Gray skies held nothing but sunshine Sunday for evangelist Oral Roberts, whose dream became reality with the official opening of the $250 million City of Faith Medical and Research Center.
Huge red and white ribbons -- respectively symbolizing prayer and medicine -- were spectacularly unfurled the length of the Mabee Center over the heads of approximately 10,000 visitors for the 11/2 hour indoor ceremony.
During resounding applause, the ribbons met at center stage and were tied together with a huge bow by Oral Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University, and his son Richard.
"I welcome you to something that seems very small in our big world," Roberts said, launching into an autobiography which began with his near-fatal bout with tuberculosis as a teen-ager and leading to his belief in God and the development of a medicine-prayer doctrine.
"It's exactly like God gave it to me," Roberts told the crowd of the City of Faith, the only medicine-prayer facility of its kind in the world.
Roberts also prophesied "God's going to give us a break-through in cancer (research). I believe it is near because the missing element is about to be applied."
The completion of the ultra-modern, three-towered complex, comprised of a 60-story clinic, a 30-story hospital and a 20-story research and continuing education center, culminates a four-year dream plagued by controversy.
Dr. James Winslow, City of Faith chief executive officer, has said the facility is expected to become the Mayo Clinic of the Southwest and draw the majority of its patients from outside Oklahoma.
The City of Faith was bitterly opposed by much of the medical community almost from its beginnings in 1977, when Roberts said God told him in a vision to build the City of Faith.
The hospital -- which officially opens its doors Monday -- like the complex, is debt-free, paid for by contributions of followers and supporters who, in the past, responded to pleas for funds.
Once, $5 million was raised after Roberts' said he had spoken to a 900-foot Jesus. Recently, an estimated $10 million to $12 million for medical equipment apparently was raised after a "confidential" written appeal was made by Roberts to supportive "prayer partners."
A host of friends; city, state national and international government figures; community leaders and ministers from the area and throughout the world, sat on the platform during the formal dedication.
News media worldwide gathered for the opening and included the three national television networks, Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Medical World News and Dagen (Today), a Swedish Christian newspaper.
Many of those attending included ORU students and faculty. The floor section was white with uniforms of City of Faith medical personnel.
Guests attending also included Rosie Grier, former professional football player, as well as Tulsa Mayor Jim Inhofe, Gov. George Nigh and U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Muskogee.
U.S. Rep. James R. Jones of Tulsa read a congratulatory message to Roberts from President Ronald Reagan.
Joseph Kimetto, minister of education in Kenya, headed a delegation from his country which expressed high hopes in ORU healing teams scheduled to go to Kenya beginning next year and "warmest greeting" from the absent Kenyan president.
The Kenyan president's son is currently an ORU student.
One of the many ovations given during the dedication went to musician-singer Barbara Mandrell, who looked stunning in a pink skirt and jacket, sand a moving rendition of the National Anthem.
Miss Mandrell recently became the only person to be twice named "Entertainer of the Year" by the Country Music Association.
Her appearance was the first in Tulsa since September 1979. A City of Faith official explained her appearance was partly in conjunction with her appearance on Roberts' prime-time television special expected to be aired in December.
Winslow said the City of Faith was where "skill and tenderness unite," after which Roberts introduced a fleet of religion's elite, including the Rex Humbard family.
Explaining his dream's creation, Roberts went to the first four words of the Bible, "In the beginning, God..."
"Time stood still," Roberts told the crowd, for some of history's most significant medical discoveries.
He recounted how in the early centuries of man's existence, prayer had widespread use in healing the sick but entered a period of "dark ages."
But now, Roberts says, time is standing still for the power of medicine and prayer and the City of Faith.
The remaining seven additional stages of development in the research tower are expected to be completed by 1988. Presently, the City of Faith includes 30 full-time equivalent physicians, 43 clinicians and 127 nurses.
Within the next seven years, it is expected to have 777 hospital beds, 318 physicians, 200 laboratories and more than 4,000 employees.
We many run out of money again," Roberts said. "But by God's good grace, we're going to sail on."