Presbytery of Blackhawk


March 18, 2024

Join Us for the Workshop

Our Way or God's Way?

Learning discernment for the

future of your church

What would your congregation do if you received an unexpected gift of $200,000 with no strings attached? Would you spend it on the building, put it in investments, or give it away? Specifically, how would you decide how to use the funds?

Most church leaders are familiar with the decision making processes we learn in business. We gather facts, weigh the options, and vote using Robert Rules to get to consensus. But churches have a different purpose and may sometimes need a different way to determine what to do.

This workshop will introduce the creative and spiritual process of discernment which helps us answer the important question - what would God want us to do with that money? Participants will learn the difference between decision making and discernment and receive specific tools, techniques, resources, and roles to listen for the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

This gathering will be helpful for pastors and everyone involved in guiding the future of your congregation. We encourage congregations to send a team of leaders so you can learn together. 

Two Opportunities for this workshop:

April 13, 9:30—11:30 am IN PERSON

at AuSable Grove Presbyterian Church

5021 Wheeler Rd, Yorkville, IL 60560 

April 25, 7—8:30 pm on ZOOM

This workshop will be facilitated by Rev. Eric Heinekamp, Transformational General Presbyter and Stated Clerk. 



"The Gift of Empathy: Helping Others Feel Valued, Cared for, and Understood" - a practical guide from Stephen Ministries

Books to Engage Children in the Bible and Church Life (Bulk discounts for Children's bibles too)

New & Best-Selling Books for Pastors & Leaders

February 6 Presbytery Assembly Meeting Minutes are posted

The Current

Blackhawk Prayer Calendar

can be found on our website.

You are invited to attend

A Conversation with Author Mark Elsdon

Saturday, March 23 on Zoom

Mark Elsdon will be joining the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois for their next "Big Conversation" on March 23 from 10 - 11 am. He will be presenting on his two books, We Aren't Broke: Uncovering Hidden Resources for Mission and Ministry, about the use of faith-based property and investments for social enterprise and impact investing, and his new book, Gone for Good? Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition.


PSEI has welcomed Blackhawk and all the other presbyteries in the Synod to join this life-giving conversation. A called meeting will follow, so please register (to receive the link) as a

guest and follow instructions.

To register, please go to

Doing Mission Through Relationships

Kenya Partnerships

The old way of doing mission was to simply send a financial contribution. That does not have the advantages of doing mission through a relationship. If we agree that doing mission is doing Christ’s work, then it is good to remember that Christ works is through relationship.

Blackhawk Presbytery has had a relationship with the Imenti Presbyteries in Kenya for 28 years and during that time many of our churches have been blessed by a relationship with an Imenti parish. We experienced the fruits of these long friendships when partnership representatives visited us this past September. Those representatives have returned to Kenya and reported on what they learned from us (it should be noted we probably learned more from them) and now they are asking for more Blackhawk church partners!

What does it take to be a church partner? It takes the willingness to be in relationship. (READ MORE) 

In Case You Missed It

Twelve Congregations Introduced to Asset Mapping

Over 40 people attended the two recent workshops where they were given the tools and an opportunity to engage in Asset Mapping. This easy and fun exercise can be used to help focus on your congregation's strengths (all have them!) to make connections and plans for future ideas and innovation.

If you are interested in pursuing this in your context, speak with presbytery staff about arranging additional training or borrowing the PowerPoint and additional resources.

From the LANA Task Force

(Land And Name Acknowledgement):

What’s in the name,

'Blackhawk' Presbytery?

See our new webpage for resources to help with your own local research of the land you now call your own. This work will give a wider perspective to your church history and could lead to your own customized Land and Name Acknowledgement statement. Resources currently include (more are coming…):

  • Blackhawk’s Autobiography
  • Blackhawk Presbytery’s Acknowledgement of Native Lands and Peoples
  • FAQs About Honoring Lands & Peoples
  • The Invasion of America Maps and Treaties

We highlight in appreciation Blackhawk’s following words translated for us: 

“We thank the Great Spirit for all the good he has conferred upon us. For myself, I never take a drink of water from a spring without being mindful of His goodness.”

In Loving Memory

Please remember in prayer the family of Donna Abbott, wife of Rev. Al Abbott and mother of Pastor Chrystal Abbott. Mrs. Abbott passed away on Jan. 30, 2024 in Joliet. Please read the obituary.

Looking for Hybrid Meeting Host Sites

Are You Interested?

The Presbytery Assembly now meets four times a year in February, May, September and November. To try to involve as many people as possible, for at least 2024, the February meeting was on zoom only in the evening, the May and November will be hybrid (9:30 am - in person and on zoom) and the September meeting in person only at Stronghold. 

We are looking for churches willing to host a zoom hybrid meeting on either May 14 or November 19, 2024 or in May or November of 2025. The technology needed to successfully produce a hybrid meeting will exclude many of our Blackhawk churches, but several congregations would be able to handle this. Please see a description for host churches and consider whether your team would be willing to step up this year or next.

International Peacemakers Announced for 2024

Is your church interested in hosting one of the Peacemakers in 2024? These individuals come from the far corners of the world to share their lives and work in furthering God's peaceable kingdom. Several Blackhawk congregations have been blessed by these visits in past years. Please let Loreen know if you have an interest. Read more about this year's peacemakers and program.

General Assembly is for you.

General Assembly IS you!

Follow along with these updates.

Congregational Vitality Spotlight

Galena First Presbyterian Raises the Bar in

Bread for the World 2024 Offering of Letters*

"This is the second year we have held an offering of letters. This year, I took a tip from the Regional Meeting which encouraged me to provide a kit with sample letter, instructions, and envelope to all members attending church 2-4-2024, asking them to write their letters and bring them back to worship on 2-11-2024. I also gave them a slice of homemade bread to enjoy at home while they wrote their letters. This year we wrote 42 letters compared to 25 letters in 2023. So this event was more effective and I will utilize it next year."

Nan Colin, First Presbyterian Church, Galena.

*The Offering of Letters is once again urging a campaign for passage of the Farm Bill with ample provisions for food security. The 2018 U.S. farm bill expired on September 30, 2023, but fortunately, Congress passed an extension that keeps the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other key provisions operating until the end of September 2024. 

2024 SAMPLE LETTER >> Tackling hunger and poverty through advocacy is something every congregation can do.


Presbytery Meeting

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

9:30 am

Hybrid - on zoom and in person

Location TBD


The per capita assessment for:

2024 is $43.00

Church payments are posted monthly on the website

Visit our website:

Presbytery of Blackhawk

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.

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