Founding Church of Scientology Grand Opening in Washington, DC
The Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, opened its new premises today just 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 203,000 registered Scientology Volunteer Ministers trained to respond in times of disaster.
In expressing the importance of a prominent Scientology Church in the nation’s capital 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.”
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 Commission 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.
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 affiliated groups in 165 nations (2009). 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 Malmö, Sweden; Dallas, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee and October 24, in Rome—five new landmark Scientology Churches opened newly in the last six months.