- (Photo: billygrahamlibrary.org via The Christian Post)
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is inviting visitors to Charlotte, N.C., to visit the new "Billy Graham: God's Ambassador to World Leaders" exhibit at The Billy Graham Library, which documents the evangelist's meetings and interaction with various leaders from across the world during his career.
Tom Phillips, vice president of The Billy Graham Library, shared with The Christian Post that the purpose of the exhibit is to show "how a humble dairy farmer's son became an ambassador for Christ to numerous world leaders and every U.S. president since World War II."
Phillips noted that visitors to the "Billy Graham" exhibit will be able to see letters, gifts, personal photos and other rare memorabilia showing the powerful effect Graham managed to have on important figures through prayer, counsel and compassion.
"Political affiliation was not a factor in Billy Graham's encounters with presidents," Phillips continued. "His focus was being an ambassador…an ambassador of prayer, hope, service, friendship, truth and the Gospel. And, it is those "pillars" that are the focus of the exhibit – prayer, hope, service, friendship, truth and the Gospel – the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ."
The VP noted that visitors will be able to read informative panels which detail the evangelist's meetings with U.S presidents from Truman to Obama, and world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sir Winston Churchill and more.
"Visitors will not only see rare memorabilia, but they will see the heart behind Mr. Graham's ministry – that he was not thinking about his political philosophy or personality, but about his need for God's help and his reliance on God's Spirit," Phillips concluded.
The exhibit, which runs through to Oct. 31, shares in great detail the circumstances behind many of these meetings, such as former President Richard Nixon attending a Billy Graham event in Knoxville, Tenn., in May 1970 that attracted 75,000 people. That was where Nixon met Graham for the first time.
McClatchy reports that Graham, now 93, first started his service in 1947, and in his lifetime has met 11 U.S. presidents.
"Sometimes his spiritual outreach has taken public form, as when he prayed at Bill Clinton's inauguration or gave a speech at Washington's National Cathedral after 9/11. But Graham has also played a quiet, private role in the lives of these men and their loved ones, serving as spiritual adviser, pastor and friend to presidents of both political parties," it notes.
Of his interaction with world leaders, Graham has said: "We sometimes forget that some of the loneliest people in the world are those who are in the public eye. They have spiritual needs just like everyone else."
The Billy Graham Library first opened its doors on Thursday, May 31, 2007, and more than 550,000 visitors have since attended the facility.