Prayer and Fellowship
Education and Discipleship
Mission and Evangelism
United Christian Fellowship is a member of the Catalina Baptist Association, a network of Southern Baptist churches in southern Arizona. We are a mid-sized church located in Southeast Tucson with a heart for our community, a heart for our city, and a heart for each other. We are also a mission-minded church playing a supporting role in local, national, and global missions. As a church, we tithe 10% of our income to the following missions:
Arizona Southern Baptist Cooperative Program
Arizona Missions (Disaster Relief, University Ministries, and Zona Camp)
Arizona Baptist Children's Services
North American Missions (Annie Armstrong)
International Missions (Lottie Moon)
We are excited about the work the Lord is doing in the life of our church. Come and be a part of what the Lord is doing!
UNITED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (UCF)
On July 24 the congregations of Rincon Baptist Church and the Filipino American Christian Fellowship of Tucson (FACFT) voted to merge the two churches with Pastor Gideon Dignadice, the Pastor of FACFT, as the lead Pastor. We are excited for what the future holds as we join together to follow God into all that He has in store for us!
RINCON BAPTIST CHURCH
Rincon Baptist Church was founded on June 1, 1963 by Rev. Leland Hall, Rincon Baptist’s first pastor, who served until June 1964. The church met at Dietz Elementary School.
Rev. W.V. “Doc” Wilson served from August 1964 to November 1973. A church plant began in June 1968 at our current location. The first service was held in the new sanctuary in September 1968.
Rev. Mel Worters served as pastor from April 1974 to September 1977. The church was incorporated February 19, 1975. The east wing of the main building was added during the early part of 1975.
Rev. Ira Irvin served from November 1977 to October 1979. The Fellowship and Educational Building was built in June 1978 and dedicated in November 1979.
Rev. Johan M. Parks served from February 1980 to May 1983. Rev. Haskel Morris served from September 1985 to April 1986. Rev. D.F. Desist served from September 1986 to October 1989.
Rev. Mark Pitts served as pastor from April 1990 until he resigned in November 1997. With 200 active members, the church was now involved as a sponsor to plant a new church on the east side of Tucson through “Partnership Arizona”. Rincon continued to support this new work until the mission could support itself. During this time, the church added a music minister/associate pastor and a youth pastor, and the youth department grew from two members to over thirty-one members. A basketball court and a volleyball court were built; a brick wall was constructed on the south end of the property; a new sign was designed and installed on the south end of the property; air conditioning was added to all buildings; and a new roof for the sanctuary was installed in 1996.
In 1997, Pastor Edward Vernon was called as interim pastor. After two years and many accomplishments, he was called as permanent pastor where he served until 2012. From the time of Pastor Ed’s interim position, the church saw many changes. Rincon grew from a small, struggling church into a thriving entity which led to a large increase in families with children and youth. During this time, the church added a second morning service to accommodate our growing membership. In 1999, an associate pastor, Gordon Vernon, was called and in 2005, a youth director was added to our staff. With the church thriving beyond its current physical capacity, the church began planning for the building of a new, larger sanctuary to accommodate the increasing membership. After five years of planning, ground breaking began in early 2007. In November of 2010, the new Worship Center was dedicated and attendance once again saw a large increase.
Gordon Vernon was called as Senior Pastor in 2012. Under Pastor Gordon’s leadership, two new ministries were added: The FACFT and the First Nepali Church. Both ministries began holding their services on campus. With the growth of membership, many new ministries were added: Road 2 Recovery; Good News Club (an after-school ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship); Food Distribution sponsored by Caring Ministries; and the Native American Mission. Four new staff positions were created and a preschool was opened. Children and youth ministries expanded and community outreach ministries included Thanksgiving baskets for the needy, an annual car show, an annual Trunk or Treat Festival, and donations of blankets/winter caps for to the Native American Mission. Our congregation donated many other items as our different missions groups made their needs known (bikes for the African ministry; household items/clothing for the Native American mission etc.)
As a result of Pastor Gordon Vernon's retirement in 2017, Pastor Trei Watters was called as Senior Pastor and began serving in November 2017. During that time, our website was updated and we began to discuss improvements to the buildings and grounds. The church continued to grow under Pastor Trei's leadership. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of March 2020, the Sunday worship service was held online only. In-person worship was resumed in 2021 and we continue to offer online services with a live stream each Sunday. Pastor Trei stepped down in August of 2021.
In April of 2022, Pastor Joel Reyes, former Pastor of the FACFT, was called to Pastor Rincon Baptist. He answered that call and assumed responsibilities as Transitional Pastor on May 1, 2022 until the merger.
FILIPINO AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP OF TUCSON (FACFT)
On December 17, 2006 the first Bible study was held in a home in Tucson. Those in attendance were three families. They met to discuss having Christian fellowship apart from the usual parties and sporting events. They resolved to conduct a monthly Bible study at Fountain Plaza Apartments where most Filipinos working at Tucson Medical Center were housed.
One member contacted Pastor Joel Padilla from the International Baptist Church in Phoenix to inquire about a Tucson church and the possibility of having a minister help establish a Filipino church in Tucson. The first Bible study with Pastor Joel Padilla took place in August of 2007.
On September 29, 2007, a worship service was held at Fountain Plaza Apartments. Approximately 15 members from the Filipino American Baptist Church of Phoenix came to support the outreach. Another 15 or more participants from Tucson were present. Soon after the first worship service, the group decided to conduct a weekly Bible study on Friday evenings instead of having a monthly Saturday fellowship. The location rotated between the member’s homes. The participants also took turns leading the study.
The pioneers were determined to build an organized Filipino Christian Fellowship of Tucson. The group advertised in Oriental stores and aggressively invited everyone they knew or had contact with to attend. More people came to the Bible studies and worship services in the ensuing months. When Americans who married Filipinos began to join the group, one member suggested the name be changed to the Filipino-American Christian Fellowship of Tucson.
In June of 2008, the group requested Christian Faith Fellowship of Tucson to allow FACFT to hold services in their facilities. Their board generously agreed. The church continued to grow and started having a children’s teaching ministry.
During this time period, an e-mail was received from someone in Alaska requesting information about Filipino Christian ministry work in Tucson. One of the founding members replied to the e-mail detailing the FACFT ministry activities and vision. He also mentioned the group had been praying for a pastor since the ministry was showing signs of rapid growth. Unknown to FACFT members, Pastor Reyes and his wife, Beth, had been stirred by God to move to a warmer climate after serving the Lord for 14 years in Alaska. It was no coincidence that FACFT pioneers held the first Bible study fellowship at nearly the same time these two began feeling the need to move.
In September 2008, Pastor Joel Reyes and his wife, Beth, moved to Tucson and began attending the Bible studies and monthly worship services. The following month, he was asked to lead the Friday evening Bible studies. By November, the group had formally asked him to consider becoming the pastor of FACFT. He readily accepted the call.
On January 2009, Pastor Joel Reyes was officially installed as Pastor and FACFT began weekly services as a Church plant sponsored by Filipino American Baptist Church and supported financially by the Arizona Baptist Convention and Valley Rim Baptist Association. The church soon after also moved their meeting place to Rincon Baptist Church which became their home until January of 2020.
Pastor Joel Reyes announced his retirement from full-time ministry at the end of 2018, but we are still blessed by his leadership as he stays on as one of our Elders.
2019 marked the FACFT 10th year anniversary. That year also brought a new and even more exciting chapter of its ministry. In late summer of 2019, Pastor Gideon Dignadice became our new Lead Pastor after an extensive search. Pastor Gidz (or PGidz), as he is affectionately called, is a young, energetic, and passionate speaker and teacher. He comes from Pasadena, California. He holds a Master’s degree and a wide range of field experience and also as a Professor at a Seminary. In California, he served as Pastor for many years bringing growth and vast outreach to the Filipinos in that area. Now we look forward to continue working with him and FACFT’s increasing outreach of God’s saving grace to Tucson.
As an added blessing, after two years of renovations and waiting, FACFT moved into their new worship facility and held their first worship celebration on February 2, 2020.