Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Nation & World

Songs, heartfelt words fill the Rev. Billy Graham’s funeral (w/video)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham’s funeral Friday featured rousing music along with heartfelt words from his adult children in the culmination of more than a week of tributes to "America’s Pastor."

The noon service commenced with the evangelist’s family bringing in his casket before an invitation-only crowd of about 2,000. It was followed by a rendition of the gospel song "Until Then," and a welcome message from one of Graham’s confidants. The 90-minute funeral also included remarks from Graham’s five adult children and pastors from the South and around the world.

"I believe, from Heaven’s perspective, that my father’s death is as significant as his life. And his life was very significant. But I think when he died that was something very strategic from Heaven’s point of view," said his daughter Anne Graham Lotz, later adding: "I believe God is saying: ‘Wake up church! Wake up world!’"

Linda McCrary-Fisher’s performance of "Until Then" included the poignant lyric, "my heart will go on singing ... until the day God calls me home."

The congregation included President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives. Neither Pence nor Trump spoke during the service, but they met privately with the family beforehand.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Billy Graham found his calling as a Bible college student in Tampa

The Rev. Franklin Graham, who now is CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, delivered the main funeral address for his father, urging mourners to accept salvation, after shorter messages from Billy Graham’s three daughters and younger son.

He said, "the Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadium was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home. There weren’t two Billy Grahams."

The funeral planning began a decade ago with Billy Graham himself, and it also reflects his family’s desire to capture the feeling of the crusades that made him the world’s best-known Protestant preacher of his era.

"His fingerprints are on this service for sure," family spokesman Mark DeMoss said in a phone interview. "The Graham family has long considered that his funeral eventually would really be his last crusade."

Graham, who died last week at age 99, brought a message of salvation to millions during visits and live broadcasts to scores of countries.

The service features songs from gospel musicians who performed at Graham’s events: McCrary-Fisher, Michael W. Smith and the Gaither Vocal Band. They are all friends who sang for Graham at his home in recent years, DeMoss said.

GUEST COLUMN: The time I asked Billy Graham if he ever gets sick of the Bible

Other notable guests include North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. His immediate predecessor, Pat McCrory, was already in the tent hours before the service and doing commentary for a radio station.

The final hymn also had special meaning for the evangelist, his friends and loved ones. The audience sang "To God Be the Glory," which was also the closing hymn at the 2007 dedication of his library in Charlotte.

Graham’s late music director Cliff Barrows, who helped Graham plan the funeral service starting a decade ago, has said it was his favorite hymn.

After the hymn, Graham’s casket was led out of the tent while a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace."

Graham will be buried next to his wife in a memorial prayer garden at the library. His pine plywood casket was made by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The grave marker reads: "Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Earlier, crowds lined the road for a procession from Graham’s home in the mountains to Charlotte, where Graham grew up. Approximately 13,000 people — including former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — filed past his casket during a public viewing in Charlotte this week. And on Wednesday, Graham became the first private citizen since civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005 to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington.

 
Comments
Police say 9 dead, 16 injured after van struck pedestrians in Toronto; driver in custody

Police say 9 dead, 16 injured after van struck pedestrians in Toronto; driver in custody

OTTAWA, Ontario — Nine people were killed and 16 injured when a white rental van drove onto a sidewalk in a busy district of Toronto on Monday, police said.Acting Toronto Police Chief Peter Yuen told a news conference that one man is in custody follo...
Published: 04/23/18
Canada police say driver that hit pedestrians in custody

Canada police say driver that hit pedestrians in custody

By CHARMAINE NORONHATORONTO — A van apparently jumped onto a sidewalk Monday at a busy intersection in Toronto and struck down pedestrians before the vehicle was found and the driver taken into custody, Canadian police said. Authorities said at leas...
Published: 04/23/18
Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing at least 57 people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said another 119 people...
Published: 04/22/18
Cubans doubt a change at the top will bring change at the bottom

Cubans doubt a change at the top will bring change at the bottom

HAVANA — The streets brimmed with people going about their day, hauling handcarts of fruit down narrow side streets, shuffling along sun-faded esplanades, waiting impatiently at the crosswalks of busy intersections.The new president of Cuba — the fir...
Published: 04/21/18
Emmanuel Macron, seen as France’s Obama, may govern more like Trump

Emmanuel Macron, seen as France’s Obama, may govern more like Trump

PARIS — Ahead of his state visit to Washington this week, French President Emmanuel Macron has attracted international praise for being the only European — perhaps even the only Western — head of state willing to confront head-on the rise of anti-dem...
Published: 04/21/18
Trump considering pardon for late boxer Jack Johnson

Trump considering pardon for late boxer Jack Johnson

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump says he’s considering a posthumous pardon for boxing’s first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after the late Jack Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across s...
Published: 04/21/18
Barbara Bush eulogized as ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

Barbara Bush eulogized as ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

HOUSTON — At the Episcopal church that has been her spiritual home for more than 50 years, former first lady Barbara Pierce Bush was celebrated at her funeral as one of the most beloved political matriarchs in U.S. history.Bush, the wife of the 41st ...
Published: 04/21/18
‘Imploding’: Lawsuits. Fundraising troubles. Trailer-park brawls. Has the alt-right peaked?

‘Imploding’: Lawsuits. Fundraising troubles. Trailer-park brawls. Has the alt-right peaked?

Eight months after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia ended in the death of a counterprotester, the loose collection of disaffected young white men known as the alt-right is in disarray.The problems have been mounting: lawsuits an...
Published: 04/21/18
Jeb Bush to eulogize mother, Barbara, in private service

Jeb Bush to eulogize mother, Barbara, in private service

HOUSTON — Some 1,500 guests are expected Saturday at a private funeral for Barbara Bush at the nation’s largest Episcopal church. First lady Melania Trump, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, and former President Barack Obama and his...
Published: 04/21/18
The Yellowstone supervolcano is a disaster waiting to happen

The Yellowstone supervolcano is a disaster waiting to happen

Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention.Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano — it’s 44 miles across — and...
Published: 04/21/18