Well it is truly my great pleasure to join you this afternoon to open the doors to this new Church of Scientology of Buffalo. Because, while its magnificence is cause enough for celebration — and it is magnificent — the full significance of what this church represents extends far beyond its walls and indeed across the world.
For what we truly celebrate is not this monument, but how in turn this monument serves as a center, a home, to bring the help this world so desperately needs. Which is to say, for all the time and effort of so many fine and caring individuals working throughout this past year to create this new Church, it is but a backdrop to today's opening where the real work begins.
In that regard to the many volunteers a simple "thank you" can hardly convey the appreciation you deserve. For that appreciation extends to the future, its value measured not by a physical structure, but lives helped because of your unselfish contributions.
Today we are at a watershed in history. At stake is whether the ideals we cherish will survive or some new abhorrent set of values win the day. And if that decline had been evident throughout the past century, it continues unabated into this new century. The events of September 11th served as a wake-up call for all of us.
When one must worry in today's modern world about the safety of its citizens, when one's solutions are limited to the use of military might, it is obvious the problems we face run much deeper. They are problems we all must face. They are problems we all must be responsible for helping to resolve. It's a situation none of us can ignore.
Yet, look around the world today, speak to people and you will hear: "But what can I do about it? I'm just me." Well, the truth of the matter is that "thee and me" are the most powerful force on this God created Earth.
We might not seem like much in the face of supersonic fighter jets, satellite communications and megaton bombs, but don't yet forget who created all of those: Man himself.
And therein lies the heart of the problem, and the answer as to where the help must come for its resolution. Because, if scientific advances of the past century have been monumental, growing by leaps and bounds in just the last decade, they yet have obscured another fact.
Yes, we can send man to the moon, probes to the edge of the galaxy. Meanwhile, through cell communication and the world wide web, we can communicate anywhere on Earth at the touch of a button. Yet for all that, science can't yet do a thing about human conflict and so it dedicates itself, instead, to weapons of destruction as the final "solution" when all else has failed.
Moreover, putting aside war of nation-with-nation, what about everyday conflict in terms of crime? Or even interpersonal relationships and how to mend them? For while we can map the genetic blueprint through DNA, science can't yet explain things like kindness, love or compassion let alone the true thrill of living, the emotional rush of a swelling symphony, or a mother's joy of heart with her child's first step.
And what of our traditional values? What makes us all brothers one to another, regardless of race, creed or religion? These are the values that come from within. They transcend what can be discovered through probes and microscopes. They are things we "feel" and which can only be touched through the spirit.
So yes, in the face of scientific advance, something was left behind: Man himself.
For when a culture falls away from spiritual pursuits into materialism—well, that is when man becomes just another animal, and, with no "belief in" let alone "hope" of the hereafter, of something greater than just day-to-day existence—then what does anything matter anyway?
Moreover, our sense of community occurs by reason of "mutual experience" with others, and the first sense of community is religion. Without that, real trust and integrity can be destroyed and society itself becomes defenseless to the onslaught of evil and degradation. And that is why it is so important that every church own up to the responsibility and role it must perform.
All of which brings us to today, what stands before you, and the greater significance of this new church in Buffalo. Because, if what I have just described seems huge in comparison to a single church on Main Street in Buffalo, then think again.
For while we can provide the International support for broad-scale social programs, let's once again return to where I began and its relevance right here and today. Having recently spanned the globe, to visit our far-flung Scientology organizations, I can tell you that, notwithstanding what's unique to Buffalo, this city is actually a mirror of cities all over the world. Or to put it another way, while you may have heard or read the news, telling of "world problems", that's just a generality.
If one is to help his fellow man, there is no such thing as "over there." All of those "over there's" are actually communities just like this one, comprised of individuals just like here.
And on that count, let me go one step further. While some may speak of important cities like Los Angeles, New York or Washington DC, don't you believe it. What, after all, do all of those cities represent and depend upon? What stands behind them? The answer is the heart that pumps the lifeblood that is America. Cities like Buffalo.
So, as we look down these streets, we can speak of unemployment, we can speak of the need for renewal, we can speak of all else that plagues every part of this world in terms of addiction, illiteracy, criminality and immorality not to mention economic instability. But, if we do, my friends, let's not speak in terms of those "problems". Let's speak in terms of "solutions"—solutions for that which can solve every one of them. Because what drives it all is the individual—the forgotten worker and our prominent leaders.
If revitalization is what we seek, then let's help revitalize the individual himself. For the Scientologists of Buffalo, the church that stands before you is something we have dreamed about for decades.
As you will hear about in the months to come, its facilities have been established not only for your own progress in the "here and now" but for even greater programs, that will dramatically accelerate clearing on a planetary basis.
And as for what we know as the Golden Age of Tech, well here is a standard that might well appear in a "tech training film".
But even more than that, this church represents the work and help all of us must help to bring, in achieving the full measure of our aims: "A world without war, without criminality, without insanity, where the able can prosper and honest men are free to rise to greater heights."
And, so here stands the central organization to bring our solutions of drug rehabilitation, education, morality, not to mention even more groups, centers and missions to every community of the Buffalo area.
And that's the story of churches like this one world over, and they are coming very fast.
Places like Tampa.
And Johannesburg — just two weeks ago.
While two weeks from today, it will be San Francisco, all to be followed with dozens more and too numerous to name.
But, in that regard, you are one of the first.
So, if you, the Scientologists of Buffalo, have previously felt like a forgotten footnote in the Scientology world, then let's make that "footnote" one we all forget. Because, this day is yours and you are writing the history books. For what you have created is a "Class V Church of Scientology" that now sets the standard for every other one to follow.
With that comes a responsibility: To work together and serve as an inspiration to others. For if evil, pain, bewilderment and injustice are fundamental facts of today's existence, let's all of us demonstrate with a stronger conviction that something can be done about it. Because, we believe in man. We know there is hope. And, because we can help, working together we will make a difference. In that light, and in recognition of this new church and the tomorrow it will bring, it is my honor to present you with this: It begins with these words from our Founder:
'All great cathedrals began their building by the placement of a single stone.
The building unit of a great society is the individual.'
"To the executives, staff and public of Buffalo, in commemoration of the grand opening of your new church and all you will do to build that great society."
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
First, I feel I have to comment on something obvious to all who stand here. The Church of Scientology deserves to be hugely commended for its superb renovation and restoration of this former Catholic Historical Institute.
The parishioners and staff who put in more than fifty thousand hours to rebuild, beautify and adapt the building deserve the gratitude of their fellow Scientologists, the people of Allentown, and the people of this city.
Yet this Church has accomplished more than material improvement. We in the Business Association are working to preserve and restore the spirit of this neighborhood, perhaps as Scientology work to restore the spirit of the individual.
This Main Street was once a place of pride for Buffalo residents, thanks to work like yours, that spirit is once again coming to life in this district.
You have effectively rescued a corner which was well on its way towards total decay, and you spearheaded a new group, "Take Pride In Main Street," which is helping to breathe new life into Allentown.
To my way of thinking, there is nothing more important than instilling life, whether to a neighborhood or an individual.
And the building we open today is well suited for accomplishing both.
And if we are to judge others not on what is said but on what they do, then we are lucky to have you as our friends and neighbors.
So again, on behalf of the Businesses of Allentown and all we stand for, I thank you and I say welcome.
Thank you. Thank you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the great city of Buffalo I want to welcome all of you, the members of the Church of Scientology and their guests, here this afternoon.
In the time I have known the Church, I have been particularly impressed with your practical approach. And I look forward to what your expansion will mean for Buffalo.
All great religions have a mission to help their fellows. Yet from what I have seen in your new Church you have taken it to a new level. Rather than apply a societal band-aid, you go to work on the cure.
I've seen of lives restored to self-respect, integrity and greater happiness. And I know you extend your programs to people of all faiths, to help them achieve their chosen goals. So I say to them, bring them on — make them available here in Buffalo.
I see that you sponsor an amazingly effective, drug-free rehabilitation program with offices on every continent. And I say, like every other major city in the United States, Buffalo needs such a program — so bring it on.
I have seen your work in education, using the breakthrough study technology of L. Ron Hubbard to empower millions of children through literacy. And I know our schools and our children, like those of every American city, have their problems. So, you have a way to help with education — bring it on.
I have seen your "Way to Happiness" Program, using a common sense moral code to restore sanity to unstable corners of our society. And to you, for Buffalo, I say, bring it on.
So I believe this is not only a restored building you opened here, but an era of restored hope. And together with the City of Buffalo, you can help us all forge a new and brighter future.
I pledge you my support. I thank you for all you'll do to bring it all to our people — and again, on behalf of this great city of Buffalo — I welcome you.
Thank you all!
Thank you very much Teresa.
This is a great day in Buffalo. The adventure has just begun. It is my pleasure to speak to you at the opening of this new Church — a Church that represents a community of volunteers who have done so much for the people of this nation in times of great need.
I have worked with more than 500 communities in the United States in disaster response coordination. And yet the response of your Volunteer Ministers to the World Trade Center tragedy was unlike any I'd ever seen.
Yes, indeed. In fact, for those volunteers I say that because you joined the effort not only with hard work and good intentions, but with the special training in methods to help the traumatized; I call it "spiritual first aid."
And I can attest to the fact that your efforts were immediate, coordinated, and selfless. It helped fire fighters, police and rescue workers keep their focus. The Church had 800 Volunteer Ministers at Ground Zero, helping wherever needed. It almost certainly prevented further injury and loss of life.
And in speaking to the Scientologists I now count as my friends—John Carmichael, Bunny and Dennis Dubin—I discovered something else: the tools you used at Ground Zero, and use in so many other strenuous situations, are what Scientologists use to aid others in all the smaller disasters of life.
You do need to have tools to deal with marital problems, literacy, crime, drug abuse, and learning difficulties. They are practical methods, and you can make them available to people of any faith. At a disaster site, such talents are critical. But aren't these things everyday people need all the time?
Your religion has been tested in the cauldron of necessity and has passed that test. But that necessity exists not only in times of extreme need. There are the necessities of raising moral and capable children, the necessities of making a prosperous group or endeavor and the necessity of rising above all of life's problems.
So having seen what you can do, and even more as presented in this impressive new building, I bid you welcome and wish you all well in your new home. Most of all, I take heart in knowing that you will take what you can apply, and demonstrate those methods on the streets and in the homes of this city because Buffalo can indeed be a light to this nation, and to the world.
Thank you again and welcome.
Let me preface my remarks to welcome David Miscavige. Thank you so much for being here today, certainly Jenna Elfman and certainly Billy Sheehan, welcome, so nice to have you. And each and every one of you who have come to Buffalo, New York, from all over the country let me just ask you one favor.
When you go back home wherever that may be, please tell your friends and your relatives and your neighbors that there was no snow in Buffalo, New York on November 16th. However I can't guarantee tomorrow for you.
But what we do have here in Buffalo, New York are great people, great architecture, great opportunity and I think this represents the best of the best here today. And while, like so many of you, I've been looking forward to this moment for some time.
It means a great deal to all of us, and I do have a special presentation in recognition of that event in a few minutes. But first I wanted to say something on a matter that I think is pretty close to the hearts of Scientologists here today.
Now, I have worked alongside of you for many years. I know your programs and your mission. I know your commitment to helping others is not limited to your own members. And I know the way you extend that help is by building the base from which you operate—the organization which is home to every Scientologist here in Buffalo. Not only in the physical sense, but in your numbers and your ability, more importantly, your ability to deliver.
In that regard, a little history is in order. I know that in the 1960s, your founder, L. Ron Hubbard, also established and took charge of an international center for Scientology in Sussex, England, a place called Saint Hill Manor. Through his administrative expertise, he built that organization large enough to decisively influence our world. That level of expansion and success as a Church organization is known today as a benchmark every church aspires to.
That level is called "Saint Hill size."
Now, then, I say to the staff and members of the Church of Scientology here in Buffalo, why shouldn't the City of Buffalo have an organization of such scope housed in this grand building?
Well, why not?
I therefore say to the Scientologists of this city, in this building: Let's take the Church of Scientology of Buffalo to and beyond "Saint Hill size!"
Finally, as promised, and in honor of this day, here is the proclamation, I'd like to read from the bottom of my heart and from the people of this city to each and every one of you and it says:
"WHEREAS: The Aims of Scientology as stated by its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, are 'to create a civilization without insanity, without criminality and without war; where the able can prosper and honest beings have rights and where Man is free to rise to greater heights;'
and "WHEREAS: It is not the purpose of Scientology to change any man's religion or to change any person's politics but rather to build a civilization for the real here on Earth;
and "WHEREAS: the application of technology of Scientology as developed by L. Ron Hubbard has proven to benefit millions of people by raising educational standards, by relieving the ravages of drugs, by reforming the criminal, and fortifying the administrator and restoring happy relationships;
and "WHEREAS: many good people who have experienced the benefits of L. Ron Hubbard's technology in the areas of administration, education and drug rehabilitation desire to make it available to all the people in the 'CITY OF GOOD NEIGHBORS;'
and "WHEREAS: many of these people have labored to preserve and restore one of Buffalo's beautiful heritage buildings in order to make possible the delivery of this valuable knowledge where peoples of all races, religions and persuasions can come together for the uplifting of our city and our civilization;
and "WHEREAS: people who have experienced such benefits, through the application of L. Ron Hubbard's technology, would love to make these successes available to others in Buffalo who may wish to also experience such benefit;
and "WHEREAS: The city celebrates not only what was done to restore this landmark but more importantly what is done inside the building to restore the productivity of our people and increase their personal happiness,
"Now, THEREFORE, I, ANTHONY M. MASIELLO, the Mayor of the City of Buffalo, recognizing the value of L. Ron Hubbard's work and the contribution the Church of Scientology do hereby proclaim November 16th as:
"The Church of Scientology of Buffalo Day."
And I ask all of our residents to join in this celebration.
And that's signed by me, on behalf of the wonderful people of Buffalo, New York.
Thank you very much.
And with that, we appropriately come to what we've all been waiting for — the official opening of our new home. And to participate, would our distinguished guests first return to stage.
I would also like to welcome an individual whose contributions are truly legion, and quite literally, made this moment possible. From the Buffalo Church of Scientology, Mr. Joe Sgroi.
Next, we are honored by two other distinguished guests. The first is not only a living rock-and-roll legend, he is a native of Buffalo and this Church is where he first entered Scientology, Mr. Billy Sheehan.
And finally, internationally renowned actress of film, television and stage, and all of this in addition to serving as the Patron of her own Scientology Mission — Ms. Jenna Elfman.
Thank you again for being with us...
Please join us inside to tour your new Church!