Patrick Tebbano and his wife, Nicole, moved to Las Cruces from Cleveland, Ohio and were happy to trade in the gray skies, hard winters, and humid summers of Ohio for life in the desert. They have two children: Jonah (6) and Hannah (5). Patrick is a graduate of Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania and Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Since moving to Las Cruces, Patrick has tried to find as much time as possible to explore the state. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, tennis, soccer, and green chile. Patrick considers it a blessing to be able to proclaim the free grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and desires to serve the church by building up the people of God and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
Pastor Linden, a graduate of New Brunswick Bible Institute, Columbia Bible College, and Covenant Theological Seminary has been an Assistant Pastor at UPC for five years. He plans to retire or be retired by the time he turns 100, and is well on his way to that mark! Most of his ministry has been to international university students in Canada. He has lectured and taught at seminaries, colleges, and pastors’ conferences throughout Asian such as India and the Philippines, on issues including justification, the atonement, and the books of Isaiah, Hebrews, John, and Habakkuk. His favorite subject is the gospel, and he thinks it is amazing beyond ever understanding that God would become a man so He could suffer for the sins He hates which we alone committed, and all so that we, saved by Him, might behold His glory forever. You can access Pastor Linden’s website here.
Stephen and Krissi Yates hail from the sunny state of Florida, where they met and married while attending Florida State University. Following preparation for ministry at Covenant Theological Seminary (Stephen – M.Div. and Masters in Educational Ministries; Krissi – Masters in Educational Ministries) in St. Louis, Missouri, they moved to UPC in 2013. They enjoy playing board games, exploring new places and foods, and loving their newborn daughter Julianna. Krissi refuses to claim Stephen’s other hobbies: comics, hiking, and a never-ending stack of books to read. Stephen and Krissi are excited to see God move in the lives of the emerging generations – children, youth, and twenty-somethings – here in Las Cruces and around the world.
At UPC, we consider ourselves to be an Evangelical, Reformed, and Presbyterian church:
Evangelical: We believe the Bible is the only true and perfect Word of God that directs how we are to live and reveals how we are to be saved. The Bible tells us everything we need to know about God – especially how we can be saved through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sin and rose victoriously from the grave to show His power over death and sin. We believe this good news, what we call the gospel, is the only hope for our world, and we seek to share it with everyone through our words and our actions.
Reformed: Many of our specific beliefs and traditions stem from the 16th and 17th century movement called ‘The Reformation’ in Europe, which was a time of recommitment to the Bible and a rediscovery of its central theology. Our Reformed beliefs emphasize God’s sovereign power over all things, our inability to draw near to God apart from the work of His Spirit, and His gracious initiative in calling us to himself and preserving us by His strength. Our denomination’s statement of belief, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, comes from this period.
Presbyterian: One of the Reformed movements of the time, centralized especially in Scotland, England, and later America, was known as Presbyterianism. The name Presbyterian comes from the Greek word in the New Testament ‘presbyter’, which is the term given to the leaders of the church. Our church is thus led by a group of mature Christians we call elders. Presbyterian churches now exist all over the world, and are marked by the leadership of elders. Other distinctives include our view of God’s covenant with His people, which leads us to baptize both believing adults and their infant children. We are a part of the Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination of over 350,000 members throughout North America.
University Presbyterian Church was founded in 1959 by a group of local Christians desiring preaching and teaching that was faithful to God’s word, the fellowship of like-minded believers, and a church from which to impact the growing city of Las Cruces, things they believed were divisive in the churches of the day. The infant congregation broke ground that same year, building the iconic ‘A-frame’ sanctuary that would be the church’s home for many years. Over the next few decades, UPC would reach out to the community and the world, establishing a campus ministry at NMSU, planting new churches in Alamogordo and Las Cruces, supporting local efforts in Christian Education and civic service, and sending numerous mission teams to Europe, Mexico, and Africa. In 1981, UPC’s denomination joined with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and we now enjoy rich fellowship as part of the Presbytery of the Southwest. Following a fire in 1992 that destroyed many of the church’s facilities, UPC expanded in the subsequent decades to a new sanctuary that preserved the A-frame the church is known for, as well as a Family Ministry Center that serves as a home base for numerous ministries in the church and community. Today, that rich legacy continues under Lead Pastor Patrick Tebbano, as UPC continues to strive for the desires of its founders, to “present in Christian love a positive ministry of the Scriptures by preaching and teaching for the edification of the saints, and by evangelizing for the salvation of the lost at home and to the ends of the earth” (1959 UPC Covenant of Faith).