The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association exhibit for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. It will house a theater seating 600 visitors and show a specially prepared Evangelistic film in wide screen TODD-AO.

Brochure Cover with Pavilion

Transcription of remarks made by members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and officials of the World's Fair at groundbreaking ceremonies for the Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World's Fair, Wednesday, April 17, 1963.

RICHARD C. PATTERSON, JR. {Chief of Protocol}: Dr. Graham, Mr. Moses and distinguished guests. May I introduce Mr. George Wilson, the executive vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Mr. Wilson.

GEORGE M. WILSON: This is a day for which we've been waiting and we're happy for the beautiful sunshine Mr. Graham has brought from Hawaii. Leading us in our opening prayer will be the director of our World's Fair project and a member of our team for a number of years, Mr. Dan Piatt.

DAN PIATT: May we pray? Our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee and we praise Thee for this privilege of coming into Thy presence. At the times when we need Thy help, especially today, we call upon Thee for wisdom, guidance, health -- and Lord, we pray for all who are in charge -- Mr. Moses and all who carry the great responsibilities. We pray, Lord, for our nation today, that as we come together at this World's Fair it will be a time of fellowship and enrichening of our position and our relationship to all nations. We pray, Lord, especially, that Thou will give us the opportunity to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands of people who come to this Fair.

Lord bless us today in this hour, for we ask it in Christ's name, Amen.

RICHARD PATTERSON: In 1940, Dr. Billy Graham was first ordained in the Baptist ministry. In the years since, his leadership in the religious life of America, and indeed of the world, has been firmly established. In 1950, the Bill Graham Evangelistic Association was founded, and since then, he has held major crusades nearly everywhere -- all over America and the world. His name and his work are known to human beings who are seeking spiritual guidance and inspiration in these very trying times. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the great honor to present Billy Graham. 

Billy Graham speaking at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. His listeners: (left to right) Robert Moses, Fair president, General William Potter, executive vice president of the Fair, Ambassador Richard C. Patterson, Jr., Chief of Protocol for the Fair.

Dr. Graham speaking at ceremony

BILLY GRAHAM: Mr. Peterson, Mr. Moses, General Potter, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great privilege for us here today. We could have had many more people attending this groundbreaking ceremony but we planned it once before and because of illness I was not able to come. We deeply appreciate your coming and we thank Mr. Moses, and the officials at this great World's Fair, for inviting us to participate.

We are living in a world of continuing crises and tension. Millions of people of all races are consciously or unconsciously searching for truth and reality. The New York World's Fair will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the Christian faith to present its message of peace and hope. We have accepted the invitation of the World's Fair to build an Evangelistic Pavilion where we can present the biblical message with the evangelistic emphasis that has characterized our ministry through the years. We do not intend to duplicate the effort of others.

Our pavilion will be unique in its simplicity; It is our fervent prayer that people from all walks of life and faiths will come, and will leave the pavilion profoundly impressed and strengthened by the message of Christ. Our pavilion will be unique in appearance; Mr. Edward Durell Stone has spared no effort in making it an architectural jewel in the heart of the greatest concentration of architectural designs in modern history.

It will be unique in its appeal; we intend to minister to all races and all cultures. There will be various rooms within the pavilion dedicated to nearly every part of the world. As the millions of visitors pour through these gates in 1964 and 1965 to attend the greatest Fair in history, they will be reminded of the moral and spiritual strengths that lie at the foundation of this republic.

This pavilion will also be a call to renew our faith in God, whether we be of Jewish, Catholic or Protestant faith, or whatever religious affiliation. We believe that man stands at the crossroads of eternity. A decision of vast importance must soon be made by the human race. Will it be the road of war and destruction, or the road to peace?

We are approaching the threshold of a materialistic paradise on earth, created by science or by an incomprehensible hell. We are hopeful that this pavilion will make some small contribution toward helping the world choose God and His road to peace. I have asked my long time friend Dr. Stephen Olford, who is the minister of the Calvary Baptist Church on 57th Street in Manhattan, if he will lead us in a prayer of dedication for this pavilion.

DR. STEPHEN OLFORD: Almighty God, Creator of all men, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ we thank Thee for all the circumstances that have combined to bring about this solemn and happy occasion and for the significance of that which we are about to do.

We thank Thee for the vision Thou hast given to those who invited Dr. Graham to come to the World's Fair. As we dedicate the ground for the building which is to rise on this site, our prayer is that it may be a temple of peace for those who are distressed; that it may be a pavilion of salvation to those who are lost and need a Transforming Savior. May it be a center of fellowship to those who have found no purpose in life.

And so we pray Thee that Thou wilt build this house. We thank Thee for the architects, for those who are responsible for the organization, for all those here who will be involved in conducting the meetings and the films. Our prayer is: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor but in vain to build it." We are asking Thy blessing upon this ceremony, upon the building that is to arise and upon the millions who will be touched through the outreach of this ministry.

The Lord bless this building in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We dedicate everything to Thee. May Thy smile and favor be upon the entire enterprise, from beginning to its completion. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord -- Amen. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Divine Spirit abide with us this day and forevermore. Amen.

RICHARD PATTERSON: Ladies and gentlemen, I should like to present for bows, two of Mr. Moses' colleagues. The first is Edward Durell Stone, world-famous architect of this pavilion. Mr. Stone.

The next colleague of our president is General William Potter, former governor of the Panama Canal Zone, and now executive vice president of the World's Fair. General Potter.

And now I give you another world figure, the Honorable Robert Moses.

ROBERT MOSES: Welcome, friends. I suppose I have said over and over again and most of you have heard that we regard this fair as a sort of "Olympics of Progress." We want all of the nations of the world to bring their best products here. This is not a diplomatic venture; it is not a matter of protocol; it's a matter of friendship. Of course high in the list of exhibitors are the religious organizations.

Now I've said previously that there has been some criticism on whether we are going to have a Coney Island at the Fair. We are not going to have anything remotely like it. There will be amusements; a Fair has to have well selected amusements.

Various religious organizations are represented here. Yesterday we had a meeting with Cardinal Spellman and his associates in connection with the Pieta and the other exhibits in the Vatican Pavilion. The Protestant churches are well represented. I am sorry to say that for reasons which I am unable to fathom, there seems to be no exhibit of the State of Israel.

I doubt whether anywhere there is anybody who hasn't heard about Billy Graham, and we are delight to have him here. He's got a good location and he's going to attract a tremendous number of people. We shall do anything we can to aid him in making a great success of this pavilion. All I can say is that this is a great day in the history of the Fair. Thank you.

RICHARD PATTERSON: Thank you, Mr. President.

Billy Graham driving the tractor that officially broke ground for construction of the Billy Graham Pavilion at the Fair. Robert Moses, Fair president, speaks to him from below.

Source: Groundbreaking Commemorative Brochure, NY World's Fair Corporation Publication

Billy Graham breaks ground


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