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Jesus Christ has risen in Sussex - and he's wearing jeans
He could be a singer, an actor or even a footballer.
But this is no mere entertainer - this is Jesus Christ and he’s wearing jeans.
The 21st Century depiction of the Son of God will now welcome the modern masses at a Catholic church in Uckfield.
This week the new bronze statue was hoisted more than 100 ft to the top of the bell tower at Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Church.
Award winning sculptor Marcus Cornish, who lives in Lewes, was commissioned to make the bronze seven-foot contemporary version of Jesus.
On Sunday it will have the last accessory added – an eye-catching halo picked out in gold leaf.
Mr Cornish, whose work have been bought by the Prince of Wales, 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."
The statue has been carefully positioned so it is not sitting symmetrically but is looking directly down on the congregation as they enter the church.
Mr Cornish, who completed the sculpture in just under a year, said: "His clothing is being blown vigorously to add to 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."
The decision to have a modern day Jesus to greet parishioners was made by the Catholic parishioners in Uckfield in May last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the church's foundation.
Baroness Cumberlege, who led the initiative, said: "It was thanks to a generous benefactor, the late Mrs Winifred Gregory, that the church was able to seek out the best sculptor in the land."
She added: "When there has been so much controversy surrounding modern sculptures I am delighted that this project has the whole-hearted support of the parish and the local school."
Parish priest Father David Buckley said the more he saw the new addition to his church the more he appreciated it.
He said: "We are very lucky to have it because usually a commission of this size would only be associated with cathedrals or large towns.
"It can be admired and shared by everybody. It is not just something for our own community.
"When the sun catches the halo it will be quite a spectacular sight."
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