Inside and Outside the Churches of Scientology Around the World
World’s first Church of Scientology, formed in 1954, now joins a global roster of Ideal Churches of Scientology, poised to serve its growing congregation and the community for the coming decades.
LOS ANGELES—With a fanfare of trumpets and balloons floating aloft, 6,000 parishioners and guests cheered as the ribbon was cut, opening the new Church of Scientology of Los Angeles on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, officiated at the ceremony dedicating the new Church, joined by parishioners and Los Angeles-area officials.
The ceremony marked the conclusion of the full-scale redesign and construction of the Church’s 64,571-square-foot property at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and L. Ron Hubbard Way, now fully reconfigured as an ideal Church of Scientology which also serves as a training center for Church executives and staff from around the world.
Describing the significance of the occasion, Mr. Miscavige said: “Today marks a milestone step in our planetary crusade to bring on our help on a truly global scale—so that one day there is no crime, no war, no insanity, a world in which Man is free to rise to greater heights.”
In describing the significance of the city of Los Angeles to Scientologists, Mr. Miscavige said: “It’s the city where the Church of Scientology was first incorporated in 1954. While even more than that, it’s the city with the largest concentration of Scientologists on Earth.”
Also commemorating the occasion was Ms. Karen Bass, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly: “As a public servant, I try to do everything in my power to give a voice to the voiceless, and to guarantee that no one goes unheard. But through human rights education, we empower everyone to lift their voice and to be heard. The Church of Scientology I know has made a difference, because your Creed is a universal creed and one that speaks to all people everywhere.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged the actions of the Church and its members: “You have been consistently reliable in helping me to achieve my goal for a safer Los Angeles County. In particular, your drug education means everything to the safety of our schools and neighborhoods. That is why we trained a corps of our own deputies in the use of your unbeatable program, so I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you do in helping me do my job—because today, crime in Los Angeles is at its lowest in 40 years.”
Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz spoke of the Church’s place in the rebirth of Hollywood: “Those of us in the City long had a dream for Hollywood. It was for a Phoenix to rise from the ashes, after decades of decline. We needed to transform Hollywood with a cultural revitalization, one that would then ripple out across all of LA. What we are witnessing here is the essence of that Hollywood transformation. Because if ever today there is an example of making this the city of our dreams, it is the Church of Scientology.”
“This striking Church and the complex extending south behind us were once the imposing Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, crafted 80 years ago in the height of the Art Deco period of American architecture. In renovating this landmark, you have gone beyond all of our expectations for what the new Hollywood can be.”
Drawing from those Art Deco roots of 1920s Los Angeles, the fully reconstructed Church evokes the architectural revolution that contributed to putting the home city of the first Church of Scientology on the planetary cultural map.
In addition to an expansive Chapel are many unique elements including an extensive public information area of 20 multimedia displays, a library, seminar rooms, film rooms, volunteer workspaces for its many social and community programs and projects, as well as course rooms that seat over 480, with 35 rooms especially appointed for the religion’s one-on-one spiritual counseling.
Formerly a functional building annexed to the 1928 Art Deco Cedars of Lebanon Hospital buildings designed by Claud Beelman, the massive reconstruction began in November 2009 and encompasses new walls, all new ceilings and finishes, as well as furniture constructed in-house at the Church’s state-of-the-art custom mill with imported wood and marble from Italy.
The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles was incorporated in 1954 as the first Scientology Church in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area is the seat of the religion’s Mother Church, Church of Scientology International, and Bridge Publications who publish and disseminate Mr. Hubbard’s books and recorded lectures for all of North America. Worldwide, there are more than 8,500 Scientology Churches, Missions and affiliated groups in 165 countries.
Los Angeles is the fourth new Church of Scientology opened in 2010 and the ninth in the past year. The Brussels branch of Churches of Scientology for Europe was opened January 23. The Church of Scientology of Quebec was dedicated January 30, the first new major Church to open in Canada, and the Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Las Vegas opened February 6. In October 2009, two major Churches were opened: the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, and the Church of Scientology of Rome. In April 2009, Scientology Churches in Nashville, Dallas, and Malmo, Sweden, were opened.
These Churches join the roster of new Churches of Scientology in the world’s cultural capitals, including the National Church of Scientology of Spain in Madrid’s Neighborhood of Letters; the Church of Scientology of New York, just off Times Square; the Church of Scientology of San Francisco in the original historic Transamerica Building; the Church of Scientology of London, located in the epicenter of the city; and the Church of Scientology of Berlin, near the Brandenburg Gate. Another 10 new Churches of Scientology are scheduled for completion before the end of 2010.