9/11: Sharing Hope in Christ at Ground Zero

May 21, 2020 • United States

2001: Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association begin a prayer center in New York City after the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to hurting people in crisis situations, and this message of eternal hope was desperately needed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We quickly deployed to New York City, and our team was on the ground ministering in Jesus’ Name just three days after the Twin Towers fell.

Franklin Graham and New York City deputy mayor Rudy Washington at Ground Zero.

Franklin Graham and New York City deputy mayor Rudy Washington at Ground Zero.

We set up our base of operations in mid-town Manhattan and began assisting the people of New York through efforts such as counseling and prayer. We partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to open a prayer center for people to come and receive spiritual encouragement during this time of devastating loss and suffering.

“The magnitude of this disaster can seem overwhelming. But as Christians, there is one very important thing we can do—pray,” said Franklin Graham as our 9/11 response was getting underway.

People could also call the center and were blessed by prayer over the phone. In addition, the prayer center offered support to pastors and Christian leaders in the city.


“Never before had I seen people so open to hear about the hope of Christ,” said Sam McGinn, Samaritan’s Purse senior staff chaplain who served with our team in New York City. “Their world had literally blown up in front of them, but they knew there was more to life than what they could see.”

McGinn remembers the day when a steel cross found among the tower wreckage was mounted on a prominent concrete pillar at Ground Zero as a memorial. “The Cross of Jesus Christ will always be a reminder that He profoundly understands human suffering, and that His hope is a powerful, forgiving, and enduring hope,” he said.

Staff and volunteers at the prayer center offered hope and peace in Jesus Christ to many people during the months following 9/11. The center also became the inaugural response for what today is known as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team, which deploys crisis-trained chaplains in the aftermath of domestic and international disasters.