Belfast Telegraph

'Homeless Jesus' Belfast City Hall proposal up for consideration

By Andrew Madden, local democracy reporter

Belfast City Council is to consider a request to install a statue of a “Homeless Jesus” on a bench outside City Hall.

Member’s of the council's People and Communities Committee will discuss the request for support for the bronze sculpture’s installation at a meeting on Tuesday evening.

The purpose of the statue is to raise awareness of homelessness within Belfast.

It was designed by Timothy Schmalz and depicts Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a bench. At closer inspection, the figure can be identified as Jesus by the marks on his feet.

The “Homeless Jesus” has been in existence worldwide since 2013 and can be seen in Madrid, Singapore, Dublin, and Glasgow, among other locations.

One “Homeless Jesus” currently lies outside Centenary House on Victoria Street, which is run by the Salvation Army.

In several cities, the statues have been funded by anonymous benefactors, local churches, homeless shelters and charities.

There are currently plans in the works for a procession from Centenary House to the Morning Star Hostel on the Falls Road, which is run by the Legion of Mary association, to install a further “Homeless Jesus” statue.

A date for this event has yet to be organised.

Council's support is being sought for a procession from the Morning Star Hostel to City Hall in November during an annual event to highlight homelessness.

It is envisaged the procession will end with the sculpture being placed on a bench outside City Hall.

The procession would involve representatives from the four main churches as well as the Salvation Army.

The People and Communities Committee will be asked to grant approval council officers to engage with the organisers and explore options in principle, with a further report to be brought back for consideration.

The “Homeless Jesus” has not always be welcomed to cities across the UK.

In 2016, an application to place the life-size bronze cast in front of a Methodist Hall in London was rejected on the grounds it “would fail to maintain or improve (preserve or enhance) the character or appearance of the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square conservation area”.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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