Volunteer Ministers Celebrate World Civil Defense Day

The Church of Scientology Seattle hosted a World Civil Defense Day open house on the Volunteer Ministers program and its disaster response activities.

Seattle’s Church of Scientology hosted a community open house this month to celebrate World Civil Defense Day. The event featured the Church’s disaster response work in Washington State as part of Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WAVOAD) whose mission is to foster more effective service to people affected by disaster through cooperation, coordination, communication and collaboration.

The Volunteer Ministers program motto is “something can be done about it” and over the last four decades, Volunteer Ministers (VMs) from 120 nations have responded to more than 200 disasters, demonstrating how true that motto is.

Identifiable by their bright yellow T-shirts or jackets, VMs first attend to the most immediate needs of the community and individual. Using their organizing skills they establish systems for distributing water, food and first aid in conjunction with local officials, first responders and on-site medical teams. Once the most crucial physical needs are handled, Volunteer Ministers then provide their unique “spiritual first aid”—Scientology assists—technology developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that helps speed recovery by relieving the emotional and spiritual factors in stress and trauma. 

The program was held to forward the two purposes set by the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) for World Civil Defense Day

  • Bringing to the attention of the world public the vital importance of Civil Protection and of raising awareness of the preparedness for, and prevention and self-protection measures in the event of accidents or disasters; 
  • Paying tribute to the efforts, sacrifices and accomplishments of all the national services responsible for the fight against disasters.

The president of Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and Service Extension/Emergency Disaster Services Director for the Salvation Army Northwest Division, Shaun Jones, was keynote speaker at the World Civil Defense Day event. 

He validated the Church of Scientology for its work with the state’s VOAD group: “I’ve seen VOAD in action in all kinds of different disasters and the positive thing about it is we’re all able to come together; we all talk the same language; we are able to really get down to the nuts and bolts of what the needs are out there. It’s a great organization to be part of and I’m glad the Church of Scientology’s there, and again, it’s awesome we are able to just fill a need when it comes up.”

On behalf of The Salvation Army, Mr. Jones has worked for over 20 years responding to major disasters including 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Haiti and state-wide disasters. In addition to his current position with Washington’s VOAD, he has been involved in VOADs in Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

David Scattergood, Disaster Response Director for the Church of Scientology of Washington State, also addressed the audience, noting that Volunteer Minister training is available to anyone, anywhere, through free online Scientology Handbook Tools for Life courses in 19 subjects, including study tools, communication, marriage, parenting, dealing with stress, success in the workplace, achieving goals and disaster relief.

The Volunteer Ministers program was launched more than 40 years ago, in response to an appeal by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Noting a tremendous downturn in the level of ethics and morality in society, and a consequent increase in drugs and crime, Mr. Hubbard wrote, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

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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