Scientologists in Europe and worldwide take a practical and scientific approach to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.
A lot is being talked about in regards to the role of faith organizations coping with the Coronavirus crisis, and if one thing can be said about the Scientologists, it is that they are not kidding around with this matter both internally and externally according to their documented reports. And in fact, their motto since Day One of this crisis has been “An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, so we will use a ton of prevention so as not to require an ounce of cure.”
As shown in different media internationally, the Disaster Response teams of the Scientologists, known as the Volunteer Ministers (VMs) and typically dressed in yellow shirts and equipment, have jumped into the spotlight worldwide. This has included close to 2000 volunteers in over 100 capitals and major cities of Europe, working to be part of the solution. They especially did so in places such as Italy and Spain, where the crises hit the hardest, helping those in need, health personnel and other first line responders.
According to the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, the VM’s mandate is to be “a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.” According to Ivan Arjona, who chairs the office that represents Scientology at the European institutions and at different UN bodies, they have “worked with the local authorities providing face masks, several tons of hydro alcoholic sanitizers, gloves, hot meals and more, to emergency and hospital personnel, local and national police, as well as the army. In Hungary they have delivered several tons of food to the most needy; in Italy they raised funds for hospital material while disinfecting Catholic churches as well as mosques, and in country after country Scientology Volunteer Ministers have contributed in their communities with whatever was needed the most.”
Concurrently and in addition to whatever needed responses, Scientology prides itself of being an educational religious movement, and so, as at the heart of a broader strategy coordinated by the Church’s international management, is an educational campaign to inform every person, in their own language, about accurate, effective, yet simple and precise information to keep themselves and others healthy. “We are all in this together,” Arjona said, “and we have to honour our full commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, to make ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ a reality for all. It is not enough to only take care of our own, all people need help and they are very appreciative when they receive it. Need and help do not discriminate religious background.”
They have called it the “Stay Well” resource centre and it is accessible for free here, containing downloadable simple booklets, leaflets, infographics and even cards for everyone including schools, business, shops, offices, churches of all denominations. These cover the key advice, as called for by the international authorities, such as physical distancing, washing hands, and include booklets How to Keep Yourself and Others Well, How to Protect Yourself and Others with a Mask and Gloves and How to Prevent the Spread of Illness with Isolation. All these booklets are flanked with over a dozen videos of 2 minutes each “fully adjusted to the highest standards of prevention protocols plus a social media kit so that everyone can contribute by sharing with their friends and families.”
When asked about the safety measures in their churches, Arjona stated that “the ecclesiastical leader of Scientology, Mr. David Miscavige himself, has ensured that all the churches of Scientology, missions and related social betterment organizations were within the first two weeks of March provided with sanitizing gels, face masks, gloves and signage. Furthermore, military grade disinfection equipment and products were made available so as to decontaminate every single space, which has resulted in not a single incident in our churches and missions.”
The Church has manufactured and then outfitted their global Volunteer Minister (VM) force with protective jumpsuits, jackets, hats, masks and gloves so they can take care of others while being fully protected themselves.
At the same time, their International Dissemination and Distribution Centre saw a first run printing of five million (5,000,000) copies of the above mentioned Stay Well booklets. By now they have been sent, packaged in custom designed boxes that, when opened, can be folded into a counter-top display inviting people to “Please take one” in 20 languages—English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Gaelic, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Sesotho, Spanish, Latin American, Swedish, and Zulu.
You can already find the booklets in over 300 shops around Brussels and over 10,000 in different European cities. Materials are offered to healthcare workers and emergency facilities, all essential businesses and any business or enterprise that services people in any way—convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. They are offered free of charge, to make them available to those they service. Materials are also offered to places of worship of any denomination for both their clergy and parishioners. The booklets are available in counter displays of varying quantities. No limit is placed on how many booklets they may take.
Worldwide VM distribution began approximately a month ago and is ongoing in communities surrounding every one of their churches and missions across the globe. All in all, it is estimated that millions of Europeans are already benefiting from the printed information, in addition to all those who are accessing them through the website.
Spreading Smiles through Music with Chick Corea
To make more people aware of the information available on their site, the Church of Scientology also produced a music video, ‘Spread a Smile’, which to date, has reached more than 10 million views on YouTube:
Using the power of art to lift people’s spirits, while raising awareness for how to stay well, the Scientology Network presented a global “Stay Well Concert” featuring Grammy-winning artists and music legends from six continents, including Chick Corea, Mark Isham and Greg Camp, who united, virtually, to promote a message of togetherness and positivity, raising hope through music. Their concert is now available on demand here.