Blackhawk Presbytery
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Supporting Thriving Faith Communities in Northern Illinois
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Blackhawk Presbytery
1922 N. IL Rte. 2
P.O. Box 199
Oregon, IL 61061


Stronghold Camp & Retreat Center

Synod of Lincoln Trails

Presbyterian Church (USA)

The per capita assessment for 2020 is $38.47
(GA-$8.95; 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



COVID-19 Response Task Force
May 15, 2020
Navigating the Way Forward
With Session conversations underway about when and how to meet again to worship in person, it might be helpful to start with a different question - What is our next step if we are indeed seeking to be faithful to our mission in Christ? And what is the next step after that? 
Perhaps God is calling us to something very different than we envision as we navigate the way forward. With safe, remote worship well in place for so many churches, maybe a more faithful next step would be to pour our energy into serving our neighbor and the homebound. Or maybe our energy is better placed in visibly inviting more to our current, virtually gathered worshiping community, rather than focusing on in-person worship that will exclude people no matter what safety steps we take? Maybe it is finding ways to continue or start small groups, Bible study, youth groups, coffee hours, and other gatherings using group technologies.
Since worship is going to be different anyway - masks, no singing, sitting apart, no fellowship time - maybe we keep what’s working with worship right now and shift our energy in apostolic ways, being the church outside the walls of the building, until we can more comfortably and safely be together. 
What needs in your community could be tackled with more hands, even if they are virtual? What new mission partnerships with community agencies or ecumenical neighbors might God be pointing you to? 
Each congregation will have different answers. Maybe we also need to be asking different questions as we strive to be open to the new thing God is doing in this time. 
Speaking of In-Person Worship
If you haven’t already checked out the COVID-19 Response Task Force resources related to in-person worship, we encourage you to access those helpful resources as part of your discernment ( We also urge each congregation to form a task force or other small group dedicated to study the issues and advise Session. In addition, we strongly encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and the State of Illinois’ plan
The Presbytery would like to assist you with your individual questions or concerns. Contact the office, join one of the weekly Pastors Care & Share Zoom meetings or join the Blackhawk Shares Facebook Group
Your Pastor is Weary Too...
As we think about gathering in person again, we must consider that not only are many in our congregations part of the populations most vulnerable to complications of COVID-19, but many of our pastors, staff members, and/or their family members are too. It’s quite possible that your pastor cannot, or will not feel they can, safely lead worship in person any time soon. Pastors and Sessions, please have grace-filled, honest conversations about this. The health and safety of our staffs must be considered in our planning, including making reasonable accommodations for these needs. 
Speaking of pastors, more than likely, your pastor has also not been able to take much-needed time off and may be feeling overwhelmed, tired and stressed out as they carry the burdens of the congregations along with their own personal challenges of this time. We urge you to prioritize care for your pastor(s) by encouraging them to do what they need to care for themselves. Sessions or Personnel Committees, please have that conversation if you haven’t already. In this blog post, Top Ten Reasons Why Your Pastor Needs a Break, Ryan Landino, the Lead Presbyter for Transformation in Great Rivers Presbytery, has a message for elders and church leaders.
Zoom With Caution
We are reaching out to all of our churches currently conducting worship services via Zoom or using Zoom for other meetings. You are likely aware of incidences of “Zoombombing” which have previously been rather innocuous. We want to be sure that you are also aware that Zoombombing has recently escalated to disturbing levels, including the sharing of child pornography as was experienced last week at Peoria United Presbyterian, and other churches around the country.
This article gives guidance on how to prevent such events, including what you need to do before and during services. To continue to stay informed, you might also consider joining the Zoom Faith Facebook group which addresses a number of topics around Zoom and Church, and is in conversation about Zoombombing (see posts by Deb Avery 5/11 & 5/13). The group is public - you do not need to join to the conversations.
Please let us know if we can provide additional help in any way. 
Grace and peace,
Nancy Dolan

2020 Stated Meeting Sites for the Presbytery of Blackhawk


June 2, 2020

 Via Zoom


September 8, 2020

 First Presbyterian Church

410 2nd Ave.

Sterling, Illinois 61081


November 10, 2020

 Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church

8505 Church St.

Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012

Presbytery e-Connections