Today would have been the 100th birthday of Rev. Billy Graham. I say “would have been” because that’s the way we talk about a person who has died. However, this past year when he took his final breath on earth, he was taking his first in heaven. This past May I was able to visit the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, Ashville, North Carolina. In the small museum on the lower level of the chapel were the words Rev. Graham used to describe his own mortality.
The Cove, Asheville, North Carolina
When you visit the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove you will immediately discover the simplicity, solitude, and serenity of the grounds as you approach the front gate. The Cove was founded more than 30 years ago as a place of “impact, intercession, and inspiration along with a destination for rest and renewal.” Rev. Graham and Ruth both had a vision and it is still very much alive in the beauty known as The Cove.
Ruth’s Prayer Garden
Ruth Bell Graham loved the beauty of flowers, plants, and native shrubs. In her honor there is a beautiful Prayer Garden covering 1.5 acres . Take your time to stroll through the garden and enjoy the variety of species and the array of color.
The Chatlos Memorial Chapel at The Cove
The steeple stands 87 foot above the Chatlos Memorial Chapel roof and is topped with a cross that catches the sunlight in stark contrast to the skyline. This is one of those places that the minute I saw it, lyrics of songs began to fill my head with praise. “Take Me to the Cross and I Can Find My Way From There,” “The Way of the Cross Leads Home,” “Lift High the Cross,” and “There’s Room at the Cross for You.”
Touring the Chapel
On the day of my tour I was with my sister Mahala, and a friend, Linda. The Volunteer Guide led us quietly into the chapel – and we were immediately in a place of worship. There were no other guests. Asking if we could play the Steinway Piano, we were granted permission. For the next hour or more, we sang praises, recalled spiritual impact stories, and worshipped together in this beautiful place.
Mahala and Linda played several songs, and then Mahala played one of our Dad’s songs, “Because of Calvary, I’ll Live Forever.”
At the back of the chapel is a staircase leading up to a Prayer Room. While Mahala and Linda continued playing the piano, I went there.
As you enter the room of prayer, there is the verse before you on the wall, a lighted globe, and notecards for writing prayer requests. The room is conducive to kneeling and placing your petitions before the Lord. As you turn to leave the room, there is an additional reminder from scripture, that we have a Father who is ABLE.
On the lower level of the Chapel is a small museum
Just a few hours before I had come to The Cove, I had stood at the base of a statue of Rev. Graham on the grounds of Ridgecrest Conference Center. The statue depicts him in a pose that to those who through the years have seen and heard him preach, recognize as his plea to people to come to the cross, come to Jesus, “Just as I am.”
On this the 100th year anniversary of the birth of Rev. Billy Graham, I am passionate to share with you the message of the cross that he proclaimed throughout his life. Perhaps millions have already come to the cross seeking Jesus and the forgiveness of sin which only He can give, but I want you to know “There’s Room at the Cross for You.”
Standing in that beautiful chapel, I sang the words that had been inscribed at the foot of that statue. These words are for you if you do not already have an assurance of where you’ll spend eternity.
Admission to the Cove is free. Your tour guide will be a volunteer. At the gate you will speak to security personnel about your visit and they will direct you to the Chapel.
Have you visited the Cove? I’m going there again tomorrow and can’t wait to see the fall colors. Have you been there when there was snow on the grounds? If so, I’d love to see your pictures.