Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
March 15, 2021
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

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:
March 18 at 2 pm Topic: Congregational Vitality
April 1 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Poverty
April 15 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Racism
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
Pastors Care and Share
meets every Wednesday at 2 pm and every Thursday at 9 am on Zoom.

FREE VBS Curriculum

Ridgefield-Crystal Lake has 4-5 sets of VBS materials they would like to donate to anyone. Please contact Raechel Sowa if you want more information.
LOOKING FOR: Copies of the book "Waking Up White"

If your church has copies you no longer need, please contact Pastor Steve Bowie.
Not too late to Register!
Workshop sponsored by
The Synod of Lincoln Trails:
How to Lead When You Don't Know
Where You're Going

When: Thursday, March 18th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM Central via ZOOM

Cost: Free to all Presbyterian pastors, sessions, church and presbytery leaders (including COMs)

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old ways of doing things no longer work but a way forward is not yet clear? The workshop will feature Susan Beaumont, author of "How To Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going: Leading in a Liminal Season". Such in-between times are called liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. Read more and register today!

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" 
April 14, 2021 at 6 pm (central)
"Parliamentary Procedure for Leaders"
July 14, 2021 at 6 pm (CDT) 
Registration will be available soon.  READ MORE

Check out the new online PCUSA
curriculum catalog for 2021-2022
  • Samples are available
  • Help is available (email the curriculum specialist at PCUSA Store)
  • Using our denominational resources means you can trust the theology
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.


Online Pop-Up Store features great Stronghold branded gear plus purchases raise funds for Stronghold. Hurry - through March 20 only!

Winter Walking in the Woods at Stronghold continues Tuesday March 16th & 23rd
One-hour Guided Trail Hikes 10:30 am and 3:30 pm

Dress for the weather. Wear sturdy boots. Bring a water bottle. Enjoy the great outdoors. Practice social distancing. Wear mask as needed, for example, inside or in close proximity.

Please bring a $5.00 donation per person to each hike you attend. The hike will be catered to each group. Call or text at least one hour before the hike to let us know you are attending. Come explore Stronghold property. Kids 12 and above may be dropped off to hike on with the guide. Arrive 15 minutes early to get registered. Rain or shine, snow too. For questions or to reserve your spot call or text Jennifer at (815) 973-2937 or (815) 732-6111 x600.