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Y2K among reasons for change in Promise Keepers’ Jan. 1 plans

DENVER (BP)–Y2K concerns have been cited by Promise Keepers as part of the reason for dropping plans for rallies at each state capital on Jan. 1, 2000.
“The prospect of Y2K was made clear to us by all the people looking at the state capitals and the public safety officials,” Steve Chavis, a PK spokesman, told The Washington Times.
Chavis added, “There’s a lot of theological baggage with Y2K that we don’t want to be a part of.” The Times did not report any further elaboration by Chavis.
Another PK spokesman, Steve Ruppe, told the Detroit Free Press, “People have expressed some concerns about the computer bug. While predictions of its effect change from day to day, it’s something we’re concerned about.”
Ruppe, in a Feb. 11 interview with Baptist Press, said a more important reason for the change is “more people will be reached in home and church opportunities than would have gone to state capital events.”
A larger event might tend to draw attention to itself, while smaller events might draw more attention to Christ, Ruppe said, citing a “lighthouse” emphasis for PK’s Jan. 1, 2000, plans on “reaching the people who are closest to us.”
“Y2K” refers to computer malfunctions or shutdowns that could interrupt various utilities, food distribution and other services from old computer programs that, if not fixed, could misinterpret dates ending in “00” as meaning 1900.
In The Washington Times article, Chavis also had cited, as reasons for the change in Promise Keeper’s plans, the logistical challenge of men traveling hundreds of miles to their state capitals and the cost of a national satellite hookup for the 50-state event. As late as October, however, PK founder Bill McCartney had said the state capital rallies were still planned, The Times reported, noting the change appeared on PK’s Internet site in early February.
PK joins InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in publicly shifting a major event away from the turn of the millennium.
InterVarsity has postponed its highly attended Urbana missions conference for college students for a year, from Dec. 27-31, 1999, to the same dates in the year 2000. The Urbana conference traditionally has been held every three years, drawing about 20,000 students and others. According to a report in Religion News Service, “Ministry officials cited several reasons, including ‘many unknown variables’ concerning the Y2K computer glitch and the decision by the person coordinating travel to the event to pull out of her contract because she couldn’t assure quality service.”
Planning for two key Baptist events, meanwhile, continues.
YouthLink 2000, scheduled in seven U.S. cities from Dec. 29, 1999, to Jan. 1, is aimed at involving tens of thousands of Southern Baptist youth in worship, Bible study, ministry opportunities and interactive exhibits.
The YouthLink 2000 Internet site — www.youthlink2000.org — provides full information about the youth outreach, including city-by-city progress toward full Y2K compliance, including information on meeting facilities, hotels, transportation systems and public utilities. Leaders and parents with concerns not addressed in the information on the YouthLink Internet site or who do not have Internet access may call the YouthLink 2000 national office toll-free at 1-888-YOUTHLK.
The Baptist World Alliance’s 19th Baptist World Congress, remains scheduled for Jan. 5-9 in Melbourne, Australia. Congress leaders reaffirmed the dates last November, but decided to move all pre-congress events to Jan. 10.
“We had done a lot of checking with hotels, travel agents and our official airline, Quantas, and we in Australia believed we should keep the date,” said Leon Norsworthy, chairman of the Australia local arrangements committee and a former head of aviation in Melbourne, in a Baptist Press story Nov. 24.
Promise Keepers, now in its ninth year, has scheduled 15 men’s conferences this year, beginning June 4-5 in Memphis, Tenn., with the theme, “Choose This Day,” from Joshua 24:15.
Other cities and dates are: Detroit, June 25-26; Indianapolis, July 9-10; Denver, July 16-17; Philadelphia, July 23-24; Tacoma, Wash., July 30-31; San Antonio, Aug. 6-7; Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 13-14; Hartford, Conn., Aug. 20-21; Stockton, Calif., Sept. 10-11; Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 24-25; East Rutherford, N.J., Oct. 1-2; St. Petersburg, Fla., Oct. 8-9; Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 15-16; and Phoenix, Ariz., Oct. 22-23.
The PK conference registration number, which opens Feb. 22, is 1-800-888-7595; Spanish, 1-800-203-1564.
The men’s ministry, in the face of a financial shortfall last year, laid off its 345-person staff, but has since grown back to 175-plus paid staffers, Ruppe told Baptist Press.