North American Scene

Evangelist Billy Graham returned to his preaching roots last March during a Tampa, Florida, crusade. While attending Bible school in nearby Temple Terrace during the late 1930s, Graham preached his first sermon—to derelicts in a Tampa skid row district. The Florida Historical Society erected a commemorative marker on the site of those early street meetings during a ceremony attended by Graham, Florida Governor Bob Grahm, and Tampa area civic leaders. The five-day Tampa crusade attracted an average attendance of 35,000 and a closing Sunday crowd in Tampa Stadium of 52,000. Graham began a crusade in Sydney, Australia this month.

Over 550 Peoples Temple victims apparently would be buried in a cemetery near Mill Valley, California—the result of a frustrating search of several months by a Bay Area interfaith committee composed of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. Some cemetery officials denied burial of the victims (250 of whom were still unidentified) fearing their cemeteries would become tourist attractions or pilgrimage sites for cult members. A judge ruled that $300,000 in Temple assets should be spent for the burial, but proceedings awaited final approval of a court-appointed receiver for Temple property. The bodies remained in an airplane hangar at a Dover, Delaware, Air Force base.

Delegations of ten church leaders from the United States—mostly from the National Council of Churches—and from the Soviet Union, representing six Orthodox and Protestant denominations, met at World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva recently; they issued a joint statement calling for nuclear disarmament and approval of the SALT II accords. Its significance? The NCC notes this is the first such joint Soviet-U.S. statement. ...

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