By DAVID BORAKS
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church will dedicate its new outdoor sculpture “Homeless Jesus” after the 10:30am service on Sunday, March 30. Since it was installed in February, the figure of a bedraggled Jesus sleeping on a park bench has generated a range of responses, as well as news coverage and commentary far beyond Davidson.
The sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz is front of the church’s brick sanctuary, at 301 Caldwell Lane. It depicts a Jesus in rags sleeping on a park bench.
The reaction in Davidson has been mostly supportive, but a couple of residents have spoken out against it. One woman called police when she thought it might be an actual homeless person. Another man who lives near the church authored a letter to the editor titled “Homeless Jesus has no place in our neighborhood.”
Articles around the country have suggested the community is divided and embroiled in controversy. “‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture sparks ire: Son of God ‘not a vagrant’,” read a headline in The Washington Times.
But the controversy here in Davidson has never been quite as acute as headlines and TV reporters have suggested. And the two residents who had spoken out publicly recently declined to repeat their concerns when a National Public Radio reporter came to town.
Meanwhile, others now are referring to “Homeless Jesus” as a “quirky” attraction. The website “Roadside America” has listed it among sites worth visiting in North Carolina.
Sunday’s ceremony is expected to start around 11:30, lasting 15-20 minutes.
RELATED COVERAGE AND LINKS
Feb. 24, 2014, “‘Homeless Jesus’ finds a home in front of St. Alban’s”
See also a related Letter to the Editor