Beliefnet
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 22 (AP) - The son of the Rev. Billy Graham has replaced his father as chief executive officer of the ministry empire the evangelist founded 50 years ago.

``I'm not retiring,'' Billy Graham said. ``But now I want to turn over the administrative and management burden of running the organization to my son.''

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association last week tapped Franklin Graham, 48. His father, who founded the BGEA in 1950, will remain chairman of the board.

The elder Graham, who turned 82 earlier this month and lives near Asheville, has had health problems for several years. He has Parkinson's disease and spent three months earlier this year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. While hospitalized, his son stood in for him at an international conference in Amsterdam that the elder Graham had organized.

Franklin Graham will continue to serve as first vice chairman of the board. It was announced in 1995 that he would be his father's successor.

``I'm doing this for my father, because I love him,'' Franklin Graham said Tuesday. ''``He just wants to be, I think, free from the burden of a lot of this responsibility.''

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