Our Pastor

PUMBC provides a caring and loving place of worship, where spiritual expressions can be developed through Christian education, ministries, and fellowship, in order to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and to make disciples of the global community.



Reverend Dion J. Watkins the husband of Candice Watkins, (and father of Xavier Watkins, and his two covenant sons, Josiah, and DeAndre), is a native of Buffalo, New York. Reverend Watkins is a gifted and anointed man of God that was led at an early age to motivate and inspire generations of people. He accepted Christ at the age of 16 and was a faithful member of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in the city of Lackawanna, New York.  There, he was very active in many ministry activities while growing up in Mount Olive.

Reverend Watkins graduated from Lackawanna Senior High School in 1997. He then continued his education at Canisius College where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2001. He furthered his education at Canisius College by obtaining a Master of Science Degree with a concentration in Reading Education in 2003. After several years of serving as pastor of his church, he returned to school to receive his Master of Divinity Degree in December 2007 at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York. Reverend Watkins is such a strong believer of scholastic achievement that with each degree he graduated with honors.

Reverend Dion Watkins was employed in 2001 by the Lackawanna City School District where he served as a sixth-grade teacher for nearly 13 years until taking a leave of absence on December 31, 2013 to pursue full-time ministry. His friendly disposition and understanding of others were what allowed him to be effective in his classroom and beloved by his students. In addition, the Lackawanna City School District honored Reverend Watkins by inducting him into its prestigious High School Wall of Fame in June of 2010.

Reverend Watkins was called into the ministry in 1997 at the age of 17. At the young age of 21 years old, he made history as he became the first associate minister to become pastor of his home church when he was installed as the Pastor of the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Lackawanna, NY on April 29, 2001. Reverend Watkins was a blessing to Mt. Olive as well as the Lackawanna community. During his leadership, the membership grew considerably, especially the youth membership. As a part of Pastor Watkins’ vision, many effective new ministries started. In June 2011, Rev. Watkins and his church expanded their church services to Revelation Baptist Church of Buffalo, New York making it a satellite location for their 8:00 a.m. worship service. Mount Olive became one church in two cities.

Reverend Dion J. Watkins is no stranger to public service. In the summer of 2011, Rev. Watkins ran a great campaign for Mayor of the City of Lackawanna. After a marginal loss (14 votes) in the primaries, he promoted a write-in campaign. Although he did not win this seat, he offered hope to residents and encouraged many to vote who had never voted in their lifetime.

In 2013, the Holy Spirit shifted Reverend Watkins’ life in a new direction, as he relocated to the Hartford, Connecticut area and accepted the call as pastor of the historic Mount Olive Church Ministries. Under the leadership of Pastor Watkins, in only a short period of time the church mortgage was burned. Over the course of his 7-year tenure as senior pastor over 1200 new members joined the Mount Olive Church Ministries family, and several new ministries were implemented. Pastor Watkins also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mount Olive Child Development Center, Inc. during his tenure as pastor of Mount Olive Church Ministries.

On July 12, 2021 the Holy Spirit said there is “more ministry work to do,” but this time down south. Pastor Watkins accepted his new ministry assignment in Huntsville, Alabama becoming the new senior pastor of the Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church. His prayer is that he will strengthen the membership at Progressive Union, bringing revival not only to the ministry but to the Greater Huntsville region and beyond. There is excitement and great expectation about what God is going to do for the Progressive Union family. Pastor Dion Jamar Watkins is teaching and preaching salvation, walking in humility, and operating under the grace of our Father in Heaven.