Reflections from the Minister
As a Baby Boomer I sometimes think back to my earliest memories. These were the days before supermarkets, when packaged food was purchased from a small grocery store. Butcher’s shops had a thick layer of sawdust on the floor and the processing of carcasses was carried out on a huge wooden block. The only take away fast food was fish and chips. People huddled around their radio for electronic entertainment and there was no direct dial telephone. One had to ask the exchange operator for the number required to be put through. How the way we now progress our day to day lives has evolved since those times? But not only have technologies evolved but we as a people have also evolved in our acceptance of the beliefs and attitudes of others. The perception is that each generation is more savvy and wiser than those of previous generations. It is a natural progression that everything, but everything including mankind should evolve as evidenced throughout the pages of history.
As Christian Spiritualists we too have evolved and continue to evolve although the core tenet of our beliefs remains unchanged. Again, on reflection of the pre-Baby Boomer days for most, the ritual of a Sunday was to attend the church of one of the accepted mainstream religions The format of the service presented at COSE in earlier days was a reflection of these bygone times with equal emphasis on mainstream religious rituals combined with understanding and exploring working with spirit. It is a statistical fact that there is a continuing decline in the numbers attending mainstream churches which indicates to me that their spiritual needs are not being met from that quarter leaving a void that people seek to fill. Some turn to Spiritualism to fill this void. I would suggest most turn to spiritualism to find and confirm a direction in their life.
Part of the evolution process is not only the internet but also the amount of information that is available and continues to become available from this source. Opinion, instruction, demonstration and a dearth of information is available from the worldwide web including copious amounts related to spiritualism and every imaginable associated topic. None of this however substitutes for the one-on-one contact for those actively pursuing their spiritual journey and on a quest to understand themselves as a spiritual being.
Most of us are happy in our ‘comfort zone’ and are reluctant to change but the old must give way to the new. This is the undeniable process of evolution. Thus the old guard of workers who have carried COSE forward these past 50 years with their old traditions must give way to the new guard that will continue to carry the Church onward. While the Christian core values of tolerance and acceptance etc. remain the underlying dogma of the Church we now promote these Christian values in a more subtle way.
So how has COSE evolved? The change has in part been orchestrated by Spirit and the change has been gradual to meet the desires and needs of those now finding the Church who are looking to find direction and purpose in their life. Those enquiring about the format of the Sunday service are adamant they are wanting to get away from the formal mainstream religious litanies. Over recent years COSE has slowly drifted away from ‘the old time religion’ with the formal prayers and hymns and is embracing a dogma that is more modern and about personal growth and understanding rather than lauding praise and pleas to an ultimate authority or if you will, God. This is what the newer generations are seeking and if COSE is to survive we have needed to embrace these desires not only to satisfy the needs of the post baby boomers but to embrace newcomers to our Church.
COSE has always been a learning centre offering overall spiritual experiences to those seeking confirmation of their beliefs. One of the most basic roles of a Spiritualist Church is to provide not only the theory but also the practical ‘proof of survival’ of physical death. Relatively new to COSE in recent years is the occasional introduction of a medium during the Sunday service. While some in attendance and not directly involved may find this communication process of bringing through a ‘passed over’ loved one tedious and uninteresting it remains a valid learning experience for all in attendance. This is also a part of the evolution of COSE process.
Remember, in our teachings and understandings nothing happens by chance.
Rev. David Finlay
December 15, 2022
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