Inside and Outside the Churches of Scientology Around the World
Nearly 1,000 Scientologists and their guests from across Europe attended the dedication of the Brussels branch of the Churches of Scientology for Europe on Saturday. A representative of Church of Scientology International, the Mother Church of the Scientology religion, officiated at the ceremony held in the early-20th-century historic structure at Boulevard de Waterloo 100-103.
Presiding was the Reverend Robert Adams of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International. In welcoming the parishioners, staff and guests from more than a dozen countries, he introduced the new Brussels branch as "an international Church for an international city, dedicated to helping all the people of Europe."
Rev. Adams called the opening the "beginning of a new era for Scientology parishioners and all residents of Belgium and Europe. You are always welcome in our Churches, and we invite you to participate with us as we serve the larger community with effective solutions to uplift the visible decay of the society in which we live."
Distinguished guest speakers participating in the dedication of the new Church were the Honorable Hugo Coveliers, Senator in the Belgian Parliament; Professor Abolfazl Beheshti, Professor of International Relations and Energy Economy at the University of Lille, France; The Honorable Juan Ferreiro, Spain’s Deputy Director General for Religious Affairs at the Spanish Ministry of Justice; Ms. Katalin Szomor, expert member of the Drugs Commission of the Hungarian Parliament and former national drug coordinator; and the Reverend Christopher Vonck, Rector of the Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions at the University of Antwerp.
In his address to the Scientologists and guests, Senator Coveliers said, "This new Church in the capital city of Europe stands as a beautiful testament to your help, and you can be certain of my continued support. You care for people, and this Church is such an example of this attitude."
The new Church in Brussels has undergone extensive renovation not only to accommodate all Scientology religious services but also as a home for the community services provided through the many activities and humanitarian programs of Church members.
The 88,000-square-foot Church includes an expansive Information Hall housing a multimedia exhibit describing the religion’s beliefs and practices and the life and legacy of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. Displays also cover the Church-sponsored humanitarian and social betterment programs that offer practical answers to the societal ills of crime, drug abuse, illiteracy, declining moral values and natural and manmade disasters. These programs represent the work of Churches of Scientology in servicing every community in which they reside as well as other communities around the world.
There is also an auditorium for congregational gatherings which also serves as a Chapel for Sunday services, weddings and naming ceremonies; a Documentation Center containing the written and spoken materials of L. Ron Hubbard; rooms for religious training and religious counseling; and Public Affairs offices and meeting rooms to coordinate human rights initiatives across Europe with like-minded organizations.
Rev. Adams closed the ceremony with these words from Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard:
"Change no man’s religion, change no man’s politics, interrupt the sovereignty of no nation. Instead, teach man to use what he has and what he knows to the factual creation, within any political reference, of a civilization on Earth for the first time."
The new Brussels branch is the third Church of Scientology opened in Europe in the past year. In April 2009 a new Church opened in the Swedish seaport city of Malmo, and in October 2009 a new Church was opened in Rome.
Brussels, Malmo and Rome now join a roster of new Churches of Scientology opened in capitals across Europe, including the National Church of Scientology of Spain, in Madrid’s Neighborhood of Letters; the Church of Scientology of Berlin, Germany, near the Brandenburg Gate; and the Church of Scientology of London, England, located in the epicenter of the city.
To serve growing congregations and their communities, major Churches of Scientology were also opened in the United States in 2009: In Texas, the Church of Scientology of Dallas, opened in April 2009; in Tennessee, the Church of Scientology and Celebrity Center Nashville, opened in April 2009; and in the nation’s capital, the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, opened in October 2009.
An additional three Churches of Scientology are scheduled for ribbon cutting in February 2010, with another 12 new Churches scheduled for completion before the end of the year.