It has been decided that the location for the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade would be moved from Madison Square Garden to Flushing Meadows Park. From June 24-26, the Executive Committee re-planned the three-day outreach event to match the new circumstances.
"I am delighted by the decision to move the crusade meetings to Flushing Meadows," said Mr. Graham. "It is the site of two world’s fairs -- now the whole world is there. I’m told that the surrounding neighborhood is the most international community in the country, with 130 language groups within walking distance of the park."
The Crusade Committee, made up of local pastors and business leaders, has made reservations at Madison Square Garden as early as last Setpember. Based upon the high level participantions of over 1,000 churches in the pre-crusade preparations, the executive committee recognized the need to re-locate the event to a larger outdoor venue.
“We have gone through a diligent process and God’s sovereignty led us to the right place,” said Dr. A. R. Bernard, pastor of The Christian Cultural Center, who serves as crusade chair. “Through this crusade we want to gather as many individuals as possible to hear Mr. Graham's Gospel message of hope and forgiveness, and to direct the local churches to follow-up on everyone who responds to his invitation to make a commitment to Christ.”
According to Crusade Director Art Bailey, City officials and crusade organizers concluded that the most appropriate venue is Flushings Meadows Park for Graham's outreach.
“After good faith discussions with Park officials, it became obvious that Flushing Meadows Park is the best option throughout the City to accommodate the anticipated crowds,” Bailey said.
“This location is a crossroads that has drawn people from all over the world; today, people from virtually every language group live in the neighborhood,” said Rev. Robert Stearns, president of Eagle’s Wings ministry. “Jesus told the church to ‘Go into all the world to preach the Gospel’ – now we are able to do so from one location.”
The chair of the crusade Pastor's committee, Rev. Bob Johansson, voiced that this positions Graham's crusade for global impact.
“The Unisphere, the symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair, can become a symbol for this crusade -- ‘One world, one hope, one Gospel,’” he said.