By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (ANS – February 22, 2018) — Billy Graham will finish the same way he started — under a large white tent in front of thousands of people.
Graham’s private funeral service will be held Friday, March 2, at noon in a canvas tent set up near The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to CBN News, “Before that, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan has announced that on Wednesday, February 28, Graham’s body will be brought to the US Capitol, where he will lie in honor in the Rotunda until Thursday, March 1.
“Members of the public will be allowed to come and pay their respects to the late reverend while he lies in rest in the Capitol.
“Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will also take part in a special memorial service for Graham.”
The funeral service on March 2 is private and will include family members, friends, and community leaders who were touched by Graham’s ministry. Approximately 2,300 people will be invited to attend the 90-minute service.
Graham personally approved the planning and details of his funeral arrangements years before his death and made sure the focus will not be on him, but on the gospel. His son, Franklin Graham will give the funeral message, while his brother and three sisters will speak briefly to honor their father.
Graham’s preaching ministry first gained national prominence in 1949 when he held a crusade in downtown Los Angeles under a large white tent, also known as a “canvas cathedral.”
“His family and team members thought it would be fitting to also conduct his funeral service under a tent as a reminder of how his public ministry was launched,” Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said.
Graham’s casket was hand-made by Angola Prison inmates in 2006, at his request.
The famous evangelist will be buried next to his wife Ruth, who died in 2007, at the foot of the cross walkway at the Billy Graham Library.
CBN went on to say that Graham died at 7:46 a.m. Wednesday morning. His nurse was the only one present. His personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, arrived about 20 minutes later and described his passing as “peaceful.”
DeMoss said Graham’s last few months were spent in and out of consciousness. Graham had endured cancer, pneumonia and other health problems. DeMoss quoted Rice as saying “he just wore out.”
On his 99th birthday back in November, Graham released a video encouraging people to seek God with their whole lives. It turned out to be his final public prayer for the world.
“I’ve been praying that we might have a spiritual awakening,” Graham said. “I think that becomes possible only as individuals surrender their lives afresh and anew to Christ.”
Graham also shared advice about how people can truly live the Christian life.
The millions around the world who were impacted by the life and ministry of this great man, will deeply miss him, but he is now at peace in heaven and has been reunited with his beloved wife, Ruth.
Note: Please watch the CBN News Facebook Live interview I just did with my son, Peter Wooding, of my recollections of working with Mr. Graham over many years. You can see it at: https://www.facebook.com/cbnnews/videos/vb.140647865392/10160430166835393/?type=2&theater. Please share this link with your friends so they can view it too.
Photo captions: 1) Billy Graham preaching. 2) Dan Wooding chatting with Billy and Ruth Graham at their home in Montreat, North Carolina. 3) Dan Wooding talking with Mr. Graham in Essen, Germany.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 77, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 55 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California. He began his career in journalism back in 1968 with The Christian, a London-based newspaper that had been bought by Billy Graham’s ministry. He later worked with Mr. Graham as a writer in Russia, Germany and Puerto Rico.
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