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Faith, hope and clarity at Dome

ISSUE 1672
Thursday 23 December 1999

By Victoria Combe, Religion Correspondent

REPRESENTATIVES of nine major faiths who live near the Millennium Dome have been put on emergency standby to rush to the Faith Zone in case any visitor asks a tricky question, such as "Does God exist?".

The New Millennium Experience Company is so worried that it will cause offence or be accused of promoting one faith that it has ordered the zone's hosts not to answer any questions on the exhibit's content. The Dome's 20 chaplains will answer queries on Christianity and a resident imam is on call in the prayer space.

In addition, staff have telephone numbers for representatives of other faiths. A Jain, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha'i, Buddhist or Jew can be summoned from outside to arrive at the Dome within 10 minutes. The company said it was expecting complicated and emotional reactions to the Faith Zone's content.

Deirdre Wells, content policy manager, said: "We fully recognise that we are dealing with a sensitive subject. People feel very passionately about it and they will want to ask a lot more questions. We do not want hosts giving potted summaries of religious truths or trying to explain their meanings. This is why we must have emergency back-up."

Barrie Meyers, chief host for the Faith Zone, has already had one angry visitor who was looked after by the Christian chaplaincy team, and a woman who asked: "Tell me, is death the end?".

©Copyright 1999, Daily Telegraph
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