Wednesday, August 30, 2006

As we remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina, let us also remember those who gave of themselves to help the survivors. Nearly 1,000 Volunteer Ministers aided survivors of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, providing, among other things, food and water. Without them, the disaster would have been much, much worse.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The application of Scientology technology, developed by L. Ron Hubbard, can resolve the major social issues we face in the 21st Century, including drugs, illiteracy, the breakdown of moral standards and consequent soaring crime rates.

The Church of Scientology International and Scientology churches on five continents sponsor programs implementing L. Ron Hubbard's technology to resolve these and many other social ills.
You can read about the Church’s successful programs here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Gayle Thorsen remembers vividly that terrifying New Year's Eve more than a dozen years ago. Just as midnight struck, a stray celebratory bullet felled Thorsen, landing her in the hospital, the slug still lodged in her abdomen, near the spine.

Initially, her hopes rode on the prospect of surgery to remove the bullet and end the pain. Instead, she was told it was less damaging to leave the bullet where it was, rather than attempt to surgically remove it. The physical agony that went on for months finally abated, but the emotional anguish did not.

Thorsen found herself almost paralyzed by a fear of what catastrophe might befall her next, compounded by a terror of guns and bullets. The compulsion to avoid potentially dangerous situations became obsessive, she recalled.

"I Had to Answer that Call"

But all that has changed. Thorsen, the mother of two teenage daughters and the wife of a successful marketing executive, leaves the house each day to do her part to "protect and serve" her community — as a volunteer police chaplain in Tustin, California.

One of hundreds of volunteer police chaplains across the nation, Thorsen helps law enforcement personnel deal with the spiritual and emotional upheaval that is part of the police beat. She feels she brings valuable skills to the job, thanks to her training as a Volunteer Minister of the Church of Scientology.

It is a humanitarian calling that has more than its share of dangers. Thorsen was warned by instructors early in her training that a chaplain can be at risk. Some, they said, had been shot in the line of duty. But by now, she had risen above those fearful years, and she accepted the danger as part of what she felt motivated to do — to help.

September 11 defined the no-turning-back moment, said Thorsen. On that day, the leader of her church issued a "wake-up call" to all Scientologists to do more to help others and to participate in creating a better world.

"I knew I had to answer that call for myself and my children — and for our police force. They do so much to keep us safe that most people never hear about," she said.

Her police chaplain career began in September 2002, a short while after completing her Volunteer Minister training program at the Church of Scientology of Orange County, where she and her family are active members.

She was called to help at the local police station when a young officer was shot during an attempted robbery. Thorsen went directly to the police station and found the wounded man's fellow officers upset and distraught. For they were suffering from a different sort of trauma; as the backup officers at the scene of the shooting, they had been forced to shoot the suspect in self-defense. He had died of his wounds.

"These things happen all the time on TV shows and in the movies," Thorsen said, "but in real life the killing of another human being can cause very severe emotional distress. The police officers felt it deeply."

Thorsen knew what to do, and for her part, she found she left behind forever her own personal demons that night. "I had no time to indulge my own fears. There were too many other people to help," she said. "I administered assists throughout the evening, procedures that encourage a person to unburden himself — and recount a traumatic incident as many times as needed, until he experiences relief." She then went to the hospital intensive care unit to minister to the 24-year-old wounded policeman and his family.

Impressed by results of Thorsen's help in the emergency, the police gladly accepted her application for the Laguna Beach Police Department's chaplain training program. Soon she was in training with 19 other civilians in "Citizens' Academy, Class #7," of which she was elected president. She was sworn in as a volunteer chaplain on January 6, 2003.

"Giving Back to the Community"

In addition to caring for her family, coaching a girls' soccer team, volunteering at her daughters' schools, carrying out business projects and continuing her volunteer chaplaincy, Chaplain Thorsen has taken on an ambassadorial role for the Laguna Beach Police Department. On any given week, her calendar includes community and police-related speaking engagements, attendance at community and police functions, and activities with other police organizations and chaplain units.

At the request of the Southern California Chaplains Association's president, Warren Johnson, she also now conducts disaster response workshops for police chaplains. Thorsen's leadership at the Laguna Beach landslides drew attention in police and rescue circles throughout Southern California on June 1, 2005, providing a working model for chaplain units to utilize in disaster response. According to Johnson, the chaplains association now looks to Laguna Beach's chaplain team to lead the way for effective chaplaincy work throughout the region.

Also of great benefit to the police and vital for the community is Thorsen's crusade to people across the nation to lend their support to law enforcement. She has introduced the Volunteer Minister program to other police departments, and encourages people of all faiths to actively contribute as chaplains.

"There is much more that we can do than wait helplessly for bullets to fly and bombs to drop. It starts with every one of us setting aside our own fears and concerns and doing something for others," she said.

"When I hear someone talk about crime, violence, drugs, illiteracy and moral decay sucking life out of our cities, I strongly recommend volunteer work with local police organizations as an answer to giving back to the community," said Thorsen. "That's really what my work — and the Volunteer Minister program — is all about."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Our Scientology churches take care of their communities.

Case in point: In the late 1980s, a survey in Seattle, Washington showed that the environment was a major concern to residents.

The Church therefore formed the Scientology Environmental Task Force (SETF) and joined with the City of Seattle Public Utilities as one of the first members of the “Adopt a Street” program. The Church is currently the longest-running Adopt a Street group in Seattle and was recognized by mayor Greg Nichols with a letter of commendation.

It has adopted a local park and actively participated in street and park cleanups, beautification projects, and graffiti paint-outs over the past two decades.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International hosted its 37th Anniversary Gala in Hollywood on Saturday, August 5th. The guest list included many of the Church’s well-known members, including John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jenna Elfman, Leah Remini, Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Dohring, Anne Archer, Sofia Milos and Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson).

Legendary guest performer Chaka Kahn entertained the more than 1100 guests including parishioners of the Church, local and federal government officials and community leaders.
Guests were also treated to a preview of 30 new TV public service announcements — each illustrating one of the 30 articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Through these audio-visual presentations and other educational tools, Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International, in partnership with Youth for Human Rights International, seeks to reach millions of people to raise awareness of fundamental human rights and bring about global change.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Representatives of Youth for Human Rights recently returned from a world tour of 30 cities in 30 days with events held in each city promoting one of the articles of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. The official end of the tour will be a major event held at the United Nations on August 24.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Scientologists are very active in the fight against drug abuse. One of our most successful programs is to educate kids on the subject of drugs and drug abuse. This program is called the Drug Free Marshals and it is designed to create positive peer pressure among students to stay off drugs. Our aim is to reach kids before they get hooked on drugs. The Drug Free Marshals recently participated in the National Night Out Events.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This has been a bad year

This has been an awful year for disaster.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Hurricane Katrina hit.

I really hope this year is milder. So much devastation in the South, so many ruined lives. So many people who lost everything they owned.

A friend of mine who went to Baton Rouge as part of the Scientology Disaster Relief Team told me about his experience there. Pretty harrowing.

There was some talk about all these hurricanes worsening because of global warming. I sincerely hope that is not true. Because otherwise we are in for some very hard times.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I read about Scientologists helping with the floods in Cape Town, South Africa this week. With the conditions the people in the low lands were living in -- just makeshift shacks for the most part, its amazing there were not more casualties. The main loss seems to have been the loss of property of the poor. I hope something good can come out of this. I heard one of the Volunteer Ministers, who owns a construction company, has decided to give workshops to those who lost their homes so they can learn how to rebuild, which should really cut down on the time it will take to get back into decent housing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scientology Celebrity Centre

It's hard for me to believe that it's been two years since the Celebrity Centre Gala when David Miscavige presented his This is Scientology speech.

It just doesn't seem possible that that much time has gone by.

For me, it's been a very busy two years. Largely because I'm a Scientology Volunteer Minister, and between work, by own Scientology studies and my volunteer work time just races through.

But when I look back at how many people I helped in the two years, it sure makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Boston Scientology Volunteer Ministry is doing great work.

They were recently featured in Freedom Magazine.

It's a really good example of the work Scientology churches do to in their communities.

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