Ottawa Crusade Announcement

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Media Release

OTTAWA, May 14 - Billy Graham today announced plans to hold his first major mission in the National Capital Region to be held at the Corel Centre, June 25-28, 1998. During the announcement celebration at the Chateau Laurier some 400 local clergy and lay leaders who invited the evangelist to hold this mission also confirmed their plans for the year-long preparations.

Mr. Paul McKechnie, C.A., McKechnie Moore and Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee, presided over today's gathering. He introduced Dr. Allen Churchill, Senior Minister, Dominion - Chalmers United Church, who will serve as chair of the General Mission Committee, which will give leadership to the year-long Mission process.

Other participants in the announcement event included The Rev. Richard Lapointe, Senior Minister, Eglise Omega, Hull, PQ; Mr. Reg Hobson, member-at -large of the Executive Committee; The Rev. Doug Ward, Senior Minister, Kanata Baptist Church; and Mrs. Debra Brown, Life Management Strategies, Inc.

Dr. Sterling Huston, Director of North American Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, responded to the invitation by reading the following statement from the evangelist:

"I am honored to accept the invitation of the churches and community leaders in the National Capital Region to hold a Mission in June of 1998. I've been burdened for Ottawa for many years. My first visit there was to speak to small groups with Youth for Christ in the 1940s and I returned for a one-day rally in 1955. I love the city of Ottawa and especially its people. As the capital city of Canada, your influence across the country and all of North America has been great.

"I believe that God has led the churches throughout the region to unite together to hold an evangelistic Mission at this time. It is my prayer that as a result of these meetings we will see great unity in the church, and that many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ, including individuals in the surrounding towns and villages."

As a native of the area, George Beverly Shea, crusade soloist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association since 1947, said, "Ottawa is quite precious to me since I grew up in the area and my father was a pastor here. My wife and I still return every summer for vacation. We have been praying that Billy Graham would hold a Mission in the region for some time and we are so happy that the churches have invited us to hold a Mission next summer."

The Rev. Cliff Barrows, Music and Program Director for Billy Graham crusades and associate in ministry for more than 50 years, told those present that, "Through the years we have always looked forward with great delight and expectancy to our visits to Canada. Some of our fondest memories are of the missions we have held throughout this beautiful country and it will be a joy to return. Bev Shea and I, along with Mr. Graham, are eagerly looking forward to sharing together the glorious Gospel message in song and spoken word with the people of the National Capital Region."

For the last several years, pastors and church leaders in the National Capital Region have been urging Billy Graham to conduct a mission here. Support for the visit is widespread and broadly representative of the Christian groups in the area, including evangelical and mainline denominations.

"I believe God is giving us through the 1998 Billy Graham Mission in Canada and especially in the National Capital Region, an opportunity to rethink our spiritual and moral priorities and find a new foundation in Christ which will take us well into the 21st Century," said Dr. Allen Churchill, Chair of the Executive Committee.

"I am thankful that church leaders of the National Capital Region have recognized the need for a Billy Graham Mission," said Wilf Wight, District Director, Canadian Bible Society. "Too often the Gospel of Christ is taken for granted, resulting in apathy and neglect of our faith. This Mission will call us back to the Bible and to Christ as Savior and Lord."

Paul McKechnie, an active member of the community, added, "I sense a general concern at some of the cultural influences which are challenging our character, especially that of our young people. From that perspective alone , I am excited that we have the opportunity for a Billy Graham Mission in this region. The power of the Gospel of Christ, which is the message of Dr. Graham, cannot be seen as anything but a positive."

Rev. Doug Ward remarked, "Dr. Graham has always embodied the integrity of the Gospel and carries the message of Jesus with freshness and clarity. The time is ripe for Ottawa to hear again that new life in Christ is available for all. Christians in our city need to stand up and be counted."

In addition to coming to the National Capital Region, final preparations are being made for Mr. Graham's next crusade in the California Bay Area cities of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland in September and October. Mr. Graham's most recent crusade was held at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, April 3-6. More than 700 churches representing over 50 denominations worked together in unprecedented unity for the crusade which broke attendance records on two consecutive evenings at the facility, which had never been filled for any event.

A. Larry Ross (972) 387-0700
B. J. Durston (612) 335-1371

This article is published courtesy of Ramon A Williams, The Religious Media Agency. If you would like to contact him, email Ramon A Williams.


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