'Jesus in jeans' sculpture unveiled
A church in East Sussex has unveiled a Marcus Cornish bronze statue dubbed "Jesus in jeans" depicting Christ as a man of the 21st century.
Father David Buckley unveiled the £35,000 seven-foot high bronze statue at the Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Catholic church in Uckfield.
Cornish's sculpture was funded by money left by Winifred Gregory, 87, a member of the congregation who passed away last year.
Christ is wearing jeans and a shirt billowing in the wind while his hair and beard are neatly and fashionably trimmed.
Father Buckley said: "You are always looking for new ways to enrich people in the experience of Christianity and it is good people can be open-minded to appreciate it.
"On the continent you often encounter modern representations of Jesus but it is not so common over here. We wanted a figure of Christ not in suffering but dynamic and welcoming.
"We felt this design summed up the spirit and activity of Christ perfectly and I think it speaks for itself.
Members of a congregation committee opened a competition last year to find a winning statue to mark the church's 50-year anniversary.
Mr Cornish's design was the overwhelming favourite with more than 200 voting in favour last May and only 14 parishioners against.
The statue will be hoisted 100-feet in the air later this week to sit at the top of the church's bell tower after a gold leaf halo has been added to the head.
Mr Cornish, who is based in nearby Lewes and whose work has been bought by The Prince of Wales in the past, said: "The sculpture is simple and direct and I hope it sums up the feeling that Christ is always with us and that we are not to be afraid.
"His clothing is being blown vigorously to add the sense of him being alive and his strength in defying earthly cares.
"The clothing is loosely contemporary in order to connect Christ to his people now as much as to his past.
"I hope this sculpture will inspire and communicate in very human terms, reaching out and being relevant to both the congregation and local community."
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