Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Songs, heartfelt words fill the Rev. Billy Graham's funeral

Rev. Billy Graham Rev. Billy Graham
Andrew Cummings | 06 March, 2018, 01:52

Mourners are gathering to pay their respects to the Rev. Billy Graham at a funeral that marks the culmination of more than a week of tributes to "America's Pastor".

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will attend the funeral and will be escorted by Graham's grandson, a Major in the United States Army.

After the service at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, the globetrotting preacher and spiritual confidant to American presidents will be buried beside his wife, Ruth, at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the library's Prayer Garden.

The noon service commenced with the evangelist's family bringing in his casket, followed by a renditions of some of Graham's favorite music.

The two USA leaders made a rare double appearance for the event, but did not speak, instead leaving it to Graham's adult children - all speakers or preachers in their own right - to remember "America's Pastor".

The bulk of official Washington - including Trump, Pence, half a dozen cabinet members and numerous 535 lawmakers in Congress - were in attendance, alongside Graham's relatives.

"America's pastor" is being laid to rest after being honored at Capitol Rotunda.

Anne Graham Lotz channeled her father's powerful manner of preaching, promising that she would dedicate her life to spreading the gospel as he did, saying she believed her father's death was "a shot across the bow from Heaven".

The Rev. Billy Graham's son Franklin has delivered the main funeral message at his father's funeral service, saying that the famous evangelist was the same at home as he appeared to millions around the world. "Graham was", he said.

Graham became the de facto White House chaplain to several US presidents, most famously Richard Nixon.

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Graham while he lay in repose at the Billy Graham Library on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Billy Graham's family says the casket was made with no upgrades, and only minor modifications to allow for easy transport.

Trump did not speak at the ceremony honoring Graham, who died February 21 at 99.

Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton came to the public viewing of Graham's casket in Charlotte earlier in the week.

Television host Kathie Lee Gifford, musician Ricky Skaggs and evangelist Rick Warren are among those who have come to the tent in Charlotte where the service is being held.

Still, loved ones said Graham saw himself as a humble preacher who would have been embarrassed by such fanfare.

Gifford told reporters that Graham always remained humble through his faith.

The funeral served as a Billy Graham crusade told through his children. "The Los Angeles Crusade", eight weeks of services, would help raise Graham to national prominence.

For now, more than a year into Mr. Trump's presidency, the two remain aligned.

Graham's son Franklin delivered the eulogy at the funeral.

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