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2015 Speakers

Senior Worship and Baccalaureate Service Speaker
Reverend Dr. Haywood T. Gray
Executive Secretary-Treasurer, General Baptist StateConvention of North Carolina, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Haywood Gray

The Reverend Dr. Haywood T. Gray is Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc.  The Convention represents more than one half million African-American Baptists in more than sixteen hundred congregations across North Carolina.  He has held this position since January, 2005.

Reverend Gray comes to the General Baptist State Convention after a long and distinguished career as a pastor.  For seventeen years, he was Pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Pelham, NC.  For seven years following his service in Pelham, he was Pastor of Temple Memorial Baptist Church in High Point, NC.  He retired after twenty-four years as a pastor in 2004 in order assume his current position with the Convention.

As the chief executive officer of his denomination in North Carolina, Reverend Gray is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Convention and the coordination of financial support for its missions objectives.  In less than six years, he was responsible for raising in excess of ten million dollars for missions.  Saddled with more than two million dollars of debt when he assumed the office, he was able to pay off the Convention's debt in three years and the organization has operated debt free since August 2008.

Reverend Gray's interests and avenues of service have been varied.  As an elected official, he served two terms on the Caswell County Board of Education as well as a term as a Director of the North Carolina School Boards Association.  As a denominational leader, he has served as Fourth Vice President of his state convention and as Moderator of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association.  As a writer, he published his first work in 1992 and it became the official manual for ushers in General Baptist Churches in North Carolina. He is a former Trustee of Shaw University Divinity School.  Presently, he sits on both the Board of Trustees of Shaw University and the Board of Directors of Central Children's Home in Oxford.  He is a member of the Executive Board of Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missions Convention.  Shaw University awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to him in 2006.

He has preached the Gospel from childhood and, after thirty-seven years in preaching and more than 4,000 sermons preached, he considers himself to be clay in the Potter's hands – ever shaping, ever changing, ever growing.

A resident of Raleigh, he is a member of Christian Faith Baptist Church where Reverend Kenneth D. Cooper is pastor.  The joy of his life is his four sons (by adoption), his four daughters-in-law, and nine grandchildren.  They, in many ways, are his life's greatest work.

Commencement Speaker
U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield 
Democrat-North Carolina-1st District

U.S. Congressman, G.K. Butterfield

Congressman G. K. Butterfield, Jr. is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina. Raised in Wilson, Congressman Butterfield spent his formative years attending Charles H. Darden High School and worked tirelessly in the Civil Rights Movement as a young adult. His parents were Dr. & Mrs. G. K. Butterfield, Sr. His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as one of North Carolina's first black elected officials since Reconstruction. His mother was a classroom teacher for 48 years.

Congressman Butterfield graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. After earning his law degree, Congressman Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 13 years. He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African-American elected officials throughout eastern North Carolina.

In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge. In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina. For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor. Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and successfully ran for Congress. He was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004, where he continues to serve today.

In Congress, Butterfield is a champion of affordable health care, education, investments in rural communities, veterans, renewable energies, and federal programs that support low-income and middle-class Americans.

Butterfield serves in the Democratic leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He sits on the influential Committee on Energy & Commerce as the 5th most senior Democrat on the Health Subcommittee. In addition, he serves as a member of the subcommittees of Communications and Technology, and Commerce, Manufacturing, & Trade.

Congressman Butterfield is a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a proud father and grandfather.

Download a printable PDF version of his biography here.