New facility in Sydney is the largest Scientology church outside of the United States.
Church of Scientology ecclesiastical leader David Miscavige cut the ribbon and opened the church’s $57 million Australian headquarters, called the Advanced Organization and Saint Hill ANZO, on Sunday, September 4, 2016, according to reports by the DailyMail.
Miscavige called the 145,000 square foot facility a “physical wonder that gives meaning to the spirit of Scientology itself,” commenting that it was “perfectly perfect." Crowds flocked to the momentous event, where Miscavige delivered a speech through bursting green and gold confetti, to open and celebrate what the church calls its “largest spiritual center outside the United States.” Australian singer Kate Ceberano sang and performed to mark the event, while an indigenous group conducted a song. Former mayor of Auburn Council Le Lam and 2,500 Scientologists also graced the opening. The new building’s site borders on Lane Cove national park in Chatswood, which is north of Sydney, and was purchased for $37 million, while an additional $20 million was spent in renovations.
— Scientology Video (@ScientologyVid) September 5, 2016
The new facility is effectively the biggest of its kind outside the United States. The grand auditorium is wide and spacious, filled with lines of chairs, while a picture of founder L. Ron Hubbard is placed on the front and right side. Several rooms for study and auditing, the church’s mode of spiritual counseling using e-meters, can be found in the colossal structure. Faithful to Scientology tradition, the building has an office for Hubbard, which serves as a tribute to its beloved founder. Also in line with the Scientology way of doing things, the building’s design is contemporary and modern, bearing a chapel and a production studio. Church members will be launching recruitment initiatives in the area for those who are depressed and addicted to drugs.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the new training location also includes on-site living headquarters for high-profile Scientologists like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, however, a representative denied the claim in an interview with 9News. 275 Scientologists will be taken into the center on buses daily, while other members will reside right on campus of the new advanced organization.
Long-time church member Colin Butler said to the Daily Telegraph that the church is just like any other religion. “They are just ordinary people trying to learn something about life and improve themselves.” He also said that the new site was like a “Buddhist retreat for Scientologists."
Scientology parishioners from around the world paid for the construction of the church.