Press Release for Billy Graham and Modern Evangelism

For immediate release

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Ken Garfield

(704) 295-4819 (work)

(704) 575-6308 (cell)




   CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Evangelist Billy Graham will be the focus of a Jan. 24 conference featuring Graham’s sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Leighton Ford, and panel discussions exploring the legacy of Charlotte’s  native son.

   The one-day gathering from 2 to 8:30 p.m. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary off Carowinds Boulevard is free and open to all, no reservations needed. Titled “Billy Graham And Modern Evangelism,” the conference will be of interest to seminarians, other students and clergy. But it is also meant for those who have long admired Graham, attended a crusade or simply yearn to know more about this child of a south Charlotte dairy farm. Among the speakers is Duke Divinity School professor Grant Wacker, whose book is due out later this year from Harvard Press – “Billy Graham And The Shaping of Modern America.”

  “Billy Graham was the most important figure on the American religious scene in the half century that followed World War II,” Wacker said. “His personality, presence and image were keys to the growth of modern evangelicalism. This event is part of a larger attempt to come to grips with Graham’s long career and ministry and its importance within the larger American context.”

   Graham, 95, is in poor health at home in Montreat, his public ministry largely over.

  Here’s the schedule for the Jan. 24 conference. Those interested are welcome to attend any part, or all, of the conference. And those arriving early from out of town can visit the Billy Graham Library off Billy Graham Parkway to revisit the life of the evangelist.

   2:15 p.m. Showing of the 50-minute video, “A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades.”

   3:30 p.m. An introduction, “Billy Graham and American History,” by Duke Divinity School’s Grant Wacker, and “Reflections on the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham” by Garth Rosell, who teaches church history at Gordon-Conwell’s South Hamilton, Mass., campus.

   5 p.m. Supper break, participants are on their own.

   6:45 p.m. Wacker moderates a conversation with Jean Graham Ford and Leighton Ford of Charlotte – Billy Graham’s sister and brother-in-law, sharing memories and the more personal side of the story.

   7:15 p.m. Edith Blumhofer, director of Wheaton College’s Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, leads a program exploring the music behind Billy Graham’s ministry – “Singing to Save: George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows.”

  A reception follows at 8:30 p.m., offering conference-goers a chance to speak informally with panelists. The conference is cosponsored by Wheaton’s Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. in Indianapolis. With Lilly’s support, scholars from across the country are writing chapters for a comprehensive volume that will examine the many dimensions of Graham’s life and times.

   Gordon-Conwell is at 14542 Choate Circle in south Charlotte. For more, visit

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