In disaster zones around the world—from tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and fires—the yellow shirts and the yellow tents of Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers (VMs) have become iconic.
At the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center buildings in New York in 2001, Volunteer Ministers were an integral relief force on the ground working to support police and firefighters within hours after the buildings collapsed. Since then, VMs have served at every major disaster site worldwide. In Haiti, Volunteer Ministers helped transport earthquake victims to medical facilities. In Nepal, they built temporary shelters for those left without homes, comforted children who lost family members and ministered to those whose hope had evaporated.
But the drama of disaster relief is only part of the Volunteer Ministers’ story. They also address systemic problems in local communities where social ills, including homelessness and poverty, have left disenfranchised people struggling to cope.
The nonprofit VM organisation draws on volunteers from both inside and outside Scientology and was originally conceived as a way to help restore spiritual values. Doing so reinforces the vital connections between people affected by disaster—or by the failures of modern society to meet its humanitarian obligations.
Volunteer Ministers in Scientology are dedicated to assisting others not only in life-saving situations, but also by helping individuals overcome difficulties in their daily lives. From within the National Affairs Office comes direction to enable this vital programme for missions throughout Ireland, helping meet the needs of those for whom the yellow shirts of these volunteers are a sign of hope.
“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. I cannot thank them enough.”—CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, NEW YORK CITY POLICE