Spiritualist Church
The Spiritualist Church grewout of the Spiritualist movement which began in the 1840s in America. Spiritualist Churches are found around the world, but are more common in English-speaking countries. In North America the churches are primarily affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, and in the UK with the Spiritualists National Union. A large number of Christians refute that the Spiritualist Church is part of Christianity, claiming it is contrary to Scripture: we will not join that debate. It is for each of us to decide which denomination is best for us. Anyhow there have been serious disagreements about religion since the beginning of time.

History
The origin of mediumship is associated to the Fox sisters at New York in 1848, but the unofficial beginning of spiritualism is claimed to be much earlier. By 1853 the movement had reached San Francisco and London, and by 1860 was worldwide. The Fox family remained very active in Spiritualism for many years. Other notable Spiritualists were Mercy Cadwallader, who became a sort of missionary for the movement, and Emma Hardinge Britten, who wrote many books on mediumship and its place in American popular and religious culture. In 1853 the first Spiritualist Church in the British Isles was established by David Richmond at Keighley in Yorkshire. In 1855 the first Spiritualist newspaper in Britain, The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph, was published, and by the 1870s there were numerous Spiritualist societies and churches throughout the US and Britain. However there was no national organisation of mediums in Britain or the USA even though some regions of Britain had organised Federations.
National Federation of Spiritualists (NFS) was founded in 1891 and grew rapidly. It changed its name change to the Spiritualists' National Union (SNU) in 1902. British spiritualists of this time were often adherents of temperance and anti-capital punishment groups, often held radical political views and were frequently vegetarians. A few campaigned for Women's Rights and a tiny minority Free Love: the popular perception of Spiritualists in the Victorian age was that they were radicals.

'Two Worlds was the major British magazine of spiritualism and had a fairly large circulation, and it advertised the existence of local circles. Trance mediumship flourished and table turning was a popular craze. D.D.Hume one of the greatest physical mediums made spiritualism fashionable by his high profile activities, and it was common among everyone from the aristocracy down. There were many fake mediums practising in the period, exposed by both the Spiritualists, and the fledgling Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1882, whose members spent much time investigating the phenomena. By 1924 there were 309 Churches who were affiliated to the SNU and many more belonged to other organisations. A new magazine, Psychic News, had joined Two Worlds on the newsstands of Britain. American spiritualism was individualistic and more anti-organisation than its British counterpart. From 1920 to 1938 there was the British College of Psychic Studies led by Mr and Mrs Mackenzie in London. The College of Psychic Studies at Stansted  grew after this and continues to this day.

In 1957 there was a major schism and Spiritualist Churches in Britain divided into the Spiritualist's National Union, holding spiritualism to be a religion, and the circles of Christian Spiritualism, who hold it to be a denomination of Christianity. The two groups hold very different theological beliefs. National Spiritualist churches form the majority and are affiliated to The Spiritualists' National Union (S.N.U.), including the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain. The SNU also has some member churches in other English speaking countries. Christian Spiritualist Churches are mainly affiliated to The Greater World Christian Spiritualist Association. There are Spiritualist churches in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The Republic of South Africa and groups in many countries including Japan, all Scandinavian countries, Korea, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Many such groups and also individuals, are members of The International Spiritualist Federation (ISF) which was founded in Belgium in 1923 and is an umbrella organisation for all spiritualists. They hold Congress every two years in different parts of the world. Other Spiritualist groups in the UK include The White Eagle Lodge, founded by the medium Grace Cooke, The Institute of Spiritualist Mediums and the Noah's Ark Society, that focuses on physical phenomena only.


Styles of Worship
Spiritualist churches are places of worship for the practitioners of Spiritualism. The Spiritualist service is conducted by a 'medium'. There is an opening prayer, an address, hymns and finally a demonstration of mediumship:  they attempt to contact the spirits of the dead. This is known as 'opening up'. In Britain especially, mediums are required to produce clear evidence that the spirit contacted is the person they claim it to be before going on to give any "message" from the spirit. Such evidence can be details of where they lived, like addresses, and particulars of illnesses suffered, notable events in their lives, etc, often known only to the person in the audience being given the information. The standard of mediumship varies greatly but the best do produce startlingly accurate information about the spirit with whom they are in contact.

Spiritualist Beliefs
Spiritualists believe that all die physically; and that some aspect of the personality or mind survives and continues to exist on the spiritual plane. Spiritualists use the word 'Spirit' as plural to describe all minds and entities who have entered into the spirit world. The purpose of the medium is to provide some evidence that a human has survived by describing the person to their surviving relatives. The degree of accuracy with which the deceased are described goes some way to convincing the living relatives and friends that the medium has some contact with the spirit. Spiritualists call this 'Survival Evidence'.

Spiritualist Healing is a form of mediumship which involves a technique of directing healing energy to the patient from a higher source. The healer uses his or her hands to affect repair of damaged or diseased tissue. 

There have been some outstanding and famous practitioners of spirit communication connected to Spiritualist churches. One of the principal advocates of Spiritualism was the 20th century British writer Arthur Findlay. Findlay was a magistrate, farmer and businessman who left his mansion house as place for the study and advancement of psychic science. This has now become The Psychic College in Stansted, England and is run by the S.N.U.

Mediums develop their ability by sitting regularly with other psychics. Meditation plays a large role in Spiritualist practice and often includes controlled breathing. It may also include chakras. The Spiritualist may also focus on 
aspects of a holy nature to help them attain a higher existence. These may include standard prayers (Hail Mary, Sanctus etc.), focusing on the name of God (Jesus, YHWH or Lord etc.) Imaging (intensely imagining a place or situation) is used. There are specific imagings used to "meet" one's guide, connect with those who have died, receive protection or support from God or simply calming the mind.


Spiritualist Creed
The Spiritual Church accepts the Seven Principles of Spiritualism, of which principles, full individual liberty of interpretation is allowed:

The Divine Eternal Parenthood (sometimes called "the Fatherhood of God")
The Family of Humankind (sometimes called "the Brotherhood of Man")
The Interconnectedness of all Creation.
The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels
The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul
Personal and Social Responsibility, including compensation and/or retribution hereafter for the good and evil deeds done "on Earth"
Eternal progress open to every Human Soul

A long-used Spiritualist Creed, drawn from the writings of clairvoyant Bishop Charles W. Leadbeater (see Liberal Catholic Church), is:
We believe that God is Love and Power and Truth and Light; that, ultimately, Perfect Justice rules the World; that all God's children will one day reach God's feet, however far they stray. We hold: the Parenthood of God; the Family of Humankind; the Interconnectedness of all Creation. We know that we serve God best when best we serve our neighbors. So may God's blessing rest upon us, and Peace for evermore. Amen.

Links
National Spiritualist Association of churches (US)
Spiritualist Churches in the UK
Spiritualist Churches
First Spiritualist Church of Brockton (typical US Spiritualist Church)