The International Association of Scientologists (IAS), an ever-expanding force for good within the worldwide humanitarian community, gathered in East Grinstead, Southern England, on the first weekend in October to recognize a year of expansion and accomplishment.
The narrow old carriage roads that twist and turn through the small villages and farms of West Sussex were crowded with cars and buses on a Friday evening in early fall, as thousands of Scientologists, guests and friends poured onto the well-manicured grounds of Saint Hill Manor—the home of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Through openings between the dense hedges and trees that line those roads, visitors could see the distant outline of the elegant Saint Hill—alive with light on the rolling horizon—glowing like distant fire in the fading autumn light.
Beyond the Manor gates, past the entrances and down the long sweeping drive to the pavilion and the Great Hall, to a stage erected under cover of a massive marquee, members of the International Association of Scientologists from more than 65 nations filled the air with diverse language as they walked into the arena with a purpose—to celebrate their humanity and that of all mankind.
Friday night’s celebration was expanded Saturday evening as the grand marquee transformed into the annual IAS Patrons Ball. The spectacular black-tie dinner and entertainment gala is held in recognition of those IAS members supporting the humanitarian work and initiatives feted over the course of the weekend.
The accent on the weekend of festivities was the traditional Saint Hill Charity Concert attended by 1,500 local residents. The evening of music and dance saw five local charities awarded donations to expand their activities serving the local community and all of it in keeping with the tradition started by L. Ron Hubbard during the years he called Saint Hill home.
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The IAS, the official membership organization of Scientology open to all Scientologists from all nations, was formed in 1984. The purpose of the IAS is to unite, advance, support and protect the Scientology religion and Scientologists in all parts of the world so as to achieve the Aims of Scientology as originated by L. Ron Hubbard: “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.”