- (Photo: AP / Asheville Citizen-Times, Steve Dixon)
The much anticipated Billy Graham Library is slated to open its cross entrance to the public mid-June.
Nearly two years in the making, the barn-shaped library in Charlotte, N.C., is getting its finishing touches, including a re-recording of a talking mechanical cow.
"We're re-recording the voice," the Rev. Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said during a tour on Friday, according to the local Asheville Citizen-Times. It sounded like a Yankee cow, and we are in Charlotte.
The cow, named Bessie, is one of several aspects of the library that had raised concerns with the rest of the Graham family. The Grahams were not all happy about the feeling of a "tourist attraction" and mailing lists for donations throughout the library.
Rather than a museum, however, the library with its structure styled after a dairy barn much like the one Billy Graham grew up around is meant to serve as an ongoing evangelistic ministry, continuing Billy Graham's 60-year service of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Franklin Graham stressed.
Wooden beams at the main entrance are etched with Scriptures such as "By Gods grace you are saved through faith" and several multimedia presentations will present the elder Graham and his ministry. The final video greeting visitors is a compilation of several Graham crusades during the 1970s.
I think there are people who will get out of their seats and come forward to the screen and give their hearts to Christ, said the younger Graham, the local newspaper reported. It is so moving.
Counselors will be available at the end of the tour to talk to converts about their decision.
Admission is free and Franklin Graham plans to keep it that way. The $27 million library is being funded through donations and the evangelistic association is still about $10 million short of its goal, according to Citizen-Times.
Both the elder and younger Grahams broke grounds in August 2005 for the new ongoing "ministry." The library is scheduled to be dedicated on May 31 with former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.