AN ALMOST life-sized bronze sculpture will be erected outside St Ann’s Church in an effort to raise concerns about Manchester’s homeless crisis.

An anonymous patron has donated the sculpture, created by Canadian artist, Timothy Schmalz, and the church will be raising the necessary funds to erect the sculpture on its land after receiving approval earlier today.

The series of sculptures depict a figure in the foetal position sleeping under a blanket on a park bench and .

Entitled ‘Homeless Jesus,’ the detailed sculptures feature pierced feet, indicating that the figure is Jesus. There is also a small space allowing people to sit at Jesus’ feet.

One of Timothy Schmalz' 'Homeless Jesus' sculptures
One of Timothy Schmalz’ Homeless Jesus sculptures

St Ann’s Church, Manchester, work as part of Manchester’s Homelessness Charter, bringing together different organisations and charities across the city to help support the homeless.

Reverend Nigel Ashworth, rector of St Ann’s, said:

“The opportunity to place the sculpture facing St Ann’s square, a very public place, will give a focus to the church’s and the city’s efforts to find ways of supporting homeless people, as we work to eliminate any need for homelessness.”

Timothy describes his work as ‘visual translations of the Bible,’ and versions of the sculpture have already been installed in more than 50 cities around the world, including Vatican City, Washington D.C and Townsville Australia.

There are also plans for additional sculptures to be erected in Belfast, Moscow, Singapore and Johannesburg.

A biography on the artist’s online portfolio explains:

“Timothy strives to create epic artwork that connects with viewers through design and details that not only touch the viewer on an emotional level, but also allow them to feel somewhat a ‘part’ of the piece.”

Following today’s earlier approval, the Diocese of Manchester posted a positive tweet of support:

Earlier this year, Westminster City Council rejected applications for a similar sculpture that was blessed by Pope Francis in 2013, to be placed near the Houses of Parliament.

They said: “The proposed sculpture would fail to maintain or improve (preserve or enhance) the character or appearance of the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square Conservation Area.”

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