Recovering Graham Expected to Speak at K.C. Crusades Facing Postponement

( [email protected] ) May 21, 2004 12:45 AM EDT

Evangelist Billy Graham is in fair condition after completing a successful surgery to stabilize a pelvic fracture he suffered after falling in his home on May 14, according to a statement released on May 20. The General Committee of the Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade unanimously voted that day to continue with the Kansas City Crusade even if postponing Graham’s appearance dates is necessary.

“Billy Graham has expressed his burden and passion for coming to Kansas City, and we want to reiterate our commitment to him, by giving him time to get well,” said Richard Hastings, CEO of St. Luke’s Health System and Crusade chair. “We very much want him to come and preach -- even if he has to sit in a chair.”

The committee is considering alternative dates, according to Hastings.

Mike Whitehead, legal counsel for the crusade committee, said the June 17 date provided a very short lead time to prepare for the crusade.

Various contracts will need to be renegotiated and revised once a new date is determined, said Whitehead, but “a postponement for Dr. Graham’s recuperation will provide extra time to permit more prayer and more participation by Kansas City-area churches and ministries.”

“This is an opportunity for churches across metro-Kansas City and throughout the five states in America’s heartland for further prayer, mobilization and mission to make Billy Graham’s last great evangelistic effort in mid-America the greatest it could possibly be,” said Hastings.

In the last six decades of crusade evangelism, read the statement, Mr. Graham has missed surprisingly few meetings due to health considerations. Only once in recent memory has a crusade been postponed to allow him to return and preach at a later date -- resulting in a far greater response and attendance than originally anticipated.

Graham has taken the unfortunate fall to be “from the Lord”, said Hastings.

Backed by optimistic reports from Dr. C. Michael LeCroy, M.D., orthopedic traumatologist of Asheville, N.C., who said Graham is “recovering nicely”, Hastings concluded, “We are committed to moving forward with this evangelistic effort that is currently supported by nearly 750 churches representing 53 denominations.”

Rehab is expected to begin on May 21. There are no reports thus far on how Graham’s condition and hospitalization will affect the his scheduled appearance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., July 29-Aug. 1.