WINCHESTER — Much of Cissie Graham Lynch’s life has been about legacy.

Lynch, the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s Prayer Lunch at the 94th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival at the Frederick County Fairgrounds, is the granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham and the daughter of evangelist Franklin Graham

The Graham family has a tradition of participating in Apple Blossom dating back to 1972 when Billy Graham, a well-known evangelist, was the festival’s grand marshal. He passed away in 2018. Graham Lynch reigned the festival’s queen in 2007.

During her speech, Lynch focused on what she received from her family’s legacy, how that will continue through her own children and how important a family’s elders are in shaping the younger generation.

“We are in a war for the hearts and souls of this young generation,” she said.

Lynch said she learned many lessons from her family — how to share the Gospel, the power of prayer, what it means to serve others, the power of relationships, how to have a heavenly mindset and how to practice humility, among other things.

“I had to think about it, and of course how thankful I am for the godly legacy that my grandparents and my parents have passed down to me,” she said.

She said it’s up to mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles to first determine how to “stand in strength” in their faith and then “pass the baton” to the younger generation.

She encouraged the 400-plus attendees at the luncheon to dig within themselves to ask: “Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?”

She likened the process to preparing for a football game.

To stand strong in your faith, Lynch said you must know the playbook, which in this case is the Bible. Then, she said, you must know your opponent.

“It’s like we can’t keep up with the attacks coming against God, his people and his church and his word,” she said. “We have to know God, and there’s a difference between knowing about God and knowing God.”

She said these tools will help Christians find strength and confidence during tough times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lynch closed her speech Tuesday by reiterating that the younger generation will be looking to those who are older for answers and for guidance, so she encouraged attendees to be prepared as the world continues to navigate rough waters.

“This is something God has had to teach me the past couple of years,” she said. “We know we’ve been blessed beyond imagination in this country, but we don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what the days hold. But we can raise the confidence in a generation.”

Tuesday’s event, recognized as the 21st prayer program in the festival’s history, also included words of encouragement from local author and professor Jay Foreman, festival President Tommy Price, festival Executive Director Brad Veach, Event Director Della DeHaven, Miss Virginia Dot Kelly and Miss Apple Blossom Erika Allen, among others.

Music was provided by the band Jess Spoon Sound as well as the 6th Dimension Hand Bell Ensemble, which has performed at 17 of the 21 prayer events.

For more information about festival events, visit

— Contact Matt Welch


(1) comment

Mark Gunderman

As we contemplate the rich heritage of the Church here, the congregation finds inspiration to more effectively meet the challenge God continues to present for making new disciples and to serve the Shenandoah Valley community with a focus on the future. Each Church can be an opportunity for testifying to God’s grace, mercy and provision.

I have often envisioned a great number of churches in the Shenandoah Valley working in unison for the greater glory of God and operating through His will. Everyone would have a powerful desire to serve God, model Jesus' teaching and provide an example to others so that they can serve God too! Through hard work and commitment each individual would supply an added measure of determination, skill and teamwork for glorifying God.

Christ's desire is to have us in His Family. He wants us to develop initiative, passion, vigor and leadership. Christ desires to see us experience success on a physical level, in our employment, marriages and personal relationships.

He wants us to understand that one is richest when we use our talents out of love to benefit others.

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