Mt. Sinai Cancels Plans to Make Cathedral into Hospital


Photo by Scott Matthews.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine will not be setting up a hospital inside, according to reps for the cathedral, who said that Mt. Sinai called it off. The building was expected to treat as many as 400 patients, with Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse supplying the volunteer medical staff.

The building had already been set up with cots.

The cathedral sent us the following statement:

“We were notified this morning that Mount Sinai will not be pursuing its plans to build a field hospital at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at this moment. Our commitment to Mount Sinai and to the city, our longtime partners, stands firm, and we will do whatever is in our power to aid the medical workers heroically putting themselves on the front line to help the sick.

As we continue to stand ready to support all in this crisis, we reaffirm our core mission and staunch belief in the worth and dignity of all people, and open our virtual doors to all those who want to participate in Holy Week services.”

Mt. Sinai did not respond to a request for comment.

The Post reported that the volunteer group may help in other areas instead.

Lead volunteer Whitney Tilson said Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian humanitarian group that erected a field hospital in Central Park, had already set up some beds before they had to halt the work.

“We’ve set up 56 beds so far. And they’ve had us now pause, even though we could probably set up a few more before the end of today because hospitalizations in New York have come down a little bit,” Tilson told Reuters.

“And so Mount Sinai wants to wait and keep an eye on the number of people coming in and hopefully we can cross our fingers that this was all for naught and no patients come in here,” Tilson added.

NEWS | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Joe Fensterblau says:

      I’m reading this as a sign that they may just simply not need it.

      Which would be the best news we could hope for at this point

    2. BekcyOUWS says:

      Maybe they realized that this Samaritan Purse group’s employment practices are illegal in this city?

    3. Jane says:

      If you go to gothamist’s coronavirus statistics tracking page and scroll all the way down you will see that “change in hospitalized patients” peaked at the beginning of April and is dropping like crazy, already near what it was mid-march. So yes, it looks like we are over the peak and there is no longer any need for the extra beds.

    4. Finally says:

      Samaritan’s Purse? More like Self-righteous Bigots’ Wallet. My love for St. John the Divine only grew when it denounced the Samaritans’ practices in earlier news. SJtD, keep on keep in’ on. Religion needs more voices like yours.

    5. ben says:

      Columbia is converting an indoor soccer field into a field hospital. So I say we’re not quite over the hump yet. Can’t let down our guards now just to have a second wave (or a sustained first wave) of infections.

    6. Kenneth says:

      More going on here with this cancellation than they are stating I think.

    7. B.B. says:

      Church leaders and evangelical group slated to run the healthcare program had disagreements over latter’s anti-gay stance. So that was that, plan was smashed.

      https://gothamist.com/news/field-hospital-inside-st-john-divine-halted-over-groups-anti-gay-beliefs