South Georgia reacts to Graham's last crusade - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia reacts to Graham's last crusade

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June 26, 2005

Albany- The man known as America's pastor delivers his last crusade sermon in the United States Sunday. Billy Graham has made no direct reference to saying good bye during the first two days of sermons in New York. That changed Sunday night.

South Georgia residents who have experienced one of Graham's crusades say it's an inspiring experience.

"There were about a million people there and it was in Seoul, Korea and my dad was stationed at an army base," said Suzanne Unger, of Albany.

"It was just a tremendous throng of people. But there's also a sense of reverence, the music was powerful, seeing him was powerful," said Rev. Mike McAfee, of First United Methodist Church in Albany.

"It was real exciting to see Billy Graham, from way far off," said Unger.

The announcement that Sunday could be Graham's last speech in the U.S. isn't discouraging those who say his message will carry on.

"He's a man who has had the integrity of life all of his ministry. And the influence of his spirit will go on and on," said McAfee.

"I think his ministry will carry on with his son, Franklin Graham and from the many that have heard him," said Unger.

Graham, who is 86, is believed to have preached to more than 210 million people in 185 countries. Local ministers say his message to the masses has helped their churches to grow.

"There's a tremendous effort that those who make a response in the crusade are related to a local church. He probably works harder at that then most people realize," said McAfee.

That growth they feel won't be slowed by Graham's departure from the spotlight.

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