Central Seminary’s Wallace Hartsfield II Works to Foster Racial Reconciliation Among Communities of Faith

Dr. Wallace S Hartsfield, II
Dr. Wallace S Hartsfield, II

A pastor and seminary professor who organized a peaceful prayer response in Kansas City prior to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., last November is now recruiting communities of faith to host “prayer tables” intended to promote righteous racial reconciliation.

“Prayer is a form of activism,” said Wallace Hartsfield II, pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City and associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan. “It is a powerful, radical action. It creates space for honest perspectives rooted in a desire for change.”

Last fall Hartsfield, who works in Central Seminary’s Urban Missional Institute initiative, helped organize a group called “KC Prayerful Response” as a peaceful protest of racial injustice.

Now the group is asking houses of worship to create space for listening and reflection, discernment about how to address issues before them and public action rooted in their prayers.

“As people of faith, we understand that prayer is a community process that can lead us to a clear path for action,” Hartsfield said. “We pray based on what we are confronted with in real time, always hopeful for the future transformation of our lives and our communities.”

Faculty, staff and the leadership team of Central Seminary recently joined President Molly T. Marshall in endorsing a January 2015 open letter by a consortium of African-American presidents and deans in theological education listing a litany of racial injustice that lingers 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement.

“Central practices racial inclusion as a core value,” said Marshall, a Baptist News Global columnist who also serves the seminary as professor of theology and spiritual formation.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Bob Allen

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