Homeless Jesus statue installed in Manchester city centre

The work by the Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz depicts a figure lying on a bench, with its pierced feet indicating it is Jesus.

A sculpture of Jesus depicted as a homeless person sleeping on a bench will be unveiled in Manchester today.

The near life-size bronze sculpture 'Jesus the Homeless' will be outside St Ann's Church in the city.

The work by the Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz depicts a figure lying on a bench, with its pierced feet indicating it is Jesus.

The aim of the artwork is challenge passers-by to question their attitude towards homeless and marginalised people.

Homelessness in the UK has reached 'crisis level' - according to frontline charities. Credit: PA

Greater Manchester is currently working on a new scheme to address homelessness in the area, with a £1.8 million project to work with people sleeping rough between now and 2020.

Churches have also responded to the growing homelessness crisis, providing winter night shelters and other frontline services.

The Bishop of Manchester, The Rt Revd Dr David Walker, who chairs the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, 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."

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