Billy Graham Retires From Ministry

ByABC News
November 21, 2000, 9:54 AM

M I N N E A P O L I S, Nov. 21 -- The Rev. Billy Graham, Americas best known evangelist, is stepping down from the head of the ministry he founded a half-century ago.

His son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, has been named chief executiveofficer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which was founded in 1950.

The elder Graham, who turned 82 this month, will remainchairman of the board and hopes to conduct several crusades nextyear.

He was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease about six years ago. He spent three months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., earlier this year after a crusade in Nashville.

A spokeswoman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association saysthe elder Graham felt that the time had come to let his 48-year-oldson take charge.

As a teenager, the younger Graham rebelled against his father and was expelled from college, but he has long since embraced his fathers fundamentalist conservative values.

Franklin Graham also will continue to head his own ministry the Samaritans Purse international relief organization.

Billy Graham will continue to live in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife of 57 years, Ruth Graham.