Kansas City Crusade postponed as Graham continues to recuperate
By Bob Baysinger
June 8, 2004
KANSAS CITY – The Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade has been postponed until Oct. 7-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to allow the famed evangelist time to recuperate from a fall at his home on May 14.
The Heart of America Crusade was originally scheduled for June 17-20.
Larry Ross, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said both the Kansas City crusade and the Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade scheduled July 29-Aug. 1 at the Rose Bowl are being delayed to enable Graham to complete a regimen of physical therapy and fully recover from a procedure recently to stabilize his pelvic bone fractured in a fall at his home.
Franklin Graham, the beloved evangelist’s son, told the Associated Press on May 26 that both the Kansas City crusade and the Greater Los Angeles crusade would be rescheduled because his 85-year-old father needs more time to heal. “
The ( Kansas City ) committee met May 27 and agreed to move the crusade forward to the October dates,” said Sherman Bennett, a spokesman for the Kansas City committee. “We will be contacting all the artists who were scheduled to sing at the crusade to determine if they will be able to be with us in October. If they have a conflicting date, we will be working to find replacements.”
Richard Hastings, chairman of the Kansas City crusade, spoke optimistically about the postponement.
“We believe that God has a plan for Kansas City, of which Billy Graham is a vital part, and are excited that these new dates will enable him to return for his third crusade in this great city,” Hastings said.
“This extension will not only allow Graham to recuperate, but will provide additional time of preparation to mobilize more churches for training and personal outreach, culminating in a crescendo of prayer this fall.”
Bennett told The Pathway that there is a positive note to the crusade postponement.
“We will, of course, need to make some adjustments,” Bennett said, “but it will afford us an opportunity to maximize the extra time to get more churches involved. With the additional time, we would expect to add to the 1,000 churches that are already involved in the crusade.”
Bennett said the extra time will permit the committee to conduct another set of Christian life and witness classes.
“People who attend the classes are given an opportunity to complete an application to serve as a counselor at the crusade,” Bennett said. “We had 11,000 participate in the classes last April. Times and dates for the new classes will be announced.”
Bennett said the “Work of an Evangelist” course scheduled for June 16-18 will go on as scheduled. The workshop, conducted by Graham evangelism specialists, is intense evangelism and training sessions designed to aid Christian workers with practical methods of evangelism and discipleship.”
Kenneth C. Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church and crusade co-chair of the Los Angeles crusade, said the postponement is of God.
“In the fact of his pain and injury, Mr. Graham has said he believes his unfortunate fall was ‘of God,’ and we agree,” Ulmer said. “That consensus has been further confirmed by a sense of divine providence, purpose and history as the new dates fall on the 55th anniversary of the historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. At those meetings, God’s grace became global as Mr. Graham’s public ministry was launched into national and international prominence.”