Free News Articles, Global Aid and Disaster Relief, Religion and Churches

Scientology Volunteer Ministers: 9/11 Inspired an Unshakable Commitment to Serve

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The sheer scope and inhumanity of the World Trade Center attack united Scientologists around the world to do everything in their power to create a better world, beginning that very day with New York Scientologists in their signature bright yellow Volunteer Ministers T-shirts immediately heading downtown.

The Church of Scientology International honors the rescue workers who responded to 9/11: Of the 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers who rushed to the scene to save lives.

Within hours of hijackers crashing American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, New York's Volunteer Ministers had clearance to be at the disaster site to provide support to emergency personnel and help bring order to the chaos.

For first responders, there was no respite. This was a race against time with thousands of personnel frantically tearing through a mountain of debris - exhausted, dazed, distraught, and running on nothing but adrenalin.

"I was on the site 10 minutes after the second tower collapsed, and it was a ghost town," said a lieutenant of the New York Fire Department, since retired. "And it just proceeded to get more and more chaotic, because guys were arriving, there was no order. And when the Scientologists arrived, an air of order entered in."

The Volunteer Ministers immediately set up a place where first responders could regroup, grab a cold drink and a hot meal. Rescue teams soon began calling the makeshift service center "Freedom Café."

"At any time, well over 100 Volunteer Ministers from the Church of Scientology mill around the remains of the World Trade Center," wrote The New York Times. "On the day of the attack, they took in food to workers....When rescue workers stagger from the wreckage, the ministers, identified by their T-shirts, try to focus the workers' minds and revive their bodies."

Volunteer Ministers are trained to deliver Scientology assists, simple procedures developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that provide relief by addressing the emotional and spiritual factors in stress and trauma. For exhausted rescue workers, physically and emotionally drained, Scientology assists relieved the tension, lightened their spirits, and allowed them to unwind enough to grab a few hours of sleep.

Scientologists continued arriving from across the United States and abroad. Some 800 Volunteer Ministers served, providing relief 24/7 to rescue and cleanup teams. And they continued to serve until the entire project was completed more than eight months later.

"There's a lot of very highly stressed, worn out, exhausted rescue people here," said the head of one rescue team, "and your contribution to helping them to deal with their problems and deal with their upset emotions, and to have some tranquility and rest has been a very, very productive and very worthwhile effort."

"The Volunteer Ministers worked with great energy and great compassion at Ground Zero, helping to ease the physical burdens and mental strains of the rescue workers," wrote a New York Police Chief in thanks. "The organization, the caring, and the dedication of your Volunteer Ministers were exceptional, very much appreciated, and will long be remembered by those who received their help."

On September 11, 2001, Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, called on Scientologists around the world to view what occurred that day as a "wake-up call." "No one can afford to turn a blind eye to what just happened," he wrote.

This appeal immediately inspired astonishing growth within the Volunteer Minister program. As of September 11, 2001, there were 6,000 Volunteer Ministers worldwide. Today, they are among the world's most widely recognized independent relief organizations, with over 200,000 Volunteer Ministers on call internationally.

For more information, visit the Scientology Newsroom or watch Destination: New York on the Scientology Network, available on DIRECTV Channel 320 and streaming at, on mobile apps and via the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV platforms.


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*Caption: More than 800 Volunteer Ministers from across the U.S. and abroad served at Ground Zero in New York.

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Free News Articles, General Editorial, Religion and Churches

Church of Scientology International Honors Those Who Served After the 9/11 Terror Attacks

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The Church of Scientology International honors the rescue workers and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers who served them. The unsung heroes who responded to the attacks at Ground Zero 20 years ago on September 11 brought hope and renewed belief at a time when an affirmation of the basic goodness of Mankind was sorely needed.

"As any New Yorker would tell you," said one of the first Volunteer Ministers to arrive on the scene, "to see the Twin Towers disintegrate was a living nightmare. Over 25,000 people were gotten out of the towers because of the work of the responders, civilians who were fire wardens for their floor, strangers assisting others out to safety, police, firefighters, emergency medical services responders, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day in service to others."

As the twin towers erupted in flame and smoke, downtown New York was a war zone recalls Scientologist Bill Runyon on an episode of the original TV series Destination Scientology on the Scientology Network. Runyon served as liaison between the Church of Scientology, its Volunteer Ministers and New York City officials. His wife and both children also served as Volunteer Ministers at Ground Zero, where they helped see to the needs of the rescue workers.

Scientologists from across New York and New Jersey immediately headed for the Church of Scientology New York, just off Times Square on West 46th Street. The Church soon became the communications and logistics hub of the Church's relief efforts. Over the next nine months, some 800 Scientologists from across the United States and abroad served at "the pit" to help rescue workers contend with the gruesome and hazardous conditions.

"We were under the pile, we were on top of it," said a retired New York City firefighter who served at Ground Zero. "We were chest-deep in muck." He recalls how the Volunteer Ministers were always there when they finished a shift. "We would come out of there. There was a whole support group on the outskirts of the pile. It made you feel good to know they were out there when you were going to come out of that hole."

Volunteer Ministers provided food, water, clothing, gear and other necessities to the cleanup crews. For nine months they continued to serve until all that remained of the World Trade Center was a cavernous pit.

"We kind of get a lot of the credit," said a New York City Police officer, "but I think a lot of the credit has to go to the people on the outskirts such as the Scientology volunteers and such that provided us with comfort while we were down there at a time when we needed it probably more than most people understand or realize."

At the 2001 celebration of the founding of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) in October, Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige spoke of the impact of the Church of Scientology of New York as headquarters of the Ground Zero effort. "With their recent actions and the compassion they have shown they now have a prominence greater than ever before." He announced that the IAS would be funding the full top-to-bottom restoration of the New York Church "in appreciation for their being there to help the city when it counted."

Three years later, in September 2004, dedicating the new Church of Scientology of New York, Mr. Miscavige reiterated the importance of what New York Scientologists inspired across the rest of the world three years earlier: "For in the darkest of times and worst of places, you stood tall amongst it all as a shining beacon of light," serving as a living example of the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister: "Something can be done about it."

The Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service created in the mid-1970s by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.

A Volunteer Minister's mandate is to be "a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring truth and spiritual values to the lives of others." Their creed: "A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well."

For more information, visit the Scientology Network or the Scientology Newsroom.

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*Caption: Scientology Volunteer Ministers at Ground Zero New York in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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