Church of Scientology Dedicates New Building for the Pacific Northwest
Sixteen hundred Scientologists and their guests packed the street in front of 300 West Harrison in Seattle today for the opening of the new Church of Scientology of Washington, a milestone for the congregation formed 54 years ago.
Duwamish Tribal Chairman Cecile Hansen, a descendant of Chief Seattle after whom the city was named, opened the event with a centuries-old ceremony, welcoming the Church to its new home.
Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, officiated, acknowledging the Scientologists who spearheaded the drive to build the new Church. Stressing the significance of the occasion, Mr. Miscavige said:
“Just this year alone, we have opened six new Ideal Churches on three continents. While in months to come you’ll see ribbons parting as far away as Tel Aviv, Melbourne and Moscow, and as close to home as Twin Cities, Sacramento and Portland—to cite but a few of the more than 60 new Churches now looming on the near horizon.
“So, yes, you are part of a movement that qualifies as ‘history in the making.’ Moreover, it is a movement that is all-embracive, all-inclusive and all about ensuring no one falls between the cracks. Because when you possess a technology capable of restoring the infinite goodness in every human being, then every life becomes immeasurably precious.”
Acknowledging the Church for its many contributions to the community were Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders, Washington State Representative Marilyn Chase, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce President Dave Peterson, Seattle Neighborhood District Coordinator Christa Dumpys, and FEMA volunteer liaison Jo Ann Oram.
Justice Sanders spoke of working with the Church in the field of human rights, a partnership spanning nearly 35 years: “There is nothing more important in life than being true to yourself and standing up for what you believe. That is freedom, and that is what makes life worth living. And that, to me, is what you represent. ... The Church of Scientology is truly a leader when it comes to fighting for the civil rights of those subject to abuse by the so-called mental health laws and those that enforce them. And I respect your struggle to abolish coercive practices in the field of mental health and to restore human dignity and freedom to all people. I am proud of our accomplishments over the years, and I am especially proud for your significant accomplishment of opening this beautiful new Church.”
President of the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, Dave Peterson, gave these words in acknowledgment of the Church’s history of service to its community: “Your Church of Scientology has never failed to step up…. Together, we have a proud tradition in Seattle, one in which the Church of Scientology can rightfully claim its due reward… I am also proud to say that the Chamber and the Church have co-sponsored many projects for the benefit of the greater community. And in every case, you never just stand by and think about improvements. You do them. We at the Chamber know we can always turn to the Church of Scientology—and you will never let us down.”
Long active as volunteers in community betterment initiatives, just last April local Scientologists received the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. Seattle-area Scientologists serve in the Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and as certified associate chaplains of the Seattle Police Department’s Community Chaplaincy Program. The Scientology Environmental Task Force, partnering with the Seattle Parks & Recreation Department, Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Public Utilities to Keep Seattle Beautiful, sponsors the oldest Adopt-A-Street program in the city. Scientologists have also volunteered with Food Lifeline since 2002 and, since 1993, the Church’s community drug education program has helped thousands of Seattle young people steer clear of substance abuse.
The State of Washington holds a significant place in the life of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. In 1923, he joined Tacoma Troop 31 Black Eagle Patrol and the following year, at 13, became the youngest Eagle Scout in America. In 1926, he spent his sophomore year at Seattle’s Queen Anne High School on Galer Street, before embarking on the first of several voyages to a then rarely visited Asia.
During the 1930s, in his Port Orchard writer’s retreat overlooking Puget Sound, Mr. Hubbard authored several acclaimed stories and novels for what is remembered today as the Great American Pulp Fiction Movement. It was also in Port Orchard that he scripted the Warner Brothers classic Dive Bomber.
It was also from Seattle where Mr. Hubbard set sail on the famed “Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition” to field-test a then novel system on which all future radio navigation was based.
Most importantly, it was in neighboring Port Orchard, in 1938, that Mr. Hubbard authored what is remembered as the philosophic foundation of Dianetics and Scientology. A now legendary work entitled “Excalibur, ” here was the first examination of key universal principles common to all life forms and underlying all behavior.
The new Church of Scientology of Washington is located just blocks from Seattle Center and the Space Needle. The ground floor features an extensive Public Information Center with 17 multimedia displays that present and illustrate Scientology beliefs, the life and legacy of L. Ron Hubbard and the full array of social betterment and community outreach programs. These interactive displays provide a concise but panoramic view of the religion to visitors, students and others desiring to learn more about Scientology.
To even better serve the community, the Church has further established the Scientology Life Improvement Center adjacent to the century-old Pike Place Market Historic District, the “Soul of Seattle.” This center provides Scientology introductory courses.
The Church of Scientology of Washington State is the seventh new Scientology Church to open in 2010. The Brussels branch of Churches of Scientology for Europe opened on January 23; the Church of Scientology of Quebec opened on January 30; the Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre Las Vegas opened February 6; the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles opened April 24; a new National Scientology Church opened in Mexico City July 10; and the new Church of Scientology of Pasadena opened July 18.
Last year (2009), new Churches of Scientology opened in Washington, DC; Rome, Italy; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Malmö, Sweden. These join a roster of new Churches of Scientology recently opened in world cultural centers, including the Church of Scientology of San Francisco, in the original historic Transamerica Building; the Church of Scientology of New York, just off Times Square; the National Church of Scientology of Spain, in Madrid’s Neighborhood of Letters; the Church of Scientology of London, at the city’s epicenter; and the Church of Scientology of Berlin, near the Brandenburg Gate.
Another five new Churches of Scientology are scheduled for completion before the end of 2010. Worldwide, there are more than 8,500 Scientology Churches, Missions and affiliated groups in 165 countries.