Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
October 4, 2021
You are invited to join us for
Matthew 25
Roundtable Discussions
1st and 3rd Thursdays:

Oct. 7 at 2 pm Topic: Congregational Vitality
Oct. 21 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Poverty
Nov. 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
Send us your local stories - We love to share!
A recording of the September 16 webinar, "Deacon Ministries" is now available.

Also, "Coming Alive in Christ: Training for PC(USA) Ruling Elders and Deacons based on the Constitutional Questions" provides a study of these beliefs that are central to our lives of faith and in our community with each other.

Find these resources and more on their website.
Your Personal CROP WALK Challenge

If you don’t have a local CROP Hunger Walk in your community, join us for the 2021 National CROP Hunger Walk on World Food Day, October 16th. We will walk to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world!

Walk on your treadmill, in your neighborhood, in a park with friends – you choose the location and the experience. Walk one day - 3.7 miles (the average distance a woman walks for water) or take the Weekend Challenge and walk 11.1 miles (3.7 miles for 3 days). Every step you take, every dollar you raise makes the walk shorter for neighbors in need by providing clean water, emergency food as well as livelihoods and access to education.

Sign-up and start raising funds TODAY at Contact for more info.
Church World Service Kits Collection

With the decision to hold the November Presbytery meeting online instead of in person, we are weighing options for gathering your Kits again this year. Delivering to the Elgin warehouse remains an option, at least for churches an easy drive from there. Please let us know if you are assembling kits AND drop off in Elgin is a significant hurdle. Send us an email so we know who you are!

(Above photo shows this year's donations - 200 school kits!- from Elgin First Pres. Already delivered. Thanks!!)
Stephen Ministry Leader Training
Now Offered Online

Stephen Ministries is now training caring ministry leaders through a live, interactive online training experience called the Bridge Leader’s Training Course (BLTC). This event fully trains Stephen Leaders—the pastors, church staff, and lay leaders who begin and lead Stephen Ministry in their congregation. Read more, or visit their website.
Original Dramatic Works Now Available
Enliven Your Worship, Youth Activities, Women's/Men's Groups...

Rev. Jim McCrea, pastor of First Presbyterian in Galena, has a large cache of original plays and first person sermons he has written over the years that he is offering for free use by any church in Blackhawk Presbytery. He asks only that you tell him whenever you use one of them and that you don’t publish them. He believes that it’s better for someone to use them than for them to simply gather digital dust on his computer hard drive. 

Prior to attending seminary, he was a professional writer, including freelance work published in several national magazines. This collection contains plays for Christmas and Easter as well as a variety of subjects. Many of those plays feature humor. Every one of them has been presented in his church — whether performed live or filmed — and not a single tomato was throw by the congregations attending those performances. But you can judge them yourself by going to:
Looking for a Mission Opportunity
Down South?

For over two decades, Government Street Presbyterian Church (GSPC) has hosted youth groups at beautiful Baytreat on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay to help students and chaperones encounter Christ and build relationships with one another through serving our coastal community. After two summers of being closed due to the pandemic, it is a great joy to be able to share that this incredible ministry begins afresh next summer as we invite youth groups from congregations all over the country to be a part of Baytreat Mission Camp 2022: Come to the Waters.

GSPC partners with local organizations in Mobile and provides resources for meaningful reflection each day. Baytreat Mission Camp’s action and reflection model provides experiences that shape all involved to better embody a life of compassionate service in the name of Christ.
from the COVID Response Task Force
There seems to be good news – COVID case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining in most areas of the state and country in the past few weeks. Whether this latest “delta-driven” surge is the last major wave of infections is still just speculation, but there is reason to hope. The number of those with at least one vaccination dose in the U.S. has reached 76% of those 12 and up, and with more and more employers requiring vaccination, this will continue to rise. A safe vaccine dosage for children 5-11 is hopefully around the corner and booster shots are rolling out for certain demographics (Frequently Asked Questions and see if you are eligible).

Yes, there is reason to rejoice, but this long journey is far from over. People are still getting sick, hospitalized and dying in numbers that are much too high. It is estimated that of the 700,000 people in the U.S. who have died from COVID illness, as many as 200,000 of those could have been prevented by an individual’s choice to become vaccinated. Vigilance is still on order in
our houses of worship and places where communities gather. We encourage you to keep up with your protocols to create a safe environment for all who enter your doors. Remind everyone of the need to inform the church if they receive a positive COVID test after they have been part of church activities. Likewise, outside groups that use your facility must also be required to alert the church of any COVID cases among their attendees. In order to stop the spread, we must be informed. As always, rely on the IDPH or the CDC for the latest data and information.
Requests to pastors to support claims of religious exemptions

At least one of our pastors has been asked to sign a religious exemption letter. How each pastor responds to that request is up to them, but here is a position statement of the denomination’s Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson.