by Robert Earl Houston
The Lord has called one of his faithful pastors/preachers in the nation, the Rev. Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield, Sr., pastor emeritus of the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and former Vice President of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. International.
Dr. Hartsfield made scholarship look easily. He was profoundly deep, a lettered man of great conviction, while retaining a common touch. He was a rare pastor – having served the same congregation during two different tenures and passing the reigns of the church to his son, Wallace, Jr. He was a fixture for many years of preaching at the NBCAI, including the main worship hour and at many late night services. He was a one of a kind preacher/pastor.
On a personal note, I had been called to my first congregation, the Greater St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, of Portland, Oregon in 1989, at the tender age of 28. The Church sent out letters all over the country making the announcement and Dr. Hartsfield was among those who sent a congratulatory letter to a young pastor along with $100 (which is worth $208 today). It meant the world to me.
The photo that is attached with this article is one that I took of him during the 2017 Annual Session of NBCAI in Louisville, Kentucky. He was in a wheelchair, but just as gregarious, friendly, cracking jokes, and as several of us were seated in the atrium, he made several stops, especially to greet young pastors and preachers. His generosity toward young pastors and preachers was legendary. I had the joy of bumping into him at a restaurant in Louisville and while he was in line, I was able to have the privilege of paying for his meal – in a small way to repay for the kindness that he extended to me 28 years prior. He was grateful and I was glad – it was my way of saying “thank you” in a tangible way.
He was great friends of my father in the ministry, the late Dr. A. Bernard Devers and his colleague, the late Dr. E.C. Wilder of Portland. He conducted revivals for years in Portland and was one of the city’s favorite preachers along with Pastors E. Edward Jones, Brady Blade, P.S. Wilkerson, E.V. Hill, Hayward Wiggins, Samuel H. Smith, Sr., and others.
Praying for the Hartsfield family along with the Metropolitan Church family and the city of Kansas City as they mourn the loss of a giant whose voice has been hushed.
UPDATE: Greetings to all we wish to announce the Homegoing Services information for Rev. Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield. Wednesday, February 5, the body will lie in repose from 12:00pm-7:00pm at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church 2310 East Linwood Boulevard, Community Night Service, Thursday, February 6, at 6:30pm at the Macedonia Baptist Church 1700 East Linwood Boulevard. Service of Celebration Friday, February 7 at 11:00 am at Macedonia Baptist Church, visitation 8am-11am, with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Beta Lambda Chapter service at 10:15am. Please send condolences to the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church or Duane E. Harvey Funeral Directors. Services under the direction of Duane E. Harvey Funeral Directors.