By Emily Smith
York Spiritualist Centre celebrated 120 years of Spiritualism and 20 years of being in their new building on January 19 of this year.
Members of the church looked at old photos, shared memories and sang hymns to commemorate the anniversaries.
The centre also began a fundraiser at the event to raise money for repairs on the building, the floor, ceiling and outside of the centre.
The centre is also looking to receive a loan from the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) to go towards the repairs, as well as further donations from members.
Donations are the main source of funding for the centre, which is provided through memberships which cost £10 for the year.
Previously, York Spiritualist Centre has raised money to have an accessible ramp for wheelchairs installed outside the building, along with handrails.
Louise Armstrong, 54, treasurer said: “This event has allowed us to celebrate our history and beliefs as part of a community.
“It has been a great success with so many families and members showing up for the talk and staying to chat and have cake.
“We are hoping to raise more money for the repairs that we need through hosting further events in the future, like healing and mediumship afternoons.”
Additionally, the centre is hoping to host more evenings with professional mediums to help raise funds and encourage more people to visit the centre.
Louise said: “We are lucky to have professional mediums go on platform and give messages to our members, and we hope to host more evenings like this in the future.
“These events will be a great opportunity for the centre to raise funds and allow our members to experience fantastic mediums who have a close relationship with the centre.”
York Spiritualist Centre Fact file
Spiritualism is the belief that there is life after death, and that the living are able to communicate with their loved ones who have passed away.
Some Spiritualists engage in practices such as mediumship and hands on healing as part of their beliefs.
There has been a Spiritualist Society in York since 1899.
York Spiritualist Centre was originally based in Spen Lane for years, until it moved to Wilton Rise in 1999 where it remains today.
The Spiritualist National Union (SNU) is a religious charity in the UK which supports all Spiritualist centres across the country.
Gerald Ohara, 68, Chair of the Spiritualist Centre committee said: “We have all come together today to celebrate a very special time for us.
“It’s not every day you can look back on old pictures and videos of members and even have one of our oldest members, Jack who is 102, sitting with us today.”
Members of the centre shared amongst themselves how Spiritualism has had an impact on their life, and what their beliefs mean to them.
Gerald said that the one thing that Spiritualism can bring to people is a connection with others that is eternal and means that everyone is part of something greater.
Margaret Hodge, 60, a member of the Spiritualist Centre said: “We need to be reminded of our roots where spiritualism came from and 20 years in the span of things may not be a long time, but it is a good marker.
“Since Spiritualism has been in York for 120 years, hopefully today will bring more people in and encourage those that do come to keep coming and help spread the word so that it’s around for another 120 years.”
York Spiritualist Centre is located in Wilton Rise, and hosts services on Sunday evenings which are open to everyone with donations at the door.