On October 31, 2009, three thousand Scientologists and guests attended the dedication and opening of the new Founding Church. The structure was fully restored as one of Washington’s premiere historical sites.
Opening ceremonies began with a traditional military marching band rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever.
Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, officiated at the dedication this day, inaugurating a new Church in the nation’s capital.
Mr. Miscavige, joined by honored guests, officially opened the doors of the new Founding Church, which will serve the spiritual needs of its parishioners and offer unqualified help to the greater Washington, DC community as well.
The Honorable Brad Sherman, United States Congressman, California's 27th District: “The battle for human rights includes the battle to bring human rights awareness to all people. That is why the efforts of many churches and religions to focus on human rights issues is so important. And among them, the efforts of the Church of Scientology to promote the awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Ms. Diana Rothe-Smith, Executive Director, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: “The physical presence of this Church is most impressive. But to me, even far more impressive is the nature of your help, and the Volunteer Ministers who will walk out these doors to carry that help into the world.”
Ms. Addie Richburg, Founder, National Alliance of Faith and Justice: “Of course you carry the burden common to all successful, truly helpful programs: to reach even more, to have even greater impact. The dedication of this new Church and facility is a stunning visual promise of even greater things to come.”
Mr. Mike Silverstein, Chairman, Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission and Representative of the Mayor of Washington, DC: “It is fitting that the Founding Church of Scientology has kept its roots here in the Dupont Circle community, and particularly in this 1918 legacy of one of DC's most important architects of the last century, Appleton Clark, Jr. ... More important now is what you will do from within these walls, through your leadership and participation in our community.”
The original Founding Church of Scientology was established in Washington, DC in 1955 by L. Ron Hubbard. The address chosen for the new Church was on “Church Row,” just six blocks from the White House.
The doors are always open and the reception area stands ready to welcome visitors in for introductory lectures, films and self-guided tours through the Public Information Center of the Founding Church.
An extensive section of the Information Center is devoted to the Church’s many social betterment activities. Here visitors learn about global initiatives to eradicate drug abuse, ensure human rights and respond to disasters through the Scientology Volunteer Minister’s program.
Visitors may also view a multimedia presentation of the life and legacy of Church Founder L. Ron Hubbard. These include interviews with those who knew and worked with him, and photographic essays of his professional achievements.
The auditorium of the new Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC is used for congregational gatherings as well as serving as a Chapel for Sunday Services, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies.
The Academy is comprised of six course rooms which will be able to provide training to hundreds of ministers and parishioners at a time.
NEW SCIENTOLOGY CHURCH ON WASHINGTON D.C.’S “CHURCH ROW”
31 OCTOBER 2009
Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, dedicated the new home of the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, on October 31, 2009, calling the day “historic in every respect.”
Located six blocks from the White House, the newly restored 49,000-square-foot building represents the largest-ever presence for Scientology in the nation’s capital, a presence that began in 1955 with establishment of the DC Church by Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Among those attending to honor the landmark day and addressing the gathering of more than 3,000 were the Honorable Brad Sherman, U.S. Congressman from California’s 27th District; Ms. Addie Richburg, President and Chairman of the Board of the National Alliance of Faith and Justice; Ms. Diana Rothe-Smith, Executive Director of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD); and Mr. Mike Silverstein, President of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, representing District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
Congressman Sherman praised the Church’s efforts in raising awareness of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Remarking that the battle includes bringing awareness to all people, he said, “That is why the efforts of many churches and religious organizations to focus on human rights issues are so important.”
But what made the day truly momentous was the presence and address by Mr. Miscavige who spoke of both L. Ron Hubbard’s and the Church’s long history in the nation’s capital. In particular, and in context of both American history and culture, he spoke of, “A Declaration of Independence, wherein it is written that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights—including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“To which we of this Church would add:
“That all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights.
“That the souls of men have the rights of men.
“And that no agency less than God has the power to suspend or set aside those rights.
“For that is what our Founder declared in the Creed of our Church.
“So yes, you are looking at a living embodiment of the freedom and equality that originally inspired this nation. Because, yes, this Church stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, yes, it stands here today because of the freedom on which this nation was built—the freedom of religion.
“For it was here, in this nation’s capital, that we fought for and won our recognition. And all which has made it possible for us to reach out the world over with our programs to bring the American dream of freedom to every being of every nation.
“And with the opening of this new Church, our unqualified help will now extend even farther.”
With those words, and joined by the honored guests, Mr. Miscavige cut the ribbon, heralding a new era of freedom for all.