Who We Are

The Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria is a many-faceted congregation. Not only do we encourage diversity—we celebrate it!

We welcome everyone regardless of ethnic group, religious background, or sexual orientation. Our facilities and programs are accessible.

What We Believe

Like all Unitarian Universalist (UU) churches, we are “creed-less.” That is, we have no defined set of beliefs that all members must accept.

We believe that religion is most meaningful in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual support.

We know that people differ in their opinions and lifestyles and believe these differences should be honored.

We believe that the teachings of many different religious traditions have value and can help guide us in our search for meaning.

Most of all, we value religious freedom. We believe that everyone must ultimately make up his or her own mind about questions of spirituality and religion. The purpose of the church isn’t to provide the answers, but to assist and encourage each of us in the search for our own truth.

As a result, we’re really a church with many creeds. The folks in our congregation hold a wide variety of religious beliefs: theist, atheist, humanist, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, pagan, and others.

At the same time, as Universalist Unitarians we share a common set of principles.

What is Unitarian Universalism?

Our Church Building

Our History

Our Governance

You’re Invited

To learn more about us, explore the links at the upper left of this page. We also invite you to visit us. Give the UU Church of Peoria a try and see for yourself! Our church can be a home for you, as it is for us.

Our Covenant

As a community of love and hope, we covenant together:

To welcome with open minds and hearts all who gather here—newcomers, members, and friends.

To nurture one another with caring words, kind actions, and compassionate concern.

To share ideas freely, listen willingly, disagree respectfully, and forgive easily.

To inspire one another, youngest to eldest, to thrive in body, mind, and spirit.

To work cooperatively toward our goals and openly appreciate each other’s unique gifts.

To enrich our congregational life by participating, leading, pledging, and giving.

To celebrate life, and savor its diversity, beauty, and creativity.

Quick Facts

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Over 380 adult members

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About 100–150 friends

Those who regularly participate in church activities but have not chosen to officially join

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More than 60 children

In our Sunday school program

A Caring Community

Although as individuals we are different in many ways, together we form a caring community. In an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and support, we learn, grow, work, play, and celebrate with one another.

Francis David, a famous 16th-century Unitarian, put it this way:“We need not think alike to love alike.”

Our church is a place where you can enjoy the company of others—and still be yourself.

In our congregation you’ll find families with children, singles, couples, teens, kids, retirees—people of all ages, income levels, and walks of life. A few of us are lifelong Unitarian Universalists, but most came from other religious backgrounds. We have a wide variety of personalities and interests, too.

You don’t have to act, dress, think, or believe the “right” way to fit in here. You’re welcome to come as you are.

Our Mission & Vision

Our vision

What do we want our church community to be and do in the future? How will we achieve that vision? To answer these vital questions, in May 2011 our congregation adopted three vision statements to express our aspirations for the coming years. The board of trustees then adopted specific goals to help us move toward our vision, and these goals are updated on a periodic basis. Together our vision and goals guide our planning and activities.

We are a force for healing and social justice in our community.

Goal 1: Continue to be a center for education and dialogue on social justice. 
Goal 2: Provide a direct impact on meeting community needs through strong social outreach programs.
Goal 3: Strengthen our commitment to social justice by publicly speaking and acting for justice causes that our congregation supports.
Goal 4: Improve communications with the congregation related to social impact issues and opportunities.

We invest in our continued growth because we believe the Unitarian Universalist message will bring people to our doors.

Goal 5: Actively encourage continued growth by increasing the church’s visibility and inviting others to experience our church.
Goal 6: Develop the physical, organizational, and leadership capacity to serve 410 members.
Goal 7: Fully fund the annual operating budget, including our UUA/MidAmerica Region fair share, property reserve, and the expanding needs of our growing congregation.

We are a vibrant community where people of all ages and backgrounds feel connected and inspired.

Goal 8: Further enhance our youth program.
Goal 9: Continue to grow our young adult programs.
Goal 10: Enhance lay pastoral ministry programs and resources.
Goal 11: Increase opportunities for members and friends to develop deeper connections with one another.
Goal 12: Enhance opportunities for meaningful worship experiences.

Mission & Purpose

Who are we? What do we want to do in the world? These are questions our congregation tried to answer as we set out to update our mission statement. We wanted to express our sense of purpose in a short, memorable way.

Starting in the fall of 2009, ideas were shared in large and small group discussions, written comments, and one-on-one conversations. The input was thoughtful, heartfelt, creative, and inspiring.

Distilling so many ideas into a brief statement was not easy, but four basic themes emerged again and again. These four themes became the basis of our mission statement:

Embracing Freedom

Embracing freedom signifies that religious freedom is a foundation of our Unitarian heritage. We don’t just acknowledge diversity of belief—we celebrate it. We support each person’s search for truth, wherever it may lead.

Loving inclusively

Loving inclusively reflects the Universalist side of our heritage. We believe that everyone is welcome, everyone has worth and dignity, and everyone deserves love.

Growing spiritually

Growing spiritually reminds us that our church is a place to nurture our spirits. We strive to be a caring, supportive community and to help one another learn and grow.

Healing Our World

Healing our world expresses our desire to do all we can to make the world a better place. Respect for the environment, community outreach, and social justice work are some of the ways we engage in this part of our mission.

We Are LGBTQ+ Friendly

As Unitarian Universalists, we firmly believe that every person has worth and dignity. We value the diversity of sexuality and gender, welcome with openness all who come, and respect and honor each person’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

In April 2004, we were officially designated a Welcoming Congregation by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns (OBGLTC).

The Welcoming Congregation designation lets everyone know that we include and address the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons at every level of congregational life—in worship, in programs, in social occasions, and in rites of passage.

Visit the UUA’s LGBTQ Justice page

Who We Are

Our Team & Leadership

Rev. Dave Clements

Rev. Dave Clements

Interm Minister

Rev. Dave Clements began serving as our interim minister in February 2019. In addition to performing ministerial duties, his role is to help the congregation reflect on the past, present, and future as we make the transition to our next settled minister.

Rev. Jennifer Innis

Rev. Jennifer Innis

Settled Minister

Rev. Lynnda White

Rev. Lynnda White

Associate Minister

Rev. Michael Brown

Rev. Michael Brown

Minister Emeritus

Amy Popp

Amy Popp

Director of Religious Education

Dave Breeden

Dave Breeden

Choir Director

Nancy Rakoff

Nancy Rakoff

Membership Coordinator

Nancy Taylor

Nancy Taylor

Program Coordinator

Jan Force

Jan Force

Office Manager