Mosman Mayor Dominic Lopez inside the RNS chapelWORSHIPPERS at one of the state’s largest hospital chapels have been ordered to get rid of crucifixes and Bibles and pull down religious pictures and symbols for fear of offending other religions.

The decision by Royal North Shore Hospital has outraged patients and their families, many of whom have turned to the chapel for comfort in their darkest hours.

Hospital managers ordered the ban on symbols of any kind because the chapel was increasingly being used by a number of different faiths.

But Mosman Mayor Dominic Lopez said angry patients were offended that the chapel no longer represented a holy place.

Ban will incite fear, religious leaders say

“I used to sit there and pray when my wife was dying of breast cancer and look at that cross,” he said. “Now it is just a hall and the decision is bulls. . .. You either have a chapel or you don’t. It’s offensive to have a church or chapel and not have a cross in it.”

The Daily Telegraph understands some hospital chaplains have been fighting the decision but recently lost their battle.

The hospital defended its decision to ban all Christian and non-Christian symbols, saying it was appropriate to appease all religions. Each faith is allowed to display their symbols during services but they must be taken down and stored out of sight afterwards.

Editorial: Hospital’s timid Easter offence

But Islamic leaders last night stressed they would not have asked for Christian symbols to be removed.

NSW Health does not have a fixed policy on prayer rooms or hospital chapels.

“Some two-bit bob bureaucrat has made the decision, just like when someone decided we couldn’t sing Christmas carols anymore in schools,” Mr Lopez said.

“You walk in to the chapel now and it’s like walking into a backyard shed.

“It’s offensive.”

Since 1968, visitors and patients of all faiths have been able to use the chapel. With its stained glass windows and timber ceiling, the prayer hall has been the perfect backdrop for weddings and other ceremonies.

Up until recently, a cross was visible at the front of the altar. A separate Muslim prayer space has been made in the chapel’s loft.

A hospital spokeswoman said it was appropriate to “move with the times”.

“The chapel is now best described as a multi-faith chapel where people of all faiths feel welcome,” the spokeswoman said.

“The decision was made to display the symbols of each faith, for example the chapel’s cross and Bible, during specific services and ceremonies only.

“These important religious symbols are appropriately stored and used regularly.”


5 Responses to “Hospital Bans Bibles, Crosses From Chapel”

  1. 1 David

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Thank you for your messages of encouragement. May the God reward you for your vigilance and may the Holy Spirit assist you in all matters of helping people to see God’s glory, mans wrongs, and how things may be put right. I was aware of the article. If all the comments were read, I am listed as comment 95, after sending my comment twice it was published. Perseverance was necessary, as it often is.

    Have a victorious day, in Christ.
    David

  2. 2 Don

    G’day Jason, Danny and team

    Every Tuesday morning I lead a Church service for patients at the Dandenong psychiatric hospital. I was told by the hospital chaplains that bible’s can no longer be in bedside tables because they are an ‘infection control’ issue. I asked why there are very battered magazines (‘Woman’s Day’, ‘New Idea’ etc) that are many years old being thumbed through by many patients in the common areas and they are not an ‘infection control’ issue? The Chaplains had no answer and said they had to adhere to what the hospital told them.

    I was told Nurses had bibles in their stations to hand out to patients who ask for them but many patients have told me this is not the case (to be fair, nurses are very overworked and this responsibility should probably not fall to them).

    Gideon’s bibles that are given to patients are not meant to be passed on to other patients so now I just buy bibles to hand out to patients (with old and new testaments) and usually give a couple away a week to patients who want them.

    One patient this morning was in tears after the service saying they were losing her home, had not been part of a Christian fellowship for a long time. Since being admitted to the psychiatric hospital they attended the service and heard the Christian message in song and then heard the gospel preached. They realised God had not forgotten about them and was still reaching out to them in their time of need20even though they had walked away from God. This patient then told the others that God loves them and has not forgotten about them etc. I was humbled to be part of His plan this morning.

    Will keep praying for both of you and the ministry you do.

    MARANATHA!

    Don

  3. 3 Bruce

    Thanks for the update Jason, appreciate it, and the linked article – what will people do now that they won’t have any religious images, I guess they just might have to carry Jesus around in the heart instead ah……” what a thought!!!!

    Blessings

    Bruce

  4. 4 Ewan

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Fred Nile Condemns Anti Christ Action
    At Royal North Shore Hospital

    Thursday, 9th April 2009

    The Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC, Leader of the Christian Democratic Party, has strongly condemned the decision of a bureaucrat to remove the Christian Cross and other Christian symbols from the Royal North Shore Hospital Chapel.

    “This Chapel is non-denominational which means it is a Christian Chapel for all Christian Denominations, whether they are Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian etc.

    I have conducted weddings in this beautiful Chapel which was paid for by donations from Christians in the 1960’s. Therefore, the RNSH has no legal power to change the Christian nature of this Chapel”, said Rev Fred Nile MLC.

    “It is also very insulting to the majority Christian population in Sydney for this ‘anti Christ’ action to take place at Easter, when Jesus Christ was rejected by the mob and crucified.

    I demand, on behalf of the people of Sydney, that the Christian Cross be restored immediately in the Chapel,” Rev Nile stated.

  5. 5 Lisa Watkins

    Wouldn’t the church who funded the chapel be the body to decide such a decision? If the church had made such a decision I would assume it would have been in the spirit of christs’ acceptance and love of all. But as it appears it the decision was made in protest of christianity, by one or many who do not understand what christianity is all about. Offer the garden or cafeteria to those who are not wanting to pray in a christian chapel. The church needs to introduce christian hospitals (for everyone), not just fund non christians to run such in a non christian way. We the church made that mistake long ago. Mistakes happen, lets heal our people and church before our way of celebrating the trinity, the father, son and the holy ghost is marginalised any further.

    Let the church and its people be the ones to say no to war, hate and deception in all forms Christ did. Go Rev Nile!

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