HC Deb 22 November 1999 vol 339 c341
31. Mr. Andrew Rowe (Faversham and Mid-Kent)

What representations the commissioners have received concerning any proposed investment in JC 2000; and if he will make a statement. [98997]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

I am happy to associate myself with JC 2000. As a member of its committee, I must state how pleased I am that 18,000 schools have registered to be part of the millennium arts festival for schools. It is very important that schools help pupils understand the true meaning behind the millennium. JC 2000 has gained support from the Department for Education and Employment, Church leaders and representatives of other faiths. I should add that, as Second Church Estates Commissioner, I have received several representations.

Mr. Rowe

I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his generous support for the project. Will he do his utmost to ensure that the somewhat creaky communication network of the Church of England operates to best possible effect, reminding churches and parishes throughout the United Kingdom that, should they want to put on a festival, a massive reservoir of the Church's work is waiting to be exhibited and displayed in concerts and other millennium celebrations?

Mr. Bell

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small; the same is true of the administration of the Church of England, but I shall make sure that his words are heard. The commissioners have consistently encouraged every appropriate attempt to mark the millennium year as the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. I am happy to encourage pupils, teachers and schools to devise drama, music and dance productions inspired by the impact of the Christian story; such productions are well within the framework of JC 2000.

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