Just over 3 weeks ago we welcomed home the newest addition to our Trinity family. We will offer a blessing over the sculpture during Trinity’s Homecoming worship service on Sunday, September 22. All are welcome to join us for this very special occasion! Come early and stay late as we begin our day with a continental breakfast and worship in the Sanctuary, followed by lunch in My Brother’s Place and live music, a community art project and a guest speaker later on.
Toledo Streets Newspaper featured our journey to bring the bronze Jesus sculpture home to Toledo in this month’s paper; here’s a short except from the article:
The sight of an unidentified person trying to survive on the streets of downtown Toronto in 2011 led directly to a powerful sculpture that’s found a new home on Adams Street in downtown Toledo.
No one knows who he was, the man attempting to simply rest on the Toronto sidewalk one cold day. Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz noticed him as he passed by.
He’s described the experience this way: “I found myself shocked. There was one person in particular, who was completely covered up in a blanket. There was something haunting about that – this fragile human form in stark contrast to all the busyness surrounding them… I couldn’t let go of thinking that I had just witnessed Jesus.”
This anonymous figure reminded Mr. Schmalz of the biblical story (Matthew 25:31-46) in which Jesus laid out his expectation that his followers would show compassion and care for anyone who was hungry, naked, imprisoned, sick, or a stranger. Jesus showed a consistent bias in favor of people who were powerless, oppressed, or discarded by society. And he told his followers to do likewise.
Mr. Schmalz visited northwest Ohio in February 2017 while he was working with Saint John XXIII Catholic Church in Perrysburg on several pieces of religious art that the church had commissioned for its sanctuary. He approached Trinity because of its location in the heart of Toledo’s downtown business district, and suggested that this church also consider one of his sculptures. The congregation’s leaders quickly chose Homeless Jesus, a piece that Schmalz limits to one location per city. A subsequent clergy change and several planned building repair projects delayed the installation until now.
The powerful impact of the sculpture can be attributed, in part, to one deliberate design feature. The 7-foot cast bronze park bench includes room for someone to literally sit at the feet of Jesus.
Schmalz says, “It’s really doing, I think, what artwork should do, and that’s getting out a message. And I do believe that this is a very powerful message – that Jesus is with the marginalized. And hopefully when people see this sculpture, they’ll realize that it’s a sacred duty to care for the least of our brothers and sisters.”