A Vibrant Part of the Community
Since the Church of Scientology purchased the Fort Harrison Hotel and established its international religious retreat in Clearwater in 1975, Scientologists have become a vibrant part of the local community.
To serve its parishioners from around the world, the Church has created facilities in Clearwater to deliver the highest levels of Scientology religious instruction and counseling. Members from all corners of the globefrom Mexico City and Zurich to Tokyo and Johannesburgcan be found at the Churchs facilities at any given time. Some who travel to Florida to take the Churchs services here decide to make the sunny Gulf city their permanent home, to raise their family or start the business they always dreamed of. Today, Scientologists number more than 10,000 throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The local presence of the Church is a reflection of the religions growth around the world over the same period of timeburgeoning to nearly 3,000 churches, missions and groups in more than 150 nations.
The aims of Scientology are, simply stated, A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.
In furtherance of those aims, Scientologists contribute 170,000 volunteer hours each year to Clearwater and surrounding communities in projects to help children and improve the quality of life for all who live here.
Church members also, however, contribute substantially to the economic life of Clearwater as found in a recent economic impact study. The St. Louis-based economics research firm Micro Economics, Ltd. determined that Scientologists in Clearwater, including international Church visitors, spend an estimated $400 million, directly or indirectly, in the local economy each year. That amounts to 1 percent of the total estimated spending of the city of Clearwater. The Church is also the largest property tax contributor on our downtown tax rolls.
I think the church has shown that it can be an active participant in our community and that we can grow together, said State Representative Kim Berfield. I think what I see, as far as the future of the Church and its involvement in the community, is that it will continue to grow and be a positive influence as our community does grow.