Willing to Be Proved Wrong, Church Leaders Prepare for Y2K


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'If nothing happens, that will be great. We'll use the food we've stored to feed the hungry' -- the Rev. Terry Threadwell

Terry Threadwell leads a small but active Christian ministry in Asheville, N.C., working with many who are poor, homeless and drug addicted. He worries about these people during the best of times, but his concerns mount when he considers the threat to the whole community that could be brought about by the year 2000 computer problem.

In Upton, Mass., Dacia Reid also worries about the havoc that could result from the computer glitch, and she has left her post as a Unitarian Universalist minister to devote herself full time to educating churchgoers and church leaders about its potential impact.

Y2K, as the computer problem is often called, stems from the fact that many computers and computerized systems are designed to read only the last two digits of a date and will not be able to distinguish the year 2000 from 1900 when the glittery ball drops on 1999.

Predictions from business leaders, politicians and computer wizards vary greatly as to what may unfold, but most agree there will be some level of service disruption -- from minor power outages to major tie-ups in transportation and other services.

Both Threadwell and Reid have joined the ranks of church leaders around the country who are helping communities prepare for a potential crisis in a way that promotes the golden rule of 'do unto others ...' rather than survivalist individualism.

Threadwell, pastor of Asheville City Church, is striving to help his own community prepare for a worst-case Y2K scenario. The church is already stockpiling food and preparing to provide basic necessities and medical care to a community that could find itself without power or water.