Record Crowds Overflow Corpus Christi Arena for Franklin Graham Festival
More than 31,000 Hear Message of Hope in Texas City
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Aug. 22, 2005—Corpus Christi has a proud history of training many of the world’s greatest aviators, but faces an uncertain future with the possible closing of one of the local military bases. Over the weekend, Franklin Graham addressed those concerns and offered thousands of Texans a reason for hope.
Overflow audiences totaling 31,215 gathered at the American Bank Center for the three-day event (Aug. 19-21) known as the South Texas Festival 2005 with Franklin Graham. The Festival was the largest event ever held in the arena.
Each evening, Graham gave the Gospel message and spoke from his heart about spiritual issues impacting our culture. The Festival also included an eclectic range of music by award-winning artists Michael W. Smith, The Katinas, and Salvador.
During the Festival, 2,556 people responded to Graham’s invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ, marking one of the largest percentages of a response at a Graham Festival in the United States.
The local effort reflected the city’s name, which means “Body of Christ.” Hundreds of volunteers and 170 churches representing many denominations worked together with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, breaking down racial and denominational barriers to make the Festival a success.
Other highlights of the Festival included a special message from Mel Graham, Billy Graham’s nephew, as well as musical performances by the California-based Tommy Coomes Band, the world’s fastest flat-picker Dennis Agajanian, and a 1,000-voice local choir.
In addition to the nightly events, 5,297 children came to the Saturday morning kids program featuring “Bibleman” and The Katinas. Following the presentation, 549 children responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Christ.
While in Corpus Christi, Graham also spoke to hundreds of troops and civilians at the Naval Air Station in nearby Kingsville.
Corpus Christi was Graham’s sixth Festival this year. Including events in Australia, Paraguay, Angola, and Moldova, he has spoken to more than 430,000 people this year. His final Festival for 2005 will be Nov. 11-13 in Shreveport, La.
Franklin Graham, 53, is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that works in more than 100 countries.