In 2007, Mission Hospital commissioned a chapel on its Memorial campus. The chapel was specifically designed and furnished by local artisans, woodworkers and sculptors, and meant to be a place of peace and comfort and prayer for patients, families and staff. And it is just that: a universal sense of peace, quiet and refuge upon entering. Any symbols honoring the different religious traditions are found in a glass cabinet; all the five major religions are represented.
When the new building was completed last year, commonly called the K building, a small chapel was included. But now the decision has been made to decommission the chapel in the original Memorial building to allow for more office space. The ramification of this decision is that patients, families and staff who desire the few moments of peace and perhaps prayer have to walk to the K building to that chapel. There is no direct way except going to the first floor, then walking to the new building to the other chapel, a journey long and inconvenient. There is sadness among the staff who are aware of this move due to the obvious.
We, as the Sabbath Circle at Servanthood House, a spiritual community which has functioned for more than 20 years as such, mourn the loss of the chapel and what it has meant.
We are praying that the hospital administration might be open to a new vision around this decision that will affect the spiritual support needed by so many, a loss for patients and their families, as well as for the staff who often find their respite there.
— Allan Campo, Arden; Chloe Atkins, Susan Luke, Jean Marie Luce, Tricia Hynes and Bill Jamieson, Asheville; Irma Howarth and Susan Sihler, Candler; Laura Brown, Fairview; Bruce Younkin, Flat Rock; and Ana M. Gómez, Weaverville
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Mission Health with a summary of the letter writers’ points and received the following response from spokesperson Nancy Lindell: “The original design of the new North Tower at Mission Hospital intended that many aspects and services from the Memorial campus would be moved once the tower was open, the chapel among them. Patient care areas on the third floor of the Memorial campus near the chapel have also been moved to the new tower. The items in the Memorial chapel have been relocated to three of the four other chapels across Mission and St. Joseph campus, many to the larger chapel space in the North Tower.”
Lindell also included comments from volunteer and spiritual care manager Judy Haney, which said in part: “At one time, the B-308 chapel was centrally located to a majority of our patients and their families. That is no longer the case. By relocating items that made that space such a place of peace and comfort to the North Tower chapel, we can recommission this ‘sacred space’ to meet the spiritual needs of many more of our current patients, visitors and staff.”