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Old vs New - the 'Move' in 'Movement'
Sun,16 Aug 2009
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Ive experienced certain events over the past week that have made me think very deeply about this movement, and my personal place in it, as well as the broader picture of churches, centres, and general protocol within them,
As many of you know, I run the Open Arms Spiritual Haven in Grays. The Haven is a centre, not a church, and we attract a comparatively young crowd, offering in addition to the traditional healers and platform medium a wide range of more alternative experiences, including various card readers, therapists, acupuncture, reiki, indian head massage, the list goes on. Its an eclectic mix, with a very broad base of visitors each week, Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Spiritualist, Catholic - and all different types of people, across all groups. Ive always wanted the Haven to appeal to those who may be slightly outside the mainstream, as I feel that they dont always get a voice in the more traditional centres and churches in the movement.
Our evenings are very informal, and usually quite laughter-filled, with a joyous and relaxed approach to Spirit. I dont believe we should be "po faced" around our loved ones. We must be doing something right, as in the year since opening, we have gone from a standing start to approx 50 people a week, and have given away thousands to local mental health and rape crisis charities - we are a not for profit organisation.
Getting the Haven off the ground in the first place took a certain steely determination. Sadly, there were those in the movement who would have been happy to see it fold - Im still referred to in one quarter as "that woman" (lol) - and with that determination came a need to be strong, both in terms of energy devoted to promoting and publicising the centre, and in sticking to my principles, and not allowing myself to be knocked off track.
However, over recent days, I have had several people raising issues with me which really make me wonder whether I am moving in the right direction. It seems that there are "ways" of doing things, and that our way may not be the "right" way. In trying to keep everyone happy, Im feeling myself moving more towards a position of a traditional centre/church, and thats not what the Haven ever was. From how to introduce the medium, to how to handle the healing request book, how to chair, to what type of atmosphere we should try to create - all the advice has, Im sure, been kindly meant, (or certainly in the most part), but Im now wondering whether the movement really needs to move - or if we shouldnt be disturbing the status quo ?
But then, who put these "right way" theories in place in the first place ? Why are they right ? What makes that way better than my way, other than the test of time ? Why must this movement be hide-bound by protocol, which sometimes seems only to serve to choke any new growth ? Surely the movement needs to move to survive ?
Im never going to give up this movement, and my quest to change and grow, but I would be very interested in your opinions on this issue. Can we be too different in the way we do things ? Tell me what you think !
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Jean Ian and Mary (Haven tea team)
We were surprised by the negative comments of NB and others as we have always found the Haven a very warm and uplifting centre. We agree with Sue John and Paula's comments. We have spoken to many people who have come to the Haven for the first time and they have said how friendly and welcoming everyone is and can't wait to come back again. We think Jay has a winning formula with the Haven and should not take any notice of what others say.
Carry on the good work Jay we are proud to support you!
Thu,20 Aug 2009,16:55:06 GMT
Hi Sue - Thanks for posting your views here. As you say, you have worked at the Haven on platform, and also giving 1-2-1s at our open days, so its good to hear your feedback. Since I wrote the original article, I have thought long and hard about the situation, and people involved, and have made a firm resolution to keep doing things the way we always have - Ive always said Im Marmite - you love me or hate me, and I dont understand quite why I allowed myself to be so bruised by this episode - other than maybe because I care so fiercely about the Haven - aside from having my son, I honestly feel its my life achievement !
Everything I do there I do with the purest heart, which by some more traditional souls may be seen as naivety or brashness, and in this way, I dont feel I always sit well in the movement.
The Haven WILL remain exactly as it is, and will continue to grow and develop in accordance with the spirit of the place, and Spirit themselves, whom I KNOW smile on us.
I wish EVERY centre and church well, regardless of your spiritual, religious or ethical standpoint, and hope for continued development and understanding between us all. We do need to start working together and stop sniping - as it is only via unity that we can remain strong. I will happily support and defend any of my co-workers in spirit in this movement, and feel it is about time we maybe all took a long hard look at our behaviour towards others.
In the meantime, Ive also made the discovery that the Haven is about the VISITORS who come every week, not about appeasing the spiritualist community. On that basis, Im going to keep the winning formula we have developed over the past year, keep supporting our visitors, and the local charities who benefit from our evenings, and of course our fantastic team - without whom none of this would ever have been possible ! Jay xxx
Thu,20 Aug 2009,16:50:53 GMT
How sad to read that Jay of "open arms" feels she might have to resort to the so-called 'traditional ways' of running a spiritual centre. I have worked as a platform medium, plus 1-2-1's on open days, and I have always been walmly welcomed by whoever is chairing/running the event.
I like the unregimented way Jay runs the centre and ask that she keeps the format as it is.
Who ARE these people that say "this should be run like this" or "that should not be done because..." ??!!
Spiritualism and all its adjuncts is, like life itself, evolving and I, for one, want the movement to continue forward, not live in the past.
Jay, keep as you are. don't ever become what others want you to be.
for those who want a more structured and traditional approach, may i suggest they go elsewhere? There are centres/churches that suit all. Find ones that suit you and don't go interfering with the way others are run, please!
Thu,20 Aug 2009,15:02:31 GMT
Thankyou thankyou thankyou to all your wonderful people who took the time out to reply to this article. I must apologise for my earlier postings, which look like Ive been hit by the stupid stick - I was online at 6am trying to keep up as Ive got a lot of pressure on in my (paid) work at the moment and have to find time when I can - therefore I seem to have lost the abiility to spell lol.
Toy - if there is no sackcloth shop in Grays, maybe thats an opening the Haven could explore ?! In all seriousness tho - thanks for your comments - and I feel that you are right that to criticise in that manner is not very Spiritual.
John - you are wonderful, and you know we love having you at the Haven. Every time I see you work there, you seem to have a clearer line to Spirit - something you couldnt achieve if the centre didnt uplift you in the right way. Thanks for taking the time out to post here.
And Paula - I AM deeply deeply proud of the Haven and everyone who is involved in it - I feel Ive finally found the reason Ive been plonked down here - Im following my path. I dont need teaching to do that - its happening organically, and I know that comes directly from Spirit.
Bless you all
Wed,19 Aug 2009,15:49:50 GMT
I believe if Jay's centre does have an underlying philosphy, I believe it's in the name, Open Arms, open to everyone.
If people come along and it's not for them, then they should try elsewhere but they are always welcomed back, with no negativity - so I'm surprised that a spiritual person like NB has chosen to critise so vehemently, rather than accept it's just not for them -does this not fly in the face of SPIRITULISM? and why not discreetly say something at the time? The ethos behind 'Love and Light' surely should spread to everyone, and not be dependent on someone's desired dresscode (there aren't many sackcloth shops in Grays) or whether there was a draft in the room - or maybe that was spirit....:)
Jay and the rest of the Open Arms volunteers have done a wonderful job with the centre - and its way of doing things hasn't been dictated, but defined by everyone who attends each week. People leave uplifted and content - why change?
Wed,19 Aug 2009,15:14:53 GMT
I myself have worked at the haven quite a few times, and find the energy there very wonderfull, and everybody is always welcomed there, even when jay is not there, you still get welcomed whoverever is there, and yes you do get all kinds of people there as well, some mediums do not want to prepare, or sit quietly, I know that I don't, and does it matter how the chairperson is dressed, if jay wasnt there that night,
perhaps he was unaware he was going to chair that night, I know myself, whereupon, I have gone along to a spiritual church, and hall, and had to work for spirit, in jeans and t shirt, as the medium hadn't turned up, was I not dressed right.?,
regarding the other articles, all people are qualified in what they do, and they do to help others, and making a donation to charity is what we all do, is this wrong.?
But I find that the open arms haven, is a place I would recomend to others
Wed,19 Aug 2009,13:33:10 GMT
Oh what a boring world we would live in if we all did the same thing!
Everyone is entitled to thier own opinion and have the right to choose what they do and where they go.
Right & wrong is also an opinion ... nothing more. Our hearts and souls are our judgement. If it feels good Do it!
As for the Haven? well, I have never been to a more warming and welcoming spiritual centre. Yes, the atmosphere is relaxed and fun and in my opinion the lively kind of atmosphere that keeps me going back time after time after time.
There will always be people who need a more structured and sombre place to contact spirit and of course there are MANY of thoes kind of places. It is mearly a matter of taste. Why then, the need to bad mouth a place which clearly serves a wonderful purpose in the younger, light hearted comunity?
I say, carry on regardless Jay! be proud of the centre you have worked so hard to create for the people who would never attend the "traditionall" church and let the community choose if they want to have an oppertunity to experience wonderful therapies they may not otherwise ever be able to sample.
I am sure the charities who benifit greatly from the takings would also agree.
I for one will be proud to attend and to work in the Haven as long as it continues.
Wed,19 Aug 2009,12:26:31 GMT
Thank you for your lovely feedback. The one thing that visitors to the Haven have always commented on is the atmosphere - we are truly blessed. I dont know whether it is because the vibrations in the hall are lifted by the two churches who use it before us on Sundays (both of which, interestingly, employ plenty of clapping and noise!) but even when I arrive to open us, that feeling of peace and joy is there. I am so glad you enjoy the Haven, I know that the work we are doing is important to the local community, both in terms if spiritual upliftment, and in terms of the thousands of pounds we have given to MIND and SERICC over the past year, but its always nice to get feedback like this - keep coming ! Jay xxx
Wed,19 Aug 2009,06:22:01 GMT
Bob -Thats spot on ! Its good to hear it put so succinctly. The whole point I was trying to make here is that there must be room for both types of organisation in the movement. I have at no point siad that the way we work is better - just different - and I do truly believe that this "softer" approach to the spiritual side can often help to spread the word to people who may baulk at the more traditional approach of prayer and philosophy. That isnt to say that dont believe that they have a place - and anyone who feels that I do obviously doesnt know me - but its not what we are aiming to do at the Haven. We can teach via love, ACCEPTANCE, and friendship as much as via readings, hymns and prayer.
I have every respect for the more traditional Spiritualist church based centres, and in fact have visited my local church in several occasions, but what appears to being lost in translation is that fact that different means precisely that - different - not better. But I defend to the last our right to change, and to present a modern and eclectic face to those who otherwise would be bypasse by the traditional movement.
Wed,19 Aug 2009,06:18:06 GMT
Dear NB( essex)
I have been a friend of the Haven for the past few months. Your comment did some what suprise me. As i have truthly always found the Haven a beautiful spirtual place. I come early to sit in the hall and absorb the wonderful energy created by all the helpers, workers & guests. Its a shame you didnt discuss your feelings with someone at the time of your visit. As for the draught you felt in the hall, i can only feel warmth & love. But then everyone is very different.
Tue,18 Aug 2009,21:09:48 GMT
wow- how intresting it is to see people's point of view on subjects such as this. with people coming from so many different angles and difrections, but who is right? well i think the key thing here is to point out the term 'points of view'!When the Spirit world have worked with me, as they often do, i know that i have many different charecters and personalities linking in and working with me. Many of these would not communicate in a church setting and in the same way many would not in a centre. Theay each have their own opinions and beliefs and carry on with these after the physical life.
But then i wonder, what if we were all the same, and every medium followed the same set of rules and guidelines, as did every centre. With the same structure and layout of the evening, what would be on offer then? You know you could go to any church or centre and get exactly the same treatment. A prayer, selction of philosophy maybe even a message maybe but then what? So much would be missing, for those that want 'religion' where is the time for personal reflection, the life style and help? for those that certainly dont and just want to know tht their loves one still care, the rest seems so irrelevent and difficult to take in, but we persever, we find ways to get the message accross and we keep teaching that life is eternal, that we are guided and loved by the spirit world, and Yes it is the job of the medium to teach as well as deliver the messages but like every good teacher in the world, find different paths in, maybe allow seeds of thought to be planted via the messages or a kind word, not all of spirits work is done so publically and it nevder will be.
So basically the point im trying to make is, so what if a centre is different, or a medium doesnt want to give an address, does not mean it is wrong or that the medium is not doing the work of spirit as well as someone else it just means that they are coming from a different direction, and teaching in a different way.
This movement is supposed to be one of love and acceptance, one that as someone so rightly put it is of a 'spiritual' nature, well where are these virtues when people can not run a group the way they feel their inspirers are guiding them to and a medium cann't work the waythey feel comfortable, we are not all clones of each other! We need to remain different, support and encourage these differences for this is what makes us spiritual. These differences are why we are chosen to work with spirit and why we continue to be made to feel as tho we should conform.
Tue,18 Aug 2009,20:03:47 GMT
Northern Belle - if you have visited the Haven and your comments are genuine, I am happy to discuss them with you, as I am always keen to gain feedback from visitors. Please do feel free to e-mail me directly at
rather than messaging on here as it is not the best forum to discuss things in depth.
Blessings, Jay xxx
Tue,18 Aug 2009,16:35:59 GMT
Thanks for your comments Tracey, and Im glad that you get so much from your visits to the Haven. Of course all our therapists are qualified - we arent daft enough to take on those who arent - in fact our acupuncturist works for the NHS carrying out this work, so I would hope she is lol !
I agree with you about the people who work at the Haven - we have a lovely bunch, and are really blessed with them - especially given that they all give their time freely, and not for any gain at all. I know our visitors appreciate them, and our busy centre I feel bears testimony to how fantastic they are. Thanks guys - you are all amazing ! Jay xxx
Tue,18 Aug 2009,16:23:28 GMT
You where not at the hall on the evening I attended. The Chairperson was a young male.
Tue,18 Aug 2009,16:14:47 GMT
I have been to the Haven many many times and have had numerous treatments from QUALIFIED therapists. I have never experience negativity either - as for the Team that run the Haven - they are all lovely lovely people who care for each and everyone who walks through the door, including the mediums.
Tue,18 Aug 2009,16:04:23 GMT
How very strange, Northern Bell, you do seem to have been in a different hall ! On the evening you presumably are referring to, when we had acupuncture, you would have seen me chatting to the medium in depth both before and after the meeting. I am the Chair, and Im (last time I checked lol) a woman. I certainly always ensure that I am smartly dressed on platform.
We give away ALL of our profit to two local charities, so I must admit to being rather mystified that you feel we are all about taking money - we charge £3 to get in, and all therapists, readers etc work for donations only.
Finally, I can assure you that our acupuncturist Katrina (who was nowhere near any doors) is fully trained and qualified, as you would have been able to see from the certificates which were clearly displayed on her table - all of our therapists are certified by the relevant bodies and fully insured.
I can only assume that you may have us confused with another centre, or that there may be another agenda at play here.
I wish you well, Jay xxx
Tue,18 Aug 2009,15:52:00 GMT
I have been to the hall that is run by jay.
I was upset to see treatments being done to the EARS that should only be carried out in a draught free room, which if the therapist was appropriateltely trained should know. I do worry for peoples safety, there was a permanent draught as people where opening and closing the doors.
The chairperson did not support the Meduim and showed no respect in his dress code, he was more interested in listening to all the messages. Did he understand what he was there for?. The medium was not greeted or given a quiet space to prepare.
I felt no energy in this hall and was very dissapointed by the attitude of the helpers. The tone of the evening seemed to me to be getting money in the pot. This is not SPIRITULISM
Tue,18 Aug 2009,15:18:28 GMT
Dear Jay Thanks for your coment on my input - have provided all details on your website email facility - Love; Light andTruth Always (and a day) xxxxxxx
Tue,18 Aug 2009,14:07:15 GMT
Many thanks for your comments and the massive amount of upliftment I gained from them. Since writing my article, Ive had such a surprising groundswell of support and encouragement - and often from some quite unexpected and very "traditional" quarters, it has really strengthened my resolve to carry on doing what we are doing, as its obviously making a real difference.
I have acquired a few self appointed "teachers" along the way, who seem to see it as their spiritual path to get me on the "straight and narrow", and (whilst I was initially annoyed by their arrogance in appointing themselves as such without consulting me) Ive now blessed them and let them go. I do feel that Im learning all the way - and having worked with Spirit all my life, albeit much of this prior to moving to Essex (not a whippersnapper as some seem to feel lol) Im still the first to acknowledge I dont know the lot. But I would prefer to take my education from my wonderful guides and helpers in Spirit than those here who can only represent their own views !
The Haven is a wonderful, happy place to be, and has made a real difference to the lives it has touched. I dont take personal credit for this, its down to Spirit, and they are guiding me to facilitate them to work in this way. They like the laughter and applause, and the huge outpouring of love that our centre generates, so thats good enough for me !
I like the sound of Southend - maybe we have a lot in common - send me the details of your services, and maybe I can get down for a chat ?
Im glad you logged on too - and thanks so much for your wonderful feedback ! Jay xxx
Tue,18 Aug 2009,13:38:24 GMT
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When investigating the history of spiritualism you will find that the spirit world advised and showed aspiring mediums a way of working with spirit that would ensure sincere and accurate information from the communicators. They taught those investigating spirit, a way of building up positive energy in a room to ensure that only those that came from spirit with the highest purpose for the greatest good of those gathered would connect with the medium.
Although the purpose of spiritual communication is and always has been for the reassurance of the sitters that life is eternal, the emphasis has always been on the teachings of spirit. The teaching or philosophy is presented through the address of the medium, often when the medium is entranced or controlled by a spirit teacher. I have visited some places where the atmosphere is of such low vibration that it would be impossible for a medium to provide a spiritual address. So instead mediums will talk about their experiences, often including how they came into spiritualism.
The absence of philosophy at a meeting might mean that you will have a psychic evening rather than the spiritual evening. The spirit world takes every opportunity to teach about eternal life and our purpose in being here. Depriving spirit of this opportunity to express their love and understanding leaves those coming to these meetings in ignorance of the true nature of spiritual communication.
The medium's responsibility from the very beginning of the evening is to create a vibration that will empower them to work with spirit. It is the organiser’s responsibility to ensure that the medium is given every opportunity to meet their responsibility by providing a quiet space, a safe environment, with a light and happy atmosphere. It is also the responsibility of those that chair to support the medium and make sure that there is no talking, interruptions or unnecessary movement within the audience.
At some point during the evening, time is set aside for the purpose of sending healing to those in need. It is not necessary to mention the ailments of those needing healing, indeed it is better to see them in a positive light, happy and well. This way you are sending them exactly what they need and not emphasising their difficulties or health problems.
Peace and quiet are essential. Loud noises such as clapping or shouting at the beginning would actually disturb the vibration being built in a room by spirit. When a medium works with the spirit world, if the vibration is calm and of a high quality, the medium's evidence will reflect this, often allowing the communicators to over shadow them and even show themselves within the medium's appearance.
We work with unconditional love. The medium is a transformer of spiritual energy, therefore it is essential that the environment is created with the intention of linking into that unconditional love from the very start of the proceedings. The medium begins by stating his intention to connect with the spirit world through prayer. I know that there are some within the spiritual movement who think that prayer is not essential, but it is a way of stating your intentions and creating and building a bond with those preparing to communicate from the spirit world. There is a hierarchy within the spirit world, and of course there are different ways of doing things. If you wish for a positive and uplifting communication from the spirit world you have to set the stage by ensuring the environment is right for them to work within.
I have come to the conclusion that this so-called spiritual movement needs to change, to live up to its “spiritual name”. It's no wonder to me that the numbers leaving the spiritual movement are increasing every day to escape to a place where the word spiritual reflects the true meaning of unconditional love. But still the ignorant gather together in large numbers to reassure themselves that they are right and everybody else is wrong. What is not understand is that their ignorance is generated through their lack of spiritual education or wisdom.
We need these enlightened souls from the spirit world who know how to teach us the real truth about our lives here and to guide us to our higher purpose.
While ego triumphs over common sense there will never be peace and harmony in the spiritual movement.
But what do I know? I have only been in this movement 26 years, so I am a relative newcomer. But I trust my inspiration and my spirit guides enough to share my thoughts with you.
Tue,18 Aug 2009,09:18:33 GMT
Dear Jay - First of all, whatever you do will upset 'someone' or 'another' so don't worry about what they say, if it be in front of you, or maybe behind your back if they have not the courage to tell you what they think - everyone has freewill to say and do what they think is right ok! The thing is, you know in your deepest heart you need to implement change - this is exactly what I am doing in my Church at Southend - the key to knowing if you are doing the right thing is - YOU ARE DOING IT!! Carry on regardless knowing you have at least one soul who is on your side kid -Just continue and wait and see, those dear souls who now are derriding your get up and go will, in the right moment in time be eating their own words - it will all come back to them in the fullness of time - beleive me it will - God Bless and Good Luck to you, love to everyone at your centre, whether they be on your side or against you - God is within us all, some do not know that though - (yet), but that day will dawn upon their consciousness you can be sure of that - I'll shut up nowand have some 'breakfast - sure am glad I listened to my inspirers and logged on today(-:-) Love;Brenda xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sun,16 Aug 2009,10:29:02 GMT
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