SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Longtime Shreveport religious leader Bishop Fred A. Caldwell has died, according to Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church.

Caldwell served as the pastor of Greenwood Acres for nearly 40 years. Before that, he served as assistant pastor after an invitation to speak at the church wowed members. He was ordained in 1981 and became pastor in 1983.

Church leaders announced Caldwell’s passing Friday morning.

“On behalf of the first family of Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church, the officers and members, it is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Pastor/Teacher – Bishop Fred A. Caldwell, Sr. We appreciate all of your thoughts, concerns and prayers. An announcement of a celebration honoring the life of Bishop Caldwell will be shared at a later time.”

Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church Statement on Bishop Caldwell’s passing

Caldwell is well known among clergy and churchgoers throughout the country, but he garnered mainstream news attention in 2003 when he boldly proclaimed that he would “pay white people to attend his church.”

Caldwell proposed the idea of paying white Christians to attend a predominately black church to bring attention to the history of segregation in American churches.

Bishop Caldwell was an active leader in the community who organized food drives and other charitable endeavors throughout Shreveport.