What’s in a name?

Sue Farrow reports on a naming ceremony with a difference.

Minister Eric Hatton, President of Stourbridge National Spiritualist Church

One of the UK’s most thriving Spiritualist churches has hosted a very unusual ceremony.

Stourbridge National Spiritualist Church was the setting for a Divine Service on November 20, during which not one but nine adults were named by the church’s long-time president, Minister Eric Hatton.

Ninety-seven Spiritualists looked on as, one by one, the seven women and two men, aged from 17 to over 60, made their way onto the church platform to receive their spirit name from Eric Hatton, who also handed each a long-stemmed red rose symbolising the flowering and continual blooming of the spirit. For all nine it was a unique and special experience, one they had looked forward to eagerly.

The youngest of the nine candidates for naming was seventeen-year-old Robert Dangerfield, a church member since last year, who smiled with pleasure on hearing the name Eric had been inspired to give him – ‘Dauntless’. From the nodding heads among the congregation it was clear that this name had hit the mark. Robert has attended Stourbridge church for some years and by his early teens was very keen to become a member. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to do so until he was sixteen. Disappointed though he must have been, Robert was undeterred and waited patiently to reach the magic number. ‘Dauntless’ seems a perfect fit in the circumstances.

Lifelong Spiritualist Janet Seddon had waited many years to be given her spirit name, and told me after the service that it had meant so much to her to receive it from Eric, who had been inspired to call her ‘Photon’ – a particle of light.

The Spiritualist naming ceremony is a source of mystery to some. Do presiding ministers or mediums just pull a name out of thin air? Do they plan the name in advance or come up with one at the precise moment of the service when it is needed? Neither, ideally, because the name is intended to come from the direct inspiration of spirit at a time of their choosing.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and a number of people have told me that the spirit name they or their child were given has turned out to be a highly accurate prediction of personal qualities that would develop on the journey through life.

Were you given a childhood spirit name that in some special way summed up the person you would become in later life? If so, share it with us!

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