Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 16:34 UK

Jesus in jeans unveiled on church

Statue of Jesus Christ
The bronze statue shows Jesus Christ wearing jeans and a shirt

A statue of Jesus Christ wearing jeans, installed on the front of a Catholic church in East Sussex, has produced a mixed reaction from residents.

Some have welcomed the modern appearance of the bronze statue on the bell tower at Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Church in Uckfield.

But others told the BBC the £35,000 figure was "drab and dull".

The statue, by Lewes sculptor Marcus Cornish, was commissioned to mark the church's 50th anniversary.

Mr Cornish said he wanted to connect Christ with both his past, and people now.

Parish priest Father David Buckley said the church had the bequest from a member of the congregation called Winifred Gregory, who died in 1987.

We wanted something that would be nice for all people, whether they were Christian or whether they had no sort of religious faith at all
Father David Buckley

He said: "She very much wanted a family, but couldn't have a family, and so she spent all her adult life actually supporting parents, particularly young parents, and running family groups."

He said Ms Gregory left most of her money to be used in Uckfield.

The church considered using it to pay for traditional items such as a stained glass window or a silver chalice.

But Father Buckley said: "That wasn't really her.

"She was a very outward looking lady, in her old age, and a very practical sort of woman.

"So we thought we might put a statue up of Christ because she was a Christian.

"We wanted something that would be nice for all people, whether they were Christian or whether they had no sort of religious faith at all."

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People in the town react to the bronze statue showing Jesus Christ as a modern man



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