United Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA)

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The Mennonite Gospel Mission in Peoria, Illinois, USA began in 1915 as an extension of earlier mission efforts in Chicago. Jacob and Sara Sommer, who had served three years in the Chicago mission, provided leadership for the new effort. They held the first Sunday school in a rented building 19 July 1914, with an attendance of 37. In April 1915, Luella Engel began five years of service as a mission worker at Peoria.

In 2016 6he mission built a church at 1001 North Adams Street and dedicated it on 10 September 1916. The building was 36' x 60', with two stories above ground with a basement. The chapel took the first floor, and the mission workers lived on the second floor. In 1970 the building was sold to an African American Baptist congregation. Changes in neighborhood racial demographics and the intrusion of industrial buildings in the community occasioned the decision. Walter Regier, then the pastor and the congregation, explored establishing a Mennonite Church in North Peoria. In the short term, it met in the Peoria Christian School.

On 4 April 1971, the Gospel Mennonite Church and the Ann Street Mennonite Church voted to merge at a new location. Since the Mennonite Church (MC) had launched the Ann Street congregation in 1919, the new United Mennonite Church related both to the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church. In June 1971, the united congregation began to meet in the Ann Street building.

In 2000 the United Mennonite Church withdrew from the Illinois Mennonite Conference and the Central District Conference. The congregation stated it planned to join a region of the Missionary Church. It took the name Ann Street Bible Church and Donald Burleson continued as pastor. That church subsequently closed between 2014 and 2019.


"Business Sessions." Central District Reporter 44, no. 3 (August 2000): 1.

"The Central Illinois conference...." The Mennonite 31, no. 20 (18 May 1916): 1.

"Gospel building sold." Central District Reporter (15 September 1970): A-4.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking Together in Faith: The Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003.

Smith, Willard. Mennonites in Illinois. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983: 279.

Weber, Harry F. Centennial history of the Mennonites of Illinois, 1829-1929. Goshen, Ind.: Mennonite Historical Society, 1931: 521-524. Available in full electronic text at https://archive.org/details/centennialhistor00webe.

Yordy, Richard. "New Peoria church." Central District Reporter (15 June 1971): A-4.

Additional Information

Address: 2105 West Ann Street, Peoria, Illinois



Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference

Illinois Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at United Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Jacob Sommer (1878-1952) 1915-1938?
John Franklin "Frank" McNutt (1912-1986) 1939?-1941
Frank R. Mitchell (1896-1972) 1942-1945
Samuel Ummel (1892-1969) 1946-1962
Melvin C. Norquist (1916-2017) 1946-1968
Walter H. Regier 1968-1972
J. Frederick Erb (1922-1985) 1972-1977?
Paul C. Seiber 1977-1985
Richard A. Litwiller 1985-1992
Paul Rupp (Interim) 1992-1994
Donald D. Burleson 1994-2000

Membership at United Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1914 48
1940 150
1950 123
1960 122
1970 98
1980 80
1990 61
2000 45

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Articles

By Samuel Ummel. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 624. All rights reserved.

Mennonite Gospel Mission Church in Peoria, Illinois, was opened in 1914 by the Home Mission Committee of the Central Conference (General Conference Mennonite Church). Jacob Sommer, who was assisting at the Mennonite Gospel Mission in Chicago, was called to open this new work in Peoria. The first service was held in a rented store building at 920 North Adams St., with 37 in attendance; in 1916 the building utilized in 1956 was erected at 1001 North Adams St. In 1956 there was a church membership of 148, which afforded a strong working group for constant need of mission work in a city such as Peoria, and the minister is Samuel Ummel, with Melvin Norquist as assistant.

By Melvin Gingerich. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 146. All rights reserved.

Peoria Gospel Mission (General Conference Mennonite), 1001 N. Adams, Peoria, IL under the Central District Conference, had 111 members in 1958, with Samuel Ummel as pastor.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published October 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "United Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2022. Web. 21 Feb 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=United_Mennonite_Church_(Peoria,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174224.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (October 2022). United Mennonite Church (Peoria, Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 February 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=United_Mennonite_Church_(Peoria,_Illinois,_USA)&oldid=174224.

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