Mission England 25th celebration in Norwich
By Keith Morris
2009: Several hundred people have celebrated the 25th anniversary of American evangelist Dr Billy Graham preaching to over 63,000 people over four nights at Carrow Road football stadium in Norwich back in 1984 as part of Mission England.
The 2009 Mission England celebrations were held at Norwich Cathedral on the evening of Saturday June 6.
A congregation of over 250 heard speakers including Bishop Gavin Reid (pictured right with host John Drake) and Rev Hugh Palmer, Rector of All Souls, Langham Place in London.
Both were heavily involved in Mission England in 1984 and Gavin remains the Chair of the National Board of Mission England.
Rev Hugh Palmer (pictured right) spent nine years in Norfolk, first as a curate at Holy Trinity, Norwich
, and later going on to become Bishop Maurice Wood's Chaplain for Mission and Training.
Helping to organise the celebration was John Drake, chief executive of YMCA Norfolk who said: “Many came to a new faith and many more were strengthened in their commitment back in 1984. It was a truly inspiring event.
“We met to celebrate God's faithfulness over the last 25 years. The evening included worship, led by Sue Kent
(pictured right), stories of changed lives, and encouragement.”
Entitled 25 Years of God's Faithfulness, the celebration event reflected back on the momentous events of a quarter-of-a-century ago, what happened afterwards and the on-going legacy today.
Also interviewed during the event by Tony Mallion were Norwich City FC chaplain Bert Cadmore, founder and past chairman of the Norfolk Christian Youth Football League Tim Stapleford and the Rev Dan Waite of St Andrew's, Gorleston.
From June 9 to 12, 1984, in Norwich, no less than 850 churches were involved, raising the £175,000 cost and providing 4,500 volunteers including 1,456 counsellors and a 1,745-strong choir plus administrators, youth leaders and stewards.
It was part of the major three-month Mission England crusade which saw over one million people hear the well-known American preacher in six football stadiums across the country also including Roker Park, Anfield, Villa Park, Ashton Gate and Portman Road.
Almost 100,000 people responded to Billy's message, over the 12 weeks, including over 3,700 in Norwich.