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24 September 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Faith > Features > Spiritualism

Cedars Spiritualist Church, Angelsea Rd, Ipswich

Cedars Spiritualist Church


Forget all your ideas about ouija boards, dimmed lights, crystal balls or Hollywood props – a spiritualist church looks much like any other if The Cedars in Ipswich is anything to go by.

I visited the centre in Anglesea Road, Ipswich on a Saturday night for their weekly service where a medium is present to pass on 'messages' from those who are dead - or as they say have 'gone back to spirit'.

Based for over eighty years in the ground floor of a Victorian house it was the location of the Ipswich Psychic Society and was visited by Arthur Conan Doyle who, as well as writing the Sherlock Holmes stories, was a great believer in spiritualism. With a room for 'healing', a tea room, kitchen, medium's sitting room and a main hall for services which seats around 100 people, the premises are friendly and welcoming.

Spiritualism is defined as "a rational religion based on knowledge, proven through mediumship, that the human spirit survives physical death".  The services include prayers to a non-denominational 'Father God' or 'Great White Spirit' and are attended by people of all religions and none. The church says people of all ages attend and increasingly more are in their late teens and twenties.


Medium, and president of The Cedars, Candy, explained to me that there are seven Principles of Spiritualism,

  • The fatherhood of God
  • The brotherhood of man
  • Communion of spirits and the Ministry of Angels
  • Continuous existence of the human soul
  • Personal responsibility
  • Compensation and retribution hereafter for all good and evil deeds done on Earth
  • Eternal progress open to every human soul

After my tour I joined around fifty people and the service began with hymns and a prayer. Candy then began passing on 'messages' to some of those present that she claimed to be receiving from their loved ones.

During my visit, the spirits seemed preoccupied with food (home-made cakes, Liquorice Allsorts and jellied eels), inheritances and with offering reassurance and advice on everything from driving safety to careers. 

Candy, as she spoke, was pausing to listen and, with an occasional chuckle, would ask specific people there if they would accept a message before passing on what she was 'hearing'.

Converting a sceptic

Allan Hall joined the church after his wife died. He had been bringing her to services for years but had always left and gone to the pub for a beer.  After she passed on he felt the need to come to services himself. I asked him if it was disappointing to sit through a service and receive no message, but he explained that he has found when you were most in need of hearing from your loved one , a message would come through – he had many in the early days of his bereavement, but fewer as time had gone on.

From its Victorian beginnings, spiritualism became very popular during the world wars, then less so during the late 20th century. Now, according to members at the Cedars, it is increasing in popularity again, so much so that there are three such churches in Ipswich alone. 

last updated: 23/04/2008 at 13:15
created: 01/12/2006

Have Your Say

Have you an spiritualist experience or are you sceptical?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

I believe in continuation of my spirit. I believe in my father god the great spirit. I believe in the brotherhood of man. I believe that the mistakes that I have done on this life plane I shall have to go regress in the next. I do feel my family that gone though transition are still with me. I will not believe that this life is all there is. What is the point. All in the whole of the universe and beyond is spirit.

I believe in the one God, who is our maker and his son Jesus who came to save us of our sins and I believe in spiritualism as well. It's all true and just a matter of faith. I have experienced signs of spirits and I know they are there. My faith is strong.

Mrs Corinne Jane Pratchett
I am a belever in spiritualism since Iwas in my erly teens.I have seen spirits and had messages from them.

Neil Coyle
I would like state my support for the fcility provided by Spiritualist churches in demonstrating that we are more than mere flesh and blood. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support its beliefs cocerning the nature of human beings and we should be aware of this.Unfortunately it is the scientific evidence which is ignored by the likes of Richard Dawkins and his arch-materialists who would seek to undermine the work of spiritualists.Carry on the good work!

marie williamson
fully fledged spiritualist

Anthony W. Allsop
28.06.07What do you mean by ending my essay on God and Faith at: God didn't create Man. Man created God, in his own image of course.If....? The last part of my essay summed up what is wrong with society's obsession with fairy stories based on suspicion,self doubts and superstition. I realise that the BBC hold the right to edit and abridge but quite a lot of the essence of my piece has been spilled. But I suppose that I should be thankful for even small mercies. Merci BBC.

Anthony W Allsop (Mansfield) UK
Faith. This is a token of my faith in faith. Just ‘cos I don’t believe in God, doesn’t mean that I believe that others’ should not believe.  For I believe in faith. I believe that believing can help many engender faith.I also believe that my having no belief in God doesn’t belie me that faith. Faith in God alone may get us through life, but faith in our families, friends and fellow man - for me - transcends that faith, to better ease the pain. If others’ place God higher than those three f’s then so-be-it,but would God have wanted it that way? I doubt it, believe me. Anthony W Allsop 1940 – 20?? God almighty? Don't make me laugh. Whenever I have raised the pro-atheist-anti-god argument I have been slammed for:  "....not being educated enough to voice my opinions on such highfalutin matters." and: "....that sort of reasoning should be best left to the upper echelon in society, judges, politicians, scholars and their like." But, only a few hundred years ago, Witch Finder Generals' were appointed and tasked to organize witch hunts, find the old crones regarded as witches: "Every old woman with a wrinkled face, a furrowed brow, a hairy lip, a gobber tooth, a squint eye, a squeaking voice or scolding tongue, having a rugged coat on her back, a skull-cap on her head, a spindle in her hand and a dog or cat by her side, is not only suspect but pronounced for a witch" (John Gaule in “Select Cases of Conscience”).  in order to “try” them by various means, such as “ducking stool justice” (if they survived the ducking stool, ie: they didn't drown, ergo it proved them to be witches and they would then be burned at the stake). These Witch Finders would have been appointed by the "upper echelon in society, judges, politicians, scholars etc." who were "best suited" to make such decisions. And of course religion is dictated by such people. Witches, wizards, elves, fairies, ghosts, leprechauns, pixies, goblins AND gods, are all imaginary manifestations which have been vouched for by such “highfalutin” society. Why can't modern people see that, manifestly. We've given the Witch Finder Generals’ their marching orders, now what about our church leaders. Extraterrestrial observers beyond the dark side of our moon must be shaking with laughter at we silly Earth people, seemingly obsessed with religion. They - with their far superior intellect - will have kicked gods into touch many eons ago. So too would we Earthlings, given half a chance. Imagine for one moment that we discover intelligent life on another planet far away in our galaxy. It isn’t too much of a stretch of our imagination, after all, we’ve been imagining far more ludicrous ethereal beings. They might well take the form of a large brained dolphin with arms, legs and three opposable digits on each limb.  Imagine conversing over the eons of space-time and ether with that intelligent life form and learning about its life history that draws many parallels with our own. Imagine learning that despite them successfully forming a very advanced society - much BETTER than ours in many respects - that they have absolutely NO concept of gods or religion. Do we gasp in amazement? Are they to then be regarded as inferior beings?Do we try to educate them to accept that there IS God?, for that is what happens here on Earth, where incidentally, we are the only species that worships and pays homage to gods. If all religious faith was allowed to be shown up for the instilled rubbish it is without fear of prosecution and persecution, many more Earthlings would come to their senses and see gods and religions for what they are. BUNKUM! NB. If you feel an instant need to question my sanity then look no further than Man's present inhumanity to Man in the name of or under the present worldwide belief in some fanciful God or other.   Sigmund Freud had religion sussed when he denounced it as infantile bunkum. God didn't create Man. Man created God, in his own image of course.If

Angie Christie
Lovely page just found it. I am privileged to serve The Cedars and have sent the page to many friends abroad so they too can hear the broadcast and read about it.

I am a Spiritualist and healing group leader at my local church, I believe being a Spiritualist is a way of life rather than a religious belief, many people benefit from healing and receiving messages from their loved ones and friends, being a SPiritualist has helped me greatly since my father passed in 2000, I know he is still with me, helping and guiding me. Spiritualism does not dictate to people what they should believe neither does it try and get money from people through large fees for readings or healing. Many patients walk through our doors as sceptics but many of them go out feeling uplifted and at peace.

we have been mediums for 5 yrs and there is so much going on about spirit and the people that down spiritualist for what they do. i am also a spirital healer and go out to help lots of people as a medium we travel all up and down the country and as far a the Ilse of man this year people need to see and here more of the true side of spirit and make sure there are link with spirit not with the person them self as lots of people do

Anthony Allsop
I Attended a few of these sessions back in the early 80's after someone close to me passed away. And be honest i saw nothing to convince of a so called after life. But if it comforts people and the spititulist dont get any finacial gain then i see no wring in it .

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