Billy Graham Library closed while workers prep for Friday funeral

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After two busy days in which some 10,000 people paid their final respects to the Reverend Billy Graham at his namesake library, things are quieter on Wednesday as workers prepare for the funeral on Friday.

The funeral will be held in a huge white tent that has been set up in the parking lot just in front of the Billy Graham Library and home place.

Approximately 2,300 invited guests are expected to attend. Once the service is complete, Reverend Graham will be buried beside his late wife, Ruth, whose grave is at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Library's Prayer Garden.

Ruth Bell Graham passed away in 2007.

The funeral is expected to last 90 minutes, according to an official with the Billy Graham Library.

The tent serves as a reminder of how Mr. Graham's ministry launched under "The Canvas Cathedral"—a white canvas tent during a 1949 Crusade in downtown Los Angeles, where 350,000 people heard him share the Gospel over a period of eight weeks.

"It was Mr. Graham's explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years," said Mark DeMoss, spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Franklin Graham will deliver the funeral message, and Dr. Donald Wilton and Dr. David Bruce will speak at the interment service. Dr. Wilton was Mr. Graham's pastor and a close friend in recent years. Dr. Bruce served for 23 years as Mr. Graham's executive assistant.

President Donald Trump is planning to attend the service.

Billy Graham Parkway will be closed in both directions between South Tryon Street (NC 49) and Tyvola Road at 9 p.m. on Thursday until the funeral is over on Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2018 WBTV.  All rights reserved.