An Agent of Change

Garrett Caldwell presents at WWU on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By: Becky St. Clair

Caldwell will present "Ballad of an Unbent Back" on Jan. 21.

On Monday, January 21, Walla Walla University will host its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial CommUnity Service.  This year’s speaker is Garrett Caldwell, Assistant to the President for Communication at the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Caldwell received undergraduate degrees in theology and communication from Oakwood College, then went on to earn his Masters of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

He began his ministry in the Oregon conference, where he served at the University Park Church first as associate pastor, and then, after seminary, as a senior pastor.  As such, Caldwell helped establish an urban day camp ministry, a ten-week summer program for local needy children which provided everything from math and reading tutoring to educational field trips, Bible stories, and healthy meals.

Following his time at the University Park Church, Caldwell began working for Portland Adventist Academy, where he served as campus pastor and Bible teacher.  While there, he assisted in starting an outreach ministry placing students in homeless shelters, nursing homes, and a variety of other service capacities on a weekly basis.

Later, Caldwell began work in the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, where he served as administrative pastor and interim senior pastor of the 3,200-member Sligo church.  He, along with a team of seven other pastors, helped provide leadership and ministry to a congregation with over 70 nationalities, running various ministries in several languages.

Caldwell also has experience in both radio and television.  He has worked as a radio announcer in Alabama and Michigan, has co-hosted in Portland, Ore., and participated in radio production in Washington, D.C.  Caldwell is currently chairman of the board of directors of KEEH-FM in Spokane, Wash., and vice-president of the Upper Columbia Media Association.

As a correspondent for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists’ weekly international newscast, "Adventist Newsline," Caldwell enjoyed the privilege of conducting on-air interviews with individuals providing leadership in the Adventist church around the world. The program was translated into at least a dozen languages and aired weekly around the world through The Hope Channel.

As a part of his doctoral studies, Caldwell had the opportunity to take classes in documentary film-making at the American University Graduate School of Visual Arts. During this time, he produced four documentaries on various topics.  Caldwell will soon begin production on a monthly Internet newscast, and a weekly television broadcast.

Caldwell’s vast experience in many walks of life gives him many insights from which to draw.  His presentation on January 21 entitled, “Ballad of an Unbent Back,” will focus on Martin Luther King, Jr. as an agent of change in a world that so badly needed to change for the benefit of all humanity.

“Having had the privilege and, at times, heartache, of being an agent of change myself,” says Caldwell, “I know a few things about how the need presents itself and how we are given opportunities to compromise or concede, rather than press for change.”

Though Caldwell was not quite five years old when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, he realizes that he is “part of a generation that has stood in the shadow of his legacy.”  Caldwell admits that he has experienced both some of the difficulty that drove King to act, and some of the benefits that resulted from his actions.

“My life story will allow me to stand in sympathy with this man,” says Caldwell, “who was so much more a significant agent of change than I.”

Caldwell will speak for WWU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial CommUnity service on Monday, January 21, at 11 a.m. in the University Church.  This event is free and open to the public.

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