The millennium Generation of today's youth has a chance to address Europe in an exciting initiative called UNITY 2000. Tony Cummings reports.

UNITY 2000
UNITY 2000

An initiative organised by Cross Rhythms will connect, through radio, Christian youth from around the world on the Millennium Eve. Unity 2000 will give young people at live events in Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland a chance to share their vision for the new millennium, pray for the new era and celebrate unity with Christians of numerous traditions and denominations. The focal point event for the initiative, to be broadcast live throughout Europe by Cross Rhythms and UCB Europe satellite radio, is to be held at Exodus, Northern Ireland's self-titled Christian Nightbase in the north coast town of Portstewart.

Exodus has already established itself as a groundbreaking initiative which, held in a nightclub environment and with three resident DJs and live bands, has made a major impact in the area. The throng at the Unity 2000 event, to be held on December 31st, will be ministered to by Newcastle's radical worship team Yfriday, sanctified dance specialist DJ Coopoid and Blackburn Rovers chaplain Ken Howies. Recorded contributions by youth groups from all over Britain will be a unique element of the initiative. Explains organiser Jonathan Bellamy, "Cross Rhythms is working in conjunction with churches and youth organisations from all over Britain so that dozens of Christian youth groups will be recording Millennium Messages to be broadcast all over Europe. These messages will be on a wide variety of themes, the Church, drugs, pornography, God, or a country, or earthquakes, anything relevant to today's world. It's up to the individuals as to what they home in on. These messages will be presented in any style, for example, as a rap or a prayer, a song, a preach, drama or a poem, whatever people want to do. This is your chance to get creative and get involved with Christian radio."

Giving young people a voice in the media which is at the heart of the Unity 2000 vision. Continued Bellamy, "It's vital that those in the media like Cross Rhythms begin to address the sense of powerlessness that many people can feel when considering the issues facing all of us. One way they can do this is by making the media accessible to as many people as possible. With things like computers and mini disc recorders in many people's homes, the technology is now there to open up access to the airwaves to more and more people. We believe at Cross Rhythms that the hope for this generation rests, in part, with our youth and we want to empower them to speak with a voice of unity, which can resonate with a prophetic edge. What this means in practical terms is that we will be taking many youth groups into the UCB studios at Stoke-on-Trent and giving them the opportunity to record their messages."
As well as the event to be held at the Exodus Christian nightbase in Portstewart, a second event is being held simultaneously in Dublin, Republic Of Ireland, which Cross Rhythms hopes to link with, details of which are yet to be confirmed. Said organiser Martin Purnell, "Both initiatives attract younger people from across the traditions and denominations. As well as these two throngs worshipping together, praying and enjoying the best praise party this side of Heaven, they will be linked in prayer with studios at Stoke-on-Trent. The whole thing goes out on live radio from 11.30pm and will go into the small hours."

As well as participation from possibly hundreds of young people from all over the UK and Ireland, Unity 2000 will also have a distinctly international flavour. Explained Bellamy, "We are currently negotiating with radio stations from all around the world including Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the Seychelles, Swaziland, Guam, Romania and the USA and we are hoping that young people from all those nations will be bringing their contributions to Unity 2000. It really will be the world in celebration on Christian radio." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.