PHOTOS: ‘A major breakthrough’ in England

Blackpool is on England’s west coast, bordering the Irish Sea. Billy Graham held a Crusade there in 1982, in the same venue where Franklin Graham preached over the weekend.
For months leading up to the Lancashire Festival of Hope in Blackpool, England, activists protested the event. That didn’t stop hundreds from attending, and thousands more watched online through the live stream. Inside the Winter Gardens Opera House Sunday, a joyful noise could be heard from the lobby outside.
Michael W. Smith shared with the crowd that he lost a dear friend earlier this year. That friend was Billy Graham, he said, before singing “Friends Are Friends Forever.”
One of the sweetest moments of any Festival is seeing children curious to know more about Jesus Christ. For every person who walks forward at the invitation, he or she receives the Gospel of John and guidance for growing in their faith.
Over the course of the three-day Festival, an estimated 9,000 people made their way to the event in person, while nearly 50,000 watched the live stream online.
“We are all poor without God. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have; we are all spiritually poor without God,” Franklin Graham said.
Across the street from the Festival, a few dozen protesters showed up the first two nights, with a smaller group gathering the final night. Inside the venue, the Gospel was shared as always. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” —Isaiah 55:11
An estimated 2,700 people came to the final night of the Lancashire Festival of Hope in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens complex. Another 35,000 people watched the event online.
By the end of the Festival, hundreds had started a relationship with Jesus, either walking forward at the event or indicating their decision online.
In the months prior to the Blackpool Festival, local leaders prayed for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The genuine response of those in attendance Sunday night represented many answered prayers.
The Tommy Coomes Band prepares to sing one last song before introducing Franklin Graham.
More than 200 churches and 1,300 church members were involved in the preparations for the Lancashire Festival of Hope. “If you talk to any pastor or church leader, they’re grinning from ear to ear about what happened this weekend. It was a major breakthrough,” said Vicar Steve Haskett of St John’s Blackpool.
“Growing up, I didn’t want God in my life,” Franklin Graham said. After having a lot of fun, “you’d wake up the next morning and something was missing.” Is something missing in your life?
Lara Martin started off the night with her son by her side to help lead worship.
“We’re here tonight … to celebrate the goodness of God,” Michael W. Smith said.
You don’t need a special reason to talk to God, Franklin Graham said, encouraging new Christians to talk to Him regularly. Start your own relationship with God by welcoming His Son, Jesus Christ, into your life.