Effective help — when and where it’s needed most
“The organization, the caring, and the dedication of your Volunteer Ministers were exceptional, and very much appreciated, and will long be remembered by those who received their help,” wrote New York City Police Chief Joseph Esposito to the Church of Scientology in New York in the aftermath of 9-11. “I cannot thank the Volunteer Ministers enough.”
Speaking on behalf of the thousands who comprised the Ground Zero relief corps, Chief Esposito and others have since brought the world’s attention to the Volunteer Ministers who were so much a part of the World Trade Center relief effort.
Since then, demand for information about Scientology Volunteer Ministers has soared internationally. So much so, that in response, the Church established a Volunteer Minister website, www.volunteerministers.org and is sponsoring new programmes to train thousands more here in the British Isles.
“The purpose is not only to help connect those in need with our Volunteer Ministers here in Ireland, but to continually expand the volunteer corps,” said Charmaine Fitzgerald, who heads Volunteer Minister activities in Dublin.
The Volunteer Ministers’ ranks are continually growing, both here and abroad, enabling teams to respond even more quickly to disasters, large or small — from natural catastrophes to conflicts in the home or at work. Their aim, says Fitzgerald, is to “provide the relief support actions here with the speed and efficiency that are the hallmark of our Volunteer Minister efforts elsewhere.”
As Fitzgerald points out, a Volunteer Minister is equipped with 19 practical ways to help others in all aspects of life and living. “We have the tools to overcome communication breakdowns, to help people off drugs, build relationships, overcome barriers to learning, resolve conflicts, and more,” she said.
THE GROUND ZERO EXPERIENCE
Fitzgerald cited the Ground Zero efforts as an example of the way the Volunteer Ministers come to the call of the distressed. Within hours of the attacks, Volunteer Ministers were on the scene, working around the clock to provide food, clothing, gear and other necessities to rescue crews. They gave “assists” to exhausted police and firefighters overcome with stress, fatigue and shock, and help to those whose friends and family were lost in the tragedy.
Assists, she explains, are simple procedures developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to help another overcome emotional upsets, stress, trauma and illness, injuries or operations. Not a substitute for medical treatment, these assists address the spiritual aspects of these conditions, enabling a person to recover more easily.
The results of their care at Ground Zero are evident today in the words of gratitude — both from those who survived the holocaust and those who worked in its wake.
“We get a lot of credit,” said one New York police officer. “But I think a lot of the credit has to go to the people on the outskirts, such as the Scientology Minister volunteers 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.”
“What I witnessed with the Scientology ministers I have never witnessed with any of the other organizations,” said a Manhattan emergency medical technician. “Even the fire department in the beginning — the ambulance personnel — were not available. Who was available from the beginning were the Scientology ministers.”
VOLUNTEER MINISTERS are equipped with 19 practical ways to help others in all aspects of life and living.
“Your continued support and assistance is invaluable,” wrote the co-executive director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, established for the families of the more than 700 company employees who lost their lives at the World Trade Center. “Every person, without exception, who has passed through these doors from the Church of Scientology has been extraordinary. Words of thanks are inadequate and escape me.”
MOBILIZING TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD
The Volunteer Ministers corps continues to grow, and to respond.
When the worst floods in decades hit regions of Central Europe last year, Volunteer Ministers helped evacuate people from their homes, erected sandbag defences against the rising water, and aided relief and rescue workers around the clock in locations such as Budapest, where they were instrumental in protecting one of the city’s historical centres from ruin.
When Chechen terrorists in Moscow took more than 700 civilians hostage, Volunteer Ministers worked under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior to deliver assists to survivors in local hospitals, helping them to recover from the shock, trauma and loss from the tragedy.
When an earthquake struck in Central Italy in 2002, Volunteer Ministers from several Italian cities responded, helping residents, including many families, to overcome the disaster in their lives.
Most often, however, individual Volunteer Ministers can be found building a better world by starting in their local communities. And, with a network that now exceeds 15,000 volunteers throughout the world, they are achieving that objective.
In inviting people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds to participate in Ireland’s Volunteer Minister programmes, Charmaine Fitzgerald cites the words of L. Ron Hubbard, who established the Volunteer Minister programme in the mid-1970s:
“If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. “He can become a VOLUNTEER MINISTER and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”
For information about how to become a Volunteer Minister, Charmaine Fitzgerald invites calls and inquiries on 01 872 0007.