‘Take Me to the San’ book launch for San homecoming weekend

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Special guests at the book launch.

Hot off the press at Signs Publishing Company is a brand new book entitled Take Me to the San, which was launched at Sydney Adventist Hospital’s homecoming weekend during the afternoon of August 17.

The book contains stories and testimonies from 12 contributors who have had a significant impact on the San’s mission and culture since its establishment in 1903—including John Wilson, Rosemarie Radley, Dr Alex Currie, Steve Stevenson and more.

More than 50 individuals attended the launch to hear presentations from Sydney Adventist Hospital CEO Brett Goods, Signs Publishing Company book editor Nathan Brown, former Adventist HealthCare CEO Phil Currie, former nursing director Annette Baldwin, former San CEO and surgeon Dr Bert Clifford, and San chaplain Yvonne Hypolite, many of whom were directly involved in the book’s creation. San patients were able to watch the launch via livestream from their hospital rooms, while others tuned in online.

Attendees gather at the San Chapel within the Clifford Tower at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Mr Goods opened the launch by welcoming everyone and expressing the importance of the San’s mission, and the purpose of Take Me to the San in perpetuating that mission.

“We want to inspire patients, staff and the community about the mission of the San, which is ‘Christianity in Action’, caring for the mind, body and spirit of our patients and ourselves,” he said. “We hope it will be a springboard for more books.”

Collecting, assembling and editing the stories took more than two years, with close collaboration between Adventist HealthCare Mission Integration director Dr Branimir Schubert, Mr Brown and assistant editor Denise Murray. Dr Clifford expressed his appreciation for this intense editorial work, and esteemed Mr Goods and Mr Currie for heading up the project, as well as Dr Schubert in “keeping all the threads together”.

“It was a privilege to work with Branimir and Denise and so many other contributors to make it into a book,” said Mr Brown. “I think it has come together really well.”

Nathan Brown delivers one of many short speeches during the launch.

Take Me to the San has seven chapters organised around different themes, including historical development, nursing and giving, with most chapters including multiple authors and utilising a variety of sources to best illustrate its theme.

Dr Clifford emphasised how Take Me to the San is filled with authentic history.

“It’s sources and stories are very close and, in many cases, one in the same. For example our cardiac program has been an anchor in our hospital for 40 years and an immense avenue of outreach. It began as a suggestion by cardiac surgeon, Dan Wilson. Dan is here today. The source and the history are that close. Take Me to the San merely crosses the bridge between secret and known history.”

By communicating real, life-changing stories to the public, Mr Currie believes that Take Me to the San protects and preserves the San’s positive mission and culture.

“An organisation like the San has had many challenges over time that could have derailed its mission, but this hasn’t occurred,” he said. “You could argue that cultural reformation is part of development, but preservation of culture and rituals and things that define a positive culture should be preserved. This book is an attempt to preserve the San’s most important assets: its mission and its culture.”

Interposed between presentations was a video from Dr Schubert in Spain on long-service leave. He thanked the various contributors and expressed his desire that the San’s mission and vision would be shared through the book. Mrs Hypolite then finished the presentation by dedicating Take Me to the San and encouraging attendees to “allow the stories [of the Bible] to sit within the human story in which you live”.

Attendees enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea spread following the launch.

Following the book launch, attendees enjoyed networking opportunities and a delicious afternoon tea as part of the San Homecoming weekend.

The launch of Take Me to the San was a culmination of more than 16 years of research and writing, with stories first being collated at the centenary celebrations in 2003. The book will be shared with hospital staff, patients, stakeholders and the wider community.

Take Me to the San can be purchased online or at Adventist Book Centres nationwide.