LONDON, England (EP) – Evangelist Billy Graham withdrew his scheduled appearance at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Manila, on July 11-20, in order to extend his stay in England where he drew record breaking crowds.
Crowds jammed two central London locations each night during the first six meetings Graham held. Attendance records were broken on three consecutive nights. Over 29,000 packed the Crystal Palace National Sports Center for a series of extended meetings. The crowd broke a stadium record set in 1982, when 27,000 came to hear an address given by Pope John Paul II.
Graham has traditionally allowed last minute opportunities to preach the gospel take precedence over prescheduled appearances before Christians. Graham sent a videotaped address to Lausanne where he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker.
The crusade held in London was the largest crowd ever attracted by Billy Graham. “There’s a spirit of renewal throughout this country for which many have been praying,” he explained. “I’ve never seen people respond so earnestly, quietly and reverently as we have here.”
“We feel there is great momentum,” said the Rev. Richard Bewes, rector of one of London’s leading Church of England parishes. “It will not be so much of a celebration or even an au revoir, but will go flat out to evangelize and preach the gospel.”
Graham’s addresses, reaching thousands in attendance and millions via “Livelink” satellite, have been a rallying point for Christian leaders in Britain and have resulted in over 50,000 responses to Graham’s invitations to receive Christ as personal savior.