BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- St. John's Episcopal Church in Bridgeport has launched a GoFundMe campaign to bring a Homeless Jesus statue to the city.
The church proposes dedicating the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture by Timothy P. Schmalz at a location in Bridgeport that would create the greatest evangelical impact, both initially and perpetually. A site with high visibility and pedestrian traffic is preferred.
St. John's was founded in 1748 and is the oldest church in Bridgeport. It has a long history of serving the poor in the community. In 2014, the 35-year-old tradition of feeding the homeless every Tuesday night served almost 7,000 meals and the Food Pantry distributed 44,000 meals. The Bed Funds covered about $83,000 of medical expenses for those in need.
The Family Center provided $19,000 in rent/utility assistance, plus mother-toddler groups, ESOL and citizenship classes, summer youth programs, an afterschool program with 82 fifth-graders, nutrition classes, and more.
In addition, the church's Clothes Closet provided free clothing to 450 families in 2014 and their Childcare Center provides 24 working families on government assistance with high-quality care.
St. John's want to welcome the Homeless Jesus statue to the community but does not have the funds. The congregation is calling on 350 people to donate only $100 each to help them reach their goal.
To see the GoFundMe page or to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/4drsmo .
A visual representation of Matthew: 25, this sculpture suggests that Christ is with the most marginalized in society. The Christ figure is shrouded in a blanket with his face covered. The only indication that it is Jesus is the visible wounds on the feet. The life-size version of the work has enough room that someone is able to sit on the bench. The sculpture will be cast bronze metal.
This sculpture has primarily a two-fold purpose: raise awareness of the marginalized, challenge and inspire society to be more compassionate and charitable and to act upon that inspiration; and lift the spirits of the marginalized as well so that they might see Christ within themselves, the GoFuneMe page says.
Schmalz is a world-renowned sculptor of Christian-themed works from Saint Jacobs, Ontario, and has a true vocation for creating sacred Art.
“I am devoted to creating artwork that glorifies Christ. The reason for this devotion, apart from my Christian beliefs, is that an artist needs an epic subject to create epic art," he says on his website. "I describe my sculptures as being visual prayers."