CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY CELEBRATES THE OPENING
5,000 Scientologists, guests and city officials gathered Saturday November 5, for the dedication of an entirely new Church of Scientology and Church of Scientology Community Center. The Church stands in the heart of downtown, at 315 South Market Street, and reflects the growth of a new Scientology congregation amongst these communities. The neighboring Community Center stands just a few minutes away in South Los Angeles, at 8039 South Vermont Avenue. Together this Church and Community Center provide for all Scientology religious services as well as its many humanitarian initiatives and social betterment programs for the benefit of Inglewood and South Los Angeles.
The new Inglewood Church of Scientology on South Market Street houses a Public Information Center presenting the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion as well as the life and legacy of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. The Information Center further provides an overview of the many Church-sponsored humanitarian programs. These programs include a worldwide human rights initiative, an equally far-ranging drug education and prevention campaign, global networks of literacy and learning centers and the Scientology Volunteer Minister program now comprising the largest independent relief force on Earth. The Information Center’s multimedia displays include nearly 500 documentary films.
[inline|iid=343]The new Community Center on Vermont Avenue is housed in an historic art deco landmark that dates from the early 1930s and, which the Church has meticulously restored. It features a 380-seat event hall, the L. Ron Hubbard Community Auditorium, designed for community events and as a meeting ground for residents of all denominations. In that respect, it is a venue dedicated to community-wide initiatives in the spirit of the Founder’s vision of all church denominations working together to achieve the common dream of all religions. The Center further features numerous classrooms and seminar facilities for a full range of civic programs, including a complete literacy and tutoring center.
Marking the significance of the occasion, Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, officiated at the ceremony. In pointing to what this day represents, Mr. Miscavige stated:
“This new Church of Scientology is quite literally imbued with the contributions and global spirit of Scientologists from more than a hundred nations. In that respect, it reflects the greater shape of Scientology—both body and soul. Moreover, it reflects the attributes of greatness all religions traditionally sought to inspire, including decency, nobility, compassion and charity. And that's also the spirit in which we provide our new Community Center, open for use by one and all, for the benefit of all its residents.”
[inline|iid=344]Welcoming the new Church were Inglewood City Councilmember, Ralph Franklin; Inglewood Chief of Police, Jacqueline Seabrooks; President of NAACP Los Angeles, Leon Jenkins; Executive Director of the gang intervention group 2nd Call, Skipp Townsend; and Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired head of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and now Professor of Religious Studies at USC.
City Councilmember Ralph Franklin welcomed the new Church: “I for one am very excited about your move to your new home. Thank you for being our anchor to Market Street. You are helping revitalize downtown and offering us a platform from which we can make a segue into our greater future. I have faith that your presence will be the catalyst for this city’s renaissance. And so it is with great pleasure that on behalf of all of us here in the City of Inglewood I say congratulations on your new home and welcome to the family.”
Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks, spoke of the solutions offered by the Church’s anti-drug initiative: “I have been aware of your Drug-Free World program and know that this program that has been supported by various entities here in Inglewood and in the larger environment. I must say that I am impressed by your dedicated initiative to ensure ‘The Truth About Drugs’ message is made available to everyone. Your volunteers are an active force, distributing educational materials and holding drug education seminars. Your colorful, information booklets are popular and effective. Because I have a strong background in education, I admire what you've done and what you continue to do to bring the drug abuse issue into the educational arena.”
Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins recognized the effectiveness of the Church’s human rights programs: “The Church of Scientology is taking an instrumental role in the change we need. Because what your Church does is address the individual. You know that everybody is different. That’s why your human rights program speaks to every one of us. And one by one you are helping to bring about a just society that can live in harmony together. The Church sets a standard for others in religion and in human rights. I think there are quite some groups that could take a lesson or two from you all. My hat is off to you for that.”
Executive Director of 2nd Call, Skipp Townsend, acknowledged the empowerment that comes from the Church’s programs: “We are grateful that the Church of Scientology is here and provides a stream of resources to the City of Inglewood. Your church is an open door to those individuals who seek betterment in the community. The beauty of it is that the Church has both developed a community and opened the doors to the community. That’s not just development, that’s empowerment. You empower the people. And I am sure the Church will continue the empowerment process by leaving the door open, so they can come in and get the resources and benefits you have to offer.”
Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired head of the First A.M.E Church in Los Angeles and now Professor of Religious Studies at USC, expressed highest regard for Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology: “My friends, this new Church is an opportunity to make change. I encourage you, the community, to take full advantage. L. Ron Hubbard was a genius of a man who could say, ‘Here’s the problem, here’s the solution, and here are the details of how you achieve that solution.’ Well here is a mansion that has been constructed by L. Ron Hubbard, an architect of the soul and a designer of dreams. Our challenge is to make use of what we have been given. I am so very thankful for what you bring us today. God bless you all."