CLEARWATER, FLORIDA • JULY 11, 2015
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY CUTS RIBBON
ON DYNAMIC NEW DOWNTOWN INFO CENTER
SERVING CLEARWATER AND TAMPA BAY
The Church’s six global humanitarian initiatives come together in a single Florida location to benefit all citizens, giving a much-needed local home to Church-sponsored international programs at the intersection of help and hope.
Four thousand Scientologists and their guests converged on downtown Clearwater for a ribbon-cutting dedication Saturday, July 11, in celebration of the new Church of Scientology Information Center, expanding the religion’s renowned and globally impactful humanitarian programs into a central expansive hub astride the religion’s spiritual headquarters, the Flag Land Base.
The Clearwater Building and Information Center represent the completion of the Church’s next phase and includes six distinct facilities dedicated to the local advancement of Scientology-affiliated global humanitarian initiatives. It follows the dedication of the Flag Building, the Church’s international spiritual headquarters, in November 2013; the opening of the historic Coachman Building in 2014, with its permanent exhibit dedicated to Clearwater’s history; the full-restoration and rededication of the landmark Fort Harrison, connected with the Flag Building by a street bridge spanning Fort Harrison Avenue; and the opening of the Oak Cove retreat.
The landmark Clearwater Building stands front and center in the downtown corridor at Cleveland Street and Fort Harrison Avenue in the historic Clearwater Building. Originally built in 1918, the structure has been beautifully restored with its grand lobby transformed into a Scientology Information Center. Clearwater is known as the spiritual headquarters of the Church of Scientology, and to answer questions about the religion for residents and those visiting the city, the Church opens the doors on this information center.
“Today signifies a watershed moment for the city of Clearwater, home to our spiritual headquarters," pronounced Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center, in addressing the assembled throng.
“As Scientology expands out across the world, in our wake we bring our solutions to those in desperate need. We have established international footholds to address drug abuse, illiteracy, immorality and human rights. We have worked in the hot spots of the world—the major cities of Earth.”
“And traveling the globe,” he said, “volunteering their time to spearhead those humanitarian programs, are the parishioners of our Flag Spiritual Headquarters. So, bearing in mind that’s what emanates from here, we now bring the full breadth of our programs to this city, the city in which we live, the city that is our home—Clearwater, Florida.”
Designed as an open-door informational meeting spot, the Information Center features a full biographical display illuminating the extraordinary life and legacy of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard—from his childhood to his career as an author before the advent of Dianetics and Scientology, as well as his revolutionary body of work in establishing and defining the religion itself.
Inside the center, Clearwater residents and visitors to the city’s downtown will discover information displays containing some 300 documentary videos covering:
- The fundamentals of Dianetics and Scientology, including the core principles and beliefs;
- The ever-expanding network of Scientology Churches and groups and the global scope of Scientology as a religious movement;
- The panoply of humanitarian programs now the hallmark of the Church the world over.
Additionally, each of these humanitarian programs now has its own facility just steps from the Information Center. Never before have so many individual buildings serving Church-sponsored humanitarian initiatives been erected in the same location to enlighten those seeking assistance and guidance. They represent a helping hand for Clearwater and the greater Tampa communities. To that end, the Church embraces its role to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement and government officials as well as church and civic groups and the entire nonprofit community to do its part in helping to build a more vibrant city.
Now a worldwide movement expanding across 184 nations, the Church of Scientology has been a key player and loyal resident of Clearwater for nearly 40 years. Clearwater is the permanent home to more than 10,000 Scientology parishioners. Moreover, tens of thousands of Scientologists travel to the city each year from around the world to participate in religious services at the Church’s spiritual home. The Church takes seriously its responsibility and interest in the future of the area.
The center’s dedication accompanied the simultaneous opening of six facilities along an entire block of Fort Harrison Avenue, each committed to a single global humanitarian initiative and devoted to the betterment of Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area.
Those six include:
- The new downtown home of the Church’s Volunteer Ministers, part of a global movement active in 120 nations—the world’s largest independent relief force. Scientologists volunteer more than 200,000 hours a year in the Tampa Bay area alone, living by the Volunteer Ministers motto that no matter the challenge, “Something can be done about it.”
- A museum and operations center for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the world’s leading mental health watchdog group since 1969, responsible for helping to enact some 181 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive psychiatric practices. Its Clearwater information center features the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum.
- A new home for United for Human Rights, a global education initiative working to identify and protect the rights of every citizen of the world and now every resident of Pinellas County—where human rights abuses and human trafficking rank among the most severe in the United States. This headquarters promises to spearhead the fight against these unconscionable abuses.
- The new local center for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, whose international Truth About Drugs program has reached 260 million people worldwide. The program is committed to eradicating drug abuse and providing meaningful drug education to young people.
- A building dedicated to The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard. Published in 112 languages, the 21 precepts have brought calm to communities torn by violence, peace to areas ravaged by civil strife, and self-respect to millions. The new Clearwater office will provide the moral compass needed locally.
- The Criminon Florida headquarters stands as a starting point in carrying out the mission of addressing the causes of criminality and restoring offenders’ self-respect through effective character-building programs.
The Church’s goal with the new open-door facilities is to provide help for any in the Clearwater and Greater Tampa Bay area who seek it.
Saturday’s ribbon-cutting also celebrated the unveiling of the Osceola Courtyard, a green oasis that is an anchor for the community, beautifying the city at the corner of Fort Harrison Avenue and Drew Street. It will be set up with colorful pavilions during holiday events to make available each of the Church-sponsored humanitarian programs. The park will also be home to Winter Wonderland, a popular family tradition provided to the community by Scientologists for the past 25 years.
Scientology has enjoyed greater expansion during the past decade than in the previous 50 years combined. Indeed, the first half of 2015 has been marked by historic achievements for Scientology. They include this weekend’s dedication of the Scientology Information Center in the restored Clearwater Building, along with six new Clearwater headquarters buildings to make Church-supported humanitarian programs readily available to the community; dedication of the majestic Ideal Church of Scientology in Bogotá, Colombia, on July 5; and the opening two months ago of another Ideal Church of Scientology where France, Germany and Switzerland converge: in Basel, Switzerland. More openings are planned in Asia, Europe and North America in the months ahead.