After six decades
of traveling the world to preach the gospel,
86-year-old evangelist Billy Graham is ready for at
least one more revival meeting, in New York City next
week. The event was moved from Madison Square Garden
to Flushing Meadows Corona Park to accommodate
expected big turnout.
Graham seems all but certain that it will be his
last mass event in the United States and probably the
last anywhere. "In my mind, it is," he said during an
Associated Press interview at a Long Island hotel
where he's resting up for the event. "I wouldn't like to say
'never,"' the amiable evangelist added with a chuckle.
"Never is a bad word."
Even if there are no more mass meetings, Graham
might still give occasional talks. But his pace has
been slowed considerably by advancing age and
infirmities. He spends most days at his mountainside home in
Montreat, N.C., where wife Ruth is largely bedridden.
Cautious even in his more active years, Graham
now seeks to shun all public controversies, preferring
a simple message of love and unity through Jesus
Christ. Asked about same-sex marriage, for instance, Graham
replied, "I don't give advice. I'm going to stay off these
Even when he occasionally speaks by phone with
President Bush, the evangelist welcomed to the White
House by every president since Truman doesn't chat to
influence "but only to say I'm praying for him and to
give him a verse of Scripture." (Richard N. Ostling, AP)