In small North Carolina town, Rev. Franklin Graham speaks to thousands of faithful: ‘God has a plan’


Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as of Samaritan’s Purse, just completed the sixth and final stop of his “God Loves You Tidewater Tour.”

It wrapped up on Sunday, May 7, 2023, in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina, with some 7,600 people in attendance — “which was remarkable for a town that only has a population of 4,400 people,” the organization shared with Fox News Digital.

The six-city tour made stops in the small Maryland towns of La Plata, Timonium, Elkton and Salisbury this spring — and well as in Portsmouth, Virginia, and in Edenton, North Carolina, the organization said.

Still  to come this year, Rev. Graham will be preaching at large stadiums and convention centers in Seoul, Korea; London, England; Essen, Germany; and Rome, Italy, said the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — “but he also has a burden for small towns.”

Said Rev. Graham via email on Monday morning, “I have a heart for smaller cities.” 

He said, “It is just as important to go to these communities as it is to preach in major cities. The gospel has such a strong impact in these smaller places.”

Rev. Graham continued, “Night after night we have seen hundreds and hundreds of people respond to the good news of Jesus Christ. We are also grateful for the strong participation and support that we receive from churches and civic leaders in cities like these. They are so excited we have come to the Tidewater Region — and we are so glad to be here.”

“There are many people who don’t know God. So many are searching and struggling.”

He said he’s “grateful to God for the many donors who are making it possible for us to bring the gospel to these six cities, and the many who are supporting us in prayer. We don’t charge people to attend these events or take up any offerings when we come — we are here to give.”

Revealing why he chose to visit the Tidewater region of the United States, Rev. Graham said, “This coastal area is a beautiful place with such a rich history — but like every area of our country, there are many people who don’t know God. So many are searching and struggling. I simply want them to know that God cares for them and has a plan for their lives.”

“God loves us, and he sent Jesus Christ, his son, to Earth to save us from our sins.”

He said further, “The world is changing so quickly — record inflation, bank failures, surges in violent crime, the crisis in Ukraine — the list goes on. So many people are anxious about the future and don’t know where to turn. We came to remind people there is good news!”

Said Graham, “God loves us, and he sent Jesus Christ, his son, to Earth to save us from our sins.”

The organization said that over 885 churches across all six cities worked with Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for the “God Loves You Tidewater Tour” because
they believe the hope of the Bible needs to be shared in their communities,” said a spokesperson.

In the Timonium area, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, Angel Núñez, who pastors the Bilingual Christian Church, said in comments that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association shared, “Here in the Baltimore area, the hurt and pain is evident in many communities. Drugs, violence, human trafficking and hopelessness reign.”

He went on, “Many people are broken and they have lost all hope. It is precisely at this moment in our lives that we need a touch from God and to hear of his great love for us.”

In the Edenton area of North Carolina, senior pastor Wallace Phillips of Carpenter’s Shop International Church, in Hertford County, told the group, “Many people in our communities are struggling with isolation, depression and anxiety. This is why the ‘God Loves You Tidewater Tour’ has come to Edenton, with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.”

He also said, “This is the fresh start that so many people are looking for.”

Overall, the six-city God Loves You Tidewater Tour was attended by more than 35,000 people throughout Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

The tour made stops in these cities:

  • La Plata, Maryland (April 29)
  • Timonium, Maryland (April 30)
  • Elkton, Maryland (May 2)
  • Salisbury, Maryland (May 4)
  • Hampton Roads (May 6)
  • Edenton, North Carolina (May 7)

Said Rev. Graham to the crowds of people, “Is there an emptiness in your life? Is your life such a mess that you don’t know what to do or where to go?”

He then said, “Whatever the problem, I’m here tonight to tell you that Jesus Christ is the answer if you put your faith and trust in him.”

To learn more about the nonprofit Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, anyone can visit