Dr. Jerry Beavan
"Jerry Remembers" ... in which Jerry Beavan, at age 93, recounts events from his experiences in a wide ranging field of endeavors, which include being a college and seminary professor ... a corporate executive in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries ... a federal lobbyist in Washington, DC ... and as Billy Graham described him, "the architect of world evangelism as we know it today."
Now retired and physically handicapped, restricted to a wheel chair, Jerry has been Senior Editor of the weekly American News Commentary, now in its 10th year of publication.
I Remember Some More Things about the People I Worked With
In "Jerry Remembers" #7 I mentioned two people with whom I worked for 30 years, approximately 15 years with each—Billy Graham and Art De Moss. I have since been reminded of a third person who happened to be involved with both of them ... and that prompted this remembrance.
Many people today will remember Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger ... and, of course, Roy's lovely wife, Dale Evans. Now here is how we all came together.
Back in the late 1940s – early 1950s, there was an organization in Hollywood called FCAME—Fellowship of Christians in the Arts, Media and Entertainment. It was made up, obviously, of Christians in some aspect of show business who weren't hesitant about admitting their faith. The members of the Billy Graham Team were frequently welcome guests at FCAME meetings.
Thus we got to meet Roy and Dale ... and when we were in London in 1954, we found that adjoining the 12,000 seat arena at Harringay, there was a dog racing track with stands capable of a capacity of 40,000 spectators. I remember getting in touch with Art Rush, Roy and Dale's manager, early in the crusade, and soon arrangements were made for them to come to London—with Trigger—for a children's rally in the outdoor stadium at Harringay on Saturday, March 24. They flew over to an airport in the Midlands, which could handle a horse "passenger" and Trigger actually walked into their hotel, with a "Passport" in his mouth.
They all came down to London, and on a Saturday afternoon they entertained over 40,000 children (with parents) in a never-to-be-forgotten evangelistic event. Of course, they shared their Christian testimony in the arena that night (without Trigger). Their visit was a highlight of the 12 week Harringay crusade. After living just about all of their young lives under the threat of German bombs destroying their homeland, and then living in the dismal gloom of post-war London, this opportunity to see in person one of their film star heroes was a wonderful experience for them. And for many, a life changing experience.
That was involving Billy Graham. Years later, when I was working with Art De Moss, we arranged for Roy and Dale (but without Trigger) to come to Valley Forge, PA, and conduct an evangelistic meeting in the circular stage facility called Valley Forge Music Fair.
While they were with us, Art had an interesting idea. He was quite a regular customer at one of the Roy Rogers Restaurants which was located in the Valley Forge area, and we went there, took our seats in the dining area, and Roy went to the counter to order our meals. The young lady on duty looked up to take his order ... saw who it was ... and in a panic, called for the manager—who totally disbelieved her claim that Roy Rogers was in the restaurant. But when he saw who it was—wow! did we ever get good service ... and everything was "on the house."
So I can remember three interesting people—all involved in different ways in the proclamation of the Gospel—whose paths crossed some 60 years ago. The lesson to be learned? Well, Billy Graham was an evangelist ... that was his calling, his gift from the Lord. And in the words of Paul (I Cor. 9:22) he used all things that he might see men saved. But Art De Moss was a businessman, a successful entrepreneur in the insurance industry—and he did the same. And Roy Rogers was a motion picture star and entertainer, but did the same. So whatever our calling, we can all witness to our faith, in our own way.