Our Pastor


Reverend Wallis C. Baxter III, PhD is a native of Rocky Mount, N.C. and grew up in Marietta, GA. He is the only son of Wallis and Geneva H. Baxter. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2006, majoring in English. 

Upon graduation, Rev. Baxter entered Duke University Divinity School where he served on the President’s Council on Black Affairs as well as President of the Black Seminarians’ Union. In 2009, Rev. Baxter graduated from Duke with his Master of Divinity Degree as well as a Graduate Certificate in African and African-American Studies. In the spring of 2017, he received his PhD in African American Literature from Howard University. He is anticipating his forthcoming publication entitled You Must Be Born Again: Phillis Wheatley as Prophetic Poet (Winter 2021). In addition, he is co-editing a two-volume series of sermons entitled Preaching During a Pandemic: The Rhetoric of the Black Preaching Tradition (Spring 2022).

Currently, Rev. Baxter serves as a Board Member with both the Baptist Convention of DC and Vicinity and the DC Baptist Convention. He is President of the Congress of Christian Education for the Eastern Region of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, 1st Vice President of the Progressive Baptist Convention of Maryland, immediate past President of the Langston Hughes Society, and founding President of Helping Hands of Maryland CDC, Inc. In addition, Rev. Baxter serves as an Academic Research Fellow at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis.

Rev. Baxter was licensed and ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the Second Baptist Church (formerly of Southwest DC) in District Heights, MD. He teaches African American Literature at Gettysburg College. He is married to Dr. Shayla Atkins Baxter, and they are the grateful parents of one son, Elijah.