(Augusta ME) I was in the crowd today as Franklin Graham’s Decision America 2016 Tour came to Maine on a sunny Tuesday.
Part of the reason for going was getting an invite from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to attend a reception prior to the rally.
I wondered at first why I had even gotten an invitation for such an event. Later I surmised that long-time donors to BGEA made the list. My wife and I decided many years ago that tithing was important and that we needed to be supporting worthwhile ministries on a monthly basis. BGEA was on our list and we may have been contributing to them for over thirty years.
The reception was at the Governor Hill Mansion starting at 10:30AM. I was there just after 9AM! Not real familiar with Augusta. Not sure about parking. Rather be early than rushing around late.
I was so early that there was hardly anyone there. I checked in and had a muffin and then decided to go out and enjoy a sunny, cool morning.
I got back about 10:15 to find the Columbus Room nearly filled. I found a seat on the outside aisle about halfway up. Good spot for picture taking.
After a short intro, Franklin came on. He delivered plenty of stories about the different ministries BGEA is involved in. Nothing makes a contributor happier than to learn about how their financial support makes a difference.
After Franklin’s half hour another gentleman spoke briefly about some gifts that each of us would get as we left. One was a prayer journal. I appreciated the fact that the BGEA staff was aware of the sunshine outside and that a ten-minute walk was in our future. They offered bottles of cold water to each of us. Very considerate.
The main rally was supposed to be at the State Capitol but BGEA couldn’t get a permit for it because of the expected size of the crowd. So the event was across the street at the Capitol Park.
What was nice about that spot was that there were plenty of trees providing plenty of shade. The crowd estimate was 3,200 but I wonder how any figuring could have been done.
I realized quickly that I would not be able to get close enough to the stage to get any kind of picture. My goal was to get Franklin before he got to the stage. But where would he be coming from? I figured that mystery out shortly after I figured out where their tour bus was. Outside the bus was what looked like security so I knew he was on the bus and would be coming my way. That information set up a couple of pretty good pictures.
Prior to Franklin’s stage arrival a singer named Dennis Agajanian performed.
Franklin spoke forcefully. He made it clear that he didn’t trust either the Democrats or the Republicans. He also had nothing good to say about the current administration. He made it clear that we needed to trust in God. He stressed the importance of prayer. He also spelled out the salvation message. It was all good stuff for sure.
At a gathering of this type you always wonder if there might be some kind of protest. The only evidence I saw of someone not enthralled with what was going on was a lady carrying a sign that said, “Unabashed Atheist.”
This was the 37th state that Franklin has visited. He’ll end in North Carolina in October. Tomorrow he’ll be in Vermont and Thursday in New York. He’ll be in Massachusetts next Tuesday and I may take the train in, from Newburyport, to be there.
The visit today to Augusta was informative and uplifting. The BGEA is doing some terrific things.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)