Blackhawk Presbytery
Saturday, August 08, 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



COVID-19 Information


Please submit YOUR ideas to
Use the Presbytery list of Remote Worship Options (June update) to experience worship on Tuesday...Thursday...Friday...
(Please let us know if your options have changed)
  • Learn how to share the peace in American Sign Language with this easy video.
  • Share a brief video of congregation members' 'selfies' - perhaps around a theme (see Pentecost selfies - RCLPC)
  • Pre-record a special worship message for children so parents can share at the most opportune time (Geneva and Elgin)
  • Communicate regularly with your congregation (and potential visitors) via a updated COVID specific letter on your website
  • Involve the whole church in a mission project (Kankakee gathered money to purchase tubes of lotion for all the staff of their two local hospitals - 700 in all! Stickers will be added before they are delivered with church name and a message of gratitude.)
  • Don't forget to alert your local paper of your community outreach efforts - they are looking for positive stories to report!
  • Need help with technology in the church? Check your local Tech/Trade school or Community College - investigate an unpaid internship.
  • Share a Monday morning email with prayer requests (Elgin)
  • Do 'drive-by' visits to members while video-taping their greetings from a safe distance (*unprofessionally combined with a simple movie app) (see Fulton's)
  • Engage your youth in helping with technology ideas and plans* 
  • Ask church members to report "What have you been doing during quarantine?" - share via mailed newsletter & online too (from Kankakee First)
  • Churches are strongly encouraged to initiate an online giving arrangement. Some suggestions for convincing the skeptical:
- Suggest a 60 day trial and then reassess
- Find someone (pastor or leader) willing to pay the fees for the first year (from Joliet Westminster)
- If you use the Pres. Foundation, they use the administrative fees they collect to fund mission
  • Need to have a session meeting, but not everyone is computer savvy? Try a conference call (Presbytery uses People just call a number from their phone, enter a simple access code and join the call.


(Latest added at the top) 
  • Actual sample plans you might want to consider borrowing or re-tooling for your situation (ordered by size of congregation from small to large - church names changed):
  1. Spruce Presbyterian Church (small)
  2. Galena First Presbyterian 
  3. Birch Presbyterian (medium)
  4. Elm Presbyterian (medium)
  5. Maple Presbyterian (larger/multiple services) Note: they did a poll to see who may attend each service and who would probably continue remote worship - excellent idea
(Thank you to the anonymous churches who shared their plans!)
INFO on PPP LOANS (June 19):
New Covered Period: you now have 24 weeks to spend the funds
New Percentages: A minimum of 60% must be spent on payroll, and up to 40% can be spent on non-payroll expenses.
New FTE guidelines: FTE reductions won't count against your forgiveness if you meet certain requirements (which MOST churches will). You can read more (thanks to Chaney & Associates, Collaborative Stewardship)
Related to PPP Loans:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Guidance from Michael Kirk, General Counsel, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation


Board of Pensions offers dues relief and deferments to churches and employers


COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Grants and related resources from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.


Paycheck Protection Program FAQ (for churches) from the U.S. Small Business Administration


CARES Act: Please refer to the PCUSA COVID-19 Resource page (under #6) for the latest information. 

Blackhawk Presbytery COVID-19 Response Task Force:

Eric Heinekamp (Transformational General Presbyter / Stated Clerk)

Chuck Johnson (Presbytery Moderator)

Catherine Martin (COM Moderator)

Barb D’Souza (Rockford Westminster, Commissioned Pastor)

Ron Barkby (Elgin First, Elder) 

Thanks to Rev. Nancy Dolan, our Executive Bridge Presbyter (April-July 2020) for all her input and ideas brought to this group and this time.