Millennium prize winner derides `sickening hype'
Wednesday 17 February 1999
Given the choice, Mrs Jolly, 52, would have ignored the arrival of the year 2000. She was "sickened by millennium hype", which she described as "pagan and most unpleasant".
Her parish priest persuaded her to compose a hymn for the millennium. "As he put it, `If the millennium is going to be celebrated, we should claim it for Jesus Christ'," she said, adding: "And that's about as positive as I can feel about the millennium, quite frankly."
Speaking in St Faith's Chapel, in the crypt of St Paul's, Mrs Jolly, from Cambridge, elaborated on what she meant by pagan hype. "Dare I say it: the Dome, and a lot of other things besides." At this point the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Rev John Moses, was concerned that what was supposed to be a happy occasion was taking a bitter turn. "In this cathedral, let's be quite clear what dome she means," he said, trying to leaven the mood.
But Mrs Jolly had the bit between her teeth. "The other Dome, the lesser Dome," she railed. "I think it's a temple to Man ... I particularly dislike the fact that it seems to have as the centre-piece a giant human figure. The millennium is not about Man, it's about God."
Mrs Jolly's hymn, chosen from 444 entries, is set to music by Paul Bryan, director of music at St John's College School, Cambridge. His entry beat 309 other tunes.
Mrs Jolly, who has two children, heard the combination of words and music for the first time yesterday. She was thrilled. "I was expecting, in rather a cynical way, something much more upbeat. I'm happy, because it's dignified."
The hymn will be sung at the national millennium service at St Paul's on 2 January 2000 and in churches across the country throughout next year. The organisers of the competition hope it will find its way into mainstream hymn books.
Asked if she had plans for New Year's Eve 1999, Mrs Jolly said: "I will go to bed, as I always do, at about 8.30pm and get up, as I always do, at about 5.30am."
The Hymn For 2000
First and last verses of the winning hymn, ``Through the Darkness of the Ages". Words by Hilary Jolly.
Music by Paul Bryan.
Through the darkness of the ages,
Through the sorrows of the days,
Strength of weary generations,
Lifting hearts in hope and praise,
Light in darkness, joy in sorrow,
Presence to allay all fears,
Jesus, you have kept your promise,
Faithful through two thousand years.
Master, we shall sing your praises,
Man of sorrows, God of power,
For the measured march of seasons
Shall at last bring in the hour
When, as lightning leaps the heavens,
You return to lead us
You have promised, "I am coming".
Swiftly, our Lord Jesus, come.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...