A SCULPTURE of Christ sleeping rough should soon find a home at
the Methodist Central Hall, London.
Its creator, Tim Schmalz, a Canadian, had hoped that his work
Jesus the Homeless would go to St Martin-in-the-Fields, in
Trafalgar Square (News,
19 September); but, despite the church's long-standing ministry
to the homeless, the Vicar, Canon Sam Wells, said that he could not
accept it because of a rule banning anyone from sleeping or lying
down inside the church.
Mr Schmalz said: "Methodist Central Hall expressed so much
interest in the sculpture, and they informed me of the history of
how their whole mission statement was to merge the secular with the
spiritual, and 100 years ago that was essentially their intention -
to create Central Hall in the heart of London to administer to the
poor and the people not necessarily familiar with imagery of
"The idea of the sculpture is so coherent with that, as it's
supposed to merge with a secular cityscape. So it was not only the
theology behind the Methodist Central Hall, but also the location
near Westminster, where you have millions and millions of people
visiting every year, from every part of the world.
"My mission is to spread this gospel message to as many places
in the world, and to have a location like that is absolutely
He hopes that his lifesize bronze of a recumbent Christ on a
park bench will be placed to one side of the Hall's main entrance.
"If the homeless Jesus got up from his sleeping, he would be able
to see Westminster Abbey straight ahead, with Big Ben in the
distance," Mr Schmaltz said.
He wants to put casts of his sculpture in every large city in
the world, and said that he had already received inquiries from the
Vatican, Washington, DC, Dublin, and Wales.
Canon Wells described placing the statue at St
Martin-in-the-Fields as "sending coals to Newcastle". He said: "We
don't need a statue; we are the real thing."
The Superintendent Minister at Methodist Central Hall, the Revd
Martin Turner, said: "Subject to planning permission, we hope that
Jesus the Homeless will find a place at Methodist Central
Hall, Westminster, soon. Often, our image of Christ has become so
sanitised that we easily forget that 'the Son of Man has no place
to lay his head.'"