaflet should be included in the September circulation.


Church Improvement Grant

This important initiative, launched for the first time last year, was re-launched at the AGM; details will also be included in the September circulation to Churches and a further budget of £10,000 has been set aside with a view to make matched funding grants of up to £1,000 for Churches.


SNUi Membership continues to grow

SNUi reported its membership at 1,295 and as the content of the monthly programme continues to improve this certainly seems to be driving memberships. Work is still underway on changes to the new website and it is hoped to have everything fully operational in the not too distant future.


Communications Director

Our presence on social media continues to grow, with the feature, ‘Spiritualism - A Way of Life’, gaining views of between 1.8k and 2.7k.

The top-performing post overall during the period was the post to promote the web-streaming of the World Congress, which attracted 8.8k views.

The Peace Service post also attracted 3.8k views.


The Publicity & Promotions Committee are working on a social media Peace project based upon the Orlando Hands video, which was used as part of the Peace Service at the National Memorial Arboretum.


The Communications Director has been invited to attend a special event organised by the West London District Council, at which he will weave some of the themes from the FOR day held at Runcorn earlier in the year.


The NEC reviewed possible content for the latest edition of SNU Today, which will be published and distributed in September.


Ordinary Member One

Minister Gibson Foy reported on the June Rally, which was held over two days in Preston and Runcorn. Overall, these events allowed us to share and develop our thoughts for the future of our religion and the event provided a two-way flow of ideas and information, which will be developed further in the future.


SNU Website Perspectives 

Currently a new Perspectives feature is posted every two to four weeks and this new initiative seems to have been well received.


Exponents Committee

Work is underway to develop new tools for the training of healers both at Church and at District level; once these are complete they will be rolled out by the Committee District by District with a view to getting everything issued over a period of months.

Work is also underway to develop an Accreditation Register to reflect all award- and appointment-holders, including PAS, CAAS and HAS.

More information will be shared as the project progresses.



This year's AGM held at the Cedar Court Hotel and hosted by the South and North Yorkshire District Councils proved to be an excellent event; business concluded by 5.00 p.m. on Saturday evening, leaving delegates to share in a Service for Spiritualism on Sunday morning, followed by four panel discussions, which included speakers to a theme and discussion.

Members agreed that next year's AGM will be held in Glasgow, hosted by the Scottish and Irish District Council, and the 2020 AGM will be hosted by Norwich Church in Norwich. Only 47 churches were represented this year out of 314 and it was agreed to form a Working Party to organise next year's event and try to find ways of engaging with Churches with a view to encouraging them to attend the Union's AGM.


500 Club

The latest draw took place during the AGM, with one lucky member scooping a top prize of £1,000. Any member or Church or non-member wishing to join the scheme with a chance to win some excellent prizes should contact Jane Heatley at the Members Service Centre, Head Office. The odds of winning a prize are 14 to 1, which is better than the National Lottery.


Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting will take place at the Barbanell Centre on 5th, 6th and 7th October 2018.  The next National Council meeting will take place at the Barbanell Conference Centre on Saturday 29th September 2018.


Have your say

As part of an ongoing policy of openness the NEC would welcome your views; please feel free to email your comments to me at [email protected]



Minister David R Bruton





Previous Blogs 

Presidents Blog | AGM Special |

Presidents Blog | Edition 40 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 39 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 38 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 37 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 36 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 35 | 

Presidents Blog | Edition 34 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 33 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 32 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 31  |

Presidents Blog | Edition 30 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 29 |

Presidents Blog | Edition 28 |