1928 - 2002
Edward S. Caldwell, the first full-time editor of Ministries Today, died on November 30, 2002, at age 74. He worked at Strang Communications Co., the publisher of Ministries Today, from 1983 until his retirement at the end of 1993.
Born September 18, 1928, in Seattle, Caldwell was saved at age 12, baptized in the Holy Spirit at age 13 and simultaneously called to preach. While attending Northwest College of the Assemblies of God (AG), he met and subsequently married Clara LaBelle Neeley on March 29, 1948.
Upon graduation in 1949 from Northwest College, Caldwell was then licensed as an AG minister in 1950 and ordained by the Southern Idaho District on February 22, 1952. He served various pastorates in Washington and Idaho before being named publicity director of the AG Radio Department in April 1966. There he prepared publicity materials on C.M. Ward, the legendary "Revivaltime"speaker.
Caldwell was then pastor of Glad Tidings in Springfield, Missouri, from 1973 to July 1, 1983. His years of ministry at Glad Tidings were marked by substantial remodeling of the church facilities and concluded with its 50th anniversary. He resigned to take a position as promotions coordinator for the Division of Home Missions at AG headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, a position he served in for almost one year.
1983 also marked the year Stephen Strang founded Ministries Today (then called MINISTRIES: The Magazine for Christian Leaders). At first he edited the magazine himself, but soon went on a search to find a full-time editor. C.M. Ward recommended Ed Caldwell, with whom he worked for a long time at the AG headquarters.
"After talking with Ed and learning about his editorial and pastoral background, plus his theological background, which was similar to that of my own, he seemed to be a perfect fit," Strang recalls. "We will long remember Ed Caldwell. We thank God for his life and for the 10 years he worked for our company."
Caldwell held a number of editorial positions at Strang Communications and was instrumental in the launch of CharismaLife Sunday school curriculum as well.
After his retirement, Caldwell lived in Deltona, Florida, for a time and then moved up to South Carolina to be near one of his four sons.
Although Caldwell had suffered from some severe health problems during his years as editor of Ministries Today--including having open-heart surgery and losing a leg to diabetes--his widow, Clara, said he was not sick at the end of his life. He had an examination just two weeks prior to his death, and everything was found to be fine.
In a conversation with Stephen Strang after her husband's death, Clara said that the family had enjoyed a very memorable Thanksgiving, complete with all of the things that make memories pleasurable. But later that night, Caldwell awakened Clara, telling her he thought he was dying. She rushed him to the hospital, where he died the next day. Clara said he was not in pain when he died. She further indicated that she felt it was God's time to take him home.
Caldwell's ministry influence, however, continues. In a recent conversation with Ministries Today, Clara shared that her husband had written a commentary on the entire Bible, which is being printed in several languages and sent to missionaries in Africa. He was also finishing up a book on the prophets of the Bible.
"He had a real teaching ministry," Clara says. "He was a student of the Word of God. What he enjoyed most was teaching and preaching. And he loved people."
"Lately, he had a list of 180 names of young people that he would pray for daily," shares Caldwell's son James. "He was very caring. What I loved most about him was how much he loved the Bible."
Perhaps Caldwell's love of the Word of God was his greatest legacy.
"I loved his intelligence, his caring, his love, his tenderness," Clara shares. "But the one thing I respect more than anything is how he loved the Word of God, and studied and continued writing."
Caldwell is survived by his wife, Clara LaBelle Neeley Caldwell; four sons, Robert, Mark, James and Scott; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.