This information is based on my experiences in the church I have attended. The material here is probably representative of many Spiritualist churches in the US and likely the UK, but naturally, other churches may differ.
Spiritualist church is only for mediums, isn’t it? I would feel like a fool, or at best a rank amateur in such a place, because I am not a medium.
Do you have to be a priest to go to Christian church? Is Christian church just for priests? Obviously not. Christian church is for all people – priests are there to run/administer/enlighten/guide/etc. Spiritualist church is similar. Natural law is your guide, and mediums bring evidence of the continuity of life on the other side through messages and phenomena. Although mediumship is a noble endeavor involving heavy responsibilities, spiritualists do not worship people who become mediums.
Spiritualist church is for everybody. Who says you have to be a medium? It’s not a requirement. Most of the congregation aren’t mediums, aren’t going to be mediums, and aren’t planning on it either. But they are Spiritualists just the same. Living your life in tune with nature’s physical and spiritual laws is what makes a person a Spiritualist, not the ability to give messages from the podium.
Besides, there is another, bigger podium than the one in the church, and that is found in everyday life. The way you live your life should provide an example that inspires others. Touching other people’s lives in a positive way is something that everyone can do, medium or not.
Don’t you have to be a member of the church?
There is no requirement to be a member of the church. My experience has been that Spiritualist churches have never canvassed its congregation or the public to recruit members. You could attend church forever and not become a member. You won’t be asked about it, nor will you be forced to join, because the choice is up to you.
Of course, every church wants more members, and Spiritualist church is no different. Perhaps being able to attend church forever without having to become a member isn’t a good thing, and maybe churches should actively encourage non-members to join, but the choice is yours. The primary benefit in being a member is that members have more say-so in church doings than non-members. However, attendance is more important than membership. Membership aside, it is far better to see people in church than to have empty pews.
So what is a Spiritualist church service actually like?
Spiritualists sing hymns and listen to the lecture (sermon) and take a collection the same way other religions do. There are some significant differences though.
A healing service often takes place before the regular service. When the regular service begins, the healing list is read. The healing list is a list of people who are in need of some form of healing. If you know someone who is in need of healing, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, you can put their name on the healing list. The list is read before the congregation, who are asked to focus their thoughts and to see the people on the list in perfect health. The Prayer for Spiritual Healing is then read aloud.
The Declaration of Principles is also read aloud. After a few short announcements the lecture begins. Lectures are commonly about the applications of Spiritualism to daily living and are very down-to-earth and easy to understand. Many lectures are often based on quotations from the Bible or other inspirational works.
After the lecture, the message service begins. Mediums are called one at a time to the rostrum (podium) and give messages to people in the congregation. The service concludes with a hymn and a closing prayer.