On 12 July, on a somewhat sultry day, four stalwarts gathered at Hawes Pier, South Queensferry. Our destination was Inchcolm Island, a few miles east of the Forth rail bridge. Daily sailings are provided in the summer by the Maid of the Forth. The sea was flat calm and the 30 min crossing was uneventful apart from a few passing fulmars giving us their customary inspection. Closer to Inchcolm a few puffins and grey seals were spotted. The landing at Inchcolm was straightforward with no difficulties for anyone physically impaired.
The island almost comprises two smaller ‘islands’ linked by a narrow sandy isthmus. In summer, the western end is dominated by a large colony of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and is best avoided since the adult birds are very adept at defending their eggs and chicks. During our visit, many well-fledged young were hanging around the beach and provided entertainment for younger humans grown weary of all the historic stuff. Both eastern and western parts of Inchcolm have numerous disused wartime fortifications, including a lengthy tunnel.
The name Inchcolm means ‘Island of Colm’. In the later Middle Ages the name Colm was identified with St Columba, the 6th century abbot of Iona. A monastery was first established as a priory in the mid 1100s and received abbey status in 1235. The Augustinian brethren who founded the priory were not monks, but canons. The abbey consists of several closely interconnected buildings of different ages, including the12th century bell-tower, but, of the very first building, only the nave remains. The main domestic buildings of the abbey are arranged around a central quadrangle surrounded by a cloister walk, which apparently is the best preserved medieval cloister in Scotland. The chapter house is an octagonal building on the east side of the cloister and is the only surviving cloister building from the 1200s. It was the meeting place of the community and one can easily imagine the lively debates that took place here. The abbey underwent various misfortunes, being repeatedly raided by the English during the 1300s and was eventually disbanded after the Protestant Reformation.
After some hastily consumed sandwiches, our Portobello contingent made directly for the abbey. The bell-tower is a powerful attraction because the upper part is completely accessible and provides superb views of Fife and the Lothians. However, access to the first- and mid-level is via a very narrow helical stairway and is not to be recommended to those with ample hips! The modern stairway to the upper level is steep and ‘three-points of contact’ are needed to ascend and descend without mishap. But the climb was worth it. Only two real stalwarts from Portobello made it!
On the return trip the Maid of the Forth took us on a wide arc to inspect the foundations for the new (3rd) bridge across the River Forth, before landing back at Hawes Pier. We had a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable day. It was not only good to have time for members of the congregation to learn about the history of this little-known part of Scotland, but also about each other. It could be the fore-runner of other such trips.
If Heaven had an Open Day
If heaven had an Open Day, how excited would I be,
to once again see my loved ones. That would mean the world
to me, to see them as I know them, when they were at their best.
No more sickness,
but with a glow and that bounce in their step,
to hold and laugh with them once more.
My life would be complete
if heaven had an Open Day.
What stories would we learn,
to know what lies in front of us.
No more sickness, no more fear,
all are equal, the way it should always be.
If heaven had an Open Day,
would you line up with excitement ?
Or would you stand aside, rather not wanting to know !
The question you must ask yourself is:-
“How would I feel when it's time to go ?”
if heaven had an Open Day.
The choice is yours.
PRESIDENTS ADDRESS 2014
Our church was established by the Reverend Walter Bisset in 1946 and quite recently in our archives I came across a document sent to him from Mrs Gourlay, Larbert. I only know sender and recipient because of the wrapping paper, no other information is available. However older Spiritualists remember Mrs Gourlay and Mr Bisset. They were wonderful workers for our movement and this document shows us what inspired them to make Spiritualism their way of life.
So often people seeking an understanding of our Movement can find a mixture of beliefs with, New Age Philosophy, Psychic Awareness Raising, Angel Connections to name but a few. So where is Spiritualism in all this mix? Well this document takes us back to our foundations. It is entitled,” Spiritualism and its Principles”. It states our beliefs quite clearly and I feel it is useful to read it to you tonight.
1 “The Fatherhood of God”
Meaning for want of a better term that great overseeing soul of all life. That Greater Spirit, of which we are a part. The essence of life itself.
2 “The Brotherhood of Man”
The spiritual link with all men interlacing the whole universe, making one stupendous whole “God”. Simplified meaning that the whole world is one great family which should be ruled by that inner love for all Humanity. “God is wisdom, God is love.
3 ”The Communion of Spirits and Ministry of Angels”
That Spiritual link with the seen and unseen, that intercourse which happens from time to time bringing helpful advice and knowledge from the world of Spirit to the earth plan, to the loved they have left behind. Bringing love and comfort to the bereaved and encouragement for them to go on knowing they are ever present to help and inspire them by their great love for them.
4 “The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul”
“It is the essence of hope itself”, destroying all fear of Death to know there is a life hereafter gives the incentive for man to work and strive to make something of his life here, so that he is better able to enjoy the fruits of his labour in the next world of Spirit.
5 “Personal Responsibility”
Accepting which we take the right road, the hard road.
There is no easy way out of life's successes or failures we are fully aware of our responsibility to life and what we make of it.
6 “Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all good and evil deeds done on Earth”
In other words, Justice will be done, as man has sown here so will he reap the rewards of his efforts when he passes to the world of Spirit, and he will judge himself according to his works as seen by himself.
7 “Eternal progress open to every human soul”
Implying no matter what state of thought one passes to the Spirit world there is always hope “for even the lowest” to progress towards “the light” towards God. This itself is a great demonstration of the Eternal force of Love which emanates from God.
So in the sixty odd years since this document was penned not a lot has changed. We might in our vocabulary change the reference to mankind to humankind perhaps but the basic tenets of Spiritualism are still upheld to the best of our ability in our church. May they continue to inspire us on our spiritual pathway. I am going to conclude by letting you hear how they inspired one of our Members. Many of you know Laurence Miller he worked as a Medium and Healer for many years in this Church. He recently passed to Spirit at the end of last years. His family sent me these words which Lawrence wrote just before his passing and they demonstrate how much The Principles guided and informed him on his journey.
Just Moving On
My time's run out upon this earth, my spirit tells me so.
The illness that I suffer, from me will not go
My body now has had enough of never feeling well,
The features it was made of, are only a shell.
Yet I'm at peace within my mind – death holds no fear for me,
I'm sad that I am leaving, but so glad to be set free
From all the pain and struggling that in my life I've known,
Yes, I will be quite happy moving to my spirit home.
I know I'll miss my loved one who on this Earth must stay,
But if they send a thought to me I'll not be far away,
In fact I'll be with others, who have passed on before,
The ones who know and love me – how could I wish for more
Well now I'll bid you farewell – until we meet once more,
For I can feel a loving, so beautiful and pure
It draws me gently onwards towards a shimmering light.
Where I can see my loved ones – just coming into sight.
By LRJ Miller.
May we too find the inspiration we seek to give meaning to our lives.
JSH March 2014
The End of My Journey
As I come to the end of my journey, I stop and have one glance back. Everything is so clear now:- the path that I choose;
the ups the downs;
the joy and the heartaches.
But I know now, this was my learning experience on this plan.
I stand here now with no regrets but one. As I look past the path, I see my family and friends, the loved once I've left behind.
An overwhelming sadness comes over me, but only for a second.
As I realise, like the stars in the dark skies that shine so bright, I will always shine in their thoughts, their memories and in their hearts, as they will in mine. “Now it's time” my guardian angel whispers, as he wraps his loving wings around me, and carries me onward, home.
2014 has well and truly arrived. No doubt many of us will have read our horoscopes for the year, made and broken our New Year Resolutions, so what now? Contrary to popular belief, mediums don't foretell the future. Your future is of your own making. Self-evident perhaps and yet I still meet people in the church who are desperate for a message telling them what decisions to make in their lives.
One of the Spiritualist Principles is Personal Responsibility and that applies to all our choices. Sometimes we make a decision that leads to favourable results sometimes the outcomes are less pleasant but even with those we learn valuable lessons. I do suggest you take time to relax and send a prayer or thought to
the Spirit World and ask guidance for the future.
For those who are following their pathway of Development, the Circle restarts Monday 27 January. Again you are asked to think carefully about your commitment to work for God and Spirit. If returning to the Circle be certain you can give the time required. It is not only a Monday evening but as you progress more time is needed, for example, to honour any promises made to do tea duty, chairing and readings.
We will be joined on Friday 21st February by Developers from Stirling Church for a Service of Clairvoyance open to the public. Some Developers from each church will work on the platform and a reciprocal visit will be made to Stirling on Wednesday 25 June. All our Members can help to make this an enjoyable evening by attending and giving an enthusiastic welcome to Linda Buchan and friends.
The church has been well attended since reopening on 5th January and we have some very fine mediums due to visit us this year so keep checking for news updates. Please note our AGM will take place on 17th March. Committee Members remember we have a meeting Sunday 9th February.
19 January 2014