Liverpool is unveiling its own ‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture. This sculpture has taken the world by storm, and there are copies of it from Washington DC to Florence, and even one in Manchester.
On Thursday 4 April at 12.30pm Liverpool’s own version will be unveiled in St Nicholas’ Church Gardens. This will be a permanent installation in the City Centre’s most popular green space. The bronze sculpture by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz shows a figure lying on a bench, with the wounds of Christ visible on his feet.
The sculpture will be unveiled as part of a Conference organized by Liverpool Parish Church in collaboration with the Community Foundation Merseyside and chaired by Professor Michael Parkinson from the University of Liverpool. The Conference is aimed at the business community to look at how we can all share in the solution to the homelessness problem which affects the entire City of Liverpool.
Speakers at the Conference include Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool), Steve Rotheram (Metro Mayor), Jon Sparkes (CEO of Crisis), Peter Moore (CEO of Liverpool Football Club), Andy Cooke (Chief Constable of Merseyside), with contributions from a number of private sector organizations. Over 230 delegates from across the City have registered to attend, and the organizers are hoping for positive action to combat homelessness as a result of the Conference.
The Rector of Liverpool, the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, said, “Homelessness is not just a challenge to us as a City community, but can also be a challenge to us individually. We want to help, but we don’t always know how. I hope that the Conference will help us all become part of a solution. The unveiling of the sculpture in the City Centre’s most popular green space will present us with a daily challenge. There is space for you to sit on the bench: would you choose to sit next to a homeless person? Would you sit on a bench next to Jesus?”
Rae Brooke, CEO of the Community Foundation Merseyside, said, “In our first twenty years, the Community Foundation for Merseyside has given out £41 million of grants across the region. As part of our 20th anniversary year we want to focus on an issue that affects us all and engage others in the needs of the most vulnerable. Homelessness and rough sleeping require a shared approach of the public sector, private sector, third sector and wider community if we are to address this issue head on and improve the lives of others.”
The sculpture was made by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz who explained how he would like the sculpture to be seen: “I am grateful for this installation of the Homeless Jesus in Liverpool. The work is being installed in cities all around the world, I see them forming a bronze chain that links us all with the common hope of a more companionate world. Hopefully when one walks by this sculpture it will be like getting a slap in the face, making one think of the sacredness of all. Hopefully when a homeless human walks by, it will be an embrace. Christianity is hardcore.”
The unveiling of the sculpture will be done by residents and service users of Liverpool YMCA and will be blessed by the Bishop of Liverpool.
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