The statue of Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham in downtown Nashville will be moved by LifeWay Christian Resources to North Carolina. The statue will be placed at LifeWay's Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center near Asheville, N.C. LifeWay said the decision to move the 9-foot-tall statue of Graham was prompted by the sale last year and move of the Christian publishing company's corporate campus to a smaller facility.
"Ridgecrest is a perfeDonated to LifeWay in 2006, the statue pays tribute to Graham's career as an author and evangelist. During the presentation of the statue at the Southern Baptist Convention, sculptor Terrell O'Brien said he "tried to bring the Gospel to the forefront in this sculpture and pay tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to preaching all over the world without compromise." ct location for the Graham statue," said Thomas Rainer, LifeWay president and CEO. "It is only a few miles from the home where Graham has lived most of his life, and it will welcome nearly 70,000 men and women who come to Ridgecrest every year for spiritual training and retreat."
"We have about 3 acres at our new facility," LifeWay spokesman Marty King said. "Contrasting that with the 15 acres at our old location, the mountainside retreat setting in North Carolina was the most optimal location."
In his six decades of television, Graham is principally known for hosting the annual Billy Graham Crusades, which he began in 1947, until he concluded in 2005, at the time of his retirement. He also hosted the popular radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954. He repudiates segregation and in addition to religious goals he helped shape the world view of fundamentalist and evangelicals, leading them to appreciate the relationship between the Bible and contemporary secular viewpoints.
Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (one of Graham's closest friends), and Richard Nixon. Graham, 97, lives in the mountains of North Carolina not far from LifeWay's retreat center.