Billy Graham’s Crusade Draws People Of All Faiths

Even with the day’s sweltering heat and blazing sun, more than 90,000 New Yorkers congregated at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to witness what may be Reverend Billy Graham’s last crusade.
Sunday, June 26, 2005, marked the end of Graham’s three-day revival crusade. Despite their denominations, people of all faiths came from all over to be a part of history. Some attended the event because of its historical significance while others sought a spiritual makeover.
Still, some Queens’s residents who attended the rallies on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, returned for Sunday’s culminating event. Jamaica resident Claritza Sanchez, 28, visited all three days to hear the Rev. Billy Graham preach. “It’s the only opportunity I have had to see so many people come together to hear God’s word,” she said. Then she added, “this city needs it.”
Ismael Rivera, a New York City firefighter agreed. He said “this city will never be the same” after Graham’s three-day crusade. Already by Saturday, 5,582 people decided to “accept Christ” upon Graham’s invitation. Even with his frailties, Graham’s voice was strong enough to encourage listeners to come forward and publicly demonstrate their commitment to Jesus.
Perhaps it is because of Graham’s willingness to “speak the word of the Lord,” despite his ill state, that he has so many followers and admirers. At 86, suffering from fluid on the brain, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and confined to a walker due to a pelvic fracture, Billy Graham completed his three-day rally, as expected. He did say, however, that this weekend’s events “will be the last in America.”
“That’s why he’s such a legend,” says Tony Bisono, a member of the Salvation Army in East Elmhurst. “He is a perfect example of what it means to be a Christian,” he explained.
Christian, Baptist, Catholic… White, Latino, Chinese… neither ethnicity nor denomination mattered this weekend to be a part of what some are calling “Graham’s last life-changing sermon.”
Marah Ramirez is a freelance writer.

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