Paignton SNU Spiritualist Church & Centre is authorised for the solemnisation of weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals and is a training centre for teaching spiritual awareness and development of mediumship

The History of Paignton SNU Spiritualist Church and Centre

A Brief Chronological Church History by Horace R. Wooding (Hon. Member) deceased.

Edited by Lew Sutton

We are all aware of the trials and difficulties that Spiritualism endured during its early life with groups and followers being persecuted for their beliefs. So let us look at the names of the persons who agreed to join together to fulfill this dream of a Paignton Spiritualist Church.

In the early days the most prominent names were Rabbich and Rossiter. The relationship of religion and politics started in 1886. In 1882 G. Rabbich helped to start the Winner Street Baptist Church. In 1892 Deacon Rabbich, as he was then, suggested that each member take an envelope and make a rule of giving regularly. At that time F. Rabbich was door steward and helped strangers to their seats. In 1895 Deacon Rabbich opposed an increase to the Pastors’ salary and in 1896 he tendered his resignation as Church Treasurer.

Years 1903 to 1922

In 1903 H.P. Rabbich was one of three persons elected to the Paignton Council and was a councillor in 1918 and 1919 on what was known as the Great War Council. At the end of July 1920 H.P. Rabbich invited the famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to a séance in his own home. The medium was Evan John Powell, who later also became a local councillor. Conan Doyle was able through Mr Powell’s mediumship to speak to his son Kingsley in the Spirit World. He  had died in 1918 whilst convalescing from injuries sustained during the Battle of the Somme in World War One. In 1935 A.G. Rabbich was a councillor on the Paignton District Council during the Coronation Year.

During the years between 1912 and 1922 Paignton Spiritualist Church became a reality. Meetings were held in members’ homes and mostly at 19 Winner Street which is situated at the west end of Winner St, at the rear of number seven. 19 Winner St was the home of Mrs. Carson, a founder member. During these years donations had been given towards the Church Building Fund which in 1922 stood at £613.8s.10d. The Foundation Stone dated 1912 to 1922 is in the wall to the right of the Church door, inscribed with the following names: Henry Paul Rabbich (President), Edward Marshall, William T. Christie, Catherine Marshall, Eva M. Christie and William Evans, The Church Opening Ceremony in 1922 was performed by Mrs. M. Rabbich who opened the Church door with a solid silver key, which was eventually given to Cllr Peter Rabbich . The size of the land is not known but was donated to the church by Mr. H.P. Rabbich in the year 1910. Mr. Rabbich was a builder and we presume he built the Church or made the necessary arrangements for the building.

On the 4th August 1927 the church was affiliated to the Spiritualist National Union. The Hall extension was built in 1955.The renowned spiritual healer, Harry Edwards, often visited Torbay, and came to the church a few times to give talks and healing demonstrations. Former President of the SNU, Gordon Higginson, took services at the church and in 1973 he dedicated the round window behind the rostrum as a memorial to Mr Cherry, who served for 10 years as president 1962- 1972. This service was televised. Our re-dedication service on Sunday the 26th August 2012 to celebrate 100 years was taken by Minister David Bruton (President of the SNU).

Committee members

OUR COMMITTEE work together to keep our beautiful Church and Centre Open. The officers acknowledge, and are very grateful to all those mentioned below – and the many other members who Chair, Steward, give Healing, Clean, make Tea and generally keep the centre open and welcoming to all who come through its doors. THANK YOU

The committee would like to thank everyone who helps to keep our church well cared for informative and welcoming, your time and commitment are very much appreciated.