Churches risk pounds 7m on poem

CHURCHES IN Britain admitted yesterday that they are to take a big risk in proposing that revellers at New Year's Eve 1999 break off from "Auld Lang Syne" to recite a millennium poem.

At a cost of pounds 7m every home in the country is being sent a "gift" consisting of a candle with a holder and the text of a "Millennium Resolution", which has caused controversy as it makes no reference to God or Jesus.

The interdenominational group, Churches Together In England, which is leading the campaign, is hoping that at 11.55pm on 31 December next year Britons will put down their drinks, light their candles, recite the resolution and reflect on the spiritual significance of a new millennium.

The Rt Rev Gavin Reid, the Bishop of Maidstone and chairman of the Archbishop's Millennium Advisory Group, said yesterday that the organisers were aware of the potential pitfalls in asking people to turn their attention to higher things at what is billed as the biggest bash of the century.

"Our hope is that Christians and non-Christians alike will want to take a few minutes out," he said. "We recognise that it will be in many ways a very, very noisy ... night, and to get people to pause and be quiet for a few minutes is very high-risk."

The organisers were also encouraged by the results of a Gallup poll, commissioned by the churches during the development of the "Millennium Moment Concept", which showed that more than half the population - 58 per cent - supported the candle and silence idea.

The text of the Millennium Resolution, by the Rev Peter Trow, a United Reformed church minister, reads: "Let there be respect for the Earth, peace for its people, love in our lives, delight in the good, forgiveness for past wrongs, and from now on a new start."

Bishop Reid defended the omission of God and Jesus Christ, saying that when Jesus spoke to the crowds he never actually mentioned God. "We are hyper-conscious of the fact that there will be all sorts of contexts where a prayer is not appropriate," he said.

But some senior church figures are unhappy that God has been left out of the churches' main millennium campaign. John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, said it was "a betrayal of the very meaning of the millennium".

t Children's charities are urging everyone in Britain to hand over the money they earn from their final hour's work of this millennium to help children. BBC Children In Need, Comic Relief and five leading children's charities back the idea, called the Children's Promise.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
UK Border Control
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager / Section Manager - Airport Security

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a critical role within the secur...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45-55k

£20000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is an established, ...

Recruitment Genius: E-Commerce Manager - Fashion Accessories

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Senior / Assistant Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Exciting new position available at an independ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn