Minister Eric Hatton

Following the decision of the Union not to stock copies of its Honorary President Eric Hatton’s book, Taking Up The Challenge, the President, the Vice-President (Administrative) and the General Secretary of the Union held a meeting with Mr Hatton, Hugh Davis and Susan Farrow to discuss the matters which had led to this decision.

SNU President David Bruton

The meeting was a very fruitful and cordial one and after full and frank discussions of the issues involved both the Union and its Honorary President are pleased to announce that they came to a new and better understanding of, and respect for, each other’s positions and as a result were able to achieve a resolution of the situation.

The Union has accordingly agreed to put Mr Hatton’s book back on sale at the Arthur Findlay College bookshop.

Mr Hatton recognised that some of the references in his book could have been taken to be misleading and denigratory but gave an assurance that this had never been his intention.

With hindsight, the representatives of the Union present at the meeting acknowledge that a preliminary discussion with Mr Hatton about the Union’s concerns regarding his book might have resolved this situation more speedily.


  1. Yayyyy !!!!
    Communication at last – & with the living this time !!
    Best wishes to all parties concerned & for the ongoing success of Mr Hatton’s book…

  2. so you people have appointed yourselves as censors and you know best what people should read and think for themselves? Shame on you.

  3. An excellent outcome for Eric Hatton. Justice is done!!!
    But let’s spare a thought for the hundreds of people, who have fallen foul of the SNU, who do not have the benefit of the support that Eric has had.

    • Colin Blann

      Well spoken William on the 23rd May. What about the other people, who haven’t got a well known name, who have been wronged.

    • Agree with you, but lets not forget it’s not the SNU, but a few who think that they own it that are causing the problems.

      • Officers, presidents and committee members of the SNU could be given conduct licenses. Where they are allowed only six independently reported misdemeanors before they are suspended from their posts for a period of 6 months. The independent reports must be proven to be unconnected and without conspiracy. This is the way to clean up the conduct of an organisation that is riddled with nepotism and brushing issues under carpets.

        If the SNU are serious about their Anti-Bullying Policy, then there must be consequences for serial offenders.

  4. busterkeats

    Good to see a resolution to this thorny issue, I am pleased for Eric however I feel the SNU NEC should have sat down earlier to resolve this problem of their own makeing.

  5. Phil Hotchkin

    At last some common sense has prevailed. The SNU should never have treated Eric Hatton in this manner. After such long and distinguished service to the SNU for 60 years, there was bound to be issues that he did not agree with but his loyalty would not allow him to challenge these while he served as a Minister and President.
    Having left the SNU he was then free to express his views as he saw fit and he should have had ‘freedom of expression’ even if it meant some of its practices were criticised.
    I do not agree with some of the practices of the SNU such as the banning of crosses in their churches, the exclusion of God & Jesus in their prayers and the removal of the Lords Prayer in their service. These restrictive practices do not serve well for christian spiritualists and go against the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ.
    Without ‘God ( The Great Spirit)’ and ‘Jesus Christ ( Sanander – Ascended Master)’ we would not have spirit communication or the ability to transfer healing energy through our bodies into the sick. Every aspect of this is controlled by God & JC through the transmission of the Divine Source of spirit.

    • Phil, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information about ‘God’ and the ‘Lords Prayer’ being banned in SNU churches? The first of the Seven Principles mentions God, and I recall hearing the Lords Prayer in lots of churches.

      • Spiritualist Medium

        The leadership of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with ‘pure’ or national Spiritualism which is based solely on the 7 principles. Whilst Spiritualists accept Jesus was a great medium and healer, he is no different in our eyes from Buddha, Mohammed and many others. I firmly believe that crosses, bibles, pictures of the last supper and the Christian Lord’s Prayer have no place in our Spiritualist Churches. There have been numerous calls for their removal since the 1930s yet still some remain. Spiritualism is a religion to be proud of and does not need to be diluted with orthodox symbols and trappings.

        • I see where you’re coming from, but to exclude these items is surely a form of cencorship. If a churchs’ members feel it’s appropriate to have these things, then if we truly have no dogma, what is the problem.

    • Hi Phil,

      I suspect you are getting a somewhat negative reaction to your comments because they really do not fit well on this thread about Eric Hatton’s book being reinstated at AFC.

      Perhaps your thoughts might best be posted on the ‘For and Against: More Christians in Spiritualism’ thread where people can join in on debating the role Christian symbolism, practises and beliefs should or should not have in the religious and philosophical practise of Spiritualism.

  6. Thanks to all of you for the help and the wisdom to rectify the situation

  7. Phil Mortiboy

    Well done Spirit of PN for bringing this issue to light. Thank you to the SNU for applying a bit of common sense. And congratulations to Eric Hatton for being such a pillar of strength to Spiritualism and sharing your thoughts through this lovely book.

    • Agreed. Well done to ‘Spirit of PN’ and ‘Paranormal Review’!
      I just hope that’s an end to the drama.

  8. Terry Gardener

    common sense prevails….. isn’t it nice when a sensible resolution to a problem is achieved! Spirit in action!

  9. Like everyone else I am very pleased to hear that Mr Hatton’s book will once again be stocked on the shelves of the AFC bookshop.

    While I can appreciate the very ‘diplomatic’ agreements reached – that one may have been inadvertently misleading while the other, in “hindsight” accepted that discussion with Mr Hatton before taking the action the Union did, might have been beneficial – I cannot help but still feel a degree of concern.

    The email Mr Coulston wrote to a third party about Hatton’s book, the nature of the remarks and their imputation of Eric Hatton’s reputation is such that surely a formal apology by Mr Coulston and Mr Bruton is required. A further apology, formal and in writing for failing to even inform Mr Hatton that his book had been removed from the AFC is surely also something we should be seeing.

    • I notice that at the moment there are 3 “thumbs down”. Could these be from the three SNU people who are the cause of the problem. Or is that just me being cynical.

  10. This is good news. I wish to express thanks to Sue Farrow and Roy Stemman for highlighting this dreadful abuse of power, and, by bringing it to light, forcing the SNU leadership to recognise that they had overstepped the mark. Let’s hope we have turned a corner. Let’s hope we will begin to go forward with greater honesty, openness, democracy, freedom and accountability. Unless we do, the SNU leadership will be marshalling a dwindling community. The practices of thumb-screw religion are unacceptable in today’s society, and should ever remain so. Especially in Spiritualism!!
    Nurturing the human spirit is what Spiritualism should be about, and when this is accepted, the importance of maximising individual freedom will also be understood. So, please, let us have fewer rules, less controls and fewer restrictions. SNU Spiritualism is not a brand; it is not a commodity. It is, or should be, a movement for human upliftment and enlightenment, and it will appeal the more to our fellow humans who are seeking these graces, the more it tolerates dissension, disagreement and different opinions and practices without rancour, and with love and understanding.
    This is a step in the right direction.

  11. Let’s hope this outbreak of common sense becomes contagious, and we do not see another letter like that from the Secretary of the Union defending the indefensible.

  12. Whilst agreeing with Richard that this is a step in the right direction, I think it would be a mistake to think that all has suddenly changed with certain officers of the SNU. I await with interest to see what their next big blunder will be. They seem to stagger from one fiasco to another without a thought for their members.

  13. Peter Raggett

    Its good news that common sense has prevailed at last. The SNU caused a problem that would have been easily avoided with a bit of care and foresight. It does highlight the poor decision making at the head of the SNU at present though.

    I wonder if they would have been so conciliatory if it was not for the fact that an AGM was looming and they wanted to clear the decks in order to try and survive the storm created by the outrageous treatment of Psychic News and its staff. Less people upset means less criticism.

    The book issue was easily resolved. Not so the manner of the closure of Psychic News which was my main concern.

  14. If only they had sat down and talked in the first place, the SNU would not have dragged their name through the mire… AGAIN!
    Thank God for common sense.

  15. Margaret Stirling

    I agree with Liz entirely. A most diplomatic conclusion. I also feel, perhaps if it was not for the likes of Spirit of PN and Paranormal review offering a platform for public opinion, this result may not have come to pass. Yet only those who were offended by any references in Mr Hatton’s book need ask themselves why? It also takes a big soul to show humility for the purpose of harmony and Mr Hatton certainly has shown this by his words, his deeds, his actions, yet truth will always be just that.
    Is it now high time spiritualism as is, have it’s own revolution in thinking?
    On the matter of the cross and the lords prayer. For example my own ‘church’ is nowadays greatly lacking the concept of what spiritualism is and is not, therefore any newcomers often listen to prayers, personal ideas and prejudice of the ‘have a go, it’s my turn’ egos and this is very saddening. These individuals stain the perfect teachings of Spirit, whether that is Zodiac, Silverbirch or by other means. Why fix what is not broken? Why lead people astray?
    Geoffrey Griffiths explains this consideration well in his leaflet, ‘Spiritualism and Jesus’ and further ‘The Implications of Spiritualism’ by Maurice Baranell, founder editor of PN, which I believe are still available from HQ.

  16. Janet Harrison

    I hope the union have learned a valuable lesson from this.

    • I fear that this was just a damage limitation exercise, with the AGM around the corner.
      Especially since it will be a West Midlands hosted AGM and Eric Hatton is Honorary President of a West Midlands church that has a very strong Class B membership.
      They simply didn’t want a hostile AGM.

  17. Tristan Beech

    As Eric Hattons’ grandson, I have read with much pride the several hundred comments posted on here in the last week following the, quite simply put, horrendous treatment of not only a gentleman, but a most caring and selfless human being. I am quite sure anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him would agree with me.
    I was unaware of this turn of events until I was with family at the weekend, and they informed me of the situation, and the handling of it. Im sure I was not alone in being absolutely disgusted that a man who has dedicated his life to service to the SNU could be treated with such disrespect. It pains me to think The Arthur Findlay College, his home away from home for many years, could suddenly become such an inhospitable place for a man who has served it for so long.
    I am pleased to hear of the reinstatement, and trust that a formal apology has been made to my grandfather from individuals who may have known him for many years and yet could not discuss any concerns with him before making such rash and hasty, and quite honestly, irresponsible decisions.
    I would like to thank Sue Farrow and all who have supported this injustice, and hope and pray that others will not be treated in this way following this turn of events. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I know my grandfather will never hold a grudge, but I hope that the individuals involved learn from this to ensure the leadership of the SNU can regain the respect of its members.

  18. Janet Harrison

    I have been following the postings on this thread as well as the first one concerning Eric’s book and one thing stands out to me. I have noticed the absence of comment from well known mediums (with one exception) who work at the college. Is this because you are all very diplomatic? or have you been silenced? A little of both perhaps.
    I believe that most of you will be as relieved as the rest of us that Eric has finally been accorded the respect he deserves, though it came a little late.

    • Janet, I can understand the silence of the mediums. If the SNU is capable of such an atrocity against Minister Eric Hatton, then nobody is above being “banned” from the AFC. It would be a considerable black mark against them to speak out.
      And for those of you who believe otherwise of the SNU, you really are in cloud cuckoo land.

      • Anne Hunter

        Replying to William there have been a lot of comments on here about the dark dealings of the SNU. Please would you or someone else explain why people would get a black mark to speak out. I cannot ubderstand it. Truth is truth and how could anyone with integrity be afraid of it/

        • Anne, it would not be fair to name names, and without specific examples I can only assure you that there are many versions of the truth, as there are many political allegiances.

          There are a number of egotistical bad apples whose agenda is to control, even if it means bending the truth. They surround themselves with Yes people who do not question their integrity. The moment that someone challenges their actions is when they deploy lies, apply black marks, to isolate the source of criticism against them.

  19. This statement has come not a moment too soon and all right thinking Spiritualists will be glad to read it. I do agree though that it smacks of damage limitation considering the SNU AGM is just weeks away. The storm over the dreadful decision to ban Minister Hatton’s book would surely have unleashed a torrent of protest at the meeting. We all would like to believe that the NEC has acted for right reasons in reversing their ban but if we consider their madness in banning the book in the first place it is perhaps naive to assume that the NEC has now collectively seen the light. Whatever the case credit is due to this website for speaking out against blatant injustice.

  20. Phil Hotchkin

    William – I have known two spiritualist Ministers for 15 years, one is President of my church, both have served SNU churches many times and both have been told at every service not to refer to God or Jesus in their prayers or say the Lords Prayer. They have also both seen crosses removed from churches and even at crematoriums when an SNU funeral service is taking place.

  21. Congratulations to all of you. Spirit of PN and those who posted have shown once again the power of both protest and of the Internet. I’d like to think that your NEC acted for the right reasons. Sadly, I doubt it. Defusing the situation prior to your AGM seems the most likely motivation, given the number of other incidents and offences aired in this forum. At the AGM, I predict you shall be told that everything in the garden is rosy again and that they should be allowed to continue to govern as before. I hope I’m wrong. Many unmotivated SNU members will be happy to re-elect them rather than risk change. Change frightens people.
    Should you succeed in removing them you should bear in mind that their replacements are human too. If the current lot are reappointed, things will be better for a few weeks or months and then their old behaviours will creep back in. Revenge for this slight and for your resistance to dictatorship (as they will see it) will follow.
    I wish you all well.

  22. I understand the victory for common sense, and applaud it, But I’m uncomfortable with the way it’s been spun to make it look like Eric has backed down and accepted that the SNU NEC ( or more correctly, some members of it) were right. They weren’t, he is, so just state facts without trying to wriggle out of the mess you’ve created.

    The ball still rolls on.

    • Well said Kevin. The spin is self evident. While I’m delighted that this rather objectionable and ill mannered NEC has made a small overture of courtesy to dear Mr Hatton I can’t believe that they were so small minded that they couldn’t actually say sorry to him. I am staggered that they ever banned this book. Not so much shooting themselves in the foot as self harming with suicidal intent. They really seem to have a death wish.

  23. Like Hilary I am frankly amazed the decision was ever taken to ban this particular book. A friend on the local district council has confided that members are incensed about it. I do hope the usually docile and compliant members will not leave this matter unchallenged when it comes to the AGM. The statement is just not good enough, saying nothing of their reasons for banning a book by such an important and high profile spiritualist. Secrecy, it seems, is still the order of the day.

    • It’s convenient that the AGM is being hosted in the West Midlands district, so it will be very accessible to the people who are closest to Eric Hatton.

      It’s interesting that NEC members David Bruton and Julia Almond are both from the West Midlands, so they’ll be very familiar with Eric Hatton and the feelings of the members in their district.

      This 2011 AGM may turn out to be quite entertaining!

  24. jockmcarthur

    I actually bought Erics book and read and I wonder how many other posters actually did. I am pleased for Eric that this problem is solved at last the noo

  25. They say it is good to talk, should have been done before the action was taken, lesson learnt so they say

  26. Mary Kersey

    I have just finished reading Eric Hatton’s book and found it inspiring, honest, and also a good read. He should be congratulated on the achievement. I am a life long spiritualist – named with a rose at six weeks old. I wish everyone in the movement held Eric’s views on how we should all work together for the good of spiritualism and passing on the truth instead of squabbling amongst each other.

  27. I was heartened to learn that theSNU think that the best way to make itself relevant to the 21st Century is to redesign the logo, meaning that all members and churches will have to buy a new badge or plaque, not to mention any stationary (who says that the SNU is only about money), and the renaming of the four classes of membership, when in a modern organisation there should surely only be one class. At this pace we can all look forward to a 21st Century organisation…………sometime in the middle of the 22nd.

  28. Apparently the President said Image Is Everything. Did anyone on here hear that?

    • Didn’t hear that, but if he really thinks that image is more important than substance, then the SNU in its present form hasn’t got long to go. Which is a shame. Any organisation which believes its own propaganda never lasts long.

      The NEC needs to realise that there are more Spiritualists outside the SNU than there are inside. Also that the decline in Spiritualism is within the SNU, not outside, where independant Spiritualism appears to be flourishing. And when they eventually accept this they should lose the attutude that some of the NEC appear to have, ask those that really matter ( the members – of all classes), and finally act as the organisation that they were always supposed to be.
      They were given AFC in order to conduct experiments into the science of Spiritualism, so should be doing that not converting it into a glorified hotel. As far as I understand, the re-development does not include the provision for any laboratories or controlled rooms. But, of course, they wouldn’t make any money would they.

  29. Geoff Griffiths

    Well, as usual, we are ignoring the content of the article to ride the usual hobby-horses all over cyberspace. I agree with the writer of the first post in welcoming the NEC’s communicating with the world outside Stansted.

    If Spiritualism is to look and move forward, that cause is hardly served by all the negative bickering about the NEC. In their first year, they have done what is to be expected – they’ve made mistakes. And if they haven’t exactly apologised, they have at least acknowledged this. Now can we draw a line and have some ideas, rather than constant criticism. It is getting very monotonous.

    • Let’s draw a line by knowing ….
      SPIRITUALISM does not belong to the SNU –
      the SNU belongs to SPIRITUALISM

  30. I Agree – Spiritualism belongs to everyone as it is the means by which spiritual awakening occurs, and in this time of Ascension it is ordinary people who are releasing metal and emotion inhibitions to experience total freedom of thought, cleared minds and bodies of congested debris are releasing blockages to become pure channels of light.
    Thus restoration of wholeness is reached when mind, body and soul are aligned in balance and harmony. Our spirit joins all in oneness with the divine creator, and as human beings we can now see, feel and know realities truth.

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