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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 4   |   Release date: September 15, 2003

In This Issue
End-Times Blackout?
Harry Potter Alternatives
Paying Whites to Stay Away
Happy About Mac Conversion
Church Limits Prayer Requests
Last Line One More Time, Again
September Church Sign of the Month

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Pastor Now Paying Whites to Stay Away From Church
Says Having Them There Was "Major Disruption"

SHREVEPORT, LA – Bishop Fred Caldwell of Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church, who made national headlines over the summer for offering to pay whites to attend his predominantly black church, has done a 180 worthy of the catwalk.

Not only has Caldwell rescinded his offer to pay whites to attend services, he is offering those that participated the same wage ($5 per hour for Sunday services and $10 for Wednesday evenings) to stay away.

"I thought things were going so well," said Caldwell of the failed experiment. "So many white people were coming to church. It was costing us a little bit of money, but I thought it was worth it. Then I noticed what was happening during worship."

Caldwell says that the new white attendees would refuse to participate in the church's often animated praise and worship time, choosing instead to remain seated.

"It was almost like they didn't want to be there," said Criss Williams, one of the church's few white members. "It was making the people around them self-conscious, and many of our longtime members quit participating right along with them. It was awful."

Caldwell, who in July told reporters he simply wanted "the kingdom of God to look like it's supposed to," and that "there ain't going to be ghettoes in heaven," is now singing a very different tune.

"It was a major disruption having these white folks in church. They were infecting my congregation with their lack of enthusiasm," he said. "But it's really a good lesson for me to learn. Now I can see God's larger plan in making us different and keeping us apart. I still don't think they'll be any ghettoes in heaven, but God has definitely taught me the value of a healthy distance."

Caldwell says 27 whites took him up on his original offer to come to church for money. All of those are now receiving the same payment to stay away.

"This is awesome," said James Goldstein, a 16-year-old junior at nearby Shreveport High School who heard about Caldwell's offer on the evening news. Goldstein started out getting paid to attend on Sundays, but he is now staying away on Wednesday evenings too in order to beef up his church checks. "I thought it was easy money to just come and sit through church. Now I'm getting paid to watch TV and skateboard with my friends."

Caldwell says that paying the whites who came to stay away has worked so far, and he would give no timetable for how long he will keep it up.

"As long as they keep stayin' away, I'll keep payin' them for it," he said. "I can't let anything like this happen again."

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