CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP)–The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has moved its international headquarters from Minneapolis to Graham’s old hometown of Charlotte, N.C., where a $27 million facility on 63 acres of land off Billy Graham Parkway was dedicated April 23.
Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and about 500 others joined Billy Graham for the private ceremony and tours of the building, which will house 300 fulltime employees.
“I thank God for Charlotte and all the things it has meant to me through the years,” Graham said, reflecting on his boyhood years spent in the area.
The 200,000-square-foot building is made of wood, glass and stone, according to The Charlotte Observer, although it is not open to the public.
Plans for the Billy Graham Library, scheduled to open on the property in 2007 or 2008, also were presented at the ceremony. Graham had first opposed such plans but later concluded a library would be yet another way to glorify God long after his life is over.
The 40,000-square-foot library, which will be open to the public with no admission fee planned, will be built to look like the front of a barn, similar to the one in which Graham milked cows as a boy, The Observer said. The main window will be in the shape of a cross, and inside will be photos, mementos, a bookstore, a restaurant and a theater showing footage from Graham’s crusades. Ground breaking on the project is planned later this year.
In related news, the site for this summer’s Billy Graham Crusade in New York City has been moved from Madison Square Garden to Flushing Meadows Park in order to accommodate anticipated crowds.
“I am delighted by the decision to move the crusade meetings to Flushing Meadows,” Graham said. “It is the site of two world’s fairs — now the whole world is there. I’m told that the surrounding neighborhood is the most international community in the country, with 130 language groups within walking distance of the park.”
The crusade, scheduled for June 24-26, could be the 86-year-old Graham’s last, although he is said to be considering another in London this fall. Last November, nearly 12,000 people made decisions for Christ during Graham’s crusade at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.