Scientologists Take Action to Help Harlem Stay Well

With Harlem about to reopen, Scientology Volunteer Ministers took to the streets with important information to help the neighborhood avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 8 marks Phase I in New York City’s reopening. For three months, the city has been battling COVID 19. And Harlem was one of the neighborhoods that suffered the most infections and casualties. Rev. Cleveland Polite, President of the Church of Scientology Harlem, describes the impact the virus had on his community.

“New York was the epicenter of this whole pandemic in the U.S.,” he says. “We’ve been hit much harder than anywhere else and the effects are much more real, so I’m working hard to help people avoid that fate.”

But while officials are warning that a second and even a third wave of the virus is inevitable, Rev. Polite has reason to hope—and he’s taking action to turn that hope into a certainty.

“We’ve been hit much harder than anywhere else and the effects are much more real, so I’m working hard to help people avoid that fate.”

“Fortunately, our parishioners have been safe,” he says, “and that’s because of what we’ve been applying. Our Church made the decision to ensure we stopped delivering in-person religious services at the very beginning of all of this. Our staff have been working from home, contacting individual parishioners to ensure they are safe and applying prevention.” 

He is referring to a series of booklets available at the How to Stay Well Prevention Resource Center on the Scientology website: How to Keep Yourself & Others Well, How to Protect Yourself and Others with a Mask and Gloves and How to Prevent the Spread of Illness with Isolation. These, along with charts and infographics can be read online or downloaded. More than a dozen brief videos illustrate the key data in the booklets. And it is all available in 20 languages making it easy to understand what a virus is, how it spreads, and the actions anyone can take to protect themselves and their families.

His congregation has come through the pandemic without a problem and Rev. Polite and other Church staff and parishioners wanted to reach out in the neighborhood to make sure that Harlem reopens safe and sound.

“Our Church put out these booklets back in early March to get in front of this and our community partners have expressed how grateful they are that we’ve made this material available to them as they didn’t have any informational resources. The resources that existed weren’t getting to them, and many people didn’t know what to do,” says Polite.

“On a personal level, I love the booklets because they helped me understand what I should do to protect myself. I was going to the store with a mask and gloves before I saw anyone else doing it, and it gave me peace of mind to know I was doing everything possible to stay safe for my family, friends, my Church and the parishioners who rely on me.”

In preparation for Harlem’s reopening, teams of Volunteer Ministers gathered at the Church of Scientology Harlem to load up with boxes of booklets. The Church outfitted all the volunteers with protective jumpsuits, jackets, hats, masks and gloves and made these booklets available in self-contained displays that can be put on the counters of businesses or placed at the checkout stand or the reception area of a clinic or company.

People were eager to get these booklets into the hands of their customers. 

“We walked into one shop and the manager literally grabbed the boxes right out of our hands,” said one of the volunteers. “He put them in the most prominent location in the shop so everyone entering could get one.”

“Information is always important,” said the owner of one of the businesses. “Without knowledge, people can perish. Giving this information out can prevent some of these tragedies that we have been having. It is a big deal that you are doing this.”


Worldwide distribution of these booklets began approximately a month ago and is ongoing in communities around every Scientology Church and Mission across the globe. The Church of Scientology International Dissemination and Distribution Center made this possible by printing 5 million copies of Stay Well booklets. The three booklets may also be read and downloaded from the How to Stay Well Prevention Resource Center on the Scientology website along with more than a dozen public service announcements.

The Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service created in the mid-1970s by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. It constitutes one of the largest and most visible international independent relief forces. The Volunteer Minister’s mandate is to be “a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.”


The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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