Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
April 8, 2021
The Post-Quarantine Church
Join us for a book discussion...

We invite you to start thinking about and discussing what your church will look like post-pandemic. In his book, "The Post-Quarantine Church: Six Urgent Challenges and Opportunities that Will Determine the Future of Your Congregation", author Thom Rainer postulates that one third of previous congregants will restart their pattern of weekly worship attendance, another third will choose the online options regularly or exclusively and as many as one third will not return to church in any fashion. Rainer and other church consultants have hopeful ideas and suggestions to consider in facing this future.

Please join us as we use Rainer's book as a starting point to discuss the brand new world just around the corner. The book is short (128 pages), easy to digest, and available for about $8. We will meet on Zoom for four weeks, on Tuesdays from 2-3 pm. - or - Thursdays from 7-8 pm. If you would like to join us, please use the link below. All are welcome - clergy and lay leaders.

Topic: The Post-Quarantine Church discussion
Time: Tuesdays April 20, 27. May 4 and 11 at 2:00 PM Central
Time: Thursdays April 22, 29, May 6 and 13 at 7:00 PM Central

Register for Tuesdays at 2:00 pm:

Register for Thursdays at 7:00 pm:

You are welcome to register for both and join when you can. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
COMING SOON! Implicit Bias Tool Kit

Plans are taking shape to offer an easy-to-use Tool Kit to address our Implicit Bias: What is it? How does it affect our church and society? And what could we and should we do about it? The Matthew 25 Blackhawk Presbytery sub-committee will encourage individuals and congregations to take a simple measurement test, view a couple of presentations and initiate or join discussions focused on this impediment to beloved community. More to come!
You are Invited to Join Us for
Roundtable Discussions
1st and 3rd Thursdays:
April 15 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Poverty
May 6 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Racism

May 20 at 2 pm Topic: Congregational Vitality
1 hour each, on Zoom - Drop in when you can!

Please join our group list to insure you receive the invitation and reminders.
Learn more about the Matthew 25 Initiative on our website or on the PCUSA pages
2021 CWS Kits Report & Challenge

Prior to the February Presbytery Meeting, a note was sent out to all the churches in Blackhawk Presbytery to see which church would set the challenge for this year’s Church World Service kits collection. Three churches replied promptly: Galena First started the challenge at 35 school kits, 20 hygiene kits, and 2 clean-up buckets; Mendota First replied next at 20 school kits, 20 hygiene kits, and 6 clean-up buckets; then Harvard First stated that they would make 50 school kits, 25 hygiene kits, and 5 clean-up buckets. The Harvard challenge was presented at the Presbytery meeting. The next day Joliet Westminster sent their goal at 100 school kits, 100 hygiene kits, and 10 clean-up buckets. Winnebago First set their goal at 40 school kits and 40 hygiene kits. So, basically, any number of any style kits will be greatly appreciated - challenge yourselves to meet an ever increasing need!

By the end of 2020, CWS sent out 101,472 kits and blankets to those in need.
The 2021 CWS Kits Booklet can be ordered by email at or call 800-297-1516. School bags can be ordered at MyShopAngel ( More info at
Free Access to NEXT Church Gathering Recordings

The NEXT Church annual conference was held recently and I would love to share some of what was presented. If you don’t know about NEXT Church you should. Here is what they say in their mission statement. “NEXT Church is a purposeful relational community of Presbyterian leaders whose mission is to strengthen a vibrant and thriving PC(USA) that shares the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that matter to and have impact on God’s evolving world.” More than 500 forward thinking pastors and church leaders attended this year’s online event including several pastors from Blackhawk Presbytery. The theme of the 3 day conference was “BREAKING, BLESSING, BUILDING: A Call For The Common Good.”

Blackhawk Presbytery has purchased a subscription to the conference that allows church leaders to view any of the recorded worship, speakers, or workshops. I attended the entire conference and highly recommend the powerful sermons by Bertram Johnson and Otis Moss III and the keynote by Christine Hong. There were outstanding stories of action (Chicago SOUL), workshops on racial reconciliation (Denise Anderson), mental health (Barbara Wilson), and several on the view of the church post COVID-19 (Carmelle Beaugelin and Victoria White). Please see a schedule of all events and a list of workshops.

If you would be interested in watching any part of the weekend please contact Loreen Stravers for login credentials to be able to watch unlimited sessions. Several workshops also have discussion guides that could be used for small groups. We plan to use some of this material for our Matthew 25 initiative.

One of the goals of Blackhawk Presbytery is to resource and inspire our church leaders. We hope you will take advantage of this free resource for yourself or for your congregation.

Your Transformational General Presbyter, Rev. Eric Heinekamp

Investing in Ruling Elders and Deacons

During the Year of Leader Formation, ruling elders and deacons will have an opportunity to join together in three webinars. Save the dates for the first two.

"Discovering Our Gifts" with a panel of leaders including Michael Gehrling
April 14, 2021 at 6 pm (central) Registration now available
(recording to be made available for later viewing but you may need to register)
"Parliamentary Procedure for Leaders"
July 14, 2021 at 6 pm (CDT) 
Registration will be available soon.  READ MORE
Celebrates the following congregations who met the Six for Six Challenge in the very challenging 2020 - Congratulations!

  • Ridgefield-Crystal Lake
  • DeKalb Westminster
  • Galena First
  • Geneva Fox Valley
  • Henry First United
  • La Rose Crow Meadow - new this year!
  • Rockford Second/First
  • Rockford Westminster
  • Sterling First
  • Woodstock First - new this year!

For people of all ages who wish to live out their faith, these resources focus on the practices we can learn from Jesus and apply to our lives.

You are also invited to attend an upcoming free webinar with Practical Resources for Churches on April 28, 2021, at 1 pm EST. In this webinar, you will receive an in-depth look at this new curriculum. REGISTER TODAY.