This week, members of STAND’s Los Angeles chapter gathered at the Church of Scientology of the Valley for their annual holiday reception, to connect, share ideas, and celebrate another year of success in the fight for religious freedom.
A lively dinner was followed by a presentation from STAND’s International Director, Edward Parkin, and STAND’s National Director, Bari Berger. They shared international statistics, anecdotes and successes, as well as video and written messages from STAND members throughout the U.S. and around the world who couldn’t be there in body, but expressed that they were with the team in spirit.
“It’s an honor to be counted among this courageous group of Scientologists who are not afraid to say it like it is when it comes to bigotry and hate.”
“I count myself fortunate to belong to a group of strong, forthright, outspoken individuals, who are bound together unequivocally and inseparably as a unified force for good,” wrote author Roger Ellory from the United Kingdom in his message to the group.
As part of the event, each STAND member stood up and shared his personal story, along with what it means to contribute to a movement that raises awareness and champions every individual’s right to believe. Christian and Jewish Scientologists, for example, spoke about how much they value having a platform that allows them to speak out on behalf of their personal faiths and on behalf of the many other religions they deeply respect.
“It’s an honor to be counted among this courageous group of Scientologists who are not afraid to say it like it is when it comes to the bigotry and hate leveled against our group and others like us,” said STAND blogger Eva Mahoney.
And speaking to his fellow members as well as the broader faith community, musician and STAND member Michael Duff’s message was this: “Until we live in a saner world where we write for the joy of creation and not the protection of our rights, I STAND as your friend.”