TAMPA (FOX 13) - A sculpture depicting Jesus Christ as homeless now sits in the breezeway of The Portico, Hyde Park United Methodist Church's downtown campus.
Church leaders unveiled the sculpture Wednesday right before the church's Ash Wednesday Service.
The $40,000 sculpture was purchased with donations. It's the work of Timothy Schmalz, a Canadian artist whose sculpture appears in more than a dozen cities throughout North America.
Pastor Magrey deVega said the artwork is meant to inspire the community to combat homelessness and see it as an issue that can impact anyone.
"It's a reminder to the whole community and the church that the homeless are not invisible. They are very visible and despite whatever preconceived notions they might have about what brings people to homelessness it is incumbent upon all of us to act," said deVega.
deVega said the sculpture is part of the church's commitment to fight homelessness, along with programs to provide meals and housing. He hopes the art will inspire more charity than what it costs to install.
"[Jesus] is present in the faces and in the lives of the least among us. The poor the hungry the naked and the imprisoned," he said.