Rev. Herb Henry, the pastor of Richland Faith Assembly of God church in Ceres since 1986, concluded his 35-year tenure on Sunday, handing the pastoral position to associate Rev. Richie Hartsfield.
The 74-year-old pastor decided it was time to retire and bring in new and younger leadership to carry on the work at Richland Faith to a new generation.
Henry is probably better known for his weekend radio programs that feature Southern Gospel music and his performing as a singer than for his sermons at the church. The two ministries, however, work in tandem with one another as the church helps undergird Richland Ministries.
Henry is also retiring from the gospel concert promotions he has led since 1989. The church will continue to host smaller scale concerts with Henry continuing to produce his weekly radio program, heard Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on KCBC AM 770. The Herb Henry Family will continue to sing, but on a more limited basis.
After he started pastoring the small church he realized there was a need for music for services so Herb started getting his three children, Angela, Chris and Amanda, to sing. With wife Nancy, the family sung at the church and up and down the state as the Herb Henry Family. At around the same time Herb had formed the Richland Trio singing group, consisting of himself, Jack Black and Richard Hartsfield.
In October 2019 Chris became involved in pastoring Valley Christian Center in downtown Ceres. As he and Richie Hartsfield are lifelong friends, they are looking forward to working together in Ceres.
Pastor Hartsfield, whose wife Cortney (Welch) Hartsfield is a graduate of Ceres High and member of their athletic Hall of Fame, is also an ordained minister. They have three children. Having both attended Richland Faith for many years, they are looking forward to carrying on the tradition of the church as they take on this new role. Their first Sunday will be March 14.
Richland Faith will be celebrating its 70th anniversary later this year.
Service times at Richland Faith, located at 1201 Richland Avenue, are currently on Sunday at 10:50 pm, while Bible Study, Youth and their “Kids Klub” are at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.