Jesus sculpture prompts police calls in Sarnia, Ont.

The Homeless Jesus statue has been prompting police calls from concerned citizens worried about...

The Homeless Jesus statue has been prompting police calls from concerned citizens worried about someone laying, unmoving on a bench on Mitton Street. BRENT BOLES / THE OBSERVER / QMI AGENCY

Brent Boles, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:49 PM ET

SARNIA, Ont. ─ Huddled on a bench, the figure lays motionless, wrapped in a blanket with nothing more than feet and a hand poking out from underneath.

From a distance, it can look like a body.

In reality, it's a Homeless Jesus statue erected when the Harbour Inn Homeless Shelter closed in June.

That hasn't stopped concerned citizens from dialing 911 reporting what looks like a person in distress.

"That's not uncommon to get calls," said Const. Les Jones, adding that the force doesn't have an exact count for how many times the sculpture has been reported.

"There was a while there were they were getting several calls a day, every day."

At first, the reports drew attention from officers.

"Even initially when we were getting the calls, we would send officers to investigate it," he said. "We obviously know now what the call would be about."

The blanket, which appears creased and soft from a distance, is actually a solid part of the sculpture, designed by Michigan artist Clay Williams, River City Vineyard pastor George Esser and his nephew Aaron Esser.

Originally purple in colour, the weather has bleached the blanket, leaving it mostly white with a slight red and purple tinge.

A hand, visible under the blanket, shows the marks of the crucifixion.

"I don't think it's a good thing that people are scared," said Aaron Esser about the police calls. "However, I do think that it's a good thing that it brings awareness."

Sarnia's Homeless Jesus statue isn't the only one of its kind. A similar sculpture is on display outside of King's University College down the road in London, Ont., and others are in Toronto and North Carolina.

brent.boles@sunmedia.ca

 


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