The Way To Happiness Association partnered with the Nashville Church of Scientology to host the fourth annual Friendship Day open house at the end of July, with participation from many religious communities that have a home in Nashville. The theme of the day was “Many People, One Community,” and the event celebrated ways people can be friends through virtues such as being worthy of trust and respecting others’ religious beliefs.
The International Day of Friendship was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 in the belief that “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”
“The whole point of our open house is to bring a diverse group of people together and demonstrate the power of friendship,” says Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology. “Most of life’s problems come from our basic misunderstanding of each other—a misunderstanding of intentions. Getting along with one another starts with getting to know each other.”
The Way to Happiness Association of Tennessee provides a community betterment program based on the book The Way to Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard. The initiative is predicated on the fact that one’s survival depends on the survival of others—and that without the survival of others, neither joy nor happiness is attainable. Several precepts in the book promote dialogue and friendship, among them “Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others,” “Be Worthy of Trust,” and “Try to Treat Others As You Would Want Them to Treat You.” These points were used as the basis for dialogue among the audience in attendance at the event, which were led by respected community leaders.
“By bringing people together for an open dialogue, we’ve been able to create new and lasting friendships among people who otherwise might never interact,” says Fesler, “It is inspiring to see so much happen in just a short amount of time.”