Billy Graham to Speak in Memorial Church

Billy Graham, the internationally recognized Southern Baptist preacher and adviser to several presidents, will speak in Memorial Church this Sunday.

Graham, founder of Christianity Today and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), accepted the invitation made by Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Minister in the Memorial Church Peter J. Gomes.

The 80-year-old reverend will deliver an 11 a.m. sermon titled "The Real Meaning of the Cross." The Harvard Divinity School and the Institute of Politics will also sponsor an event called "An Evening with Billy Graham" this Monday at 7:30 P.m.

Ann Hall, director of communications for Memorial Church, said Monday night's speech will focus loosely on the relevance of the belief in God in the 21st century.

The reverend, once called "the most well-known man of God and faith in the world" by President Clinton, has advised several other prominent figures in the last half-century, including Presidents Truman, Nixon and Ford.

Graham and his wife, Ruth, won the Congressional Gold Medal in 1996.

The author of 18 books and the focus of several television specials, Graham has been criticized by groups of other faiths for his aggressive attitude on conversion, especially in foreign countries.

Graham last visited Harvard in 1982--invited because he was "an outstanding spokesman for the Christian faith, and I wanted to give him the chance to be heard more widely, especially at Harvard," Gomes said last Monday.

During that visit, Graham urged "peace in a nuclear age" at Yale, Harvard, Boston College and the University of Vermont as part of a two-month, eight-city crusade through New England.

Graham is making a special visit to the University this time.

"This is an occasion of recognition and honor to one of the great figures of the 20th century," Gomes said.