Councillor Giulio Gandolfi thanked Say No to Drugs volunteers in Milano
Councillor Giulio Gandolfi thanked Say No to Drugs volunteers in Milano

The Drug-Free World volunteers from the Church of Scientology Milano reach out to youth with the Truth About Drugs campaign.

Volunteers from the Church of Scientology Milano teamed up with Milan Transportation Association (ATM) to promote the value of an active, drug-free lifestyle. 

Volunteers from the Church of Scientology Milano bring the truth about drugs to their city.
Volunteers from the Church of Scientology Milano bring the truth about drugs to their city.

ATM’s BikeMi, the city’s bike-sharing program, offered these Drug-Free World volunteers the use of bicycles free of charge to promote their Truth About Drugs initiative.

The day’s activities launched from the Church courtyard at Viale Fulvio Testi, 327. Councillor Giulio Gandolfi thanked the volunteers for bringing this important message to the community and signed their “Say No to Drugs” Honor Roll in support of the initiative.

Councilor signs pledge
In the courtyard of the Church of Scientology Milano, Councillor Giulio Gandolfi signed the “Say No to Drugs” Honor Roll.

Twenty volunteers took off from the Church by bicycle, wearing their signature teal Truth About Drugs T-shirts and caps. They rode through the city, handing out Truth About Drugs booklets in high-traffic areas in support of this year’s UN Office on Drugs and Crime theme for International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: “Share Facts on Drugs: Save Lives.” 

Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free. The Foundation’s Truth About Drugs campaign consists of drug education materials and activities that popularize drug-free living.

at castle
The drug prevention bike tour ended at Castello Sforzesco, a popular destination for tourists and residents, where volunteers handed out Truth About Drugs booklets.

Scientology Churches provide drug education specialist training, sponsor chapters of Foundation for a Drug-Free World, and work with local educators, police, churches and nonprofits to reach youth on this vital subject. 

To make these materials available to anyone wishing to tackle the drug crisis, the Church of Scientology International Dissemination and Distribution Center in Los Angeles, California, produces and ships out Truth About Drugs booklets, DVDs and education packages free of charge to parents, educators, law enforcement, community groups and nonprofits for their drug prevention activities.

The Church of Scientology Milano is an Ideal Scientology Church, dedicated in 2015 by Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion. In addition to providing ideal facilities to service Scientologists on their ascent to higher states of spiritual awareness and freedom, the Church sponsors humanitarian programs and serves as a home for the community and a meeting place of cooperative effort to uplift people of all denominations.

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.

Source: https://www.scientologynews.org/press-releases/taking-to-the-streets-to-promote-active-and-drug-free-living.html

Volunteers help clean up after floods in Belgium
Volunteers help clean up after floods in Belgium

Belgian Scientologists respond to the needs of friends and neighbors after unprecedented flooding submerged parts of the country.

Brussels-based Churches of Scientology for Europe activated a team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers to help in the aftermath of what has been described as the worst flooding to hit Western Europe in more than two centuries.

Cleanup from flooding is always an arduous but vital process. The faster the response, the less that is lost to the incursion of mold and mildew. 

The team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers took on whatever tasks were needed to salvage valuables, clean up, and put order into flood-damaged property. “Many large cities were completely underwater,” said the Volunteer Ministers on Facebook “People lost so much property—some lost their entire homes. But the sun is finally back and our team is on the ground to help people clean up and recover their belongings as best we can.”  The volunteers lost no time in contributing to the cleanup and the work of salvaging property. 

chopping fallen branches
The volunteers lost no time in contributing to the cleanup and the work of salvaging property.

The Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service created in the mid-1970s by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

A Volunteer Minister’s mandate is to be “a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.” Their creed: “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.”

To learn how the Scientology Volunteer Ministers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic internationally, visit the interactive timeline, 20/21—A Look Back & A Look Ahead on the Scientology website.

Source: https://www.scientologynews.org/press-releases/scientology-volunteer-ministers-help-dig-out-after-devastating-flood-damage.html

Religious cooperation: Catholic Church honours Church of Scientology in Mexico with a special Mass
Religious cooperation: Catholic Church honours Church of Scientology in Mexico with a special Mass

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Honored for Their Help at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO • JUN 23, 2021

Mexico Scientologists and their families were honored for their service to church officials and parishioners with a special Mass at the Iglesia Santa Maria de Guadalupe Capuchinas, part of the complex of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

A special Mass at the Iglesia Santa Maria de las Capuchinas in the complex of Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe honored the Scientology Volunteer Ministers of Mexico. As the country began to open up, these volunteers took on the task of sanitizing and decontaminating places of worship so those wishing to practice their faith could do so in safety.The Scientology Volunteer Ministers were honored for their work making this and other churches safe for worshipers. 

Most years, some 20 million pilgrims visit the Basilica, most of them in December to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadelupe, the patron saint of Mexico. The Basilica is one of the most visited Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. But in December 2020, with Mexico’s mounting cases of COVID-19 and one of the highest rates of coronavirus casualties internationally, the church took the unprecedented step of shutting the doors of the Basilica to prevent the spread of the virus.

To Mexico’s Scientology Volunteer Ministers, veterans of disaster response missions at home and abroad, the pandemic was a completely different kind of catastrophe to those they were used to dealing with—one requiring prevention. Nonetheless, because of the insight of Church leadership, they were well prepared to help. 

Even before the pandemic was declared, thanks to the foresight of ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige, and in keeping with the maxim of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure,” the Church researched the most effective prevention methods and distilled them into a series of illustrated booklets and public service announcements presented in simple, direct language anyone can understand. These were made available in 21 languages on the Scientology.org Stay Well Prevention Resource Center. The Church also researched the best methods of sanitization and made these available to Scientology Churches, Missions and Scientology Volunteer Ministers around the world. 

Catholic and evangelical religious leaders who have worked on interfaith programs with The Freewinds, the Scientology religious retreat in the Caribbean, reached out to the ship for help to make their churches safe. The Freewinds arranged for trained Scientology Volunteer Ministers in Mexico City to respond to their needs. The Volunteer Ministers took on sanitizing the Basilica and other Mexican churches to ensure that parishioners could worship in safety.

At the special Mass, a representative of the cardinal attended in appreciation of the Church of Scientology and the work of the Volunteer Ministers in sanitizing the Basilica and churches throughout the city and the State of Mexico. The Scientology Volunteer Ministers trained church representatives in how to sanitize the chapel, and after the Mass, they presented the priest with a full kit containing all the equipment and materials needed to continue the sanitizing of the church.

German church leads crowdfunding to buy vessel to aid stranded Mediterranean migrants
German church leads crowdfunding to buy vessel to aid stranded Mediterranean migrants

Germany’s main Protestant church led a crowdfunding effort that purchased the rescue ship Sea-Watch 4 that is ready for work in the Mediterranean Sea to help migrants trying to reach Europe from North Africa.

According to Peter Kenny from Ecumenical News, “The Evangelical Church (EKD) initiated the effort by United4Rescue, a broad alliance to support civilian sea rescue.

“We connect all social organizations and groups that do not want to stand idly by the thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean,” says United4Rescue. “Through donation campaigns, we support rescue organizations that act in a humanitarian manner where politics fails.”

The crew of the “Sea-Watch 4” spent the past few weeks converting this old research vessel into a sea rescue vessel, as reported be the German news agency epd.

Aboard is a protection area with 24 beds for women and children along with a hospital ward.

When the crew has passed its mandatory quarantine it can start its work.

Due to the corona situation and the lockdown in Spain, the first mission was delayed almost four months.

Sea-Watch 4 is to set sail from the Spanish Burriana in the the coming days of August, less than a year after a petition was published by the 12th Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany, the WCC reported.

The petition asked the church council to continue to campaign for sea rescue, communal reception, safe escape routes, fair asylum procedures and legal migration opportunities.

“We ask for God’s blessing on the crew of Sea-Watch 4 and on their important mission. May each of us, too, become a vessel of hope and instruments of peace for our neighbors,” said Rev. Ioan Sauca, interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

Work to convert the old research vessel into a sea rescue ship is almost complete and the crew is currently undergoing training and drills.

They will soon set out on their first mission.

Due to the COVID-19 situation and the lockdown in Spain, the mission was delayed almost four months.

Since the end of all state-sponsored rescue operations, only private ships have been sailing in the Mediterranean to rescue people who have fled from distress at sea.

It is estimated that around 400 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in 2020.

“One does not let any single human drown, end of discussion,” said Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairperson of the Evangelical Church in Germany, during the ceremony that launched the mission in February, in the city of Kiel.

The fundraising efforts that enabled Sea-Watch 4 to prepare to operate started in December, with a campaign of the alliance called “United4Rescue” named #WirschickeneinSchiff (“We send a ship”).

The coalition initiated has more than 500 supporting organizations, ranging from congregations and student groups to diaconal agencies as well as secular partners.

In January, the alliance succeeded in auctioning the former research ship “Poseidon” at a cost of 1.3 million euros, including 1.1 million euros donated by United4Rescue.

FoRB Publications launches new book of Rosita Šorytė, on NRMs and the Pandemic
FoRB Publications launches new book of Rosita Šorytė, on NRMs and the Pandemic

“We Can Lift This World While Quarantined”: Scientology and the 2020 Pandemic, Soryte chose this quoted part from a Scientology song that was done specifically for the time of the pandemic as a positive hint towards recovering through the assistance of all.

New religious movements are rarely given credit for their humanitarian work. A case in point is the Church of Scientology during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Opponents used the epidemic as an opportunity to accuse Scientology of spreading conspiracy theories and not respecting anti-virus precautions. [The book can be ordered HERE]

“We can Lift This World while Quarantined”: Scientology and the 2020 Pandemic – by Rosita Soryte, (2020 FoRB.PRESS)

In fact, while interpreting the epidemic through L. Ron Hubbard’s theory of “dangerous environments,” Scientologists rapidly adopted state-of-the-art precautions and distributed millions of booklets teaching how to effectively protect hygiene and use masks, gloves, and disinfectants. Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers organized massive humanitarian activities, which were praised by majors and other authorities in several countries. By doing this, they were persuaded that they were not only helping fellow human beings but moving decisively towards a better, “restored” planet.

Rosita Šorytė, who has a long experience on the problems of humanitarian aid delivered in time of crisis by both governments and international organizations, and NGOs, and has studied in particular how religion-based NGOs operate, explores Scientology’s response to COVID-19 through volunteer services, distribution of literature, disinfection, and the production of musical shows that reached millions, aimed at providing a commodity not less essential than masks or disinfectants, hope.

She criticizes the anti-cult interpretation of these efforts as propaganda or proselytization and shows how they are deeply rooted both in L. Ron Hubbard’s theology and the lifestyle adopted by Scientologists throughout the world.

Rosita Šorytė joined in 1992 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and worked for 25 years as a diplomat, inter alia at the UNESCO in Paris and the United Nations in New York. In 2011, she served as the representative of the Lithuanian Chairmanship of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (Warsaw). In 2012-2013, she chaired the European Union Working Group on Humanitarian Aid on behalf of the Lithuanian pro tempore presidency of the European Union.

She takes a special interest in religious liberty and on refugees escaping their countries due to religious persecution and is co-founder and President of ORLIR, the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees, as well as a member of the Scientific Committee of FOB, the European Federation for Freedom of Belief. She is also the author of several articles and book chapters on religious liberty and religion-based humanitarian initiatives.

A Catholic priest and Red Cross get help from Scientologists in Hungary during Covid19
A Catholic priest and Red Cross get help from Scientologists in Hungary during Covid19

Lending a hand to the community in need in the heart of Central Europe

In the middle of the after-pandemic-crisis when the lockdown and restrictions were released or lessened in most countries of Europe, volunteers have continued to help those in need in Hungary.

The current pandemic brought about a new kind of catastrophe which touched many lives all around the world. Apart from the virus itself and its risk of infection, many suffered  the economical effects of it. Large families, single parents, or elderly, got touched by the restrictions. Some even suddenly lost their job without being prepared.

This spring, Hungarian Scientology volunteer ministers responded super-fast to the scene of disarrangement caused by the spread of the Coronavirus. They quickly assessed what was needed and wanted.

According to Timea Vojtilla, who is currently leading the actions of the volunteer Scientologists in Hungary said to The Social News in EU that “Scientology Volunteer Ministers are well known to jump in and offer their help in all kind of catastrophic situations such as earthquakes, tsunami, forest fires, etc. bringing order and spiritual relief to those who were harmed and to help them to take up their lives again. Our motto is “SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.

First, they saw that hospital workers got suddenly burdened. They went into communication with the hospital that had been set up for the central handling of Covid-19 in Budapest to find out what their workers would need most. Answering the request, Hungarian Scientology Volunteer Ministers then provided the hospital with 300 kilos of fresh fruits, refreshments, and snacks to distribute to the nurses, doctors, and other hospital workers.

The following week they called the Hungarian Red Cross, which is one of the oldest and best-known charity organizations in Hungary, to learn what help would be most needed. As a result, they collected and donated non-perishable food to two offices of Hungarian Red Cross which then distributed these to families and elderly in need.

As in many other European countries, it became more and more visible, that for those who lost their jobs because of Covid-19, even if only through temporary unemployment, the future became harder and harder to predict. More and more people turned to charity organizations asking for help, especially those who had no or very small savings.

Scientologists gathered more donations and provided an average of 1 to 1.5 tons each time of durable food to different charity organizations, and as the word of mouth was running, they received more requests for help from all parts of Hungary and different parts of society.

Vojtilla said “We are going out every week, sometimes more than once, trying to fulfill the requested help as much as we can, helping with the most basic vital factor of living: food!”

Donations have included not only basic food for cooking such as flower, sugar, salt, pasta, canned food, oil, etc., but also fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, milk, sausages, and, thinking about children, also cacao, pudding, chocolates and different snacks.

The VMs, as they call themselves, or the yellow t-shirts as they are more and more known contributed to support different other religions knowing that churches were always anchors of spiritual support in troubled times.

As a catholic priest stated, after receiving a ton of food donations from the volunteer ministers, his “little countryside chapel had always been a shelter in its 100’s of years of past existence, even in past pandemics” and that he “was glad to receive donations from Scientologists, and happily distributed the food to all who needed it in my town, regardless of their religion or conviction”. The priest reported that he saw “tears in some people’s eyes when they received this help in these difficult times. Churches joining forces to provide solace in times of need are a basic need”.

“I was glad to receive donations from Scientologists, and happily distributed the food to all who needed it in my town, regardless of their religion or conviction”

A Catholic priest

Timea Vojtilla, spokesperson of the Hungarian Scientologist community and the main organizer of all those actions said: “We love to help others! And probably the most precious part of it is the teamwork when we can join forces with others! We are so much stronger together! Giving a hand to those who are harmed is an honor. I am very happy to see how many people were joining forces in this Covid-19 confusion and did not let others down. The Covid19 has not discriminated against one religion or another, an ethnicity or another, so our VMs have also been helping in Bodvalenke at a gypsy village famous for its wall´s fresco, an orphanage in Transilvania, and a children’s home in Budapest spreading a smile to the children with balloons and chocolate”.