Rejected In London, 'Homeless Jesus' Finds A Home In Manchester

Permission for a Homeless Jesus sculpture was refused in Westminster. One will now be installed in Manchester

A "homeless Jesus" sculpture is to find a new resting place in the centre of Manchester after planners ruled it could be installed there.

Manchester City Council has approved plans for the sculpture, by Canada's Timothy Schmalz, to be sited outside the historic St Ann's Church at the heart of the city.

The church wants the sculpture outside the Grade I listed building to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people in the city, the Manchester diocese said.

The near life-size bronze sculpture, with pierced feet, is titled 'Jesus the Homeless'.  Other copies are already sited in Madrid, Dublin, Washington DC and Vatican City, although not in London. There is also one outside the Office of Papal Charities in the Vatican.

Westminster City Council rejected an application for a homeless Jesus sculpture outside the Methodist Church's Westminster Central Hall on the grounds that it would "fail to maintain or improve" the character of the area.

This was because it would have been in what is described as a "monument saturation zone".

The Methodists tried for permission after the sculpture had itself been rejected by St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.

In 2013, Pope Francis described the sculpture as a "beautiful and excellent representation" of Jesus.

Nigel Ashworth, Rector of St Ann's in Manchester, said: "I am delighted to learn that planning permission for St Ann's to have 'Jesus the Homeless' installed outside the church has been approved by the Council. In Manchester our Homelessness Charter is showing the way for a developing partnership between churches, the City Council, businesses and voluntary groups."

Churches in Manchester work together to run a winter night shelter. St Ann's is also working on an early morning pilot project for street homeless people called Morning Hours.

The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: "Jesus is very explicit in the Bible. When we offer or refuse care to those in need, we will be judged as though he himself were the needy person before us.

"This sculpture casts Christ's words into metal. It links them directly to one of the most visible expressions of human need. Its identical twins can be found in other great cities around the world, a reminder that Manchester today is a truly global city."

More sculptures are planned for Belfast, Moscow, Singapore and Johannesburg.