Calvary’s iconic blue cross removed
As the sun rose over Calvary Public Hospital for the last time, ACT Regional CEO Ross Hawkins said despite the difficult time, Calvary’s commitment to the community would never falter.
“Today is very sad,” he said.
“Calvary has acted with integrity, and while we completely disagree with what the ACT government has done, we will continue to act with integrity to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible for our people.”
Mr Hawkins said the iconic blue cross, which was taken down early Sunday morning, had been a source of solace and support for those who entered the hospital.
“It represents our strength and our journey – who we are,” he said.
“Staff and patients are dealing with all kinds of suffering, vulnerability, and loss here, and the cross is important. I see what it means to people.”
The large cross, along with the statue at the hospital entrance and the staff memorial stones in the front garden, will be placed into careful storage by Calvary, before the government takes control of the hospital on Monday.
As the cross was being taken down, Mr Hawkins reassured Canberrans that Calvary remained dedicated to the people of the region.
“We are not abandoning the ACT – we are absolutely still here,” he said.
“We are committed to this community, and while it is a real shame we have lost this wonderful facility, we are not going anywhere.
Mother of six, Jodie Jayatilaka, watched on as the construction crew slowly removed the cross from the building.
“All my children were born here, and I am sad to see the cross coming down, along with the hope it represents,” she said.
“People need help to journey through this because it does feel like a hostile takeover.”
Mrs Jayatilaka said it was reassuring to know that Calvary was taking the crosses and memorabilia that meant so much to the Christian community.
“Removing the cross makes me fearful for the future, for the change of culture and philosophy of care at the hospital,” she said.
“It was Calvary’s care that made us choose to have our babies here. Their services are underpinned by a value of preserving and protecting life.”
Calvary National Director of Mission, Mark Green, said the cross was a symbol of love.
“I’m feeling sad. It is the end of a very long journey,” he said.
“The cross is a message that everyone on this earth is welcome, and everyone on this earth is cared for, and to see that come down from this hospital, which has been living that out for 44 years, is pretty poignant.
“I hope that the imprint that is still there may remind people of what this hospital was built for and who built it. While Calvary ran it, our message was that you matter, and we care about you.”