One look at the 40-foot cross on the front of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., and you know that this place is different. Billy Graham Â¬– whose more than 70-year ministry has reached millions through Crusades, television, radio and Internet – followed God’s call to preach the Gospel. The Library that bears his name gives visitors a glimpse into the history behind the personal and public life of the world-famous pastor and ambassador to world leaders.
Built to resemble a barn symbolic of his humble beginnings on a nearby dairy farm, the main building on the property features The Journey of Faith tour where guests can see how God used a farm boy from North Carolina to share the love of Christ around the world.
The tour houses six exhibits, two theaters and four galleries of memorabilia from Graham’s decades of ministry. As guests take a walk into the past, they can explore the 1949 Crusade in Los Angeles that thrust Billy Graham into the national spotlight.
This same Crusade is where former Olympic star and World War II hero Louis Zamperini had a life-changing encounter with the Gospel. His story is told in the New York Times best-selling book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand which is available for purchase in Ruth’s Attic bookstore inside the Library.
Also in The Journey of Faith tour, as visitors enter the “Storm Warnings” exhibit, they find themselves standing on the street in front of an appliance store. Televisions flicker as guests watch Billy Graham offering comfort and hope to our nation during national tragedies. Clips include his remarks from the 2001 National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Fall is a spectacular time of year at the Billy Graham Library as the beauty of the changing season can be seen on the grounds. Visitors have the opportunity to reflect in the memorial prayer garden, where Billy’s late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, gospel music legend George Beverly Shea, and longtime Billy Graham Crusade music director, Cliff Barrows, are buried. Just a few steps away, the fully restored Graham Family Homeplace where Billy Graham spent his childhood is open to the public.
During their visit, guests can enjoy a delicious meal at the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, which features Mother Graham’s chicken salad, the “Billy Frank” hot dog, fresh salads, soups, cookies and homemade pound cake. Ruth’s Attic bookstore offers a variety of Bibles, books authored by Graham family members, biographies, classic sermons on DVD, music, apparel, and unique gifts. Active-duty service members with their military ID or in uniform receive 10-percent discount on all purchases in both the bookstore and the dairy bar.
Continuing Mr. Graham’s long-time dedication to the armed forces, the Library will also honor veterans with its annual Veteran’s Breakfast on Nov. 10. This free event includes breakfast, and uplifting message and time of fellowship. Call 704-401-3200 for details on this event and others or to reserve your spot.
It’s not too soon to start making your holiday plans. Mark your calendar now for the annual Christmas at the Library Celebration. The event, which runs from Dec. 1-23, has been voted a Top 100 Event in the U.S. seven times by the American Bus Association and draws more than 40,000 visitors each year from across the Southeast and around the world. Admission and parking is free.
Complete with a live Nativity, guests to the Library can also enjoy holiday favorites including horse-drawn carriage rides through one of Charlotte’s most beautiful light displays, the heartwarming sounds of caroling and festive music, story time for children of all ages, holiday goodies, exclusive Library ornaments and holiday shopping. A special Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings is also offered (check www.billygrahamlibrary.org/christmas-at-the-library for dates, times and pricing).
More than 1.2 million people from around the world have visited the Library since it’s opening in 2007. After touring the galleries and exhibits, one visitor stated, “I appreciate how many times we were reminded this was about God and not Billy — although we appreciate everything he did and his work.” And another commented, “Love the heart and message that is echoed in the experience. It’s great to know that Jesus is at the center of it all.”