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Public invited to official launch on March 29th to learn how to be involved

It was a public event at which the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed that transformed Mike Lee’s life – leading him into career as a pastor who has served in London churches for the past 33 years.

And so Lee is very excited that his RidgeView Community Church is one of a growing number of local churches partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC) to organize a major outreach initiative this fall led by the late Mr. Graham’s grandson Will.

The London Celebration with Will Graham is planned for Nov. 7&8 at London’s Budweiser Gardens.

“I am one person that has been changed by an encounter with Jesus as a teenager,” said Lee, a member of the Celebration’s local organizing committee. “It started with one person being bold enough to invite me to a proclamation event. My children and their children continue in the Christian journey of life and influence. My life as a minister in London has given me the opportunity to touch so many lives.”

A Celebration with Will Graham is a multi-phase ministry that trains Christians for evangelism, disciples student believers, and encourages Christ followers to bring their friends and family members to three nights of life-changing outreach featuring international Christian bands and Will Graham’s message.

A public launch event is planned for March 29 at 7:30 at London’s Gateway Church at 890 Sarnia Road. Christians throughout the London area are welcome to come to the launch to learn about the Celebration’s various phases during the next few months, and how people from the region can be involved.

Lee said London needs a Celebration because Londoners – including many who are truly struggling – need Christ.

“London suffers with an increasing drug and homelessness crisis,” he said. “My wife works in health care, and the dollars and hospital hours and services exhausted on clients that are in need of medical intervention due to drugs is staggering and demoralizing. The stress associated with abusive demands that will be repeated sometimes every few weeks is taking its toll on the front line workers.

“Emergency departments are often filled with police officers trying to mitigate some of the unpredictable actions and verbal assaults on staff trying to meet the medical needs. We need fresh responses to meet a growing critical need in our city. London needs Jesus!

Lee said London’s church denominations have become increasingly willing to work together in sharing the love of Jesus Christ throughout the region, and so he believes many denominations will partner with the BGEAC to organize the Celebration.

“I have seen a significant change in the spiritual climate here in London in my 33 years of ministry at two different churches. Denominational lines have been significantly blurred – making cross-denominational events so much easier. The mindset is changing from ‘my kingdom’ to God’s Kingdom. While we may have some differences in theology, we are no longer threatened and divided by those differences.”

Dan Toner, the BGEAC’s director for the London Celebration, is very excited about its potential impact.

“After attending a recent ‘Christian Churches Network of London’ meeting and hearing the vision for the city, I know the Celebration will help bring unity, deepen relationships, and ultimately bring spiritual renewal to London through the Holy Spirit, through prayer and through working together,” Dan said. While the London Celebration progresses, the BGEAC is also partnering with churches in northern Ontario area to organize a Celebration with Will Graham in Sudbury in October. In recent years, there have been Celebrations in Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, PEI, the Yukon, and Nunavut.

Will Graham has led more than 30 outreach events, including Celebrations, in nine Canadian provinces and two territories. He is the third generation of Grahams to bring life-changing messages of hope to Canada. The late Billy Graham led 13 outreach events throughout the country between 1955 and 1998, while Will’s father, evangelist Franklin Graham, has led another 17 events.

Lee attended a Celebration in St. John’s in 2018 and came away with a memorable example of how God can use evangelistic events to bring people into relationship with him. A volunteer who drove Lee and several other church leaders to various Celebration activitieswas a devote Christian though his church doesn’t ‘water Baptize’ he was baptized in a local hotel’s swimming people – with Lee officiating!

“The hotel pool was the venue for something I will never forget,” he said. “That’s just one of the sidebar activities that is birthed when the Body of Christ comes together in unity to reach our community.”

Billy Graham once wrote: “Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same – prayer, prayer, prayer.”

Therefore, BGEAC will always make prayer a foundational part of every Celebration, with several public prayer events in London leading up to the main event in early November. Prayer will also be a significant component of the public launch event on March 29th.

“The public launch event represents the official start to something that can change the landscape of our community forever,” Lee said. “May it be an event that stirs our hearts to dream of ‘household salvation’ – friends’ and neighbors’ lives and relationships altered to reflect God’s plan for them!” For more information about BGEAC and its Celebration ministry, including how to support it through prayer and financial giving, please visit or call 1.800.293.3717.

Photographs; Courtesy BGEAC