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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

'Homeless Jesus' sparks worldwide day

More than 40 international cities, including Grand Haven, will be uniting around the sculpture “Homeless Jesus” in various events to honor the World Day of the Poor on Sunday, Nov. 17.

The statue, by famous sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz, is serving as a catalyst for each city to host public events to honor the World Day of the Poor. Each city is putting its own spin on the day, with a variety of events being planned. The single common denominator: Each event will take place near that city’s iconic statue of “Homeless Jesus.”

Events include new unveilings in Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Montreal; a concert by a choir of homeless people in Indianapolis; prayer service with a lunch for the homeless in Sydney, Australia; and candle vigils in Chicago, Ottawa and Dublin.

“‘Homeless Jesus’ was always intended to challenge people’s views of the poor right in front of us,” Schmalz said. “I’m thrilled that it is going even further in inspiring others to take concrete action to serve them.”

In Grand Haven, the statue is located at the front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, 524 Washington Ave., directly across from the City Hall. Members of the community are invited to join members of St. John’s outside in front of the church at 6 p.m. Nov. 17 for a candlelit evening prayer vigil. Attendees are also invited to bring clothes, food or other donations for the marginalized. Donations will be used in St. John’s existing outreach ministries or shared with other area organizations.

“Since the installation of the statue, it has been a gathering place and point of inspiration for numerous people in the city,” said the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, rector of St. John’s. “People have even brought food or blankets, mistaking it for an actual person – only to see the holes in the feet and realize the powerful message the statue conveys.

“I’m looking forward to gathering with community members at this prayer vigil for World Day of the Poor, as we seek to be particularly attentive to Christ’s presence in the poor, both locally and globally,” Cramer added.

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