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Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland Blog


WP 20171207 11 54 52 ProThe sculpture outside (behind the church) is cast in bronze and was first created in Canada by artist Timothy P Schmalz.  Many copies have been made.  They are installed in different cities all over the world.  This is the first one in the UK.

Only the pierced feet suggest that the figure represents Jesus who described the Son of Man as having nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58).  

The artist wishes to illustrate the history in the Gospel of Matthew where the Shepherd says: Insofar as you did this to the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.  The intention of the artist is evangelical.  He says "You can sidestep a vagrant.  It is not so easy to sidestep your beliefs".

The sculpture has not been without controversy.  It was not accepted by the church for which it was first made.  The purpose is to get each and everyone of us to think about homelessness.     

The artwork cost £25,000.  This was raised by private subscription.  Some have said it would have been better to have spent the money on the poor.  Sadly, as the Gospel tells us, the poor are with us always.  Those who contributed to the sculpture also give to the por.  Those who haven't contributed can still give to the poor.                                

Homelessness has become a small industry in the Western world.  Some of it is due to people with mental health problems who do not have enough support.  Some is caused by alcohol and drugs which has ruined the support those affected might have.  A small part is criminal.  It appears that there is enough money to go round.                                                   

The painting was done by Peter Howson on the occasion of the installation of the sculpture on 7 December 2017.  It is being exhibited here for the first time.

With thanks to the City of Glasgow for planning permission; to Glasgow Churches Together for sponsorship; to Ian Alexander of J M Architects for planning advice; to Brick and Steel for installation; and to the anonymous donors who made it possible.

For the sculpture there is a remaining cost for maintenance and insurance.  If you would like to contribute to this you can give it here to St George's Tron.

Adam Plenderleith
On a Cold and Frosty Morning

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