Church Founded 1890
New Bethel Baptist Church had a humble beginning in one of the most depressed sections of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, namely “The Pond.” The church was founded in 1890 in the home of Mr. John Lee and his wife, Mrs. Alice Snow Lee, who lived across the street from the present structure on Trade Street.
The membership grew under the administration of the following ministers: Reverends C. L. Davis, J. H. Goer, S. Franklin, Henry Brown, Joshua Perry, G. H. E. Washington, J. A. Williston and G. W. Kilgore. The first seven pastors served only short periods ranging from six months to three years. It was under the pastorate of Reverend Washington that a lot was purchased at the cost of $960 with a membership totaling about 25 persons. Reverend Washington soon resigned
In 1904, Reverend G. W. Kilgore of Danville, Virginia was elected pastor. He proposed a plan to construct a brick auditorium at an approximate cost of $9,000. One cornerstone at the church bears his name. He resigned in April 1910.
In 1911, the Reverend J. H. Hamlin, a former slave who was born in Virginia, became pastor of the church. With his wise counselship and spiritual guidance, the membership of New Bethel Baptist Church reached a total of 4,096 persons during the years between 1915 through 1931.
Reverend J. C. Gilmore was called as pastor of the church in 1933. He found the church well organized with 13 ordained deacons and 8 trustees. Also, there was a large membership eager to follow the “Man of God,” He remained pastor until his health failed.
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.
Upon recommendation from the Pastoral Search Committee and the Official Boards of New Bethel Baptist Church, the members of New Bethel voted July 23, 2006 to elect the Reverend Dr. Kendall D. Jones, Sr. as pastor. His first day as pastor was September 1, 2006. The Installation Service for Reverend Dr. Kendall D. Jones, Sr. was held on Sunday, October 8, 2006 at the 11:00 a.m. worship hour.