Billy Graham with the Lord (Nov. 7, 1918 – Feb. 21, 2018)
Born on Nov. 7, 1918, on a North Carolina dairy farm, William Franklin (Billy) Graham Jr. was raised by strong Christian parents who placed a high value on hard work and self-discipline. Graham died at 7:46 am on Feb. 21 at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.
When Graham was 16, visiting evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham delivered a message that changed Graham’s life: “We belong to God, and the only way to live life to the fullest is to put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.” Graham would eventually preach this timeless message to more than 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts, and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories.
“I’ve had the privilege of preaching the Gospel . . . in most of the countries of the world,” he once said. “And I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.”
During the week of his 95th birthday in 2013, Graham delivered his final message via more than 480 television stations across the U.S. and Canada. More than 26,000 churches participated in this My Hope video ministry, making it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s largest-ever evangelistic outreach in North America.
Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, incorporated in 1950 with the following mission: to communicate the message of Christ to people by every effective means available. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada was formed three years later.
Billy Graham established an organization that continues to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the people of Canada and around the world. The hope in Christ about which Billy Graham preached is for everyone, and for all eternity. It is timeless, and its truth will continue long after all of us are gone. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada exists to proclaim that truth.
The first Billy Graham Crusade in Canada was held in 1955. More than 7,000 men, women and children in the capacity crowd in Toronto responded to Graham’s invitation to embrace Christ.
During the next 43 years, Graham preached at 13 Crusades in Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, including Edmonton in 1980 and Calgary in 1981. At each event, he came to the Canadian city only after being invited by local residents.
Graham’s eldest son, Franklin, preached at his first Canadian Crusade in 1983 in Saskatoon. During the next 17 years, Franklin assumed growing responsibility within the ministry before being named CEO in 2000. Under his direction, the ministry continues to carry out its mission through efforts including:
Large-scale festivals, such as the Greater Toronto Festival of Hope in 2014 and Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope in 2017, both led by Franklin Graham. More than 1,000 churches participated in the two outreach events.
Smaller-scale celebrations, such as the Celebration of Hope with Will Graham planned for late October in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and early November in Avalon Region, Newfoundland.
Online evangelism through the MyPeaceWithGod.net website that introduces non-Christians to Jesus and encourages them to commit their lives to Him.
Child and youth evangelism, through The Greatest Journey curriculum for children, and the Dare to Be a Daniel resources for tweens and teens.
Rapid Response Team volunteer chaplains who offer prayer and support to victims of disasters.
More than 22 million people have made a commitment to Jesus Christ through a Billy Graham or Billy Graham Evangelistic Association outreach effort.
The next generation of ministry leaders includes Franklin’s eldest son Will, who has proclaimed the Gospel at evangelistic events in 30 cities across Canada.
In Canada, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association contnues the ministry Billy Graham began here in 1953.
Graham is survived by his sister Jean Ford; daughters Gigi, Anne, and Ruth; sons Franklin and Ned; 19 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died June 14, 2007, at 87, and is buried at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. A private funeral service for Mr. Graham is planned at the library, on a date to be announced.
Canadians wishing to honor Billy Graham through a donation to the ministry can do so on the BillyGraham.ca website, by calling 1-800-293-3717, or by mailing the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at 20 Hopewell Way NE, Calgary, AB, T3J 5H5.
The renowned but humble Christian led millions to faith, including many Canadians, and founded an organization that continues to proclaim the Gospel worldwide.
– Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Canada