People hold many different kinds of beliefs within Spiritualism, but one of its key philosophies is that our bodies are a vessel for our spirit or soul, which lives on when we physically die.
There are around 340 Spiritualist churches and centres around the UK. They are supported by the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU), which was established in 1901 and now has a charitable status, with around 2,700 Spiritualists paying an annual fee for formal membership.
What is Spiritualism?
The SNU describes itself as a registered religious body for Spiritualism, a movement which began in the mid-1800s. Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was famous for his interest in Spiritualism.
The Spiritualist church has seven principles, including a belief in God, the brotherhood of mankind and the eternal-living soul. It has a focus upon studying the journey made by soul, or spirit, when people die.
Among its practices is mediumship, which according to its belief system seeks to connect and “provide evidence of the existence of the Spirit within us all and the continuation of every individual soul beyond physical death.”
Mediums are appointed as ministers, after training in their mediumship through the Spiritualist church’s education system (the organisation has a dedicated college, The Arthur Findlay College, in the Essex).
Spiritualist ministers can offer support to people at the end of their lives and their families in the role of hospital chaplains.
They also provide ceremonies including weddings and Spiritualist funerals.
Valentine & Turner will liaise with your loved one’s Spiritualist minister or arrange with a local Spiritualist church or centre to hold a Spiritualist funeral.
According to Spiritualist beliefs, a Spiritualist funeral is about celebrating the life that the person lived in this world. It’s also about helping bereaved friends and loved ones to share their memories about the person who has died and to look back on their life with joy, as well as express their sadness.
A Spiritualist funeral
At a Spiritualist funeral, mourners are reminded that the person who has died has merely left their body – a mortal garment that has served its purpose’ – and their life continues in another sphere beyond the earthly realm.
The focus is upon giving a personalised funeral that says a lot about the person who has died. At many Spiritualist funerals, mourners make personal tributes, share meaningful readings or poems and choose funeral flowers and music that is fitting and special.
The Spiritualist church’s funeral services do not include formal religious language. For this reason, it suggests that its funeral services may be attractive for people who did not regularly attend a place of worship but would have liked a spiritual element to their final send off.