Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"


June 1, 1996, Volume 2, Issue 10, a bi-weekly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information


The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

Would you believe that England has its hat out to big business to finance its millennial celebrations? Our first feature looks at the place where space and time meet, historic Greenwich on the banks of the River Thames. Folks in the UK are now scrambling to save this scheme to construct a national Millennium Exhibition.

Our second feature looks at an official statement by the churches of England on the millennium. Since the papal apostolic letter of November 1994, this pre-planning document, endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury is the most prominent religious statement released on the year 2000, Our third feature looks at how a papal mass kicked off jubilee preparations in Rome this past week.

In contrast to these Anno Domini conventions, our "Talk from the Forum" section reports on a "Year Zero Proposal" being floated by a universalist from Oregon.

For those joining us as new subscribers, besides this bi-weekly bulletin there is also a daily discussion forum, "Talk 2000." Rather than just receiving two pages every two weeks, you can interact every day with a global electronic townhall on the millennium. For more information on how to subscribe, write talk2000@rmii.com, and ask for "Talk 2000 Invitation."

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts".

BRITS SCRAMBLE TO FINANCE MILLENNIUM EXHIBITION
British plans for an ambitious millennial exhibition on the Greenwich Peninsula have run into trouble because private companies are hesitant so far to match public lottery money.

"Presently there is great reluctance to hand over the cash," states Stan Barett (stan@cypass.com), Greenwich 2000 webmaster. "This is ironic since the Government is spending millions to extend the London Underground system to Greenwich...in the middle of the proposed Millennium Exhibition site."

Plans for a two-year $600 million Millennium Exhibition encompassing the arts, science, history and sport were unveiled this past February. A site south east of London has been ear marked for the national exhibition, right where the Prime Meridian crosses the River Thames.

At the February kick-off news conference, National Heritage Secretary Virginia Bottomley told the public, "The site at Greenwich will provide a millennium exhibition which will be the time and the place where the UK shows the world what we can achieve. It can embrace the whole nation in a shared vision, bringing together the successes of the past and our aspirations of the future. This could become a milestone in our national history."

While much of the Millennium Exhibition finance is under wraps, private companies which initially expressed an interest in the millennium celebration on the Prime Meridian included British Airways and BAA, an airport operator. Provisional plans called for commercial sponsors to provide up to $450 million to match a proposed lottery grant of $350 million. In light of business reluctance to back the millennium show, the proposed grant from the Millennium Commission could be shaved in half.

"Some say the project will be down-sized," states Barett, "Others think that Birmingham will make a counter-bid." Whatever the outcome of the Millennium Exhibition, Britain appears to have a substantial lead over most other countries in millennial planning, and are likely to showcase their commerce and industry to some 15 million tourists. Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com.

CHURCHES ISSUE JOINT MILLENNIUM STATEMENT
Under the banner of "Churches Together in England," the Millennium Advisory Group to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has issued a 5,000 word ecumenical statement calling for "imaginative ideas and schemes" to celebrate the turn of the millennium.

Anglican Bishop Gavin Reed of Maidstone, Chairman of the Church of England's jubilee planning commission recently spoke out on why he felt this joint statement was needed: "The British government is pouring millions upon millions of pounds into millennial celebrations and great building projects to mark the start of the new millennium. There is going to be a great national celebration, but unless the churches do something, nobody will know why we are celebrating....It is our great opportunity to say whose birthday it is and why we are celebrating."

The official statement underscores this Anno Domini conviction: "From the Synod of Whitby (AD 663) onwards Britain has been committed to measuring time in relation to the symbolic birth date of Jesus Christ. 'AD' means 'in the year of Our Lord'. It bears witness to the conviction that Christ is the ultimate sovereign. The Millennium, therefore, finds its true meaning and rationale in the historic event of Jesus Christ."

Church leaders hope that the English millennium celebrations, whether national, regional or local might reflect the following values: 1. Christ focused 2. Positive, yet penitent 3. Jubilee proclaiming 4. Lord's prayer conscious 5. Community engaging 6. Dialogue seeking 7. Other faiths sensitive 8. Demonstrating partnership. The full text of this pre-planning document, "A Chance to Start Again," is available on the Worldwide Web at: http://www.2000ad.org/chance.htm. Source: talk2000@rmii.com.

PAPAL MASS HELD FOR JUBILEE 2000
While city officials in Rome struggle to launch ambitious year 2000 plans to expand mass-transit and roadways throughout Rome, Pope John Paul II gathered some 60,000 people and clergy in St. Peter Square on May 25th for a papal mass to begin the march to the year 2000 Jubilee.

According to an Associated Press news release, the pope urged the Romans to shake off their "spiritual torpor" and to properly welcome the milestone year and the twenty million pilgrims expected to visit the city. He said it was the eternal city's "great mission" to mark the advent of the third millennium. After the Mass, it is reported that thousands joined a religious procession through central Rome.

A planning meeting for the jubilee year was held this past February at the Vatican with more than 140 participants, including the church's central committee for the jubilee year, representatives of national bishop's conferences, along with Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant observers. The pope told the participants that the preparations and celebrations of the year 2000 must focus on Christ and the mystery of how the divine touched time. Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com.

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

TAKE THE YEAR ZERO TEST DRIVE?
After putting down $835.40 to publish his Year Zero Proposal as a paid advertisement in the Oregonian newspaper, computer programmer Alan Dechert <75627.1634@compuserve.com> posted a synopsis of his idea to Talk 2000 on May 25th. In his own words, here is a summary of the Go2Zero Committee's proposal:
In an unofficial survey, recently, I discovered that most people think that the year 2000 will be the beginning of the next millennium (also, for that matter, the beginning of the next century and the beginning of the next decade).

Not so. Because our calendar began with the year one, the first decade includes the years 1...9, and 10. The next decade began with the year 11. The first century includes years 1 through the year 100. So, the second century began with the year 101. The first millennium includes the years 1 through 1000, so, the second millennium began with the year 1001..... and so forth. This numbering system has been an endless source of confusion. People are forever referring to, for example, the "decade of the '80s" as if it included the year 1980....

As we approach the year 2000, we have an unprecedented opportunity to rectify the situation. Proposal: Let's start the calendar over and call it the YEAR ZERO instead of the year 2000! Then, the numbering system will be more intuitive--more like the way everyone has always thought it should be. The next "turn-of-the-century" will happen on midnight of December 31st in the year 99. Then on January 1, 100 we'll be in the next century--just the way it SHOULD BE.

And,we need to start over anyway. We could have essay contests like "if we reset the calendar to zero, what would THAT mean?"... and stuff like that. Plus, this will give us another two thousand years to figure out what to do with the year 10,000. GO2ZERO Committee c/o <go2zero@aol.com> [end statement]
Should we clear the calendrical decks come 2000? Bob McClenon <rmcclenon@syncorp.com> noted that, "Traditionally, calendars have measured time by counting years from a significant event sometimes known as an epoch," in this case "the traditional estimate of the birth of Jesus." According to McClenon, changing the epoch is more akin to buying a new car, rather than just resetting its odometer. The French and Russian revolutions aspired to do the same. Apparently, McClenon wasn't in the new car market and dutifully excused himself from becoming a supporter.

In shaking down the Year Zero proposal, Talk 2000's medieval chronologist, Richard Landes <rlandes@acs.bu.edu>, felt it should not automatically be dismissed. At at time when many are crying for diversity, resetting the calendrical odometer would "detach the dating system from a particular" faith and "make more room in the cultural tent." He is not yet a buyer, but still in the new car showroom.

After McClenon and Landes took a spin, I jumped in for a test drive. Remembering my dad's sage advise, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," I asked Alan Dechert whether the Go2Zero Committee might be attempting to fix a problem that has already been solved. From where I sit, the Gregorian Calendar has already been universalized through the Common Era covention. Although C.E. may use the Gregorian calendrical reckoning, it places no authority in its reference epoch. Instead, it aims to collect and commemorate the cultural heritage of human kind, spanning all times and all civilizations. Based on his response, Mr. Dechert feels the Common Era convention, birthed during the Enlightenment, did not take things far enough, "No. The C.E. post-fix is a pitifully small concession from the Christians. No thank you. It has never caught on anyway. Most Christians don't use it. Why should Unitarian Universalists?"

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

GREENWICH 2000: "Celebrating Time and Space"
Hailing from historic, Maritime Greenwich outside London, the Greenwich 2000 web promotes its city's heritage in time, weather and astronomical studies. You will also find news on upcoming millennial celebrations, at the Old Greenwich Observatory and the proposed national Millennium Exhibition site.
http://greenwich2000.com/

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
Talk 2000 Newsgroup: bit.listserv.2000ad-l

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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Publisher & editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: groups, events, time, society millennium
LET''S TALK 2000 © 1996 Bimillennial Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
LET''S TALK 2000 is a trademark of Bimillennial Press, Inc.