Posted: March 02, 2018
By Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The invitation-only funeral for influential evangelist Billy Graham will be livestreamed Friday to allow people he touched with his worldwide ministry to watch.
Graham died last week at age 99.
Graham will be buried beside his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Prayer Garden on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Streaming will begin at 10 a.m. EST Friday on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. The service at the Billy Graham Library is scheduled to begin at noon EST.
About 2,300 invited guests are expected to attend.
The funeral is expected to last 90 minutes and will be under a large tent in the main parking lot in front of the library, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The tent serves as a reminder of how Graham’s ministry launched under “The Canvas Cathedral” — a white canvas tent during a 1949 Crusade in downtown Los Angeles, where 350,000 people heard him share the Gospel over a period of eight weeks, according to a release about the funeral.
“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” said Mark DeMoss, spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham will deliver the funeral message. Pastor Donald Wilton and David Bruce will speak at the interment service. Wilton was Graham’s pastor and a close friend in recent years. Bruce served for 23 years as Graham’s executive assistant.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The Rev. Billy Graham will lie in honor Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, one of the nation's highest distinctions. The honor comes after thousands visited his casket over two days at the Billy Graham Library in west Charlotte, North Carolina.
President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected Wednesday to remember "America's pastor," who died a week earlier at age 99.
Some 30 family members will accompany Graham's casket to Washington, where he befriended presidents of both parties and counseled others over seven decades.
WSOCTV was at the Billy Graham Library Wednesday morning as the hearse carrying Graham's body headed to the airport.
Graham is lying in honor beneath the iconic dome Wednesday and Thursday, before a funeral Friday near his home in Charlotte.
"If there is any American whose life and life's work deserves to be honored by laying in honor in the U.S. Capitol, it's Billy Graham," Ryan said.
The public will be invited into the Capitol Rotunda from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Though he met every president since Harry Truman and counseled most, Graham grew wary of politics after Watergate. He was closest to Richard Nixon but later said he felt used by him.
Nonetheless, Graham ministered to other presidents until his health began to fail about 10 years ago.
Former President Bill Clinton recalled seeing one of Graham's crusades as a child, a profound experience that became more amazing over his life. Graham counseled him as Arkansas governor, and later as president in the White House itself.
"In that little room, he was the same person I saw when I was 11 on that football field," Clinton said Tuesday after viewing the casket at Graham's home.
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, also visited Graham's home on Monday.
In Washington, Ryan said there had been no doubt that Graham would receive the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda. He told reporters that almost immediately upon hearing of Graham's death he, Trump, McConnell and Rep. Patrick McHenry, who represents the Graham family's district, agreed it would happen.
Graham shares the honor with 11 presidents and other distinguished Americans, starting with Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky in 1852 and, most recently, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in 2012, according to the House and the Architect of the Capitol.
Graham is only the fourth private person to lie in honor since 1998. The others are two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998 and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.
Graham died last Wednesday at the age of 99 at his home in Montreat.
His body was taken to the Graham Family Homeplace via a 130-mile motorcade from Asheville.
The funeral will be held on Friday in a tent in the main parking lot of Graham's library in tribute to the 1949 Los Angeles tent revivals that propelled him to international fame, family spokesman Mark DeMoss said. About 2,000 people are expected at the private, invitation-only funeral.
Former President Jimmy Carter announced that he would not be able to attend the funeral.
Former President Bill Clinton paid his final respects to the Rev. Billy Graham on Tuesday during the lie in repose, arriving at the Billy Graham Library and visiting with the Graham family.
The former president arrived just after 11 a.m. After spending roughly 45 minutes inside the Graham childhood home with the Rev. Franklin Graham and walking the grounds of the library, Clinton addressed the media, reflecting on “America’s Pastor.”
"I'm glad to be back in this magnificent spot for the first time since I was here for the dedication. And I'm just one of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of people, who in their own way will find some way to say thank you and goodbye to Billy Graham," Clinton said.
Graham counseled Clinton and was even criticized by some conservative evangelicals for praying at Clinton’s inauguration because the former president is a supporter of abortion rights.
Graham was also criticized for publicly forgiving Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and praising Hillary Clinton for forgiving her husband.
The former president went on to tell a story about how excited he was when, at 11 years old, his Sunday school teacher took him to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas to see Graham’s crusade.
Clinton said many people were pressuring Graham to preach to whites only, but the reverend refused.
"He said that all people deserved to hear God's word and that if he couldn't preach to everyone, he wouldn't preach at all," Clinton said.
“I have read many things that contemporary people have said, some laudatory, some not so laudatory,” Clinton said. “I read a story today saying if you’re a preacher you have to be careful about getting too close to those politicians. I agree with that -- but don’t forget, those of us that are Christians believe in a god of second chances, and politicians need those more than anybody else. So you got to cut him a little slack for trying to give a willing ear and an open heart without regard to his political preferences.”
Clinton ended his remarks by saying, “I think he was a profoundly good man who conveyed a simple belief that we can claim kinship with God by asking, and that while we all believe that it's faith plus nothing, he wasn't faith plus nothing. He lived. he showed his faith by his works and by his life.”
“For me, every time I think about him, I'll be 11 again, having no idea how my life would turn out, grateful that in that moment, when it would be easier not to do it, he actually lived his faith,” Clinton said. “Thank you. I’m glad to be here.”
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, paid their respects on Monday.
“If there is such a thing as a humble shepherd of the Lord, Billy Graham is that person,” Bush said.
It was announced that former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, would not be able to travel to Charlotte for the funeral due to health issues.
Former President Jimmy Carter will also not be attending the funeral.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the funeral on Friday, but former President Barack Obama will not be attending.
Congress will host a special session Tuesday night to share its tributes and memories of Graham. His body will be flown to Washington Wednesday to lie in honor at the Capitol rotunda.
A group from North Carolina will have access to a special viewing line, and anyone who lives in Rep. Robert Pittenger's district can contact his office to reserve a space.
Former President Barack Obama is not planning to attend memorial services for the late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham this week.
Obama's office disclosed the former president's plans Monday.
In 2010, Obama visited Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.
Former President George W. Bush paid his respects to Graham, known as the pastor to presidents, Monday afternoon at his library in North Carolina. Former President Bill Clinton will visit Tuesday to honor Graham's memory.
President Donald Trump is expected to attend Graham's funeral Friday in North Carolina after the preacher lies in honor at the U.S. Capitol this week.
Obama tweeted last week after Graham's death that he was "a humble servant who prayed for so many" and who gave hope to generations.
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, will be coming to Charlotte on Monday to pay their respects to the Rev. Billy Graham.
A spokesperson for the Bush family said the two would not be able to make Billy Graham’s funeral on Friday because they were unable to break a longstanding scheduling commitment.
The Bush family will visit with the Graham family and pay their respects to the evangelical leader at the Graham Family Homeplace.
It was announced Thursday that George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, would not be able to travel to Charlotte for Graham’s funeral.
Graham had a close relationship with the Bush family. George H.W. Bush said that the pastor's presence on the eve of the Persian Gulf War helped him avoid doubt, "even for a second ... (about) the moral clarity of our mission that January night."
Years later his son, George W. Bush, recalled in an interview with Focus on the Family that he'd been drunk the first time he met Graham at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. The two went for a walk that launched Bush's rejection of alcohol and embrace of Christianity.
Before his death, Rev. Billy Graham chose one of his favorite Scripture verses from the Bible to be placed on his grave marker.
Graham selected John 14:6 and the following inscription to be on his marker:
NOVEMBER 7, 1918 – FEBRUARY 21, 2018
PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
John 14:6 reads, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
The verse was central in Graham’s preaching ministry, and he often referred to it throughout his life.
Graham will be buried next to his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, who died June 14, 2007.
The couple’s caskets were designed and built by inmates at the nation’s largest maximum security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.
While touring the correctional facility after preaching there in 2005, Graham’s son, Franklin, saw caskets being built. Inmates at Angola make caskets for other inmates who cannot afford to buy one. Franklin was moved by this and requested that inmates make caskets for his mother and father.
The caskets are made of plywood and lined with a mattress pad. A wooden cross is nailed to the top of the casket. The Graham family requested no upgrades to the plywood casket, only a few modifications to allow the casket to be transported easily.
Funeral arrangements have been announced following the death of famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham. The well-known religious figure, who counseled several presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was 99.
READ MORE: Photos: Billy Graham through the years | Photos: Notable deaths 2018 | Billy Graham quotes: He made Christian principles accessible to millions | Billy Graham named among 10 most admired men for 59th time | MORE
The Rev. Billy Graham, the Christian evangelist known as “America’s pastor,” died Wednesday after battling various health ailments.
He was 99.
Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, posted a tribute to him on Facebook following the news of his father’s death.
“Where is Heaven?” Franklin Graham recalled his father being asked, to which he then replied, “Heaven is where Jesus is, and I am going to Him soon!”
“He will be missed by our family, his colleagues, faithful ministry partners, and, yes, many around the world,” Franklin Graham wrote. “But what joy he has to be welcomed by God the Father, and be reunited with my mother in the presence of Jesus who speaks peace to eternal souls.”
Franklin Graham’s mother, Ruth Graham, died in 2007.
Read Franklin Graham’s Facebook post below:
Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, posted a statement about her father's death Wednesday morning.
The famed American Christian evangelist died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. He was 99 years old.
Lotz is one of Graham’s five children with his wife Ruth Bell Graham, who died June 14, 2007.
“For years, over his head as he preached was the banner that quoted the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus completed that sentence by saying that no one comes to the Father but by Me. Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father. In Heaven,” Lotz said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.
Read Lotz’s full statement below:“My Father’s legacy is one that encompasses the world…and engulfs my own life. When I think of him, I don’t think of Billy Graham, the public figure. I think of my Daddy. The one who was always a farmer at heart. Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap. Who loved lukewarm coffee, sweet ice tea, one scoop of ice cream, and a plain hamburger from McDonald’s. Who was interested in everything and everyone, from the small to the great. Whose mind remembered details that even a computer would have trouble recalling. “But when I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else. “For years, over his head as he preached was the banner that quoted the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus completed that sentence by saying that no one comes to the Father but by Me. Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father. In Heaven. Daddy not only claimed Jesus as the only Way to God, he lived by the Truth publicly on platforms and privately behind closed doors, and is now enjoying real Life. “I have often stated that I was raised by a single parent because ministry took my father away from our family—for weeks and months at a time. Daddy estimated that he was gone from home approximately 60 percent of his children’s growing-up years. Now, he has left again. This time, he will not be coming back. At least, not until Jesus does, too. “While he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come. My prayer on this day of his move to Our Father’s House is that his death will be a rallying cry. That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact. Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past. “It’s a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens Heaven’s door. “It was this message, which Daddy carried to the world, that penetrated my own heart as a young girl and has created in me a personal, passionate resolve to communicate it myself to as many people as possible. And so, even as my tears seem to be unending, I silently rededicate my life to picking up and passing on the baton. Would you do the same?”
Evangelical leader Billy Graham, who counseled presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday at 99.
How Graham got his start
Graham, the son of a North Carolina farmer, started preaching throughout the south and midwest.
He was “born again” after hearing a preacher’s service in 1934 in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to CNN.
He attended Florida Bible Institute and it was there while taking a midnight stroll in 1937 on the 18th green when he received his calling from God, Graham wrote in his biography. He was baptized Dec. 4, 1938, in Silver Lake, Florida, and ordained the following year, according to CNN.
After graduating, Graham moved to Illinois to continue his education at Wheaton College, where he met his wife, according to The New York Times.
Advisor to presidents and welcomed by world leaders
Graham advised 10 presidents starting with Harry Truman. Barack Obama was the last president Graham met with, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham was most closely linked to President Richard Nixon whom he endorsed in 1968. Years later, recordings of the two were released in which they made anti-Semitic remarks. Graham apologized, saying he did not recall making the statements.
Not only did Graham counsel American presidents, world leaders of religiously restrictive countries welcomed him.
He was invited to preach in China as well as in Pyongyang by North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung, according to the New York Times. He also visited communist countries in Eastern Europe to promote peace.
Graham’s global reach
Graham was not the first evangelical but he was able to use communication and technology to gain an unprecedented reach.
Through the use of radio, books, magazines, television and the internet Graham’s “crusades” reached more than 200 million people on almost every continent.
Graham wrote 30 books and his sermons were translated into 48 languages and sent to 185 countries by satellite, according to the New York Times.
He held a crusade in Madison Square Garden in 1957. It was so popular, it was extended from six to 16 weeks and ended with a rally with 100,000 people in Times Square. It was Graham’s longest revival meeting ever.
His final crusade was in 2005 in New York City. However, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association continues to organize them.
Graham formed the Billy Graham Evangelical Association in 1950. The group continues to organize crusades, radio and television programs and publishes the Decision magazine. The association trains thousands of evangelicals and missionaries and sends a rapid response team to help in disaster areas.
His son, Franklin Graham, who developed his own following, was tapped to lead the association in 1995, according to the New York Times.
Daughter Anne Graham Lotz and grandsons Will Graham and William Graham Tullian Tchividjian are part of the ministry.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Celebrities and politicians are reacting to the news of the death of Rev. Bill Graham.
Known around the world, the evangelist preached to millions of people into his mid-90s. He died at his Montreat, North Carolina, home Wednesday at 99 years old. He had been battling cancer, pneumonia and a number of other health aliments.>> Live coverage at WSOCTV.com
Graham was frequently seen among U.S. presidents -- a dozen of whom he worked with as a spiritual counselor.
Public figures responded to the news of Graham’s death on Twitter.
As Americans mourn the death of evangelist Billy Graham, you would be hard-pressed to find a time where “America’s Pastor” was held in anything other than the highest regard. Graham managed during 60 years of preaching the Gospel to sidestep even a hint of scandal -- sexual, financial or otherwise.
However a revelation in 1994 of a conversation he had with then-President Richard Nixon turned out to be a source of embarrassment for Graham – not at the time it was disclosed by Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, but years later when a tape of the conversation was released by the National Archives.
At first, Graham denied comments Haldeman made in his book, "The Haldeman Diaries" that Graham and Nixon had disparaged Jews in a conversation following a prayer breakfast in Washington D.C. on Feb. 1, 1972. Haldeman said Graham had talked about a Jewish “stranglehold” on the country.
''Those are not my words," Graham said in May 1994. ''I have never talked publicly or privately about the Jewish people, including conversations with President Nixon, except in the most positive terms.'' Graham was believed and the matter dropped until 2002 when tapes from Nixon’s White House were released by the National Archives. The 1972 conversation between Nixon and Graham was among those tapes, and Graham had to face the fact that he had been recorded saying the things of which Haldeman accused him.
The tapes proved damning.
''They're the ones putting out the pornographic stuff,'' Graham had said to Nixon. The Jewish ''stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain,'' he continued.
Graham told Nixon that Jews did not know his true feelings about them.
''I go and I keep friends with Mr. Rosenthal (A.M. Rosenthal) at The New York Times and people of that sort, you know. And all -- I mean, not all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine, they swarm around me and are friendly to me because they know that I'm friendly with Israel. But they don't know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country. And I have no power, no way to handle them, but I would stand up if under proper circumstances.''
Rosenthal was the Times' executive editor.
After the release of the tapes, Graham was horrified, according to Grant Wacker, a Duke Divinity School professor who wrote a book about Graham. He publicly apologized and asked for forgiveness from Jewish leaders in the country.
"He did not spin it. He did not try to justify it," Wacker told NPR. "He said repeatedly he had done wrong, and he was sorry."
''I don't ever recall having those feelings about any group, especially the Jews, and I certainly do not have them now,'' Graham said in 2002 when the tape was released. ''My remarks did not reflect my love for the Jewish people. I humbly ask the Jewish community to reflect on my actions on behalf of Jews over the years that contradict my words in the Oval Office that day.''
Evangelist Billy Graham died Wednesday at age 99 at his North Carolina home.
Graham, who preached Christianity to millions around the world, was also a confidant of U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush.
Here are some quotes from the man who became known as “America’s Pastor.”
Source: Brainy Quotes
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