Festive Spirit: Johannesburg Welcomes New Church of Scientology in Vibrant Celebration
Church of Scientology caps season of expansion with dynamic Grand Opening in northern hills of the “City of Gold”—Johannesburg.
Out of the shadow of the past a new generation is rising up, making a voice for themselves and creating a land defined by freedom of expression and spiritual awareness—a new South Africa.
Historically acknowledged as the Cradle of Humankind and now known for its inescapable, vigorous energy, a once divided Johannesburg (Joburg) continues to be on the forefront of unified change. As one of the top 50 cities in the world in terms of both size and commerce, this pan-African capital is home to many creative and cultural forces—individuals and organizations set upon cutting a better and brighter path to community success.
That spirit of innovation and new hope was resonant on a warm Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg North as over 1,500 Scientologists and guests gathered to dedicate the city’s stunning Church of Scientology on the hills of Randburg.
In commemorating the occasion, Mr. David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, welcomed those in attendance in light of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s (LRH) wishes to infuse a segregated South Africa with sanity and guidance more than 50 years ago: “Should anyone ask what it means to follow an LRH dream from ‘One Man, One Vote’ to One Nation, One Purpose and from African power to African pride and Africa forever to Africa alive, well, all you have to do is consider those words ‘eternally Africa’ and ‘endlessly Africa,’ because herein lies our Lion’s Gate to Infinity’s door.”
The Grand Opening ceremony was accented with creativity and vibrant expression, led by the magical sounds of Djembe drums mixed with traditional dancers and the melodies of a local choir. The festivities soon evolved into a chorus of dignitaries from all over Johannesburg and Gauteng—welcoming the Church and forecasting a propitious future upon the cutting of its giant red ribbon.
It is after all, a future born out of a humanitarian legacy spearheaded by the Church in the Gauteng province. In point of fact, the Scientology sponsored United for Human Rights campaign has inspired a Gauteng rights movement, seeing more than 40,000 empowered with the knowledge of their rights. There’s also the Drug-Free World program where, in Joburg alone, more than 300,000 Truth About Drugs booklets have been distributed, contributing to a drop in drug-related crime across high-risk zones—the first in over a decade.
The new Church stands to both accommodate a thriving Scientology community and continue a compelling humanitarian legacy. Located on the corner of Bram Fischer and Hunter Street in Randburg, the sprawling 70,000-square-foot facility spans a two-acre estate and tops a city rise, overlooking a Joburg it is expressly designed to serve.
That commitment of service defined the common thread present among the city and provincial officials on hand to welcome the new facility, including: Chief Fanie, of the Zalisidinga African Traditional Council; Mr. Martin Mande, Advisor to the U.N. Refugee Agency, South Africa; Ms. Amy Fakude, Speaker Emeritus, Gauteng Parliament for Women; and Pastor Errol Jacobs from the El Dorado Ministries. Each spoke of their fortuitous interaction with parishioners and volunteers participating in the Church’s programs.
Chief Fanie, of the Zalisidinga African Traditional Council, told the crowd of his experiences with LRH Technology: “I first came across your technology while at work out in the townships surrounding Johannesburg. Despite their simplicity, these tools were bringing trust, decency and honor to these people…it was like magic. So I started classes myself and step-by-step, you taught me this ‘magic.’ And very soon, I believed I had the power to help my people, because after studying all 19 courses—I’ve become the Chief with all the answers.”
Mr. Martin Mande, Advisor to the U.N. Refugee Agency, South Africa, spoke of the Church and its role in envisioning new realities for the Gauteng people: “Where others are static in their mindset, you are visionary revolutionaries. You are uplifting souls toward human rights. We must now establish rights clubs everywhere, in schools, in organizations and churches in every community. And so, in that way, from her head to her heart, Africa can be alive and free with a future of human rights.”
Speaker Emeritus of the Gauteng Women’s Parliament, Ms. Amy Fakude, highlighted L. Ron Hubbard’s The Way to Happiness and its ability to empower a generation: “Before, girls as young as 12 were becoming pregnant… Now, they are protected by their new-found self-integrity. And where young men believed stealing was okay because, ‘they were taking back what was originally theirs,’ well, now they’re taking back their self-respect. I’m telling you, with The Way to Happiness—we are giving humankind back its humanity.”
And finally, Pastor Jacobs said he is one of seven men of religion in his family, each of whom have seen a backsliding of morality and kindness: “We preach, and we teach, only to see the world disappearing under our feet. Parents, schools, principals, they come to me and say, ‘Please Pastor, I need your help.’ But, to where do I refer them? Well, just a few years ago, I couldn’t have told you to where or to whom, but now I know, and it’s a blessing. Because I found Dianetics and the Church of Scientology, and all that you bring to this world.”
The new Johannesburg North Church provides visitors with an introduction to Dianetics and Scientology, beginning with the Public Information Center. Its displays, containing more than 500 films, present the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion and the life and legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Information Center also details the many Scientology supported humanitarian programs. These include a worldwide human rights education initiative; a far-reaching drug education, prevention and rehabilitation program; a global network of literacy and learning centers, and the Scientology Volunteer Minister program, now representing the world’s largest independent relief force.
Johannesburg North’s Chapel provides for Scientology congregational gatherings that include Sunday Services, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies. It will also host community-wide events, open to members of all denominations. The facility further includes multiple seminar rooms and classrooms, and an entire wing dedicated to Scientology auditing (spiritual counseling).
The opening of the new Church of Scientology Johannesburg North comes during a period of tremendous expansion for the religion with more than 60 new Churches of Scientology from Los Angeles to Tampa, London to Milan, Tel Aviv to Tokyo and Kaohsiung to Bogotá. Over the past decade, those openings have driven worldwide expansion for the religion to a rate surpassing the previous 50 years combined.
In 2017, openings of new Churches of Scientology have taken place in Auckland, New Zealand; the San Fernando Valley, California; Miami, Florida; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Birmingham, England and Amsterdam, Netherlands.
More Church openings are planned in 2018 for cultural epicenters in Europe, Latin America, North America and Australia.