Daniel remembered the first meeting, very fondly. He was to rediscover everyone who’d come together to help make this thing happen. It was to be held in Meeting Room Sunrise at St James’ Church Piccadilly. There was a silver cross fixed high on the wall at one end of the room. They all turned up on time, except Robin, who was detained by business in Bath. There was Bethan, Paul, Andrew, and Simone as host, as well as Davina. And, how could this be? Chas, a new addition to the group who he’d only met recently, not an original member (a weird trick of time for this to be possible, Daniel thought).
Dan hadn’t seen Paul for a while. He worked for the New Economics Foundation and also believed in the spirit of Groundswell. He was a natural leader and no stranger to adventure. In his late thirties, he’d travelled widely across continents to three-quarters of all countries, favouring Peru and the islands of the Caribbean, especially Tobago. Not only had Dan forgotten how tall Paul was, but he hadn’t realised how much he’d missed Paul’s vigorous and outrageous laugh.
There was an excited buzz about the room, not like a normal meeting at work. Simone gave a couple of subtle coughs. One glance and they knew it was time to start; 6.30pm on Thursday 14th March 1996. ‘Hello everybody and welcome to the first meeting of Groundswell 2000’ she said, and in one united voice they raised a cheer.
‘And thank you Dan, for holding the vision for so long,’ Simone smiled, ‘over to you.’
Dan invited all to be thankful for everyday blessings and suggested, ‘I thought we could read a poem by Robert Muller, by way of inspiration. He’s the chancellor of the University of Peace in Costa Rica, and has been focused on the Millennium for some time now. His poem is called My Dream 2000, and it goes like this…’
My Dream 2000
that on January 2000
the whole world will stand still
in prayer, awe and gratitude
for our beautiful heavenly earth
and for the miracle of human life.
that young and old, rich and poor,
black and white,
peoples from North and South
from East and West
from all beliefs and cultures
will join their hands, minds and hearts
in an unprecedented, universal
Bi-millennium Celebration of Life.
that the year 2000
will be declared World Year of Thanksgiving
by the United Nations
that during the year 2000
innumerable celebrations and events
will take place all over the globe
to gauge the long road covered by humanity
to study our mistakes
and to plan the feats
still to be accomplished
for the full flowering of the human race
In peace, justice and happiness.
that the few remaining years
to the Bi-millennium
be devoted by all humans, nations and institutions
to unparalleled thinking, action
determination and love
to solve our remaining problems
and to achieve
a peaceful, united human family on earth.
that the third millennium
will be declared
humanity’s First Millennium of Peace.
There followed a natural moment of silence and reflection. Daniel thought of his visit to the University in San Jose in 2019, and hoped Dan might get there soon enough to actually meet Robert Muller.
‘Well, I’ve written a letter to Prince Charles!’ Dan affirmed. (Daniel had stood over him, encouraging him, while he wrote). ‘I used Robin’s bold purple Groundswell letterhead! And we’ve had a reply…!’ Apparently, the Prince has had a considerable amount of correspondence following his article in January for a spiritual element to the millennium.
Needless to say, He’s not going to assist with any funding, but instead we’ (Dan forgot for a moment that nobody knew about Daniel) ‘Simone and I, have an appointment with the Chief Executive of the Millennium Commission next Friday the 22nd… Anyone want to join us?
Chas piped up, ‘Sure, I’d be happy to, just let me know where and when…’
‘Excellent! My next question is’, Dan paused, ‘are we really going to make it a whole week of events, as roughed out in our latest draft of ideas?
The ever honest Davina, said ‘surely it would take colossal organisation and would need someone like the United Nations to be on board…?’
‘Well why not, let’s aim high!’ Paul said, ‘let’s create a global statement on the environment that countries and people can sign up to!’
Dan countered, ‘Wasn’t that the Earth Summit in Rio in ‘92?’
Dan found himself momentarily distracted with the recent memory of his lover. His body was alive with the supple, muscled feel of her beneath and on top of him.
‘Surely,’ he challenged, ‘it’ll be enough to focus on one event to begin with, and maybe move on to more in the year 2000, if we realise a demand?’
After, a short period of debate, the group agreed.
‘Do we need to set up another charity, or can we work under the auspices of ACS Andrew asked?’
‘Well,’ Simone hesitated, ‘I think Millennium grants are only for capital initiatives not events.’
‘Yes, as you know, that’s one thing we want them to change,’ Dan replied.
We must agree today, or at least get close to, defining our vision and sketching out the first steps to getting there…
So far we have:
Our Vision: To awaken and unite spiritual concern…
Andrew chipped in, ‘How about adding, ‘’for the Earth and its people?’’’. Andrew, ever practical, was the IT man. How much his world would change, Daniel thought. Back then the internet was but a distant rumble on the horizon and he knew nothing about social media – who did?
Groundswell 2000 was coming alive.
‘Yes’, Dan agreed, ‘our Vision:
‘To awaken and unite spiritual concern for the Earth and its people.’
‘Yes,’ Dan said again, ‘yes this is it. “Teamwork makes the dream work”, as they say! Groundswell 2000! We will turn the world around!’
A big ‘whoop-whoop!’ went up from the table.
‘The world’s already turning, Dan,’ whispered Daniel with a smile.
Daniel spoke to Davina, the self-confessed mother of the group, ‘we need to watch Dan’s state of mind. He’s not really stressed, because he’s not under undue pressure, but he may soon be in demand and in future find this thing runs away with him.’ Davina was alert to the sudden thought and made a note to speak with Dan in confidence.
Daniel remembered his experience at the doctor’s and subsequently the psychiatric hospital. Back in 1996, admission was less than a year away. He didn’t want Dan to go through the same events, not if he could help change his past.