Blackhawk Presbytery
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Supporting Thriving Faith Communities in Northern Illinois
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Blackhawk Presbytery
1922 N. IL Rte. 2
P.O. Box 476
Oregon, IL 61061


Stronghold Camp & Retreat Center

Synod of Lincoln Trails

Presbyterian Church (USA)

The per capita assessment for 2021 is $38.50
(GA-$8.98; Synod-$3.81; Blackhawk
Presbytery $25.71)
by Church


Our Vision and Values

     Grounded in the biblical image for human community, as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, we challenge and support congregations to be thriving faith communities by facilitating competent leadership and resourcing to energize ministry and mission.
     As Christians, guided by the principles of love, trust, open communication, and genuine relationships, we value each other as sisters and brothers in faith in all our varied theological understandings. Therefore, we relish respectful discussions of differing opinions as a necessary part of discerning the will of God.
                                                                                 Statement adopted November, 2017



November 18, 2020

Hello Church Leaders of Blackhawk Presbytery,

Yesterday afternoon Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that effective Friday, November 20 the entire state will move to Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations. This is a significant change from where we were just earlier this week and will have a major impact on our lives. The rapidly changing nature of the pandemic is exceptionally challenging for each of us individually and for our congregations.

The details of these new measures can be found online at:

Of particular interest to churches is that gatherings are prohibited in meeting rooms, clubs, and similar locations while funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents. Indoor recreation centers, including theaters and performing arts centers, are closed. Outdoor group activities are limited to 10 persons or less, and participants must wear face coverings at all times. All employees who can work remotely should work remotely. The new mitigation measures do not specifically prohibit in-person gathering for worship but you are strongly encouraged to move to on-line only worship for at least the next 3 weeks (11/22, 11/29, and 12/6).  

In scripture we are very clearly called to care for one another: “The commandments . . . are summed up in this one rule, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor.” (Romans 13:9-10 NIV)

Following this call from scripture and based on the public health mitigation measures, I urge you to consider these latest mitigation measures and recommendations when deciding whether to host in person worship and events. With the current increased risk, suspending in-person events and moving to virtual worship services helps to protect those most vulnerable. The risk of contracting the virus is increasing for all of us and especially those who are more susceptible including the older members in our congregations.

This is not the news we want to hear but we are not alone. The Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church has announced that “indoor and outdoor in-person church services and gatherings should not be held.” The Illinois South Conference of the United Church of Christ has also asked that congregations suspend all in-person church activities. The Chicago Synod of the ELCA says “With the current trajectory of the COVID pandemic, we strongly encourage and recommend that congregations transition to ONLY virtual gatherings (including worship) as soon as possible, and that congregation’s rostered leaders and staff be encouraged to work from home.”

The presbytery cannot mandate how you choose to worship during these Tier 3 Mitigations. The decision of how you gather is up to each session. That said, each session should carefully consider the risks to the congregation, its staff, its members, and also those with whom the members connect. We have a duty to God, to one another, and to our extended communities. You may have seen the news about a wedding held in rural Maine that led to 177 COVID 19 cases and 7 deaths. None who died were at the wedding. The best way to ensure church events do not cause spread of the virus is to hold worship, Bible study, and meetings online.

Please be safe. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing.  Know that you are all in my prayers.

The Lord bless you and keep you,


Rev. Eric Heinekamp

Transformational General Presbyter & Stated Clerk

Presbytery of Blackhawk




2021 Stated Meetings for the Presbytery of Blackhawk


·       February 9, 2021:              Via Zoom

·       April 13, 2021:                  Most likely via Zoom

·       June 8, 2021:                     Possibly at Stronghold Camp and Retreat Center

·       September 14, 2021:        Location to be determined

·       November 9, 2021:           Location to be determined


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