Billy Graham Remembered By Visits To Charleston


Citadel Square Baptist Church in downtown Charleston is where the voice of a world religious leader comforted a damaged city.

"I think our minds and our hearts did turn to God both in South Carolina and in California. And it seemed that both coasts felt the impact. Spiritual impact," said Rev. Billy Graham in an audio recording. It was posted on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

Reverend Graham preached from the pulpit in November 1989, less than two months after Hurricane Hugo ravaged the state. The title of his sermon: Hope In Distress And Devastation.

"He's a genteel, Southern gentleman. He was affable. And likeable," said Dr. Peter Beck, a professor of Christian Studies at Charleston Southern University. "Billy Graham spoke and in one sense he spoke for Protestant Evangelicals in the late 20th Century."

Dr. Beck has researched the man and his messages, including a stop at what was once Baptist College for the dedication of the L. Mendel Rivers Library on October 29, 1970. Dr. Beck believes Graham became more influential as he grew older.

"He matured. He mellowed. And so he was able to build bridges across denominational lines, across national lines that maybe no other living theologian or pastor right now can do," he said.

It’s a legacy he believes will continue to foster positive relations with people of all races and religions.

"Billy Graham is going to be one of those figures that transcends history for us," Beck said.

And his legacy lives on.The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a non-profit group that ministers in times of crisis.The group recently announced it sent two chaplains to the North Charleston Police Department to offer emotional and spiritual care to people grieving the tragic deaths of Officer Ryan MacCluen and a police dog.

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