Billy Graham Library Unveils Kinkade Mural, Other Enhancements
CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — After being closed for several months of renovations, the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., today showcased new additions and changes to the facility, including a 15-by-31-foot mural called “The Cross” by renowned artist Thomas Kinkade. Hosted by Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), the event also highlighted other significant additions to the facility, which officially reopens to the public tomorrow, April 21.
Tuesday’s ceremony presented the Kinkade mural, thousands of books from Mr. Graham’s personal library, and other artifacts, such as his desk and chair, a Bible he used for preparing sermons and one of his briefcases. New video presentations feature a welcome from Franklin Graham, a glimpse at the current ministry activities of BGEA – representing Billy Graham’s ongoing legacy – and testimonies of those whose lives God has touched through the evangelist’s ministry.
“This Library is a ministry, and that’s what we wanted. That’s what we intended,” said Franklin Graham in remarks at the event, held inside the lobby of the Billy Graham Library. “And these changes that we have made have strengthened the ministry. There is a clear presentation of the Gospel as you go through from room to room.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Billy Graham’s long-time associate Cliff Barrows, members of the Graham family and other friends and donors of the ministry. Barrows, 87, has served as music and program director for Billy Graham Crusades since their very beginning in the 1940s.
Kinkade, whose popular work is inspired by his strong Christian faith, created the mural specifically for the Billy Graham Library. The mural dominates the wall immediately following the finale theater, drawing visitors’ attention to a hilltop cross, the focal point of an expansive landscape.
“As I began working on it, one thing and one thing only kept being preeminent,” said Kinkade before he unveiled the original oil painting from which the mural was made. “It was the cross. And that was so relevant to me as an individual because as I looked at that painting I kept saying, ‘Well, that’s what I need – the cross.’ That’s what all of us need. The cross. There’s the hope. That’s the only hope.” Kinkade revealed that his own mother had decided to follow Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade.
The mural is not Kinkade’s first gift to Billy Graham’s ministry. In 1997 the artist presented Mr. Graham with the original framed canvas for his work, “Light of Peace,” having been commissioned by the San Jose Billy Graham Crusade Committee to create a special painting for Mr. Graham.
The Billy Graham Library was dedicated in May 2007 at a ceremony attended by Mr. Graham and three former presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.
After the reopening ceremony today, the ministry held a private dinner attended by Billy Graham and friends of the ministry.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., BGEA directs a wide range of domestic and international ministries. For more information, please visit www.billygraham.org. Get BGEA news updates on Twitter @ Twitter.com/BGEAMediaPR.
SOURCE Billy Graham Evangelistic Association