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July 2013: A Rapids Return

Billy Graham (wearing sunglasses) with the other participants getting ready to begin the rally

In October 2012 the Bulletin Board featured a poster from Billy Graham's 1947 evangelistic campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although still until the name of Youth for Christ, this was the first of the evangelistic campaigns in the United States organized by Graham and his staff along the principles he had developed.

But Billy Graham also continued to be a featured speaker at rallies and other meetings organized by YFC. This month we are featuring a set of rare color slides, taken the very next year, also in Grand Rapids. The meeting was held outdoors on a blisteringly hot day, at the baseball park Bigelow Field on July 3, 1948, just before Independence Day.

Billy Graham was the principal speaker and George Beverly Shea was the soloist, just as he was to be at Graham's own evangelistic meetings for the next half century. Also on program Adora Norlander, a trumpet trio from Detroit, and a 35 piece Salvation Army Band. Attendance was 5300 and 20 people came forward to give their lives to Christ.

This would be one of Graham's last speaking engagements for YFC. He was holding his own evangelistic meetings in various cities around the United States, besides serving as president of Northwestern Schools. A little over fourteen months later he would lead a campaign in Los Angeles that would make him nationally known to the general public. The following year, 1950, would see the incorporation of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Preparations for the rally. The large white cross has written on it, "Christ Died for Our Sins"

Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea
Graham, at the end of the rally, speaking to those who came forward Graham, at the end of the rally, speaking to those who came forward

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Last Revised: 07/01/13
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2013