Methodist Central Hall Westminster was offered a full-sized Homeless Jesus sculpture in 2015, and made application to Westminster City Council to place it outside their building.
There are numerous Homeless Jesus sculptures sited in prominent locations across the world, (Toronto, Washington DC and Madrid). This would have been the first one to be displayed in the UK and would be sited in one of UK’s, ‘Homeless Hotspots’, just yards from the seats of power in Westminster.
The application was refused, (to much media attention) as was the Appeal to that decision. One reason offered for this decision was that the area around Parliament Square was already saturated with monuments, and an outdoor monument of the person of Jesus Christ was “not important enough” to warrant an exception being made!
On Good Friday 2018, (Friday, 30th March) a smaller version of the Homeless Jesus will be dedicated by Revd Tony Miles, Acting Superintendent of Methodist Central Hall in the presence of the Dean of Westminster, Revd Dr John Hall, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Ian Adams, Canon Christopher Tuckwell of Westminster Cathedral and The Passage, a Homeless Charity based in Westminster.
Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, Superintendent Minister of Methodist Central Hall said, ‘The only other smaller sculpture of the Homeless Jesus was presented to Pope Francis in 2013. We hope that, despite not being able to place a full-size sculpture outside of our building, this smaller sculpture, placed in at the entrance of our building will cause our many thousands of visitors each year to pause for a moment and remember the millions of displaced and homeless people across the world.’
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- The Homeless Jesus is a bronze sculpture by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz. It depicts Jesus as a homeless person, asleep on a park bench. His face and hands are hidden by his threadbare blanket but the nail marks of crucifixion on his bare, exposed feet are clearly visible.
- It is estimated that more than a quarter of a million people in England are homeless. Despite its association with wealth, privilege and power, the City of Westminster is regularly named as the worst hotspot of homeless people in the country.
- Methodist Central Hall is one of several churches which, together with other Faith communities, supports the work of The Passage in Westminster. The Passage is London’s largest voluntary sector resource centre for homeless and vulnerable people, helping up to 200 women and men each day.
- Methodist Central Hall, together with Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral will hold a joint ‘Walk of Witness’ between the three churches as part of Good Friday. Members of The Passage will carry the cross between the three landmark churches and funds will be collected to raise money for The Passage.
- A press pack with photos of the Homeless Jesus can be found here or please email firstname.lastname@example.org