Local church leaders react to passing of Rev. Billy Graham

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - "Christianity is not a white man's religion and don't let anyone ever tell you that it's white or black, Christ belongs to all people," Rev. Billy Graham said during one of his many crusades.

Wherever the last pastor traveled, his influence followed.

Pastor Michael Seely, of the First Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg, described him as a wonderful man.

Rich Blain, the lead pastor at the South Parkersburg Baptist Church said it was never about him, it was always "about his passion for people."

The late pastor was known for his crusades, having preached to over 215 million people in more than 185 countries in his lifetime.

Pastor Seely attended a crusade back when he was a teenager.

"It left an impression on my life and I think a lot of people have become Christians and involved in the life of the church because of what Billy Graham said," Seely said.

Seely says he'll remember him for his simple, straightforward message.

"Sometimes when I'm working on a sermon I'll think of him when I look at what I've written and think what there's probably a simpler and more straight way of saying this," he said.

"And I just kind of think of Billy Graham and think you know how would he say this."

Pastor Blain says his messages were important but for him, Graham's actions were stronger.

"It was the way he lived his life he didn't just preach it he lived it and the compassion he showed for others," Pastor Blain said.

"His legacy will go on for a long long time because of the influence he's had on people like myself who are now serving in ministry."

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