Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates

December 1, 2022

November 8 Assembly Recap

A hybrid meeting of the Presbytery of Blackhawk was held on November 8, 2022, on Zoom and in person hosted by our friends at Rockford Westminster. The Presbytery enjoyed a full worship service, a stimulating learning opportunity, business and fellowship.

At the final meeting for 2022, a new Moderator, Laurie Walker, was installed by outgoing Moderator Skip Shaffer, who also offered the sermon. Laurie will be assisted by Vice-Moderator Ray Lantz – welcome to both. Other committee moderators were installed and thanks extended to all who have completed their terms of service to the presbytery. The 2023 presbytery budget was adopted as well as a new Background Check Policy for pastors active in our churches. 

The Learning Opportunity for the day featured a presentation by Chris Pickett on the topic of “Non-Violent Communication: a Tool for Navigating Difficult Conversations”. The communication tools he introduced can be helpful to engage in civil conversations with those who may have differing views on the controversial issues of our day. NOTE: Chris is offering his Power Point presentation for use in your congregation. Please contact the office for a copy. Also, his handouts are available to all.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the offering taken for the Blackhawk Pastor's Emergency Fund. The fund remains active on our website (see the Donate icon) - your generosity is always appreciated as we attempt to build this worthy fund.

Attention Clerks - Coming Soon!

There are two remaining Session Records Reviews - if your clerk has not yet RSVP'd, please do so today!

  • Saturday, December 3 at Waltham Pres. (809 N. 3450 Rd., Utica) at 10:00 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 10 at Gardner, Church of Hope Pres. (202 N Monroe St, Gardner) at 10:00 a.m.

Annual Statistical Reporting

As the year draws to a close, each church is asked to submit their membership numbers (among other things) to the PCUSA. December is a good time for your session to be sure your count of active members accurately reflects those who have been received into membership and "participate in the church's work and worship" (G-1.04).

Your year end packet with all reports for the Presbytery and PCUSA will be in the mail next week.

Looking for Ordination Exam Readers

The PCUSA Office of Ministry Development is requesting the Presbytery provide one ruling elder, and one teaching elder to serve as ordination exam readers for candidates for the ministry. This is yet another example of the connectional nature of our denomination and a unique opportunity to be a part of the ministry training process. All work is done online the week of February 6-10, 2023.

Please contact Eric Heinekamp in the next few days for more information, or to express an interest. And thank you for considering your contribution to this important work of the church. 


Free from Outlook:

Blue Christmas Service

from Presbyterian Peace Fellowship: Resources for reacting to hate violence directed at LGBTQ+

Host an Alternative Gift Market at Church this Year - See how

Or an example...

New for Preaching & Leading from


Save 35%!

The Current
Blackhawk Prayer Calendar
can be found on our website.

We Remember

Edward J. Conklin, 89, passed away on Monday, October 10, 2022. Ed tirelessly served his church and our Presbytery for many years, still in active service on COM and the Nominating Committee at the time of his passing. Please read his obituary.

Myra Ditty, wife of Honorably Retired Member Rev. Wade Ditty, passed away at her home on October 13, 2022. Myra and Pastor Wade served most recently at Piper City First prior to his retirement from ministry in 2021. Please read the obituary.

We give thanks for their lives and

hold their loved ones in prayer.

Churches Seeking Pastors

Please remember our churches who are seeking their next pastor - not only in your prayers, but with a nudge to colleagues in ministry who may be searching. The following have active MIFs (ministry information forms) on the CLC platform, which anyone can view.

  • Piper City First - solo pastor
  • Mendota First - solo pastor
  • Kankakee First - solo pastor
  • Winnebago Middle Creek - solo pastor
  • Pontiac First - solo pastor
  • Joliet Westminster - interim pastor

Several others have recently vacant pulpits (6) that are in the process of discerning the way forward and more (10) with longer-term vacancies. Please keep them all in prayer, especially during this Christmas season.

Interactive Christmas Pageant

Are you thinking about an interactive, unrehearsed telling of the Christmas Story this year? The following links were shared on a Facebook group page for PCUSA Leaders:

We'd love to hear (and share) your experience! Please be mindful of the author's attribution requests.

CWS Kit Collected for 2022

Thanks to all the churches that made Church World Service Kits this year. Of our 68 churches, 16 churches participated. We collected 510 school kits, 406 hygiene kits, 52 feminine hygiene kits, and 16 clean-up buckets. Two churches made a financial contribution which will help with the shipping costs when the kits are sent to where ever they are needed. Great job!  

Will You Help Us Identify the Next Blackhawk Treasurer?

The Personnel Committee continues it's search. The position is an hourly, flexible, 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 and contact the office if you have questions or may be interested.

FEMA Nonprofit Security Grants Available

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) gives faith-based and nonprofit organizations, including churches, an opportunity to apply for resources to help them prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks. 


There have been PCUSA congregations (out of hundreds of applicants) that have successfully secured NSGP funds to make their facilities more secure.


Here are several examples of projects the NSGP funds: 

  • Surveillance equipment
  • Physical protective measures such as fences, blast-proof windows, and concrete barriers
  • Active Shooter Training
  • Security Training for employees, or members/congregation


We urge you and your congregations to attend one of upcoming webinars hosted by FEMA and its Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships. (Each webinar will present the same content.) The webinars will introduce the grant program and the application process.


You must register in advance.


When: December 8, 2022

Time: 02:00 PM CT

Register in advance for this meeting:


When: December 13, 2022

Time: 02:00 PM CT

Register in advance for this meeting:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Adobe Connect meeting. Please check both junk/spam as some email filters may redirect the attendance confirmation email.

APCE2023LogoEmail2 image

Registration is now open for the APCE Annual Event - offered in person and online. For anyone looking to revitalize your church through education. So much to see and do!


Presbytery Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

5:30 pm

Zoom only


The per capita assessment for:
2022 is $40.00
2023 is $42.00

Church payments are posted monthly on the website
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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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