Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has issued this tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham after the evangelist’s death:
The phrase “a big tent” is often used to suggest gracious openness and respect for varieties and diversities of people and perspectives. It reflects the sentiment of the old spiritual that says, “There’s plenty good room in my Father’s kingdom.”
The crusades and ministry of the Rev. Billy Graham was a big tent, a revival tent — big, gracious, welcoming, and deeply grounded in the love that is the way of Jesus.
Before it was popular or widely accepted, Billy Graham required that his crusades must be interracial without a hint of segregation in the body of Christ at worship. Before the ecumenical movement had really taken hold in the culture, Billy Graham’s crusades were intentionally ecumenical. He was spiritual advisor to presidents and leaders of the nation, from both political parties, from many persuasions. As a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, he related to people of many faiths with genuine respect and a manner of love, reflecting the very spirit and teaching of Jesus.
He was truly a man of God, a follower of Jesus, and a witness that there really is a more excellent way for the human family.
May we follow his example as he followed the way of Jesus. And now may a chorus of angels sing, as they always did at the crusades he led,
Just as I am,
Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea,
Thine alone, O Lamb of God,