Monday, December 28, 2009

Tampa Bay Informer
Written by Sirio Balmelli
Monday, 14 December 2009

The Clearwater Community Volunteers held their Anniversary Celebration of the 17th Annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Festival and Charity Drive on December 11th. On the corner of Drew Street and Ft. Harrison Avenue, a Christmas playground has sprung from the barren asphalt of the parking lot behind the Osceola Hotel, driven by the organized tenacity of the Clearwater Community Volunteers (CCV), working with local charities, for the benefit of members of the community.

Parents and children alike began trickling in around 5:30 p.m., finding all in readiness for an evening of holiday fun, from Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Workshop to the elves serving piping hot chocolate from the North Pole Kitchen.

To begin the celebration, Clearwater Boy Scout Troop 313 performed their flag ceremony, followed by the arrival of Santa Claus, who this year seems to have upgraded from the old reindeer-sleigh to a custom red and white Harley Davidson Road Glide with saddlebags enough for an entire city’s-worth of deliveries.

Next, Clearwater Community Volunteers Executive Director Pam Ryan Anderson took the stage, welcoming all who had come and taking the opportunity to thank everyone who had helped make Winter Wonderland a reality, from sponsors like Postcard Mania and BHC Mechanical, to the faculty and students of local schools Clearwater Academy International, Washburn Academy and Delphi Academy, who had volunteered to help finish the Christmas preparations when the recent spells of rough weather delayed completion of Winter Wonderland. As Pam said during her speech, “It takes a village to make this village,” and the festive atmosphere of Winter Wonderland was testament to her words.

Also speaking at ceremony were Deacon Maurice Mickens, of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, who invited the crowd to join him in a beautiful prayer to mark the occasion, and Pat Harney, Directory of Community Affairs for the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology is a major sponsor of the event, providing the grounds for Winter Wonderland to CCV since its first holiday season in 1993. Mrs. Harney shared a quote from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard: “On the day when we can fully trust each other, there will be peace on earth.”

By the end of the ceremony, Winter Wonderland was positively swarming with young and old alike—taking pictures with Santa, riding the ponies, visiting the Bouncy House or otherwise enjoying the festive mood of a small village entirely dedicated to the celebration of the spirit of Christmas.

As the chill wind brought low-flying thunderclouds scudding overhead, promising rain to come, community volunteer and promising vocalist Sally Gatza strode on stage, unleashing a stunning repertoire of Christmas cheer. It was hard to comprehend how this 13-year-old could weave such complex harmonies and fill the air with the soulful crooning she did, but one and all enjoyed her singing, and the crowd grew to fill the village near to bursting. Also steadily filling was the enormous sleigh where visitors deposited unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items destined for children and families who might otherwise have to do without; supporting Winter Wonderland’s annual toy and food-drive activities. By the time Sally had finished, and the Tricky Dog Show had taken over the stage, fun irreversibly filled the air, ever-enhancing the magic of Winter Wonderland till nights end.

Winter Wonderland remains open until the 20th of December, and freely welcomes all members of the community to come in and enjoy the holiday spirit. Happy Holidays!

For more information on Winter Wonderland or the CCV, visit

Story reprinted with permission of the Tampabay Informer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Church of Scientology Grand Opening in Washington, D.C.

Three thousand Scientologists and guests attended the dedication and opening of the new Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, October 31, 2009. The ribbon was pulled by Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, and other distinguished guest speakers.

Thousands attended the dedication and opening of the new home of the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC. Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige presided and public officials praised the Church of Scientology for their work in human rights, criminal reform, anti-drug and disaster relief efforts.

Washington, DC - On Saturday, October 31, the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, opened its new premises six blocks from the White House and minutes from Capitol Mall. Attended by nearly 3,000 Scientologists and guests, the Church was dedicated by Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion.

The building, over 49,000 square feet, represents the Church of Scientology’s largest presence ever in the nation’s capital, a presence that dates back to the 1955 establishment of the Founding Church of Scientology in the District by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard-an occasion considered a milestone in the establishment of Scientology as the only major religion founded in the 20th century, a religion that has since become the fastest-growing religion in the world.

Mr. Miscavige and other speakers gave special praise to the millions of Scientologists world over who have given of their time and effort to make the Church’s anti-drug education initiative the largest non-governmental program of its kind and the Church’s human rights education program the largest on earth. They also praised the work of over 195,000 registered Scientology Volunteer Ministers trained to respond in times of disaster.

In expressing the importance of a prominent Scientology Church in the nation’s capitol Mr. Miscavige stated:

“In a word, this Church is the sum total of all our history and all LRH envisioned when serving as our first Executive Director.

“This is also the kind of Church he envisioned when authoring our programs and campaigns-in anticipation of a day when turmoil knocks out the props and the whole social veneer collapses…

“Which, of course, is exactly what happened-and thus what prompted our Wake-up Call after 9/11…wherein our history intersects with the history of this nation.”

Yet the significance of a major Church of Scientology in Washington, DC, runs much deeper as Mr. Miscavige made clear:

“You are looking at a living embodiment of the freedom and equality that originally inspired this nation because, yes, this Church stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, yes, it stands here today because of the freedom on which this nation was built-the freedom of religion. For it was here, in this nation’s capital, that we fought for and won our recognition.”

Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, officiated at the dedication and opening of the new Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, October 31, 2009.

And in the words of Congressman Brad Sherman of California’s 27th District in his address to the gathering:

“I have worked diligently and continuously to express my views, and I believe the views of the entire Congress, that all countries should treat all religions equally and provide true freedom of religion for everyone.”

Congressman Sherman praised the Church’s efforts in raising awareness of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and stated that the battle for human rights includes bringing human rights awareness to all people.

“That is why the efforts of many churches and religious organizations to focus on human rights issues are so important.”

Others speaking and participating in the dedication of the new Scientology Church were Ms. Addie Richburg, President and Chairman of the Board of the National Alliance of Faith and Justice; Ms. Diane Rothe-Smith, Executive Director of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD); and Mr. Mike Silverstein, President of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Association who also represented District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Rev. Sylvia Stanard, Director of Public Affairs for the Founding Church, invited all inside to tour the new Church, which includes numerous multimedia presentations in its Public Information Center, describing fundamentals of the Scientology religion, the Church’s worldwide humanitarian and social betterment programs, and the life and legacy of L. Ron Hubbard. As in any Church of Scientology, the doors are always open for people to walk in and find out for themselves.

The dedication ceremonies of the new Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, October 31, 2009, were opened with a brass band fanfare. Guest speakers including local and national dignitaries acknowledged the Church’s human rights and social betterment achievements.


Washington, DC, played a pivotal role in the life of the Founder of the Scientology religion. At age 13, as America’s youngest Eagle Scout, L. Ron Hubbard traveled cross-country to meet President Calvin Coolidge. As a student at George Washington University in the early 1930s, Mr. Hubbard learned the scientific methodology he later applied to unlocking the riddle of the human mind and life. After World War II, he tested Dianetics techniques on numerous cases at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital and wrote the first manuscript of his discoveries in Dianetics: The Original Thesis. In 1955, he established the Founding Church and became its Executive Director.

The Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, represents a milestone for the Scientology religion, which comprises more than 8,000 Churches, Missions and groups in 165 nations. As part of the continuing program to meet the demand for Scientology services, new Churches have been established in Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, New York and San Francisco. Earlier this year, new Churches opened in Malmo, Sweden; Dallas, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee and October 24, in Rome-five new landmark Scientology Churches opened newly in the last six months.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Artists “Creating Tomorrow's Reality”

Networking with a purpose — to create a better world for all to live in

Scientologists active in community and cultural betterment are (top inset, left to right) Grammy award winning composer and musician Mark Isham, who has helped to sponsor community Church activities in India; Oscar and Grammy award-winning entertainer, Isaac Hayes, who has pioneered literacy programs from South LA to southern Africa; and rock and roll legend Edgar Winter, who has supported — and performed for — global environmental efforts.
Under the stars, in the lush formal gardens of a historical Hollywood manor, entertainment industry luminaries mingle with community and civic leaders; TV and movie legends with diplomats from New Zealand and Ghana; judges and police officials with Church members and staff; old friends with new contacts — more than 1,400 guests gathering to commemorate the founding of the first Church of Scientology dedicated to the spiritual advance of the artist and the betterment of society.

This event hosts some of entertainment’s brightest stars — Tom Cruise (producer/actor, The Last Samurai); Kelly Preston (The Cat in the Hat); Anne Archer (Oscar nominee, Fatal Attraction); Leah Remini (The King of Queens) and her husband, Angelo Pagan (known internationally as “The Latin Frank Sinatra”); Isaac Hayes (Academy and Grammy Award winner); Catherine Bell (JAG); Erika Christensen (Oscar nominee, Traffic); Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) and her husband, actor Bodhi Elfman; Juliette Lewis (Enough); David Carradine (Kung-Fu and, more recently Kill Bill); Marisol Nichols (Resurrection Blvd); Danny Masterson (That 70's Show); Lynsey Bartilson (Grounded for Life); Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson, The Simpsons); Mark Isham (Grammy Award winner); Gina St. John (E! News Daily); Jennifer Aspen (Vanilla Sky); Sofia Milos (The Sopranos); and hundreds more.

They are joined by honored guests, U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA); LAPD Chief William Bratton and his wife, Riki Klieman; LA City Council members Bernard Parks and Dennis Zine; former President Pro Tem of the California Senate, David Roberti; and his wife June; past NAACP Western Regional Director Ernestine Peters and current Compton Chapter President Fred Shaw; and dozens more.

Actor Tom Cruise (with actresses Catherine Bell [JAG] and Kelly Preston [The Cat in the Hat]), is a founding board member of the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project and was a recipient of the National Mentoring Partnership's “Excellence in Mentoring” award for 2003.

Helping to usher in Celebrity Centre International's 35th year (above), U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (left), said, “I applaud your efforts and your undying commitment to protect the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.”

Ernestine Peters (above right), NAACP Image Awards Executive Producer, pledged to bring the joy of learning to every neighborhood and nation through learning programs inspired by L. Ron Hubbard and carried out by the World Literacy Crusade in South LA.
This celebration stands in a class by itself. What differentiates it from the usual Tinseltown celebrity fete is Celebrity Centre’s purpose and scope. Both extend far and wide — not simply focused on the success of artist members in achieving professional goals, but on their reach into society at large and the hope they bring to millions of people from Los Angeles to all corners of the globe.

Rev. Susan Watson, President of Celebrity Centre International, sums up the value of the artist to society with a quote from humanitarian and Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard: “The artist has an enormous role in the enhancement of today's and the creation of tomorrow's reality.”

Hence, the interest and involvement in the accomplishments of the diverse fields represented at this event.

This Hollywood church is more than a spiritual retreat for the internationally famous. It has become a nexus for ideas and resources from many sectors of Los Angeles, while offering a spectrum of effective programs that are aimed squarely at some of our most critical social ills. The common thread of these programs is that each employ practical, workable methods of personal and social betterment developed by L. Ron Hubbard.

Spotlight on Global Illiteracy

Of primary concern, says Rev. Watson, are the widespread challenges in the nation's education system and the magnitude of social action needed to turn the rising illiteracy rates around. The tale is told in these grim facts: students in America are dropping out of school at a rate of 25 to 60 percent. Combine this with more than 90 million American adults functionally illiterate, and “it is long past the time where any of us can ignore it,” she said.

“As a society we can no longer afford to depend on the existing ‘solutions,’ or leave it to our governments to solve these issues, they are concerns that affect all of us,” she said.

She said Scientologist celebrities and friends in a wide range of professional fields have responded to this urgency and have been working together for decades to establish literacy programs that use Mr. Hubbard's discoveries to help people overcome any and all barriers to learning:

“Today, through the combined efforts of many individuals, our literacy programs are bringing that help to 54 nations,” Rev. Watson explains. “We're working at the grassroots level to provide an actual technology that teaches one how to study and so allows one to be educated in any subject.

“You'll find these programs in the inner cities through mentoring programs operating under the banner of the 'World Literacy Crusade' and in tutoring programs right down the street on Hollywood Boulevard, where supposedly ‘lost’ and ‘hopeless’ children and adults have not only learned to read, but are now teaching others to do so as well.”

That program, the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.), has grown to 26 centers in 21 cities across four countries. Spearheaded by Celebrity Centre parishioners, H.E.L.P. was established through a partnership with several social agencies that studied the measurable results of Mr. Hubbard's learning methods.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Young Scientology Member Races for Human Rights

Recognized at the 6th Annual Youth for Human Rights Summit in Geneva last week, race car driver and Scientologist Niki Lanik explains why he promotes human rights to racing enthusiasts.

Austrian-born race car driver and Scientologist Niki Lanik, 22, uses his sport to champion human rights. Recognized with a Human Rights Advocate Award last week at the 6th Annual Human Rights Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Lanik has been an advocate since December 2006. It was then he decided to use his high profile as a successful driver to raise awareness about human rights. Says Lanik, “Athletes have fans and followers who read about us or see us on TV. Youngsters see us and musicians and artists as role models. It’s important to me that I live up to that trust.”

Lanik’s dedication to promoting human rights awareness and education came after meeting Los Angeles-based film director Taron Lexton in London three years ago. Lexton directed a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) which bring the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to life. Lexton also created “United,” an award-winning music video about a young boy from the inner city who unites people from around the world to defend the rights of his friends. These films are part of the human rights awareness campaign of Youth for Human Rights International.

“I thought I knew what human rights are, but I really had no idea until I watched the PSAs and read the booklet that goes with them,” says Lanik. “Human rights education works, and it changes countries and cultures. I want to see every village, city and state around the world, poor or rich, black or white, with human rights education as part of their educational curriculums.”

Once he got the point he took on the issue with the same energy that made him a double UK Clio Cup Winter Champion in 2006 and 2007 and won him a place three months ago in the FIA GT3 Championship with the six-man Belgium-based Prospeed race team.

Lanik displays the Youth For Human Rights International logo on his race car, gives out booklets and DVDs to fans and sponsors and plays the PSAs at the race track. “I promote human rights because I strongly believe every kid has the right to education; I believe that slavery should not exist and that everybody should have the same opportunities. I insist on a fair world where people of all races can unite and work together, live together and have no quarrels and wars.”

With some 18 million people each year seeing the logo on his car when they watch races on TV, Lanik wants them to ask themselves, “What are human rights?” and go to to find out.

“By our insisting that human rights be part of the curriculum for youth in every country on Earth, we can really make a difference,” says Lanik. He draws his inspiration from these words of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard: “Human Rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”

For more information, visit Youthfor

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dallas: New Church in the Lone Star State
Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Church of Scientology Dallas, located in Irving at the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, opened its doors just one week after the ribbon fell in Malmö. Again, Mr. Miscavige’s presence underscored the import of the day.

The Church of Scientology Dallas was formally welcomed to the city of Irving by Mayor Herbert Gears. Next up to the podium was Ms. Teddie Story, Executive Director of a nonprofit social services agency, Irving Cares. She was followed by the Rev. James McLaughlin, chairman of the National Congress of the Interfaith Alliance on Addiction. And finally, Ms. Shirley Dobson presented an official welcoming proclamation to the Church on behalf of the Texas State House of Representatives.

Whereupon Mr. Miscavige took the stage to place the day in a still greater historical context:

“The fact is that all we have accomplished in our formative years was the dream that we could one day expand to such a degree that our organizations would rise to the level of the technology itself, that they would embody what appears in L. Ron Hubbard’s technology and policy. Well, that goal is now within our reach. The momentum is building for a future more glorious than ever imagined.

“And while Texas is known for expansive dreams and a spirit of independence, let her now fulfill those dreams with total spiritual freedom. And so it is today we give her the gift of our new Church, which we offer as her home and by which we extend the gift of immortality.”

And as the ribbon came down, Scientologists and friends, old and new, entered the new home of Scientology in Texas.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scientology Volunteer Ministers African Goodwill Tour Reaches Out

Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring their help anywhere and everywhere.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers African Goodwill Tour brings help to the most far-flung regions of Africa. With a bright yellow van, a large yellow tent, and volunteers who care, it travels to towns and villages, no matter how remote.

Zambia, a country just larger than the State of Texas, is a land of beauty, famous for Victoria Falls and its spectacular wildlife preserves. However, it is also a land where the life expectancy is less than 50 years, one in seven adult Zambians live with HIV, and millions subsist below the poverty threshold of $1 a day.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers were entrusted with a mission, as stated by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion. Each volunteer “helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.” Mr. Hubbard continued, “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.”

The volunteers accomplish this purpose through courses, seminars and individualized assistance, based on the Scientology Handbook, which provides tools to help people confront and overcome the problems they encounter at work, at home and in their dealings with others.

Recent testimonials from some of those helped by the Scientology Volunteer Ministers African Goodwill Tour show the value of the work the volunteers are doing.

“I have attained the ability to think logically, and discover the causes of situations good and bad,” wrote one recent course graduate.

“It is my great honor to take this opportunity to thank all the Volunteer Ministers for what they are doing,” was the message from a man who completed a course in communication. “In this course,” he went on to say. “I have learned that there is no life without communication and that nothing can be done without communication. Therefore communication is life. I am ready to apply to this in my day-to-day life. The Volunteer Ministers are doing a great job. I urge them to continue.”
Yet another student wrote, “I have really learned the importance of respecting other people. May God bless our nation as it strives to develop.”

For more information visit the Scientology Volunteer Ministers web site or the Scientology Video Channel.