STATUE OF HOPE: You Have a Friend founder John Lee believes homeless people in Tweed will find comfort in his propose life-size statue of a homeless Jesus.
STATUE OF HOPE: You Have a Friend founder John Lee believes homeless people in Tweed will find comfort in his propose life-size statue of a homeless Jesus.

Charity boss defends Jesus statue plan for Tweed

THE FOUNDER of a Tweed homeless charity who said he has encountered animosity over the announcement of his proposed Jesus statue has hitout at the shire's deputy mayor.

John Lee, founder of You Have A Friend, said the perception he is asking the council to fork-out $35,000 for statue depicting a homeless Jesus in Jack Evans Boat Harbour in Tweed Heads was untrue.

Mr Lee, responding to an article published by the Tweed Daily News and Gold Coast Bulletin, said the shire's deputy mayor, Chris Cherry, was wrong to "indicate" the money he was proposing the should be spent differently.

"I never asked the Tweed Shire Council to pay for the homeless Jesus status - I have always stated that the money would come from donations," Mr Lee said.

"There are 11 Christian Churches in the Tweed area and fund raising was always our intention for the cost of this statue."

If approved by the council at Thursday night's council meeting, the statue would be the fourth of its kind in Australia.

Cr Chris Cherry said she believed the sentiment behind the idea was right, but believed there were better ways to help the homeless that erecting a statue.

However Mr Lee said the statue, which according to council documents would be shipped from the United States, believes it would serve an important purpose for homeless in Tweed.

"Many have told me I should spend money on something the homeless want," he said.

"I have almost lived with the homeless for 18 years, I know this is what many want.

"Few realise the sadness and the loneliness and lack of hope homeless people have. You cannot get a job or home on just (the dole).

There are over 400 of these life size statues around the world, in many churches and other public places.

It is an incredible comfort to so many of our lonely homeless people to realise that Jesus was also a homeless person and that is what the statue reminds the homeless people of."

Council will vote on the whether to allow the statue to be built at the harbour at the meeting which begins at 5.30pm tomorrow.



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