United Presbyterian Church welcomes all people into the full life of our congregation, including services of worship, membership, eligibility for leadership, availability of pastoral care, and opportunities for learning, fellowship and service. We affirm the worth of every person as a bearer of God’s image, and we welcome all people, regardless of social, economic or marital status, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or previous religious affiliation. As we are freely loved and accepted by God, we will offer love and acceptance in this congregation.
United Presbyterian Church seeks to be a Christ-centered community. We believe Christ is the head of the church, so we keep our eyes, minds, and hearts focused on Him as we run the race God has marked out for us. We follow Christ.
We believe Christ calls us to share the love and grace of God through worship, education, mission, and fellowship. This is how we grow and our nurtured as Christ's disciples.
Our church is called and gathered into being to worship the God of our salvation with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication; to teach the knowledge and ways of God, encourage critical thinking and thoughtful engagement with the world, and foster the growth of dedicated disciples of Christ; to serve our brothers and sisters locally and around the world by sharing the good news of the Gospel, working for justice, providing care and comfort, and bringing hope in the name of Jesus Christ; and to share our lives together in fellowship in mutual affection, joy, and concern.
Our Core Values
Our "Core Values" are those commitments that guide and define our identity and mission. The core values of United Presbyterian Church are Christ-centered. We aren’t just any community of people; we are a community of faith, which means we are a community in relationship with God through the trust and knowledge of who God is as revealed in Scripture and in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The following Core Values are the driving force of UPC. They help answer the question, "Why are we doing what we are doing?" They also answer the questions, "Who are we?" and "What's most important to us?" Core Values affect decisions, goals, change, priorities, conflicts, and spending. They shape us in our mission to “share God’s love and grace” with each community we are a part of: from Peoria to the global community of God’s children.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Psalm 100:2
Through a shared liturgy of Word and Sacrament that blends traditional and contemporary elements of worship, UPC invites all, in creative and faithful ways, to focus heart, soul, and mind to the Glory of God. Music is an important part of our worship at UPC; using a variety of musical styles and instruments, we sing praises to God with heart and voice. We believe it is a joy to worship God, and so we express that joy in our worship through warm greetings, praise, and laughter. In worship, we give glory to God and celebrate God’s goodness and grace. We believe we are not the only participants in worship though. God, through the Holy Spirit, is active in worship in the lives of each person gathered together, and God connects with us, challenges us, comforts us, and teaches us through Word and Sacrament. Worship gives us the fuel to be sent out into the world to share God’s love and grace.
Education and Critical Thinking
Teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. Exodus 18:20
As part of our Reformed/Presbyterian Heritage, we take seriously educational mission. We value, support, and participate in informational education, learning about the world and how it functions through the Arts and Sciences. We also value vocational education, developing and nurturing God-given talents in order to fulfill the vocation to which we have been called. We also value transformational education, because we believe knowing God through the Word revealed (Jesus Christ), the Word written (the Bible), and the Word proclaimed (sharing the Good News) can transform hearts, minds, and lives. Our commitment to education centers on sharing our questions and experiences of our lives and faith journeys. By sharing our varied experiences, including our beliefs, our questions and our doubts, we learn how to strengthen our community bonds, gain wisdom from one another, and worship together in fullness and diversity. We encourage critical thinking and honor the differences in opinion and belief that comes with freedom of though. At UPC, we provide Christian education for all ages and discuss how the biblical narrative intersects our lives, but we also provide education opportunities in the liberal arts, creative arts, and the sciences. We believe in using, stretching, and keeping open the amazing minds God gave us.
...'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’ Matthew 25:40
UPC does not exist for itself. Just as Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, we are called out and gathered together by God to be sent out into the world as servants. We serve our local, national, and international community by sharing God’s love and grace. That may take the form of providing physical needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, but also providing for spiritual and emotional needs as well through ministries of comfort and care. We also share God’s love and grace by providing new opportunities for education and enrichment, advocating for justice, and by proclaiming the Good News of God’s grace for all people and the defeat of sin and death by Jesus Christ on the cross. We reach out to our neighbors across the globe and bring hope in the name of Jesus Christ.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42
Community is central to the nature of God and therefore is central to the nature of the Church. The gospel is most clearly fleshed out in community. We strive to bring people together to enjoy each other as an expression of our developing faith in Jesus Christ. Our mission is also to provide nurturing pastoral care by supporting spiritual growth of the individual and the congregation as a community of faith. We support each other, pray for each other, learn together, challenge one another, laugh and cry with each other, and sometimes just have fun. We are a community brought together by Christ, and we enjoy fellowship with one another and with God through God’s mercy and grace. Fellowship happens through social gatherings, small groups, and activities, but also through our worship, education, and mission. We believe faith is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We value that relationship and try to model it in our relationships with each other.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
You are always welcome at UPC. That isn’t just a slogan; it’s a value and a promise. We want to invite, welcome, and include every single person who walks through our doors. Our hope is that no one could walk away from UPC without having felt the love of Jesus extended directly and personally to them. We want to always go the extra mile to make every visitor feel welcome and comfortable through personal, engaging, and loving encounters. Inclusive hospitality is not just something our first-time visitors experience; instead, we hope this is a mindset of every member of UPC that permeates all of our interactions with family, friends, co-workers, and community. We believe in accepting one another even though we may be very different and even believe different things. We are united in diversity. Because we are always welcome in God, you are always welcome at UPC.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
We have joy in the Lord and we are not afraid to exhibit it. There is almost always laughter in a worship service. The pastors and the congregation are not afraid to laugh at themselves. We do not have to take ourselves so seriously because we have confidence of our identity in Christ. We take to heart the first question of the Westminster Catechism: “What is the chief end of humanity?” The answer is to “Enjoy God and glorify God forever.” At UPC we enjoy our worship, education, mission, and fellowship. We are, and always want to be, a fun church whose joy is apparent. That does not mean we do not lament, mourn, or struggle. We affirm these emotions and actions, but even in their midst, we remember the joy of the Lord. Pain and sorrow may last the whole night long, but joy comes in the morning. Joy is constant, even in the pain, and is often made stronger because of pain. Joy is not based on happenstance; it is founded in the promises of God which are always faithful.