CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Rev. Billy Graham said Thursday he will move his ministry's headquarters to his hometown of Charlotte from Minneapolis, where it has been based for more than 50 years.
The Minneapolis operation employs about 400 of the 632 staffers of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The workers will be offered a chance to relocate in three to five years, when a new office complex is built in Charlotte on a parkway named for the preacher.
"Minneapolis has been very good to us, but we have run out of room to grow," the 83-year-old evangelist said in a prepared statement. Graham's nonprofit, nondenominational group sponsors a variety of worldwide evangelistic projects, and had reported revenues of $125.8 million and assets of $189.6 million last year.
The Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son and chief executive of the evangelistic association, said the group was running out of space in downtown Minneapolis.
"There's nowhere else we wanted to come but Charlotte," he said.
Franklin Graham said the move will make it easier to run the association because it has several operations in North Carolina, including The Cove training facility near Asheville.
"I want to thank you for bringing my father back to North Carolina," he told a luncheon crowd in Charlotte.
Franklin Graham said it will be "a real blessing for me" to have the association and Samaritan's Purse, which he founded, within two hours of each other. Samaritan's Purse is a world relief agency headquartered in Boone, N.C.