Local pastors reflect on Billy Graham's legacy

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "All the troubles of America and the world stem from the fact that we, as a human race, have sinned against Almighty God;" Words from Christian evangelist Billy Graham, who died Wednesday morning at the age of 99.

Life magazine called Rev. Graham one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th century.

He's also credited with bringing the "Born Again" religious movement into the American mainstream.

The following is a recollection of some of his words and remembrances from two local ministers who either knew him or knew of him.

"I'd like to go to heaven.  I'm looking forward to it."

Rev. Billy Graham passed away at his cabin in the hills of North Carolina. He brought his message of god's grace and his crusade to Cleveland.

Rev. C.J. Matthews has been pastor of the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church for 30 years.

"It's a challenging day for Christianity, but at the end of the day, all of us know that God has given him the grace that allows him hear the words of the Lord say, well done."

Rev. Matthews was part of the ministerial committee that greeted Rev. Graham the last time he held a crusade here. Rev. Matthews remembers sitting down and talking at length with the world renown religious leader.

"When I challenged him, in my own little way, on the idea of civil rights and social justice it was just interesting the stories that he told me about some of the things that he did. But those were not his primary focus or mission, those were just things he did it was the right thing to do."

It is little known fact that Rev. Graham once bailed Dr. King out of jail.

Again, Rev. Matthews: "He was the one person that knew exactly what God raised him up to do and he did it."

"The son of God..."

"Billy Graham is somebody I watched on TV as a boy."

Rev. Kenneth Chalker of the University Circle United Methodist Church never met him, but he, like millions of others, was no stranger to his prophetic preaching.

"He traveled the world and impacted the world. If not for people agreeing with him, with people accepting him as a person who was sincere, authentic and who cared about people."

"You just thank God for a life like that, that has had such a positive impact on millions."

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.