Evangelist Billy Graham celebrates birthday today

By November 7, 2005

USA (MNN/Assist) — As Dr. Billy Graham gets ready to celebrate his 87th birthday next week, official word has come from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that his final large venue crusade at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York, held between June 24-26, 2005, was in fact his last.

Dr. Graham, who has been the friend and confidant of kings and presidents as well as being considered one of America’s most admired public figures, continues to enjoy some quiet time at home for recuperation and reflection as he prepares to celebrate his 87th birthday at home in Montreat, North Carolina on Monday, Nov. 7.

An announcement from the BGEA says that while the crusade phase of his evangelistic ministry may be over, Dr. Graham still finds plenty to do to fill his time.

In addition to participating in recent groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) headquarters in Charlotte, he has been working on a book and determining the best use of his remaining years.

“Ruth and I have enjoyed our time together these last few months, and we both feel at peace about the decision to have the New York meetings be our last,” Dr. Graham said. “We know that God can still use us to reach people with the Gospel message in other ways, and we look forward to seeing how He will do so.”

Most recently, the Grahams have been used to minister to Hurricane Katrina victims, and have offered their old home as shelter to a family from New Orleans. They have also given to relief efforts and have been much in prayer for those who lost homes and loved ones.

Although his public role with BGEA has diminished, Dr. Graham still serves as Chairman of the BGEA Board of Directors, and attends these meetings as often as his health allows.

In addition to these commitments, Dr. Graham looks forward to other ministry endeavors, preaching as opportunities allow and continuing the work of spreading the Gospel message.

Though long assumed, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Thursday gave its first official word that the ailing evangelist would no longer hold crusades.

Dr. Graham suffers from fluid on the brain, prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He uses a walker due to a pelvic fracture and is largely confined to his home.

His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, 85, was hospitalized several times in 2002 for health problems, including pneumonia, and remains in ill health.

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