In May 1944, the Deacon Board unanimously recommended that Reverend Jerry Drayton, a graduate student of Howard University in Washington, DC, become pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church. He began his pastoral duties in June 1944. Dr. Drayton retired from his position as Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church effective August 31, 2006. He was given the honor of being Pastor Emeritus at that time. He is the longest tenured pastor in the City of Winston-Salem with over 62 years of service to New Bethel. He oversaw the progress of the church through the years with a working, cooperative and progressive membership. In addition, Dr. Drayton was very effective, visible and vocal leader in the community and has championed the cause for racial equality and made history as a “first” along the way. He was a trailblazer not only with his activities in Winston-Salem, NC but also in the General Baptist State and National Baptist Conventions. Dr. Jerry Drayton passed May 2012 at the age of 96.