Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Nashville Mobilizes Scientology Volunteer Ministers to Cope with Floods

photo by Jett Loe

NASHVILLE—The Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre Nashville mobilized Volunteer Ministers to staff shelters at Lipscomb University and McGavock High School over the weekend when the Cumberland River overflowed its banks and flooded downtown Nashville, causing thousands of residents and visitors to evacuate homes and hotels.

Flooding began in low areas and valleys on Saturday, May 1, and by Sunday the Cumberland River overflowed into downtown. Vehicles were swept away, homes were engulfed and authorities were rescuing stranded residents by boat.

Muddy water cascaded into The Grand Ole Opry House and Country Music Hall of Fame and forced the evacuation of 1,500 guests and 500 staff from the Opryland Hotel.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers worked with the Red Cross and other community groups to aid evacuees in shelters at Lipscomb University and McGavock High School, including providing food services. They helped evacuated hotel guests find their luggage and make their way to the airport and home.

Scientologists also volunteered at a shelter set up at the Jewish Community Center for stranded residents of Belle Meade and Bellevue and helped evacuate tenants of an apartment complex that was about to be engulfed.

With waters now receded, the volunteers are helping residents with the daunting task of cleaning up flood damage.  “We started with our parishioners whose homes were badly damaged.  Now we are going through neighborhoods checking at each home to see if they need help,” said Julie Forney, Public Affairs Director for the Nashville Church of Scientology.

The Volunteer Ministers program is an integral part of the community outreach of the Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Nashville, which opened its doors at 1130 8th Avenue South, in April 2009.  At the grand opening celebration, Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, acknowledged the Nashville Scientology Volunteer Ministers for their dedication and effective aid to hundreds of families after the 2008 Lafayette tornado.

The Volunteer Ministers program was created by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1976.  He wrote: “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.”

For more information on the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program, visit their web site at www.volunteerministers.org.

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