The latest chapter in the story of Rhyl & District Spiritualist Centre began last Thursday night (18th January), with the committee and congregation proudly opening the doors to its fantastic, brand new home in the a former Methodist Church in Rhuddlan.

A wonderful turnout (even despite the most Wintery of weathers!), a heartwarming and upbeat service of communication from popular local medium Roy Demilow (a longstanding friend of the church) and a splendid buffet afterwards for visitors, all made for a hugely sucessful turning of the page for the hardworking committee and their congregation.

"We were all a little bit nervous, to be honest," explains Treasurer and Healing Leader, Joan Dempsey.

"Excited, but nervous!"

Since its incorporation within the SNU in the late 1960s, Rhyl & District has found itself lodged in a variety of buildings and rented spaces over the years. In late 2023, the combined efforts and enterprise of the committee, hoping to once again have a place to call their own, coupled with support from the Union, saw the purchase of their glorious new home become a reality.

Jacky Ellis CSNU, LSSNU, who serves as Secretary and Booking Secretary for Rhyl & District (and who has been a member for over twenty years), spoke of why the night meant so much to her and the entire team:

"It's such a special evening because we have been trying to get our church our own premises for such a long time."

Before finding their new home, the church most recently rented space from a local operatic centre, but this came with its own limitations and challenges, as Jacky went on to explain...

"The operatic centre was great, because it was really reasonable and we were made very welcome there, but we couldn't do what we wanted to do.

"We could only get the one night per week."
It just means everything to have our own premises again... there are so many things that we want to do, and now we can!

Size also became an issue, with Jacky and various members of the committee all sharing stories about how they would regularly fill the space out, and in some instances even literally run out of space and chairs for particularly popular events, whilst elsewhere, Healing sessions and circles would have to take place in the kitchen.

All issues that the spacious new home will make problems of the past.

"So it just means everything to have our own premises again," she shares.

"There are so many things that we want to do, and now we can!"

Despite having only had the keys to the building for a matter of weeks, the hard-working and dedicated team have already got stuck in on modifying the premises for the needs of their congregation and community.

"We couldn't have done it without our committee." Jacky continues.

"They really are fabulous; they've all pulled together, and they've all got their own niche areas."

I am particularly struck by hearing the story of how a generous member of the church built an entire new toilet complex for them, completely free of charge!

"We felt we needed another toilet, because we only had the one and felt we really needed two.

"And our plumber, he's a church member but he's not a committee member, he's done all the work for nothing. We've only had to pay for the parts and materials."

It's a touching testimony to just how much the church means to its members and congregation.

And what is perhaps most striking about the church is how fresh, clean and modern it feels. Rather remarkable for a building not far off of celebrating its 200th birthday.

Joan and Jacky explain how the building, its furnishings and decoration were all already in excellent condition when they first viewed it, alongside SNU Property Manager, Andy Foley, when scouting for a hopeful new location for the church last year.

They immediately felt it was the right fit for them.

"We came down here, walked in and just went 'this is perfect!'," Joan tells.

"Perfect, and just what we want. Not too big, not too small, just perfect, really."

"The energies in here are just amazing," Jacky adds, "When we first came in here, I just couldn't believe it."

A Special Night: Medium Roy Demilow (left) along with the Rhyl & District Spiritualist Centre committee, including President Martin Dempsey, Treasurer & Healing Leader Joan Dempsey, and Secretary and Bookings Secretary, Jacky Ellis CSNU LSSNU, proudly open their new premises on Thursday 18th January 2024 (photo © SNU 2024).

Talks of new vinyl flooring, replacing carpets, new sets of matching chairs, and renovation plans for the kitchen all make it clear that the team at Rhyl & District are only just getting started on fashioning their gorgeous new premises. And it is an excitement and ambition that stretches out to the abundance of services, events and plans that the team have lined up already for their programme of services.

"We've got lots of plans for the future," Jacky explains, gesturing to a busy, colurful noticeboard which showcases a diary of speakers and events which I'm told is already planned well into 2025!

"Obviously some are under wraps at the moment, because we're still in discussions with people, but yes, lots of exciting things!"

What is also clear is a passion for community engagement and support. Speaking to the centre's President, Martin Dempsey, he emphasised the real passion the team have for embracing and supporting the local community.

"It's the key thing that we'd like to do - some good to the community of Rhuddlan.

"We're going to make this building available, to help them. We're going to be doing some warm days, we've been speaking to the local Girl Guides and Beavers, and we will let them use this space at a reduced rental price, to give something back to the community."

With a packed out service full of faces 'old and new' (including attendees who had never been to a Spiritualist church or centre before), Rhyl & District's new home was positively brimming with energy and vitality on an otherwise cold and dreary January night.

Whether it was the congregation buoyantly singing and swaying along to The Monkees' 'Daydream Believer', touching messages coming through from loved ones and friends in Spirit, or the overall heartwarming feeling of excitement and optimism throughout, there was - and is - so much for Martin, Joan, Jacky and the entire team to be so very proud of.
Between the SNU and the committee, I think we've managed to pull off something that we didn't think was possible!

And there were even some thanks channelled our way, too...

"What I really want to do is thank Jackie [Wright, President of the SNU] and obviously the NEC," notes Jacky, "as without them this would not have happened."

"It was her who really pushed for it, because I know she is about the churches and for the churches."

"The SNU have been very generous with us, I will say that," Joan chimes in, gleefully, "between the SNU and the committee, I think we've managed to pull off something that we didn't think was possible!"

And it was perhaps all best encapsulated by President Martin, who finally reflected on the building's storied history, whilst also looking ahead to the exciting times that follow, as its new stewards...

"This church has been here since 1832. It was originally built as a Wesleyan Chapel, and then rededicated by the Methodists in 1910 until 2023.

"And now it's our turn, as Spiritualists, to take charge of it - and I hope we're going to be here for a hundred years as well!"

We will certainly 'cheers' to that, Martin!

The SNU would like to pass on our sincerest thanks and congratulations to the entire team at Rhyl & District for their incredible work and efforts in realising this exciting new chapter, and for such a successful reopening in their new building. It was a pleasure to be in attendance. šŸ˜Š

We look forward to revisiting in the coming months and beyond and to see how it all progresses for you - exciting times ahead!

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photos © SNU 2024.