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Kirbyjon H. Caldwell is the pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church, a 14,000-member megachurch in Windsor Village, Houston, Texas, United States. He was one of President George W. Bush's most influential spiritual advisors.
Caldwell was born in 1953 in Houston. His father was a clothier who made suits for James Brown, The Temptations, and other celebrities. His mother was a high school guidance counselor. The family lived in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood of Houston and Caldwell graduated from Kashmere High School.
Although he was very successful financially, Caldwell felt called to Christian ministry and subsequently attended the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, receiving his masters in Divinity in 1981. While completing his degree, Caldwell was appointed Associate Pastor at St. Mary's United Methodist Church in Houston.
Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church 
Through a friend of his father's, Skipper Lee Frazier (who had managed various 1960s soul acts including Archie Bell & the Drells), Caldwell was able to get a show on public access television which let him reach a wide audience and build his flock. Soon, his sermons were attracting scores of people - mainly middle-class black families, but also including some celebrities: Evander Holyfield, Warren Moon, André Action Jackson and Star Jones during her time in law school.
One of the major themes of Caldwell's preaching has been the need for his congregation to follow Jesus Christ's lead by being actively involved in community service. Taking the lead, Caldwell has transformed the Windsor Village United Methodist Church into an all-purpose community help center. Nonprofit organizations organized by the church include: Patrice House, a shelter for abused children; a tutoring program for schoolchildren; and a program that matches teens to mentors.
Windsor Village United Methodist Church had 7,000 members by 1994 and 11,000 by 1996.
To accommodate the size of the congregation, in 1993, the church purchased a former Kmart in one of the most blighted parts of Houston and renovated it into the Power Center (a play on the retailing term "power center"). In addition to worship space, the Power Center includes a school, a medical clinic, satellite classrooms for a local community college, low-cost office space, a branch of the Texas Commerce Bank (there were previously no banks in the entire neighborhood), as well as charities such as a Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program, and an AIDS outreach center. The mission of the Power Center is to create jobs in the low-income neighborhood and to teach members of the neighborhood how to create wealth. The Center's motto is from Isaiah 61.4: "They shall repair the ruined cities and restore what has long lain desolate."
Unlike many churches, no one sits on the stage during services, including Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell.
The Gospel of Good Success 
In 1996, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story on Caldwell which prompted Simon & Schuster to approach him and ask him to write a book. This book, co-authored with Mark Seal, was entitled The Gospel of Good Success: A Road Map to Spiritual, Emotional, and Financial Wholeness: it was published in 1999. The book sets forth Caldwell's ideas about economic empowerment and how to "handle success." The book became a bestseller.[which?]
Relationship with George W. Bush 
In 1996, George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, saw an article about Caldwell in the Dallas Morning News and initiated contact between the two. Bush subsequently spoke at the grand opening of the Power Center in 1996. The two came to agree that partnership between religious organizations and the government could have positive social results.
Caldwell offered the official benediction at Bush's inauguration in 2001. This prayer engendered some controversy since Caldwell closed his prayer by saying he prayed in "the name that's above all other names, Jesus the Christ. Let all who agree say Amen", which some felt was religiously insensitive to non-Christians and inappropriate at a secular ceremony. (For example, Alan Dershowitz wrote, "The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that George W. Bush's America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as full equal citizens.") Caldwell denies that he was proselytizing, saying that he always prayed in the name of Jesus.
Days after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Caldwell was invited by President Bush to speak at the memorial held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.. Later that day, Caldwell joined President Bush on his visit to Ground Zero in New York City. Bush speaks of the trip in his book Decision Points by saying "it was comforting to have a friend and a man of faith by my side."
In 2003 President Bush visited the Power Center to commemorate its 10-year anniversary.
Caldwell again offered the official benediction at Bush's 2005 inauguration. When asked to offer the prayer again at Bush's second inauguration, Caldwell added the phrase "respective of all faiths, I submit this prayer in the Name of Jesus."
According to some reports, Bush and Caldwell speak regularly on the telephone for spiritual counseling and prayer.
Caldwell's work at the Power Center was one of the inspirations for President Bush's "faith based initiatives" and Caldwell was influential in Bush's decision to create the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Relationship with Barack Obama 
In August 2010, after the news media reported that 18 percent of Americans thought President Obama was a Muslim, Caldwell contacted reporters and told them that he had known Obama for years and knew him to be a Christian who prays daily. He was quoted as describing news media reports questioning Obama's religion as “a 24-hour noise box committed to presenting the president in a false light.”
Second book and recent work 
Caldwell published his second book, Entrepreneurial Faith: Launching Bold Initiatives to Expand God's Kingdom, in 2004.
In the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, Houston became home to thousands of refugees from New Orleans, Louisiana. As a result, Caldwell organized a massive food drive along with churches of other faiths in the Houston area, entitled Operation Compassion, to feed and pray for the hurricane refugees living in the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Astrodome.
Corinthian Pointe 
- Main article: Corinthian Pointe, Houston, Texas
Caldwell, Pyramid Residential Community Corporation, and Ryland Homes established a Houston subdivision called Corinthian Pointe in the 2000s. Corinthian Pointe, located outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 near Reliant Park, is the largest residential subdivision in Houston that was developed by a non-profit group. Many of the houses in Corinthian Pointe were sold at below-market values.
The public elementary school in Corinthian Pointe, Jean Hines-Caldwell Elementary School, was named after Jean LaNell Hines-Caldwell, Kirbyjon Caldwell's mother.
Caldwell's first wife was Patrice Johnson, who had served as chief of staff for Mickey Leland, a Texas congressman. She died in a plane crash in Ethiopia with Leland in 1989. Patrice House is named in memory of her.
His second wife is Suzette Turner, older sister of Debbye Turner, who was Miss America 1990. Together, they have three children named Turner, Nia, & Alexander. Pastor Suzette T. Caldwell also serves as Chairman of the Kingdom Builders' Prayer Institute.
See also 
- "HISD Connect - Alumni". Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "Board of Directors & Company Officers." Continental Airlines. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.
- White House: Obama Is ‘Obviously’ Christian, KT Radio Network, August 20, 2010
- Van Biema, David. "Does God Want You To Be Rich?." TIME. Sunday September 10, 2006. 8. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.
- "Jean LaNell Hines Caldwell." Jean Hines-Caldwell Elementary School. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.