Tomorrow at 9am will mark the completion of a week spent living in a cage for a York student and his teammate.
Gavin Loftus from Halifax College and Luke Smith began their 7 days and nights locked in the cage at 5pm on 27 June outside St Michael le Belfrey Church, with hopes to share their Christian faith with the people of York.
Named “The Cage of Freedom” and installed with just 2 chairs and a camping toilet, the aim of the project is to share the message that “Jesus offers us freedom when we feel trapped.”
Gavin, a second year Maths student says: “two blokes in a cage is a pretty crazy thing to do. Lots of people have been coming over, there have been great conversations.”
In an interview with The York Press before their week began, the two members of St Mike’s G2 congregation proposed to offer prayers for residents and tourists in York, as well as hoping their unusual week would “spark discussions around the city”.
Reflecting on events so far, Luke, 29, a church relations developer from Heworth, says: “The reaction’s been really positive. Some people think it’s good fun, some people think it’s crazy. People have been refreshed by the message I think.”
“We’re Christians but we’re not just talking about the afterlife. Jesus came so that we could have life to the full and that includes freedom in this life.”
The pair have acquired over 400 supporters on their Facebook group, a figure which has increased over the course of this week. Members have been sending messages of encouragement since “The Cage of Freedom” concept was first publicised in December.
The men have spent the week “living by faith” for their food, noting doner kebabs, a bottle of Jägermeister, Pizza Express dinners and cookie parcels from Belfast among the public’s donations to their supplies.
Lucie Orr, a first year English student who kept the duo company on Tuesday evening along with others from the G2 congregation, commented: “It’s amazing. There was too much food, enough to give away to homeless guys that needed it as well.”
Measuring roughly 8 feet high and 10 feet across, the cage imprisonment has proved challenging at times, the pair even hurried to put up a tent on Wednesday night to fend off the rain.
“I won’t lie it has been tough” Gavin says “with the claustrophobia thing and not being able to get out of the public’s view. Some people will ask why on earth we’re doing this.”
Luke adds: “I think this week’s made a huge difference. It’s been about bringing some comfort to people who might be finding themselves trapped.
“There is hope when you feel like there is none. This week’s been good fun.”