Verlin Darek Williams is a native of Detroit, Michigan; the first of eight siblings born to James and Julia Williams. At an early age he learned the value of family and was nurtured by the family Bible studies that took place every Friday night in his home. He was reared in Jefferies Homes and educated in the Detroit public schools. He was graduated from Murray Wright High School in 1972.
Dr. Williams surrendered to God’s call on his life in 1978 and preached his initial sermon in November 1980 at the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit under the pastorate of his father in ministry, the late Reverend Dr. John H. Kearney. Being instructed that the call to ministry was at the same time a call to preparation, Dr. Williams began his academic journey completing studies at Highland Park community college, Wayne State University, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, and The School of Theology at Virginia Union University where he earned the Doctor of Ministry degree.
Dr. Williams’ pastoral ministry began in 1986 in Richmond, Virginia where he was called to the New Light Baptist Church in the Church Hill section of the city. While providing preaching, teaching and pastoral care Dr. Williams led the small congregation into a major building renovation project. The renovation of the historic landmark building was celebrated by the New Light church family and the City of Richmond.
In March of 1994 Dr. Williams received the call to the pastorate at Union Baptist Church in Greenburgh, New York. He arrived to take charge of the pulpit in June, 1994 with his five year old daughter Candacee and his wife Dorothy.
Dr. Williams understands his call to the local congregation and has committed his life to the church. Upon arrival at Union he rolled up his sleeves and went to work. Over the years he has offered multiple weekly Bible studies. His expository preaching style has resulted in spiritual growth among the membership. Over the past 20 years he has seen several hundred conversions and baptisms. Not only has the membership grown to more than 650 families the church’s assets have grown from $1.2 million to a non-profit organization worth more than $10 million dollars; including a new worship edifice, six full time employees and seven part time and contracted employees. Future plans include the construction of the Community Family Life Center.
Under Dr. Williams’ leadership the church has adopted the following core values: Spirit filled worship, making and developing disciples, developing leaders, and enhancing the lives of the people who live in the Fairview Greenburgh Community. Initiatives such as the Jobs for Life program, which offered job readiness for young men who were placed under the church’s supervision by Greenburgh Town Court, have proven beneficial. The Greenburgh Older Youth Initiative, a program offered with the combined resources of Westchester BOCES, Union Baptist Church and Westchester County, offered youth ages 18-21 training in light home repairs. In addition to the Unity in the Community Day parades and community fair, Union Baptist Church, Westchester County and local businesses offered summer employment for young adults. Besides community projects the ministries of the church are expanded to include, mentoring programs for girls, Domestic Violence awareness and prevention, ministry to occupants of the Bedford Women’ Prison and their children, support of the Children’s Village boys cottage, and Music and Arts programs for children and teens. Since 2012 the church has become a leading food distribution center in Greenburgh through its Food Service Ministry.
Dr. Williams worked as part-time Chaplain for the state of New York Youth Department at the Pyramid Reception Center in Bronx, New York where he provided pastoral counseling and spiritual assessment for youthful offenders. He served as one of the police chaplains for the Greenburgh Police Department under Chief John Kapica. Dr. Williams has served in various capacities with the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention and the Central Hudson Baptist Association where he currently acts as Budget Director.
While he focuses on developing the ministry of Union Baptist Church, Dr. Williams’ doors are always open to community leaders and local politicians. He believes that in order for the church to stay relevant it must prioritize the Biblical mandate to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to participate in the lives of people. We are “The church in the heart of the community with the people of the community in its heart”, working to fulfill the Great Commission,“Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”