Thursday, September 20, 2012

Billy Graham Visits Scotland

In 1955, Billy Graham held a campaign in Glasgow, Scotland. It lasted six weeks and more than 2.6 million people attended the services. The meetings were held in Kelvin Hall which was opened in 1927 as an exhibition hall. During World War II it was a factory used to produce barrage and convoy balloons. In 1964, Jerry Lee Lewis held a rock concert in the Hall. In 1985, the building was modernized and turned into an indoor sports facility.

During his campaign, Billy Graham preached virtually every night for 6 weeks. The Hall was filled and Mr. Graham would go outside and address the people who could not get in the building. There was usually a cold rain falling. Near the end of the campaign the services moved to Ibrox Stadium where 50,000 people attended. The final night was held in Hampden Park where the estimated crowd was 100,000. “Mr. Graham preached to thousands of steelworkers and dockers at the John Brown shipyard and other mills and factories as well as at colleges and universities.”

On Good Friday, BBC radio and television carried his message and later, it was learned, the Queen had watched the broadcast on television. At the Renfield Street Church 1,000 ministers met to hear his message. St. John’s Renfield Church is a member of the Church of Scotland and serves Kelvindale which is in the west end of Glasgow. The church was built between 1927 and 1930. It was dedicated in 1931. (There are pictures on the Internet.)

Billy Graham returned again to the homeland of his ancestors in 1991. Fourteen denominations issued the invitation. This time meetings were held in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and also in Glasgow. Using television extensively the services were transmitted to 58 venues throughout the United Kingdom.

In Edinburgh, they used Murrayfield Stadium. In Aberdeen, he was welcomed by the Lord Provost and the meetings were held at Pittodrie Stadium. So many were attending the meetings “in spite of the cold winds sweeping in from the sea, that Scott Rail added extra trains from Perth and Inverness."

Bill Graham held a campaign in Chicago in 1962. He was here for 19 days and the services were held in McCormick Place. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that “the closing rally was held on Sunday in Soldiers’ Field.” Attendance was estimated at 116,000. Traffic was blocked for 20 miles. An average of 37,000 persons a day attended the meetings from May 30 through June 16. “The total attendance was estimated at 704,900.”

The Billy Graham Center Museum opened in 1980 and is the largest building on campus. Please join us as we visit Wheaton College, the Billy Graham Center and the Wheaton Center for History. You can register here...........Deadline is September 30.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus

November 6, 2012:  History Club meeting will feature Molly McNeil and her journey to Africa this past summer. Also, Rosie Johnson and our 2012 Heather Queen. More information to follow soon.

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