North Shields Spiritualist Church Affiliated to the Spiritualist National Union Introduction This information is designed to give you an introduction to our church, how we run and answer some frequently asked questions.
Why become a church member? The church is invested in sole trust with the SNU for the benefit of the members, and the church is run by a committee elected by its members. If membership dwindles, there is a risk we could be given Mission status. Without any members, the church would close. Members are very important to the running of the church. It is YOUR church.
Why do we have to pay Membership Subscription? As our church is in trust with the SNU we have to pay a capitation fee for each full member on the role book at 31st December each year. We ask for the membership fee to cover the capitation fee plus a little extra to help towards the running costs of the church. The Church's Class A secretary will let you know of any changes to subscriptions at members meetings.
What is the difference between Associate and Full Member? Associate memberships are generally held by new members for a period of six months. If at the end of six months the member has attended regularly, and have demonstrated a willingness to change their religion to Spiritualism, the committee invite them into full membership. Should an associate member wish to support the church, but decide not to change their religion, they can remain an Associate member indefinitely.
Who runs the church? The members elect a committee to run the church on their behalf. Committee members are nominated by full members and then elected at the Annual General Meeting, which usually takes place in March of each year. The committee is made up of 4 Church officers and ordinary committee members, and they meet every month to discuss church business. Each has their own role.
Members Meetings. There are usually two meetings each year. The Annual General Meeting and a General Meeting in September. The meetings take place to conduct the Church business and direct the committee to act on decisions made by the members. You will be notified in advance of any meetings during a service. It is vital that all members attend the meetings as without a quorum of members present they cannot go ahead. And if the meetings cannot go ahead, nothing can be done. How do members have a say in how the Church is run? Members can approach any of the committee, or Members Secretary Carol Haikney about any aspect of how the Church is run at any time. Members can also ask the Secretary to include items on the agenda at Members meetings. Members will also be asked to vote on matters affecting the church, be it repairs, financial arrangements, donations etc, at members meetings. The committee do not have the ultimate say in how the church is run, the administration is strictly run in accordance with the rules for all churches, and decisions are made after consultation with members unless there are any overriding factors, such as health and safety. It is your church. What can members do to help? Attend church regularly, attend church meetings, help and support the committee in its work and fundraising efforts – remember we are working hard to keep the church open for your benefit, and to be a beacon of light for all who enter it. How is the church financed? The Church is owned and so we have no mortgage or rent to pay, only utilities, insurance and expenses etc. However we rely almost entirely on the collections made during the services, and donations. This is why we have regular fundraising events to raise more money for the repair work needed. The treasurer Linda Willis produces regular updates on the Church finances to both the committee and members at meetings. You have the right and will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the church finances at the meetings. The Church accounts are audited by two full members independently appointed at the AGM.
How much do speakers charge? Speakers give their time voluntarily, but most just ask for their travel expenses. We try to keep the costs down by inviting local speakers but if members would like to see a speaker from further afield, they can ask the committee to arrange this. Speakers are arranged by the booking secretary.
What are Accredited Speakers and Demonstrators? They are speakers who have trained with and been given accreditation by the Spiritualist National Union. The SNU encourage speakers to obtain accreditation to keep the standard of platform workers up.
What affect do the SNU have on our Church? The Church is run in accordance with the Unions Bye-Laws and Rules for all Churches. The power of the SNU is devolved to regional councils. Ours is the Northern District Council. The President of the SNU is currently Duncan Gascoyne. The President of the NDC is Mrs Sylvia Hobro. You will see Sylvia, at our Church from time to time. If you ever have any comments to majke about our Church, good or otherwise, that you feel should be brought to the attention of the NDC, please contact Sylvia. We also have a councillor and a National Panel Warden available for advice, should we need this.