Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Relief
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps is a program of the Church of Scientology providing disaster relief and emergency response. Created more than 30 years ago by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, the program has expanded to an estimated 350,000 trained in Volunteer Ministers technology worldwide. Many have served at worst-case disaster sites, including Ground Zero after 9/11, the Southeast Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake disaster and the 2011 earthquakes and tsunami in Japan.
Volunteer Ministers have trained and partnered with more than 800 different groups, organizations and agencies including the Red Cross, FEMA, the National Guard, and police and fire departments aand are active members of VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters. The Volunteer Ministers Corps motto is “Something can be done about it.”
In 2001, more than 800 VMs responded to the World Trade Center disaster and provided spiritual and practical aid to emergency workers for many weeks. They have also been an integral part of rescue and salvage efforts at the sites of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fires.
More than 500 VMs from 11 nations served in relief efforts in Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka in 2004 after the Tsunami. Their work was reported on by international media including CNN, The Economist, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
The service of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers has been recognized by politicians, police, military, other relief agencies and civic authorities. A mayor in Louisiana whose city had been hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 said, “I was very happy when more than 900 of your Church Volunteer Ministers arrived in my city from all over the world and became a major force in bringing physical and spiritual help to those in need.”
Scientology Volunteer Ministers are organized in Churches of Scientology Disaster Response (CSDR) teams. These teams, wearing their signature yellow shirts, arrive on a scene shortly after the first responders. They meet with local emergency managers and law enforcement officials to coordinate their actions and provide any immediate assistance needed, such as organizing a confused area, supplying food and water, manning PODs (points of distribution) and offering volunteers to assist with needed projects. As soon as possible they begin providing ‘Assists’ (an action taken to help a person confront physical difficulties and alleviate a present time discomfort, pain or trauma) to survivors, first responders and care-givers as needed.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers have extensive ministerial training in dealing with people experiencing stress, loss, grief, pain and/or shock as well as organizational skills.