The title “Flag” follows from the fact that from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, the highest ecclesiastical organizations were located at sea aboard a flotilla of ships. The 330-foot motor vessel Apollo served as Mr. Hubbard’s home. Accordingly, it was then the most senior Scientology Church. It was known as the “Flagship” of the flotilla and called “Flag” for short.
At that time, special advanced auditing and training services were ministered only aboard Flag. However, as more and more Scientologists wished to participate in these services, the lack of sufficient space required a move to land. In 1975, the Flag Service Organization established itself in Clearwater, Florida, where it occupied the historic twelve-story city landmark Fort Harrison Hotel. Since then, Flag has continued to expand. Today it also occupies the Sandcastle which ministers advanced auditing, the Coachman Building which serves as a training center for thousands of Scientologists and many other supporting facilities.
Given Flag’s growing international congregation, the last several years has seen continual construction to provide still more facilities for its parishioners. On January 1, 2008, the fully renovated 172,000-square-foot Oak Cove opened, providing both accommodations for visiting Scientologists and space for ministering Flag religious services.
On March 14, 2009, the ribbon was cut on the eleven-month, million-man-hour restoration of the 267,000-square-foot Fort Harrison. Providing accommodations and restaurants for Scientologists while receiving religious services, the historic property is also open to the public for charity events, tours and open houses.
Immediately following the Fort Harrison rededication, the final construction phase began on the 377,000-square-foot Flag Mecca building. When completed, the 22 separate course rooms will seat 1,800 parishioners, while the 300 Church counseling rooms will service 1,200 more every day.
Since its founding, Flag has expanded to more than 40 buildings totaling more than 2 million square feet, servicing an average of 2,700 Scientologists a week in all major languages.
Flag is also a hub of Scientology within its own community, sponsoring a variety of outreach activities to help those in need. Visiting Scientology artists and performers regularly hold public exhibitions and concerts to which local residents are always invited.
Flag is the spiritual Mecca of the Scientology religion. Although it concentrates on ministering the most advanced spiritual levels of Scientology, its services span the entirety of the Bridge. Every Scientologist aspires to come to Flag. And sooner or later, everyone does.