Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
August 26, 2022
Blackhawk Assembly Gathers at Stronghold September 13

For the first time in three years, Blackhawk Presbytery will meet at "home" - Stronghold Camp & Retreat Center. The stated assembly meeting will be in person only and feature a traditional agenda of worship, communion, a learning opportunity, business and lunch. Registration and continental breakfast begins at 8:30 - the meeting begins at 9:30.

  • On tap: Presentation and discussion based on the Final Report from the Visioning Task Force - rich with observations and recommendations for the future course of the Presbytery. Also, the proposed per capita rate for 2023 will be presented for a vote.

  • If you intend to join us for lunch, you must register (below). The lunch is paid by the presbytery with funds from 2020.

  • Meeting reports are found on the website prior to the meeting - no paper copies will be available, unless you contact the office by Sept. 9 to request a printed packet. This could include the rather large Visioning Task Force report (33 pages) - please arrange in advance for a paper copy.

  • Access to the members-only section of the website requires a password. Contact the office if you did not receive this. PLEASE do not change the is used by everyone.

RIP Medical Debt Campaign in
Blackhawk Presbytery Exceeds $15K Goal

The final totals are in - $18,917.33 has been raised to forgive potentially 1.9 million dollars in medical debt! Eleven churches* found ways to raise awareness and encouraged their congregants to support this exciting way to make a huge anti-poverty difference.

The project, directed by the Matthew 25 Task Force, will send the funds to support the ongoing campaign "Reviving Appalachia Through Medical Debt Relief", where the need is great. Nearly one in five people in Appalachia are in poverty, and medical debt makes that poverty impossible to escape. This reality drove the committee's decision to designate our funds there.

*Blessings and thanks to two individuals and the following churches for their support: Apple River First, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake, DeKalb Westminster, Elgin First, Fulton, Plainfield Wheatland, Rochelle First, Shannon Prairie Dell, Sterling First, Winnebago First, and Woodstock First.

You or you church can continue to support this worthy cause at any time by donating via their website: Unless you specifically donate to the organization's expenses,
100% of donations are used to forgive debt.
Stronghold Retreat for
High School & Middle School 
Friday, November 11, 7 pm to
Sunday, November 13, noon

Time to make plans to give your young people a fun, faith building weekend designed just for them. Built around the Triennium-developed theme "When Did We See You?", youth are challenged to explore their faith and what it means to SEE themselves and others through the eyes of God.

The two age groups (HS, MS) are mostly on different tracks, but all will have the opportunity for games, music, ‘Swing by Choice’, a Mission project, campfire and more.

Registration information is coming soon, but download the flyer and start making plans (including fund/awareness-raising) soon! Contact Steve Bowie with your questions.
Board of Pensions Announces Medical Dues Increase

Board of Pensions directors approved an increase in Pastor’s Participation dues for the first time in five years. (Read the bulletin)

Effective January 1, 2023, medical dues will increase 2 percent, from 27 percent to 29 percent, bringing total dues for the Pastor's Participation benefits package to 39 percent of effective salary, up from 37 percent. For newly revised Blackhawk Presbytery minimum terms of call, see here.

Reminder: Each congregation must complete their Employer Agreement with the BOP by October 7.
Church Financial Leadership Academy: An Educational Tool for Pastors

Financial literacy is key to maintaining the economic vitality and sustainability of congregations. The Presbyterian Foundation is excited to announce the Church Financial Leadership Academy. This e-learning platform provides financial literacy education in a convenient online format that’s available any time you’re ready. Find out more.

The best source for Stewardship Resources is the Annual Stewardship Kaleidoscope Conference, September 26th – 28th, It is offered online as well as in person. This conference, for all who are passionate about stewardship and generosity, is a wonderful opportunity to receive Real Tools for Real Ministry. Recordings and handouts from previous events are shared publicly.
Blackhawk Youth Make a Difference

Blackhawk Presbytery underwrote a mission trip in lieu of Youth Triennium, which was canceled due to health concerns. The trip involved young people from Westminster and Third Presbyterian Churches of Rockford and leaders from Third. The group travel to Mound Ridge Camp near Cook Station, MO on July 24th.

Through the week the group spent the balance of each day making improvements to the camp. This included swamping out brush, organizing tools, repairing a swing and a play structure, and leveling bark and gravel at a new RV campground. Mornings were spent with devotions and evenings with a game, music, and a lesson taken from The Big Questions curriculum: "Where Is God?" 

On Wednesday the group spent the day at Fugitive Beach, one of "America's Most Beautiful Swimming Holes" located in a repurposed quarry. On Thursday evening the group heard from an archeologist from Missouri Humanities, who explained the reality of the Cherokee Indian Removal and its impact on the area around Mound Ridge.  

Barb D'Souza from Westminster and Dan Chiodini, and Steve Bowie from Third especially wish to thank the Presbytery for the support the project received. Glory to God!
Are YOU the Next Blackhawk Treasurer?

Our excellent treasurer, Frank Finch, is retiring from service to the Presbytery. The Personnel Committee is actively searching for his replacement. The position is an hourly, paid position, generally between 6-10 hours per week. Perfect for a church treasurer or someone in financial services.

Please see the job description, SHARE WITH YOUR CHURCH TREASURER and contact the office if you have questions or may be interested.
Matthew 25
Roundtable Discussions begin in October

Learn more about the Matthew 25 Initiative on our website or on the PCUSA pages
Fall Gathering, Presbyterian Women of Synod of Lincoln Trails
Saturday, September 10, 2022, 10 am CDT on Zoom
“You Are Worthy / How God Sees YOU”

Presentations by Angela Stephenson, co-founder of Living Abundantly Ministries and by Susan Jackson-Dowd: Churchwide PW Executive Director.

Also hear from other Churchwide representatives: Kathleen Keefer, 2021-2024 PW Vice Moderator; Rhonda Martin, PW Financial Manager; Carissa Herold, PW Marketing Associate; plus Synod of Lincoln Trails PW folks.

Please see more information. Register to receive the Zoom link by September 6, 2022. Participate at home or with a group of friends in a home or church. Please notify others who may be interested!