Y2K Church Flyer (long)

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This was distributed in my church recently. Hopefully the religious content does not offend too many here. It is obviously aimed at the unaware. Some on this forum might find it useful for distributing at their own church. The writer has given his permission.

This is not an attempt to proselytize. I just have not seen any intelligently written flyers covering this subject. Use it as you will.



"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge; but the simple keep going and suffer for it." Proverbs 22:3

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8

It is the goal of this article to help the church body reach an independent decision about Y2K and prepare intelligently.

A frightening scenario -

It is 3:00 AM January 1st, 2000. The kids wake you up. They are cold. You shake the sleep from your head and climb out of bed. The lamp doesn't work. Must be a fuse. You try another light. It dawns on you that the power is out in the house. A glance out the window confirms your neighbors are in the same boat. Maybe you should call the power company? But the phone doesn't work. What's going on? As you carry blankets to the kid's room you suppress the thought that maybe those crazy Y2K warnings were right.

The next day, the power is still off. Cold cereal and milk. It's 20 degrees outside. The furnace doesn't work and inside the temperature is dropping fast. You realize the only way to keep warm and prevent the pipes from bursting is start a fire in the fireplace. As you take the car to pick up some firewood, you notice every traffic light is out. Traffic crawls. Cars are backed up for blocks.

When you finally get there, the place has been cleaned out. Your not the only one who has apparently decided they have a desperate need for firewood. On the way back, you notice long lines jamming Dominick's. Seems there's a rush to stock up on food too. You'd join them, but the car needs gas. Thankfully the gas station is not crowded. As you pull in, the reason becomes obvious. The pumps are electric too.

Days pass. No heat, no light and no water. What little food you had in the house is quickly gone. The authorities promise to get the power on any day now, but no one is confident. You sit with your family in a cold, dark house and wonder who to go to for help. Every one you know is in the same fix. As you fight panic and desperation, you wonder how you came to be so dependent on others for the very necessities of life. You just assumed that there always would be food, water and power whenever it was needed. But that illusion has been shattered.

What will you do?

What is Y2K?

Y2K is a controversial issue. Even the experts disagree whether it is a serious problem. Extreme predictions abound from mild inconvenience to total social collapse. No one knows for sure, but don't let this prevent you from taking precautions.

Y2K is an abbreviation for the "Year 2000". It is the name programmers have given to a computer bug created years ago. In the 60's, computer memory and disk space were very expensive. Programmers kept their programs small by using only the last two digits of the year. Over the past four decades, this technique became a standard practice among many programmers.

So ?

On or before January 1, 2000, computers around the world will begin using the date 01/01/00. Unfortunately, many programs will recognize this as the year 1900. It has been predicted that millions of programs and date sensitive electronic devices will "crash" and refuse to run.

What's to be concerned about?

The United States, like every other industrialized nation in the world, has embraced the incredible capabilities of the computer. Any company that wants to stay competitive has converted all the tedious record keeping and complex calculations of their business to computer. The computer is so integrated into our society that we have become dependent on these machines. Modern industry could no more run without computers than they could function without electricity.

If these computers should fail in large numbers over a short period of time, severe disruptions to the supply of goods and services will likely occur.

What kind of disruptions?

Here is where the controversy begins! Those who minimize the problem suggest that maybe a few incorrect bank statements or invoices will be generated, but not much more than that.

The alarmists predict failure of nearly all utilities, including power, gas, phone, water and sewer systems for days, weeks or even months. Supplies of food and other goods will be disrupted leaving grocery store shelves bare. The stock market could crash and a run on banks will leave millions without cash. In short, our entire commercial infrastructure will be debilitated and we will be thrust into a pre-industrialized world that makes the Great Depression look like a day at the beach.

OK, all of a sudden you've got my attention. Who is right?

No one knows. Experts, government officials, and corporate leaders are sharply divided on this question. But they are absolutely unanimous on one issue. Y2K is a huge problem. Fortune 500 companies have been working for years and spending billions of dollars to fix it. For example, AT&T alone expects to spend $900 million to correct this bug. World wide the cost is expected to exceed $2 trillion. This is not a case of over-reaction. The problem is real and companies (and governments) around the world are racing to fix it before the deadline hits.

The hard fact is : many won't make it in time.

Who are these experts and what do they say?

Deputy Director Mike Walker, Federal Emergency Management Agency - Told Congress Monday that the year 2000 computer bug posed little risk to property or lives, and urged the American public not to panic. The so-called millennium bug could temporarily disrupt traffic, communications and power systems in parts of the United States.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Oct. 7 - "After studying the potential impact of Y2K on the telecommunications industry, health care, economy, and other vital sectors of our lives, I would like to warn that we have cause for fear. For the failure to address the millennium bug could be catastrophic."

Joel C. Willemssen; Director, U.S. General Accounting Office, September 3, 1998 - "The public faces a high risk that critical services provided by the government and the private sector could be severely disrupted by the Year 2000 computing crisis. Financial transactions could be delayed, flights grounded, power lost, and national defense affected. Moreover, America's infrastructures are a complex array of public and private enterprises with many interdependencies at all levels. These many interdependencies among governments and within key economic sectors could cause a single failure to have adverse repercussions.

"Key economic sectors that could be seriously affected if their systems are not Year 2000 compliant include information and telecommunications; banking and finance; health, safety, and emergency services; transportation; power and water; and manufacturing and small business."

Edward Kelley, Jr., Federal Reserve - "The Federal Reserve does not believe that the public needs to hold excess cash in anticipation of the century rollover. Although there may be isolated problems, we expect the usual payment methods of checks, debit cards and credit cards to operate. Nevertheless, we recognize that there likely will be some increased demand for cash during the period surrounding the century rollover.

"Many people would like to have an ironclad guarantee that there will be no Year 2000 disruptions, but that guarantee cannot be made. We cannot know in advance exactly how the millennium rollover will go."

US NEWS, March 8 - "On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem is expected to release its final report on the economic and social consequences of Y2K, as the millennial bug is also known. The report's conclusions are startling, even going so far as to urge Americans to stockpile at least small amounts of food and water to protect against expected brownouts. People are also advised to save all their financial statements. In a draft copy of the report obtained by U.S. News, committee chairmen Robert Bennett and Christopher Dodd predict that the breakdown of computer networks unable to process 21st-century dates will be "one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered." Using a word that is bound to reverberate with some fundamentalist Christians who believe the millennial bug is a harbinger of the anti-Christ, Bennett and Dodd characterize the Y2K glitch as 'diabolical.'"

Senator Robert Bennett - "I cannot be optimistic and I am generally concerned about the possibility of power shortages.... Supermarket supplies may be disrupted.... It's clear we can't solve the whole problem, so we have to allow some systems to die so mission-critical systems can work.... Pay attention to the things that are vulnerable in your life and make contingency plans.... Don't panic, but don't spend too much time sleeping, either."

In response to the fact that many people are planning to take their money out of banks prior to the start of the year 2000, Senator Bennett said - "You have every right to contact your institution, whether it's a bank or a credit union, and ask, 'Are you going to be Y2K compliant?' If you don't have the answer that you deserve, then take your money out," said Bennett.

The Sunday Times, London - "This is not a prediction, it is a certainty--there will be serious disruption in the world's financial services industry.... It's going to be ugly."

General Accounting Office, U.S. Congress - "The public faces a high risk that critical services provided by the government and the private sector could be severely disrupted by the year 2000 computing crisis. Financial transactions could be delayed, flights grounded, power lost, and national defense affected." House Panel Y2K report, September 1998 - "More than one-third of the most important [government] systems won't be fixed in time."

Arthur Gross, Chief Information Officer, IRS - "Failure to achieve compliance with the year 2000 will jeopardize our way of life on this planet for some time to come."

Sherry Burns, CIA - "We're concerned about the potential disruption of power grids, telecommunications and banking services."

Jeffrey Garten, Dean, Yale School of Management - "A few months ago people were talking about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Now the only hope is keeping the world economy from total deterioration."

Dee Hock, Founder, Visa International - "It's far too late, and things are far too bad, for pessimism."

What kinds of things could happen?

Every utility that is controlled by a computers or an electronic monitor is subject to failure. This includes water, power, natural gas, sewage treatment, and telephones. Without functioning computers, banks would be unable to access accounts, credit card companies would reject charges. Government welfare and social security payments could be delayed. The national distribution of goods and services severely affected, including food, drugs, and petroleum. Cities could erupt into riots.

Then again maybe nothing will happen!

Can't they just re-program the computers?

Yes, but the task is immense. Large companies have thousands of programs with millions of lines of programming code created over a thirty year period. Date logic is embedded throughout these programs. Many smaller companies can't afford to correct their "bugs" and plan to deal with them as they happen.

Electronic devices are pervasive in our world. These frequently contain embedded chips pre-programmed with date logic. They are as varied as hospital heart monitors, traffic lights and nuclear power plant safety systems. Literally billions of these chips must be found, tested and replaced if defective.

Well if this is so serious, why aren't our civic and government leaders telling us?

Some have (see above), but most downplay the problem. This could be for one of two reasons:

1. They don't know or believe there is a problem. 2. They know, but are afraid of starting a panic.

What kind of panic?

A run on banks (a la 1929) or panic buying of food and prescriptions.

According to the New York Times, 38% of computer industry executives plan to withdraw their personal assets from banks and investment companies. Recent polls find that over half of all adults plan to pull some money out of the bank prior to 12/31/99. The problem is that banks keep a very small percentage of their customers deposits on hand in the form of cash. Your deposits are loaned out as mortgages and car loans. A short term rush on banks will drain all cash reserves, leaving banks unable to give customers their cash.

Large stores like Jewel and Dominick's keep about five days supply of food on the shelf. Any unusual demand on these stores will leave their shelves bare.

Even if no Y2K materializes, a run on banks or stores could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. A bank run could trigger a stock market collapse and loss of liquidity in the financial markets.

Should I prepare?

If you believe there will be a problem, stock up now. By taking action months in advance, you are giving stores and banks a chance to react to the increased demand and re-supply themselves. And by preparing early, you will leave more for our fellow citizens who wait until the last minute. Given human nature, there almost certainly will be food and bank panics towards the end of the year.

OK, maybe I should do something. How do I prepare?

You should do the following:

1. Pull some cash out of the bank. 2. Store food. 3. Find an alternate source of heat. 4. Find an alternate source of light. 5. Store water.

Money :

Do this first. If a bank run happens, it will be well before the end of the year. Checks and charge cards could be unusable. The only way to buy the necessities will be by cash. If your are able, enough for two or three months of expenses would be prudent.

Food :

Store enough food to last your family at least two months. Longer would be better. Assume you will be called to feed others as well. Store only items with a long shelf life. This means canned and dry food, such as rice, beans, and pasta. Check the expiration dates on the cans. Keep the supplies in a dark, dry place away from pests. A suggested list of supplies is attached to the end of this article.

Heat :

Y2K will hit in the dead of winter. Unlike a local snow storm or power outage, there will be nowhere to go to get warm. There are only three choices: a fireplace, a wood stove, or an indoor kerosene heater. Natural gas may not be available. Kerosun makes an indoor heater that can safely heat a room. Firewood may get expensive this fall. Buy now!

Light :

Candles, oil lamps, or kerosene lanterns. Battery operated flashlights will be useless after your supply of batteries run out. Gas powered generators require too much fuel to be practical to use for more than three days.

Water :

You can wait till the last minute for this one. The average adult needs about one gallon of water per day for cooking and drinking. Forget about using showers and flush toilets. If you drink the water in your water heater and fill up your bath tubs, you will only need to store the balance in plastic soda bottles.

When should I do all this?

Start immediately. Demand has already made some items difficult to get. Most people will wait until the last minute. Prepare early and keep adding to your supplies.

But isn't this uh, hoarding bad?

No. Laying up stores of food between harvests is as old as the Bible. American pioneers would not have survived if they did not store supplies in anticipation of drought and poor crops.

This generation has never known famine. We have become complacent in expecting an unlimited and uninterrupted supply of groceries to be delivered to our neighborhood supermarket daily. We have become completely dependent on others to grow, harvest, process and distribute our most basic necessities. There is nothing moral in keeping yourself dependent on others. There is nothing immoral in preparing for bad times.

But what if nothing happens?

Give thanks to God. You own car insurance, but I'm sure you won't be upset if you never have a car accident. Think of your preparations as insurance. Best of all, it winds up costing nothing, since you can use it afterward. Except for the water, nothing need be wasted.

If you don't like rice and beans all that much, consider giving some of your food away. The Red Cross, food banks and homeless shelters could all use non-perishable food.

What should I as a Christian do about this?

Pray hard and often. Pray this threat will pass. Pray that if it does happen, you and your family will be protected. Pray for Christians everywhere. Prepare for the worse and hope for the best. Persuade you family, friends and neighbors to do the same. Help those that failed to take action when they could.

In the words of Senator John Glenn - "...The greatest antidote to worry, whether you're getting ready for spaceflight or facing a problem of daily life, is preparation ...the more you try to envision what might happen and what your best response and options are, the more you are able to allay your fears about the future."

Suggested reading - 7 The Millennium Bug, by Michael Hewitt (New York Times bestseller). 7 Time Bomb 2000, by Ed and Jennifer Yourdan 7 On the internet: WWW.YEAR2000.COM 7 On the internet: WWW.GARYNORTH.COM 7 On the internet: WWW.Y2KINSIGHTS.COM 7 On the internet: WWW.CFCMINISTRY.ORG 7 On the internet: CASSANDRAPROJECT.ORG

Suggested food for storage -

White rice (not brown) Corn meal Dried beans (kidney, pinto, lentil) Peanut butter All purpose flour Salt Sugar Coffee Canned vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, yams) Powdered drink mix Canned fruits Powdered milk Canned meats (tuna, spam, ham) Baby food Canned soup Pet food Canned stew Crisco (not oil) Pasta Vitamins Oatmeal

Many of these items are available in bulk quantities through bulk food warehouses, such as Sam's Club. In our church, _______________belongs to a food co-op that sells these supplies very inexpensively.

In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all that he has. Proverbs 21:20

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest -- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 24:33

-- Hawthorne (99@00.com), June 23, 1999


AD2k by Lutheran Church

This is New Jersey Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's web site. It has two 1/2 page inserts for Sunday bulletins.

In my opinion, it gives good info and encourages preparation without contributing to a panic.

-- Bill P (porterwn@one.net), June 23, 1999.


There was so LITTLE religious content in the flyer you posted that I can't imagine anyone being offended. I would think that you'd be proud that your church is suggesting some prudent insurance. They're not suggesting the end of the world, and not pushing their beliefs down anyone's throat. I'm, personally, not a rice and bean fan, but many others seem to like it. (grin)


-- Anita (spoonera@msn.com), June 23, 1999.


I checked out the SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS in the link you provided, and found them as useful (or perhaps MORE useful than those presented by Hawthorne's flyer.) It's comforting to learn that churches are encouraging prudent preparation rather than promoting all-out chaos as some might encourage.

Thank you both for some insight into what your churches are doing to inform folks of possible Y2k problems.


-- Anita (spoonera@msn.com), June 23, 1999.


I liked this statement in the flyer: "American pioneers would not have survived if they did not store supplies in anticipation of drought and poor crops."

IMO, back then there was much more common sense. The pioneers had no guarantees of continued success, so they prepared to the best of their abilities.

Today prosperity and surplus have made many Americans lazy and complacent; they feel confident that modern technological and scientific advances have banished famine forever from the USA.

There's a mindset of arrogant invincibility that blinds many into believing no catastrophe will ever obliterate our nation, no army will ever invade. Those ones feel there is no need to stockpile provisions in case of disasters.

The genuine humility and gratitude for blessings which those pioneers expressed is fast disappearing from this land.

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), June 23, 1999.

I enjoyed reading the post.. thanks for sharing!

-- Diane (DDEsq2002@juno.com), June 24, 1999.

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