He met with Chas in the Methodist Church Hall in Westminster. This huge, imposing yet welcoming building, was raised for the Methodists, opposite Westminster Abbey.
He spotted Chas at a distance. He was just as he’d described, tall, almost lanky, with short black hair and black rimmed glasses. He was nursing a large cappuccino, reading through the pages of a thick document, in close type and small font.
‘Hi, I’m Dan, you must be Chas?’
Chas stood up, ‘Hey, Dan, good to meet you!’
Chas clasped Dan’s outstretched hand in both of his – a warm diplomatic greeting.
Their conversation quickly established rapport. Chas was the private secretary to a Scottish MP, although not Scottish himself. He was an ideas man, he knew his way around strategy and imaginative thinking. He’d worked in the merchant navy when he was young and travelled the world for free. However, some of his fondest memories were closer to home – sailing into ports on the Mediterranean – the contrast between the coasts of France, Italy and Greece, with those of Africa and Egypt. It has to be said that there were a fair few hearts broken in his journeys. Dan guessed he was in his early forties. His beard looked abrasive even though it seemed he’d shaved earlier that morning.
‘Think of this place Dan. Built for the Methodists, founded in the 1700s. They were a fantastic revival movement, originally in the Church of England. Remember John Wesley, their evangelical leader, who peppers the English Hymnal with his heart rousing hymns?
‘If only we could bring change like that!’ Dan exclaimed.
‘It’s not so much that we can make the change, it’s really how we can release and help accelerate the change that is already happening, how we can be the catalyst for change, for the better,’ added Chas. He had an appetite for the new, the infinite, for God. But always a practical God.
‘So you do want this to be an ecumenical happening?’ Chas asked.
‘No, it’s got to be more than that, not just Christianity, the event is for all religions, or no religion. It’s for anyone with a passion for spirit, for the spirit within and connection with the eternal.’
‘Any idea how you explain that to people?’ Chas pursued the question. ‘How do you make sense of something ethereal, other-worldly? How do you grasp space and time? What makes the year 2000 more special than any other New Year? It’s just numbers isn’t it?’
Chas was on a roll, criticising the thinking, looking to be more objective, dispassionate, to connect with the real world.
‘It’s never ‘just’ numbers, Chas. Remember what I said about McM in my letter? We are dealing with connections that border the infinite’, said Dan.
At this moment Daniel stepped in, and Dan heard him whisper: ‘This conversation could be a turning point for you. If you can, find something concrete in this discussion to bounce off Bethan, the wording of the invitation, for a flyer.’
Dan had been turning over ideas in his mind, ‘it’s about connecting with spiritual concern for the Earth’.
Chas chipped in, ‘How about an action plan for the planet for the 21st Century?’ A time to take stock, to reflect and to decide what needs to be done to save the planet and its people? A time to Act. Now.’