October 5, 2006
If Billy Graham has been the agent of spiritual birth for
thousands, his own family continues to have an influence on the
masses. Last weekend Canada experienced the Graham family legacy in
Toronto and Victoria, as daughter Anne and grandson Will both led
Anne Graham Lotz, 58, was the keynote speaker at the women's
conference 'Just Give Me Jesus' (JGMJ) held September 29 - 30 in
Toronto's Air Canada Centre. In an interview on CBC's The Hour,
Lotz stated, "My primary gifting and call is not evangelism. I know
that may be confusing for some. The evangelist is like an
obstetrician, one who oversees births, I'm more like a
pediatrician, helping new believers grow up."
Like her father, Lotz is very clear about her message, "The
message is one word: Jesus," she said emphatically. "I believe the
Bible is God's word." It was a word that thousands of mostly women
eagerly listened to in Toronto, with what appeared to be a nearly
full Air Canada Centre (the venue holds 20,000).
Brigitte Foisy, co-chair of public relations for JGMJ, said she
was very surprised by the number of nationalities represented
there, "including many from the Arab community. I was also
impressed that there was no one age group. All ages were
She said thousands of response cards were flooding in, and over
200 follow-up Bible studies are currently being organized by JGMJ
in the Greater Toronto area. The studies begin October 16, and each
one lasts seven weeks.
"It all represents a year's worth of preparation," said Foisy,
"with concerted effort made to reach out to the Arab community and
others. Numerous churches were involved."
At exactly the same time in Victoria, Anne's nephew Will Graham,
the 31-year-old son of Franklin and grandson of Billy, led
thousands of youth at the large Save On Foods Centre in an event
ignition.' It marked the culmination of
months of youth events.
Dion Collins, spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association of Canada, which organized the series of events, told
CC.com, "All our expectations were exceeded with 4500 tickets sold,
and around 200 people, mostly teenagers making decisions for
Christ" in response to Will's talk.
"The results," said Collins, "doesn't even take into account
that around 50 churches from the Greater Victoria area played a
role in Epicentre' 15 of which were essential. We
trained 275 counselors as well."
Back in Toronto, Lotz followed in her father's footsteps in one
other regard, by giving a speech over lunch to Canada's business
elite at the Empire Club in Toronto -- a venue that had hosted her
father 11 years previous.
The Canadian Press reported that Lotz shared the head table with
"top Bay St. investment managers and business executives, including
the head of Caldwell Securities and a top official at Research in
Motion, the company that developed the Blackberry."
It was also reported that the event had to be moved to the Metro
Convention Centre to accommodate a crowd of about 450, "roughly
twice the number usually attending the club's luncheons at a
John Niles, president of the club and a United Church minister,
called on those present to contribute financially to Lotz's revival
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada