The General Committee of the Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade and the Executive Leadership Team of the Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade both met independently this week and announced their decisions to reschedule these events.
The Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., will now be held October 7-10, 2004. The Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., will now be held November 18-21, 2004.
The meetings–originally planned for June 17-20 (Kansas City) and July 28-August 1 (Los Angeles)–are being postponed to enable Mr. Graham to complete a regimen of physical therapy and fully recover from a fracture he sustained in a fall at his home on May 14.
Members of the two Crusade committees expressed a deep desire to use the additional time for gathering increased participation by churches in both areas.
Heart of America Crusade
“We believe that God has a plan for Kansas City, of which Billy Graham is a vital part, and are excited that these new dates will enable him to return for his third crusade in this great city,” said G. Richard Hastings, CEO of St. Luke’s Health System and chair of the Crusade. “This extension will not only allow Mr. Graham to recuperate, but will provide additional time of preparation to mobilize more churches for training and personal outreach, culminating in a crescendo of prayer this fall.”
Mr. Hastings added that the General Committee has given assurances to the owners and management of the Kansas City Royals baseball team that they will make necessary adjustments to shift crusade dates and meeting times, as necessary–if the team gets into the American League postseason playoffs–due to the shared parking facilities between the adjacent stadiums.
In addition to approving the new dates at a special meeting yesterday, the local Crusade leadership also reaffirmed their excitement to move forward with a renewed resolve and vision to win the surrounding five-state Heartland of America region for God. Expanded preparatory events will include a combined choir rehearsal in June, a mobilization rally, and additional Christian Life and Witness Classes in early fall.
Two crusade-related events will continue as planned: namely, “Operation Arrowhead,” a surround-the-stadium prayer event on June 5, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association School of Evangelism, to be held June 16-18 at a Kansas City hotel. Presently, more than 500 pastors from 55 denominations representing 40 states and two Canadian Provinces are registered for the intensive three-day training.
Greater Los Angeles Crusade
Organizers in California believe rescheduling the Greater Los Angeles Crusade will provide the nearly 750 participating churches representing 77 denominations additional time for planning, preparation, and participation for Mr. Graham’s seventh evangelistic crusade in Southern California.
“In the face of his pain and injury, Mr. Graham has said he believes his unfortunate fall was ‘of God,’ and we agree,” said Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church and crusade co-chair. “That consensus has been further confirmed by a sense of divine providence, purpose, and history as the new dates fall on the 55th anniversary of his historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. At those meetings, God’s grace became global as Mr. Graham’s public ministry was launched into national and international prominence.”
Dr. Jack W. Hayford, founding pastor of The Church On The Way and co-chair of the Crusade, expressed similar optimism and challenged other Christian churches and individuals to join in this effort. “Even though his body has been laid low for a season, Billy Graham’s spirits are high,” he said. “We welcome the opportunity to see more fruit as a result of the extended time to prepare for this Crusade–including engaging more churches in prayer, friendship evangelism, and discipleship.”