Nashville’s Church of Scientology saw a whirlwind of activity throughout 2013. Parishioners gathered on New Year’s Eve to celebrate a year of accomplishments and look forward to the year ahead.
Internationally, the Church of Scientology had much to celebrate from 2013. The highlight of the year was the November 17th opening of the Church's new cathedral - the 377,000 square foot architectural masterpiece in Clearwater, Florida known as The Flag Building, an achievement that crowns a year of the Church's most expansive growth to date.
Locally, the Nashville Church of Scientology had its best year to date as well. Scientologists looked back on the time spent on programs aimed at drug and human rights education, and other activities aimed at improving their community, schools and neighborhoods.
The Church began the year by opening its doors to community events. During Black History Month, the church hosted a presentation for the Black Legends of Basketball. Legends were honored with a special display and there was a panel discussion about the history and future of basketball.
Throughout the year, church members visited 14 counties in Tennessee to deliver information on the Truth About Drugs. Working with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, they were able to enlighten thousands of students who are now certain they will never fall victim to a dealer’s lies. One school to receive a visit was Smyrna West Alternative where a teacher expressed his gratitude by writing a letter to the volunteers. He noted the program “is a highly informative, mind-grasping look at the dangers and horrible realities that addiction creates.”
In the summer months, Scientologists went out into the community to distribute copies of The Way to Happiness. This booklet written by L. Ron Hubbard is a common sense guide to better living that anyone can use. The entire neighborhood surrounding the church received copies of the booklet.
In November, the Church hosted the annual Artlightenment art and film festival, which is themed “Art, Artists and the Art of Existence.” In its fifth year, this was the most successful to date in terms of the attendance and number of artists participating. The festival has added film and fashion and become one of the go-to events of the year for area fine artists.
In December 2013, the Church worked with local and state government agencies and non-profit organizations to plan the Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day. During the December 10th celebration, human rights advocates were awarded for their service to the community, there was a panel discussion on Human Rights Issues Today, and a special speaker who served the United Nations for nearly 30 years gave an overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Church pastor Rev. Brian Fesler said, "2013 has been an exciting year, our best yet. We are thankful for all our friends in the community who are working to make Nashville a better place, and we look forward to collaboration and a 2014 where everyone wins."
For more information about Scientology, visit www.scientology.org.