Don’t miss Bill Gaither and the Homecoming cast, with performances from the Gaither Vocal Band, George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows, and a special interview with Dr. Billy Graham in the Tent Revival Homecoming.
You can still catch the encore presentation on INSP Saturday, Sept. 24, at 6 p.m. Watch a sneak preview »
A Tent Revival Homecoming also features the Crabb Family, Michael English, David Phelps, and the Gatlin Brothers. The special is reminiscent of early tent revival meetings, much like the “Canvas Cathedral” in Los Angeles where Billy Graham gained worldwide recognition in 1949. In fact, the Gaither event aimed to recreate the atmosphere of that historic crusade, with its large tent and standing-room only crowd.
“A lot of our folks grew up singing in tent meetings,” said Bill Gaither while filming on campus in May. “Going through the Library and seeing one of the exhibitions is that of the old tent in Los Angeles brought back those memories for us.
“Music has always been a very important part of the Billy Graham Crusades. In fact, the Vocal Band has sung at the last 10 or 12 Crusades, including the last one in New York City,” said Gaither. “And, so to have an entire evening, singing songs about Jesus, singing songs about the cross, singing songs about invitation, I think is a great thing.”
Gaither told more than 1,000 enthusiastic fans in the taping audience on May 2, “We’re here at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we’re having a good time tonight!”
A small armada of tour buses and TV production trucks began arriving early that week to prepare for the event, transforming a parking lot into both a television set and a giant revival tent. The tent – complete with sawdust and a thousand folding chairs – was set up just a few yards from Billy Graham’s childhood home and the entrance to the Billy Graham Library.
“We came in a day early and went through the wonderful Library,” Gaither said. His wife, Gloria, later added, “The grounds are spectacular. The dogwoods are in bloom, the azaleas are just gorgeous.”
Explaining the tent theme and the Billy Graham Library location for the program, Gloria Gaither told the audience, “We’re celebrating the whole revivalist movement. Billy Graham was the one that God chose to say to a nominal world… ‘Come and meet the Savior.'”
Longtime Gaither fans Jeanie Stines and her husband made the trip from Rock Hill, South Carolina. For Jeanie, the evening was extra special, as it was her first outing since a major health crisis more than a year earlier. “Tonight was everything I needed it to be after a year of pain,” she said from her wheelchair. “It was everything my soul and spirit needed.”
The crowd erupted into a standing ovation when Bill Gaither introduced longtime Billy Graham associates George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows. “Praise the Lord for these wonderful men,” Gaither said. “We love our association with the Graham organization.”
With twilight overtaking the venue, Cliff Barrows led the more than 150 Gospel artists and the audience in an impromptu rendition of the Fanny Crosby hymn, “Blessed Assurance.” Some in the audience stood, others applauded, while others raised their hands in praise.
Later, Bill Gaither presented George Beverly Shea with a plaque commemorating a music video project the two had worked on a few years earlier.
Buy the DVD now from Ruth’s Attic online store.
Visit Gaither.com for the entire list of broadcast times.
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