Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Scientology schedules world convention in Clearwater over Thanksgiving weekend

CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology has scheduled an international meeting of its powerful fundraising arm in Clearwater the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The church estimates that the private gathering of the International Association of Scientologists, an annual meeting usually held in England, will draw about 8,000 people to downtown.

On Tuesday, the church turned in a new application for a city special events permit for the IAS meeting. The church had submitted an application in August saying the event would be this weekend, but it withdrew that information the same day.

City Manager Bill Horne said the city won't begin reviewing the new IAS permit request until the church complies with conditions the city is placing on arrangements for another celebration: the grand opening of Scientology's new Flag Building and related events, scheduled to begin Nov. 15.

The city will provide those conditions today, and the church needs to respond to them "as soon as possible," Horne said.

Sarah Heller, a church member listed on the application as "authorized person in charge," didn't respond to two requests for comment Wednesday.

Church representatives delivered their IAS plan to the city Tuesday, proposing Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 for the event, which will occur in a massive tent the church has erected beside Court Street, a major route to Clearwater Beach.

The tent has drawn scrutiny because a wrap the church put over the 150,000-square-foot tent has lettering on it that violates city sign laws. The church has so far not removed the wrap. The city Code Enforcement Board will hear that case Nov. 20.

For the IAS celebration, the church is asking the city for permission to close some side streets and sidewalks near the tent from Nov. 26 until Dec. 2.

The city has a policy that special event permit applications must be submitted at least 30 days before the event — a deadline the church might appear to have missed with its IAS request. But the church is now merely amending the application it originally filed in August, so the city considers the deadline met, Horne said.

Contact Charlie Frago at [email protected] or (727) 445-4159.

Scientology schedules world convention in Clearwater over Thanksgiving weekend 11/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, November 7, 2013 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102