- Shelia Poole The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The invitation-only funeral for influential evangelist Billy Graham will be livestreamed to allow the many people he touched worldwide ministry be able to watch it on Friday.
Graham died last week at age 99.
Graham will be buried beside his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Prayer Garden, on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library.
The Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor emeritus at Atlanta’s Providence Missionary Baptist Church, arrived hours early for the service.
Durley, who was one of the co-chairs of the 1994 Atlanta Crusade, said he had met visitors from Japan, India and Australia.
“The love I’m seeing shows me we really have to get back to the single message of love in this country,” he said. “There are people here from all over the world.”
Streaming will begin at 10 a.m. The service at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte is scheduled to begin at noon.
Once the service begins, you can watch it LIVE here:
About 2,300 invited guests are expected to attend, including the Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor emeritus of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, who was a co-chairman of Graham’s 1994 Atlanta crusade.
Durley found himself sitting next to former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann, of Minnesota, said many members of her family attended Graham’s crusades at one time or another.
“He was a central figure, the moral compass of this nation,” she said.
Bachmann who said she “came to Christ” at age 16, said he had profound influence on her life.
After I became a Christian, his mesages became more real and more alive to me.”
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The funeral is expected to last 90 minutes and will be held under a large tent in the main parking lot in front of the library, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The tent serves as a reminder of how Graham’s ministry launched under “The Canvas Cathedral”—a white canvas tent during a 1949 Crusade in downtown Los Angeles, where 350,000 people heard him share the Gospel over a period of eight weeks, according to a release about the funeral.
“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” said Mark DeMoss, spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham will deliver the funeral message. Pastor Donald Wilton and David Bruce will speak at the interment service. Wilton was Graham’s pastor and a close friend in recent years. Bruce served for 23 years as Graham’s executive assistant.