In Philadelphia, where historic churches abound, many an old pew was dusted off this month as converts from the Billy Graham crusade sought out regular places of worship.
Some 15,000 persons recorded decisions for Christ during the four-week crusade, which drew an aggregate attendance of more than half a million despite an unseasonably hot September. It was unquestionably the most far-reaching religious endeavor ever seen in the three-state Delaware Valley area.
Ministers were especially jubilant over the grass-roots impact of the crusade.
“It’s going to mean additional members for us,” said the Rev. A. Scott Hutchison, pastor of Third Baptist Church. “But, more important, it has resulted in a kindling of spiritual fire which will continue to grow.”
A district conference superintendent of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the Rev. Carl M. Schneider, observed that church people were beginning to show new concern for their neighbors as a result of crusade participation.
“This is the wholesome thing,” declared Schneider.
Clergymen’s lives also were touched, according to the Rev. Robert W. Bringherst, minister of Leverington Presbyterian Church, who said that within evangelical ranks the crusade greatly strengthened cooperation among denominational and independent ministers.
At least four ministers were known to have made new personal affirmations of faith during the crusade, including a platform guest who stepped down during Graham’s invitation.
Personal workers said more than 50 per cent of those making decisions were 20 years of age or under. One teen-age convert, destined for the Jesuit priesthood, enrolled in the Philadelphia College of Bible instead.
Graham team members were gratified at the number of Negroes who turned out ...1
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