Archive for the ‘Scientology’ Category

ANNOUNCEMENT: International Volunteer Minister Week! 20-27 August 2011

August 20—27, 2011, has been designated International Volunteer Ministers Week in honor of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers whose work has become synonymous with unconditional help.

What happened over the past 10 years

Over the past 10 years, since 9/11/01, the bright yellow t-shirts and tents of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers have become established symbols of hope in times of need.

While no one could have predicted the violence with which the events of 9/11 would rip our culture from its social veneer, Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, saw clearly that it was time for Scientologists to redouble their efforts to aid Mankind in reversing society’s dwindling spiral that the cataclysm so suddenly and dramatically brought into focus.

A now legendary, internationally-issued Wake-Up Call inspired unprecedented response. On September 11, 2001 there were 6,000 Volunteer Ministers internationally. Today there are more than 350,000 trained in the technology and skills of Scientology Volunteer Ministers.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers program was born in 1976 when Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, noting a tremendous downturn in the level of ethics and morality in society, and a consequent increase in drugs and crime, wrote, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a VOLUNTEER MINISTER and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

Throughout the last 35 years, Scientology Volunteer Ministers have provided service in their communities and worldwide, volunteered in cavalcades and Goodwill Tours on five continents, and responded to 187 natural and manmade disasters including:

•    Earthquakes in the United States, Japan, Greece, Peru, Chile, Russia, Italy, China, Turkey, El Salvador and Indonesia from 1995 to 2011, with major participation in the South Asian earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, the L’Aquila earthquake of 2009, the Haiti earthquake of 2010 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

•    Yearly and seasonal hurricane, cyclone and typhoon relief throughout North and Central America and the Caribbean, Indonesia and Thailand. Some 900 volunteers aided victims of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Volunteer Ministers also routinely rescue people and property from floods throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Pakistan and India.

•    Crisis zones, including displaced persons camps in Chechnya 1997, the 1999 Moscow theater siege, Zimbabwe during civil unrest in 2000, Ground Zero in New York and the Pentagon after 9/11, London after the bombing of 2005, Mumbai in the wake of terrorist attacks in 2006.

•    In Australian bush fires, Southern California brushfires and at the site of the massive 2009 fire on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

This year Volunteer Minister across 185 nations will honor this year’s celebration with events, seminars and tours. Regular updates will be posted on http://blog.volunteerministers.org

 

Summary: Scientology Volunteer Ministers Provide Disaster Relief to Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan

For the past two months, hundreds of Scientology Volunteer Ministers have served in Japan in the wake of the magnitude 9 earthquake and 30-foot tsunami. Several hundred more are now en route to continue their work in Tokyo, Onagawa, Kesennuma and Ishinomaki.

Within 24 hours of the disaster, Volunteer Ministers assessment teams arrived in the areas most affected by the disaster and met with local officials to find out what was needed and wanted. With more than 400,000 persons displaced, a disaster response base was established in Tokyo to coordinate the delivery of Volunteer Ministers aid.

On an immediate basis, Volunteer Ministers international headquarters in Los Angeles flew a 15-man team of search and rescue specialists called Los Topos to Japan. Los Topos and the Volunteer Ministers have worked together at Ground Zero New York, after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans, and following earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand. On arriving, Los Topos met with the Japanese Army and launched a search and rescue mission to find survivors.

For nearly two months, more than 140 Volunteer Ministers from around the world have been helping in shelters in Kesennuma, Sendai, Watari, Onagawa, Ishinomaki and Idda; working in distribution centers to organize the delivery of food, water and supplies; administering shelters and assisting on the cleanup of towns and villages that were destroyed.

The volunteers have helped more than 140,000 people. They are providing Scientology assists. Often described as “spiritual first aid,” assists help the individual overcome the effects of loss, shock and trauma and speed recovery by addressing the spiritual and emotional factors related to illness and injury.

In shelters where assists are provided it is not uncommon to hear comments such as “I cannot believe I have received such a helpful service in a time like this,” and “it eased the shock of the earthquake.”

One man whose inn was swept away in the tsunami began his assist in sorrow and walked away humming, telling a Volunteer Minister he planned to rebuild as soon as possible.

To date, Volunteer Ministers have delivered more than 12,000 assists and trained some 1,400 people in assist delivery in Japan, prompting a Hashikami City Councilor to tell the Volunteer Minister that theirs is an important service the Japanese people can find nowhere else.

The official in charge of the Onagawa Town disaster effort expressed his appreciation for the help of the Scientology Disaster Response Team in a letter stating: “I have heard many disaster victims say they feel good, relaxed, relieved from body pain and healed from the trauma of this disaster after this group delivers the technology called ‘assists’ developed by L. Ron Hubbard.”

The volunteers maintain communication and coordinate their work with the heads of local volunteer organizations, disaster relief groups and government officials to ensure they are providing the services most needed and wanted.

After learning from assessments that the elderly in outlying areas were unable to get to shelters or procure food, the Volunteer Ministers arranged for the donation, transport and delivery of 32 bicycles to Hashikami, which are now used by youth in the area to deliver these supplies and food.

Finding out from Kesennuma Fishermen Association that business was crippled for lack of a forklift, the Volunteer Ministers arranged for the donation and delivery of one.

On a day-to-day basis, Volunteer Ministers transport evacuees to public baths. They organize music concerts and bring hairdressers to the shelters to keep living standards and morale high.

The Volunteer Ministers in Japan work in coordination with groups such as the Red Cross, the Lutheran Church, Chuetsu Disaster Prevention Safety Drive, Kaizou-ji Temple, Yoake-juku NGO and Rescue Stockyard, and in the private sector with Toyota, Monavie Japan and the Kesennuma Junior Chamber of Commerce, which are also providing or funding relief.

Volunteer Ministers disaster response will continue in Japan as long as the need continues.

The Scientology Volunteer Minister program was initiated by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1976. There are now hundreds of thousands of people trained in the skills of a Volunteer Minister across 185 nations.

Julie Brinker, Doing What She Loves in Service to the Community of Nashville, Tennessee

Scientologist Julie Forney Brinker has been making a difference in people’s lives through community service for most of her life.

Julie Brinker, née Forney, is carrying forward a family tradition of service. And she is having the time of her life.

Now 21, Julie was only 4 when she first insisted that her mother, Ellen Maher-Forney, President of the Church of Scientology of St. Louis, Missouri, swear her in as a Drug-Free Marshal. That way, she could help other kids pledge to live drug-free lives.

By the time she was 16, Julie had clocked enough volunteer hours in service to the community to be honored, along with her mother, with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award by President George W. Bush.

Always precocious, at 19 Julie embarked on a career of her own, coordinating community affairs for the new Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Nashville, Tennessee, which was dedicated and opened April 25, 2009.

But being in the public eye was not always easy for Julie.

“I loved doing community work but my whole life I had trouble communicating to others—I was timid, reserved, wouldn’t speak up. And I didn’t like having to talk in front of a group,” she says.

All that changed when Julie enrolled on a Scientology communication course at age 16.

“Suddenly, I didn’t get nervous around people,” she says. “I no longer had a problem saying what I wanted to say.”

Once in Nashville, Julie energetically took on her new responsibilities. In May 2010, when the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, engulfing downtown Nashville and flooding thousands of residents from their homes and tourists from their hotels, Julie mobilized the Church’s Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps. They staffed shelters and helped the city reunite evacuated hotel guests with their luggage and find flights home. And when the floodwater receded, Julie personally led the Church’s cleanup brigade, helping flood victims salvage their possessions and begin putting their homes back together.

In 2010, Julie moved on from disaster relief to establish the “Foundation for a Drug-Free Tennessee,” a grassroots drug education initiative. In its first year, volunteers have taken its “truth about drugs” message to 15,000 students in 12 counties across Tennessee.

Nashville is also special to Julie for another reason. The day she arrived, she met Jesse Brinker, and they married in March 2011.

“The moment I saw him, I knew I was looking at my future husband,” she says.

Looking forward to many more years of service, Julie is cheerful, energetic and focused. She describes it this way:

“Here I am now, doing a job I adore in a city I love and married to an amazing man.”

To learn more about what Scientologists are doing to create a better world, watch “Meet a Scientologist” videos at www.Scientology.org.

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The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total more than 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.

A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, which has now been viewed by millions of visitors.

New Scientology Printing Facility Churns out Millions of Properties a Week

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLIPS THE SWITCH
ON 185,000-SQUARE-FOOT DISSEMINATION AND
DISTRIBUTION CENTER

| LOS ANGELES • JANUARY 26, 2011 |

The new Church of Scientology International Dissemination and Distribution Center is established in Los Angeles to meet the unprecedented demand for the services and humanitarian programs of the fastest-growing religion on Earth.


The anchor of the printing plant is a custom-built 121-ton web press. Among other materials, it prints Church magazines in 15 languages, with a global circulation of millions.  The press accommodates these diverse needs with the capability to automatically switch print jobs from one language to another. It prints at a rate of 55,000 pages per hour. The facility additionally includes both sheet-fed and digital presses to produce the hundreds of thousands of informational pieces Church organizations use to introduce their communities to the Scientology religion and its services.

The Scientology International Dissemination and Distribution Center further produces all educational materials for Church-sponsored humanitarian programs, including the world’s largest non-governmental human rights initiative and the world’s largest non-governmental drug awareness program. The Church provides these educational materials to schools, civic groups, government, law enforcement and institutions in the private sector free of charge. Inasmuch as all materials are now produced in-house, for the same it previously cost to produce 3.5 million drug education booklets, the Church can now produce 35 million and reach 10 times the number of at-risk youth.

The facility further includes a warehousing and distribution department. The mailing system is fully automated and is capable of addressing 150,000 pieces every eight hours. The entire shipping line is capable of shipping better than 500,000 boxes and individual items each week.

The Center additionally includes facilities to manufacture signature uniforms for the growing number of volunteers within Church-supported programs, including shirts, caps, jackets and other insignia for United for Human RightsYouth for Human RightsTruth About Drugsas well as Scientology Volunteer Ministers.

With the new Church of Scientology International Dissemination and Distribution Center, the Church now has the capability to provide its help to millions more on every continent in accomplishing its aims: A Civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.

________________________________

The Scientology religion was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and has today expanded to more than 9,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 165 countries.

Volunteer Ministers Reporting from Japan

Scientology Volunteer Minister groups in the disaster zone, Japan

 

(News from the Scientology Volunteer Ministers blog)

Tokyo/Sendai

We just welcomed have six new Volunteer Ministers to the Japan team!  Four are headed to the disaster zone and two will work from the Tokyo headquarters.

We are also pleased to report that a new Volunteer Minister Logistics Base has now officially been established in Tokyo and provides working space for 30 Volunteer Ministers to handle logistics for the disaster areas. Volunteer Ministers arriving in Tokyo can settle and brief at the Base before deploying to the North of Japan.

Last week two Volunteer Ministers vans left Tokyo to deliver sleeping bags and mats to shelters in Onagawa and remain in Northern Japan for services. Both are now in high demand daily to deliver food and water to remote shelters around the city of Sendai.

Onagawa

Life seems to be starting up again here the last few days.  When we came about 10 days ago, many people spent most of the day in bed. The feeling was one of grief.

On Friday we cleaned out the shelter building and regorganized spaces for each family! Everyone participated and we created the most amazing village out of cardboard in the shelter hall.

Today we got the elementary schools going again and also here life is finally beginning again.

Watari

Yesterday, 2 April 2011, our Volunteer Ministers in the Myiagi Prefecture split into two groups. One went to a shelter that had been set up in the Osaka Elementary and Junior High and the other went to Yoshida Elementary and Watari Elementary schools. In the past 48 hours we helped 2,026 people in these shelters, gave 617 assists*and trained 64 people in Volunteer Minister technology.

One man who was very upset received an assist. In recounting what happened to him when the tsunami hit, he suddenly began to chuckle.  He realized, he said, “I can’t really do anything but laugh about it!”

One elderly woman received an assist in Shishiori Junior High School and told the Volunteer Minister with a huge smile on her face that she felt like she could “float down the stairs.”

A Volunteer Minister came across a boy in the shelter who looked bored, so she taught him how to deliver assists.  The next thing she knew, he had helped four people with assists.

Also our translator Peter learned how to deliver assists and he was completely blown away that he could use this to help people.  He’d never done anything like it before.

Kesennuma

Three young Volunteer Ministers went to Hashikami School in Kesennuma City and met with a teacher who welcomed them and invited them to delivere a lecture on Assists to 25 students. The students were interested throughout and at the lecture’s end, they grouped in seven Volunteer Minister teams and first delivered assists to each other and then to 175 refugees.

The students were amazed at what they were able to do with assist technology, especially when one woman who hadn’t been walking began doing so after an assist. The look on the student’s face was priceless. The brand new Volunteer Minister had only just learned about assists herself.

*Assist: L. Ron Hubbard developed numerous applications of his discoveries on the mental and spiritual aspects of a person’s physical difficulties, one of them being the technology of Assists. An Assist is an action undertaken to help a person confront his physical difficulties, overcome trauma, ease discomfort and speed recovery.  For more information go to:www.volunteerministers.org/solutions/assists.html.

 

Seattle Times about Scientology

Scientology church finds new home in Queen Anne neighborhood

For the Rev. Ann Pearce, the opening last month of the Church of Scientology Washington State’s new headquarters in the Queen Anne neighborhood has been a long time coming.

By Janet I. Tu

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Rev. Ann Pearce of the Seattle Church of Scientology is seen at the church's new headquarters, recently opened at 300 W. Harrison St. in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

Enlarge this photoGREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Rev. Ann Pearce of the Seattle Church of Scientology is seen at the church’s new headquarters, recently opened at 300 W. Harrison St. in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

Related

For the Rev. Ann Pearce, the opening last month of the Church of Scientology Washington State’s new headquarters in the Queen Anne neighborhood has been a long time coming.

The local church, organized in 1956, is one of the oldest Scientology churches in the world. Over the years, parishioners have met in Belltown, downtown and in an 8,500-square-foot building on Aurora Avenue North.

But in recent years, they found “the facility just wouldn’t hold us,” Pearce said.

Seven years ago, they bought the approximately 34,000-square-foot building at 300 W. Harrison St. and, over time, raised approximately $14 million to renovate the building, along with opening a smaller Life Improvement Center in downtown Seattle.

“Compared to what we’ve been in, it’s huge,” Pearce said. “We finally have room to offer all our services.”

In addition to chairs set up in rows for weekly services, there are high-tech video displays showing everything from the life of founder L. Ron Hubbard (who attended Queen Anne High School and spent many years in the Northwest), to videos on “eradicating psychiatric abuse” and touting the organization’s anti-drug and human-rights efforts.

The expansion of Scientology’s presence in Seattle is part of a building push worldwide. Last year, the church opened new or renovated buildings in cities including Rome; Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Nashville; and Malmo, Sweden. About a dozen new churches have opened or are scheduled for completion this year.

Scientology representatives say the building campaign is in response to explosive growth — though others have questioned whether the church in the U.S. is indeed growing. Church leaders say their increased numbers are because people are searching for something, and/or are curious about the religion, which has garnered much publicity — and controversy — in recent years.

Actor Tom Cruise’s rant against psychiatry several years ago highlighted the religion’s opposition to much of that medical field. The New York Times and St. Petersburg Times have run stories reporting some who’ve left Scientology have accused church leader David Miscavige of physically attacking staff members. The St. Petersburg Times recently reported that a dozen women said the culture of Scientology’s religious order, the Sea Organization, pushed them or women they knew to have abortions.

Church leaders have denied those accusations.

Bob Adams, a spokesman with the Church of Scientology International, says the articles were based on lies by “apostates” who want to see the church fail.

“The history of all new religions is they go through a time of trial where the public is skeptical,” Adams said.

Besides, he said, the attention may actually draw in people. “It’s a new religion. Whatever publicity we get, people are curious.”

The grand opening — which was not open to the media — a little more than a week ago of the Queen Anne headquarters drew Miscavige, along with several prominent Washingtonians, including state Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders and state Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline.

Sanders said he was invited because several decades ago, as a lawyer, he represented a woman who was referred to him by Scientologists. The woman was about to be involuntarily committed for mental-health reasons. The case went all the way to the state Supreme Court, where Sanders won his argument that the state constitution required a court hearing before someone could be involuntarily summoned to a hospital for a mental exam.

Others honored the local church for its history of community service in areas like disaster response, park cleanups and hunger relief.

“Their level of service to the community is very high,” said Dave Peterson, president of the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce.

Church leaders have been touting the renovation, inviting members of the media on tours. On the first floor of the Queen Anne headquarters, the public can browse through videos and books. People can ask for guided tours of the other floors, where there are, among other things, saunas and treadmills used for “purification rundowns” (in which toxins are sweated out), and an office set up in honor of Hubbard, who died in 1986. (Every Scientology church has such an office, a spokeswoman said.)

Hubbard’s father was a Naval officer stationed at Bremerton. Hubbard, who was a pulp- and science-fiction author, had a writer’s retreat in Port Orchard, and it was there that he wrote the book “Excalibur,” which is regarded as the philosophic foundation of Scientology, according to the church.

There are also rooms for “auditing” sessions — a kind of counseling, where an auditor asks a person questions about his or her life while the person holds on to the silver cylinders of an “e-meter” — which the church says can indicate when a person is thinking about particularly stressful subjects.

Scientologists believe that people are, first and foremost, immortal spiritual beings — or “thetans” — and that thetans can be cleared of negative energy through auditing. People pay for auditing sessions and study courses, which can range from free online to $25, to up to thousands of dollars each.

Angie Rodriguez, a 21-year-old sales director in Seattle, said Scientology has given her tools that enable her to see her life and relationships more clearly.

What’s unclear is the exact number of Scientologists.

The church counts as members anyone who’s had some significant contact with the church, either by undertaking auditing sessions or study courses.

One study — the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey — found that the number of Scientologists in the U.S. fell from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.

Sociologist Barry Kosmin of Trinity College, one of study’s principal researchers, said the sample size of Scientologists used was too small to give a reliable count of members. Still, he said, the data “strongly suggests that there has been no recent vast increase and that the number of Scientologists (in the U.S.) is in the tens of thousands.”

Adams, the Church of Scientology International spokesman, estimates there are millions of Scientologists worldwide, though he couldn’t be more specific on the number, and about a million in the U.S.

He said total assets and property holdings of the Church of Scientology internationally have doubled since 2004.

About 1,600 people attended the grand opening of the Queen Anne headquarters, the church said, though not all were members and some were from out of state.

The local contingent says it’s proud of what it’s accomplished. It’s a dedicated group, said Pearce. Plus, “there’s such a history of our founder in this area.”

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com

Does Scientology view the press as hostile?

No. The Church regards the media as an important element of society which, responsibly run and responsibly employed, can accomplish a tremendous amount of good. In point of fact, Scientologists work to protect and maintain freedom of speech world over.

That being said, the Church’s view of the press is in accord with that held by the general public, who, by survey, find press reportage inaccurate, biased and too often shaped by special interests.

To rectify the matter, Church members follow the Code of a Scientologist and work to keep the press accurately informed concerning Scientology and its activities. Indeed, the Church has diligently worked with the press on thousands of occasions over the years. A responsible press can be an effective instrument for social reform, and many of the Church’s exposés of human rights abuse only became broadly known through media reportage. In fact, the Church’s Freedom magazine has honored many journalists who, through their dedication and persistence, have shed light on abuse and helped bring about needed reforms.

Now and again, however, less than responsible journalists have willfully misinformed the public about Scientology. As a new religion, there has been mystery, misunderstanding and a share of controversy that inevitably accompanies the new and different. This is not unique to Scientology. But to spin a sensational tale and so fuel religious bigotry is unconscionable. Not only does it badly serve the general public, but it also places Scientologists at risk.

In recent years, Church representatives have met with the editorial boards of major media outlets to brief them on Scientology, its policies and its activities. These meetings help dispel the rumors and false allegations that have gathered in reference files over the years. Such meetings have been very beneficial for both the Church and journalists.

Source: http://www.scientologynews.org/faq/does-scientology-consider-press-hostile.html

ScientologyToday.org moved to ScientologyNews.org

Scientology International: New Source of Information Launched

scientologynews-org.jpg

Beginning of July 2010 the Church of Scientology International launched a new website: ScientologyNews.org

This site will inform the media representatives and general public about newsworthy occurrences in and around the Church of Scientology – with high resolution photos and video material for use by the media – in press release and news stories.

Further, the site provides answers to every aspect of Scientology in over 190 Frequently Asked Questions, many texts about the Church of Scientology’s ecclesiastical structure and its leader, David Miscavige. Short, summarized answers on many groups and organizations related to the Church of Scientology are provided in the “Quick Facts” section of the site and the latest official statistics of the Church can be found on the site as well.

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.

Church of Scientology Holds National Volunteer Week Recognition Luncheon at Historic Fort Harrison Hotel

The Church of Scientology honored five Florida groups during National Volunteer Week.
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA—The Church of Scientology in Clearwater honored five Florida groups with National Volunteer Week awards at the historic Fort Harrison Friday, April 23.  Recognized at the event were Project Medishare, Feeding America Tampa Bay, United Way Tampa Bay, the United Relief Force Foundation and the Willa Carson Health Resource Center.

Accepting awards and $1000 pledge at a National Volunteer Week luncheon at the Fort Harrison, presented by Church of Scientology Public Affairs Director Pat Harney (center) are (left to right) Annie Tyrell, Executive Director of the Willa Carson Health Resource Center; Ernestine Carson Heastie, daughter of Willa Carson and board member of the organization; Harney; Muhammad Abdur Rahim, Carson Center board member; and Judy Fagerman, head of Scientology Volunteer Ministers of Tampa Bay. The pledge is for the Carson Center 5K and 10K walk/run fundraiser.

“We know the value of volunteers and our parishioners work actively to address drug abuse and crime, clean up the environment, tutor children and adults and do any of the myriad tasks it takes to improve the quality of life in our communities,” said Pat Harney, Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater.  “We join other Americans in honoring those who freely give their time and energy to help others.”

Willene Hayward (left), Volunteer Coordinator of Feeding America Tampa Bay, is acknowledged by Pat Harney, Church of Scientology Public Affairs Director, and Judy Fagerman, head of Scientology Volunteer Ministers of Tampa Bay.

Willene Hayward accepted the award on behalf of Feeding America Tampa Bay, formerly known as America’s Second Harvest.  Hayward is volunteer coordinator of the food bank that serves 35,000 Tampa Bay residents.

Also honored were Project Medishare of the University of Miami Hospital, which organized, built and staffed the largest field hospital in history on the airport grounds of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to care for the casualties of the January 12 earthquake; Hands On Tampa Bay, the volunteer network of United Way of Tampa Bay, which coordinates the work of 3,500 volunteers in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties; and the United Relief Force Foundation, formed by Orlando college students in 2007 and providing humanitarian aid, emergency response and disaster relief to countries experiencing natural and man-made disasters. Several of the Orlando group’s members joined forces with the Scientology Volunteer Ministers to help provide disaster relief in Haiti this year.

“This award event was inspired by the founder of the Scientology religion, L. Ron Hubbard, who said, ‘A being is only as valuable as he can serve others,’” said Harney.  The Church of Scientology makes facilities of the Fort Harrison Hotel available to non-profit charity organizations for their meetings and events.

For information or to schedule the Fort Harrison for events, contact Pat Harney at (727) 467-6860 or email her at patharney@flag.org.