Pulaski County pastor retires after 53 years at same church

Draper Valley Baptist Church pastor gave last sermon on Sunday

DRAPER, Va. – The guiding light of Draper Valley Baptist Church has given up the pulpit.

Pastor Willie Overton gave his last sermon Sunday after 53 years leading the Pulaski County church. The 80-year-old Overton started at the church in 1966, but he chose to step away because of health reasons.

Overton has had cancer and survived a near-fatal heart attack three years ago.

"A season has a beginning and a season has an end," Overton said during his sermon, paraphrasing Ecclesiastes. 

"Don't let anybody tell you that when you're 80, you're still 20. They're lying to you."

The Draper Valley congregation filled the church to tell Overton goodbye and to thank him for his service. Overton says the congregation is why he stayed at Draper Valley for as long as he did.

"People aren't perfect, none of us," Overton said. "But at the same time, there are people who are God's people and love one another."

Overton will remain with the church as a member of the congregation.

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