The latest installation of “Homeless Jesus,” a sculpture by Timothy P. Schmalz, was unveiled in Cathedral Park, Buffalo, at 1:30 p.m. today. The congregation of St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral is funding the statue and donating it to the city of Buffalo.
The work first found controversy in the US after a woman in North Carolina called the police after mistaking it for a homeless person sleeping on a bench in a local churchyard.
Interim Dean the Very Rev. Will Mebane expects a mixed reaction to the installation in Buffalo.
While the church and city leaders have shown their approval of the statue, Mebane said he expects that, once the sculpture takes its place in the park – a peaceful location that also is popular with the homeless of Buffalo – it could stir up some controversy.
“It’s not the way people want Jesus represented,” he said. “They want him triumphant.”
He added that in other cities, the sculpture has been criticized for “encouraging homelessness,” an idea he quickly dismisses.
“We want to remind people that poverty exists,” he said, “and we want to bring some comfort to the homeless.”
Schmalz described as a “small miracle” the anticipated attendance of both the Anglican and Catholic Bishops of Dublin, Ireland, when the same statue is unveiled outside of that city’s Christ Church Cathedral on Friday.
For now, he couldn’t be happier about the Buffalo installation. Cathedral Park was his first choice.
Story via the Buffalo News. Photo credit Diocese of Western New York facebook page.
Posted by Rosalind Hughes