Church installs controversial sculpture of 'homeless Jesus'

Thu 07 Dec 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

A controversial life-size statue of Jesus depicted as a homeless person has become a permanent fixture near a church in Scotland.

The world-famous sculpture, created by Christian Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, has been placed in Glasgow City Centre, near St Georges Tron Church and shows Jesus sleeping on a bench.

Although many churches refused to accept the sculpture because they didn't agree that Jesus was a homeless person, Rev Alistair Duncan from St Georges Tron told Premier the church welcomed the idea with open arms.

He said: "The parable of the sheep and the goats demonstrates powerfully and effectively that ministering to the homeless, vulnerable, sick, or imprisoned, we're ministering to him [Jesus].

"For us to recognise, Jesus' concern and compassion toward those in all sorts of vulnerable positions is to minister to him."

The church raised £25,000 to bring the artwork to Glasgow.

Castings of the sculpture have been placed near churches across the globe, including in Spain, Italy and Singapore.
Rev Duncan said the church had a perfect location to use the statue to raise awareness about homelessness.

"The front of the church is on Buchannan Street, which is Scotland's busiest shopping street but the rear of the church is on Nelson Mandela Place, there's quite a bit of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian that passes through," he said.

"The sculpture will be well seen and there will be good opportunity for people in the city to see it.

"We hope it addresses the issue of homelessness which is a priority not just in our city, but every city."

He added that the project was only an extension of the work that St Georges Tron does to help homeless people.

The church runs a social enterprise café, the profits of which go to Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust for their work amongst the homeless.

Rev Duncan also told Premier: "In our café we offer employability training placements for people who may have been homeless or people trying to lives back on track after a difficult start."

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