Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
September 30, 2022
Stronghold Hosts Blackhawk Assembly in September

Commissioners and guests enjoyed the opportunity to meet in person for a perfect fall day at Stronghold. We worshipped together, ate together, and even sang together. 

One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation by the Visioning Task Force summarizing their work over the past 18 months. Following comments and discussion, the group was dismissed with gratitude. Based on their work and extensive recommendations, the work that was begun will continue.

The assembly also heard the reports from the 225th General Assembly Commissioners (2022), outlining their individual highlights. Blackhawk commissioners, Mike Rugh (RE), Annabell Williams-Blegen (RE), Christina Berry (MWS) and John Dillon (MWS) each found GA to be uniquely challenging, stimulating and rewarding.

A new per capita rate for 2023 of $42.00 per member was approved by the assembly and the Nominating Committee’s extensive slate of nominees for committees was also approved. The terms begin after the November meeting. Please see the minutes, now posted.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.

Do you have a gift for bringing people together?
Do you feel called by God to help bring healing in situations of division?
Would you like to help with making unity in the Body of Christ a reality?
If so, you might consider whether God is calling you to join the Reconciliation (Conflict Resolution) Committee.

A special committee within the Commission On Ministry, the Reconciliation Committee is looking for ruling elders and pastors willing to help resolve conflicts within Blackhawk Presbytery congregations. We are looking for committee members from all locations within Blackhawk Presbytery. Formal training will be offered as needed. This group will meet on an “as-needed” basis rather than regularly.

Ideal candidates for the committee would:
  • Have a strong devotional life
  • Listen first before speaking
  • Be objective and consider the points of view of all sides in a dispute
  • Be non-anxious under pressure
  • Be diplomatic in self-presentation
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Seek to love all concerned with God’s help.

Specifically, the committee’s work would include:
  • Doing preliminary interviews via ZOOM to gather background information and prepare for in-person interviews.
  • Serving as the Presbytery’s instrument for promoting peace and harmony in each congregation, especially between pastors and their congregations.
  • Making recommendations, after discernment, in regard to establishing an Administrative Commission to address specific congregational issues with or without original jurisdiction.
  • Helping church officer development.

If you are interested in joining this committee or have further questions, please call or email any of the following committee members:
Rev. Jim McCrea, 309-235-6215,
Rev. Randy Nicholas, 815-713-7702,
Rev. Gary Panetta, 8l5-590-1792,
Update from Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery

Presbyterian Women in Presbytery has scheduled their Fall Gathering for October 22nd. Our Moderator, Karen Williams, is sending out a letter to everyone to indicate what is planned for the day. Items on the agenda include reviewing the PW By-Laws and voting on their approval. Also, nominations and election of officers will take place during the gathering. The event will be on ZOOM.

Jill Sunday, PWP Communications Editor reminds everyone that
Church World Service would like to know how many kits have been made and when they will be delivered to the warehouse in Elgin. They have been looking for someone with a covered truck or trailer to be able gather the kits at a the November Presbytery Meeting. Please contact her as soon as possible.

The Synod of Lincoln Trails Fall Gathering, held earlier this month, heard from Susan Jackson-Dowd regarding the “State of PW.” She talked about the PW Committee that is represented at the United Nations. She mentioned that there is a Presbyterian church across the street from the UN. The event was video recorded and anyone who would like a copy please let Jill know.
Congregational Vitality the Focus of
Upcoming Seminar

Register today for The Immersion event sponsored by the Office of Vital Congregations online or at the Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina on:
Wednesday, November 2 - Thursday, November 3, 2022.

Anyone interested in learning more about Congregational Vitality is invited to attend. This experience is for pastors, presbytery leaders, officers of the church, lay leaders, and seminary students.

Individual Registration Cost: $50 (does not include lodging or meals)

Please see the description for details, speakers, schedule and register here.
Webinar Discussion Helps You
Gear Up for a Year with Matthew

Beginning with Advent, preachers, music leaders and the people who hear them each week will enter a year with Matthew’s gospel, thanks to the Revised Common Lectionary, which turns the focus to Year A - beginning Nov. 27.

Fortunately for Presbyterians working to put together thoughtful and meaningful worship for the year that follows, two resources, “A Year with Matthew for a Matthew 25 Church” and the quarterly publication Call to Worship, are available. During a recorded 38-minute webinar, the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell and the Rev. Sally Ann McKinsey give examples of ways the resources might be put to best use. You are invited to watch and listen to their discussion here. Or read the background article.
Practicing Inclusion
  A Leader Formation Webinar
for Ruling Elders and Deacons
October 13, 2022; 6:00-7:30 pm (central)

Diversity. Participation. Inclusion. These are not just socially of-the-moment words, but foundational values related to our openness to the work of the Holy Spirit within the PC(USA). Creating spaces where we can listen to all who are seeking God’s will together can help us discern where God is calling and leading us in mission and ministry, but how do we create and foster those spaces? What are some things that can get in the way? In this webinar, we will talk about the impact of implicit bias, why it’s important to consider and reduce implicit bias as Christians in the PC(USA), and some tools you can use to create spaces that invite and welcome full participation of a diverse group of people in the discernment processes and governance of the church.
This event is provided for free for participants and is funded through your per capita dollars. It will be recorded and will be available following the event. 
Read more about the webinar and register HERE
RIP Medical Debt Campaign in
Blackhawk Presbytery Exceeds $15K Goal

The final check has been sent off - $19,379.65 was raised to forgive potentially 1.9 million dollars in medical debt! Eleven churches, many, many individuals rose to the challenge. Thank you!
100% of donations are used to forgive debt.