Presbytery of Blackhawk
CONNECTIONS news & updates
May 28, 2021
Introducing an
Implicit Bias Tool Kit

At our May 6 Roundtable Discussion, the Matthew 25 committee rolled out an easy-to-use "Toolkit" to introduce the reality of implicit bias in our everyday lives. This four step process is designed to approach the topic from the perspective of education and introspection in a non-judgmental fashion. No one is immune from carrying biases and until we can recognize them in ourselves, we can do little to change them.

You are Invited to Join Us for
Roundtable Discussions
1st and 3rd Thursdays:
June 3 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Poverty
June 17 at 2 pm Topic: Discussing Racism
July 1 at 2 pm Topic: Congregational Vitality

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
Want to Attend GA as a Commissioner?

Plans for the General Assembly of the PCUSA in 2022 are taking shape. The meeting will be a hybrid meeting - partially in person and partially online. The in-person portion will be in Louisville during a two week period (June 17-July 3) when committee meetings are held and commissioners attend for the three days, plus travel, their committee is in session. Plenary sessions (July 5-9) will be online for all commissioners.

Blackhawk will be choosing their commissioners, two ruling elders and two minister members, plus a young adult advisory delegate (YAAD) from those submitting an application by October 1, 2021. The Nominating Committee will oversee the process and they encourage you to submit your application at any time. Please find the application and nomination process here. The GA schedule currently available found here.
from the COVID Response Task Force
What's the Latest?

Governor Pritzker's executive order contains the specifics of the Bridge Phase. It includes this exemption on page 6:

Free exercise of religion. This Executive Order does not limit the free exercise of religion. To protect the health and safety of faith leaders, staff, congregants and visitors, religious organizations and houses of worship are encouraged to consult and follow the recommended practices and guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health.3 Religious organizations are encouraged to take precautions for their congregants and visitors who are not fully vaccinated to ensure social distancing, the use of face coverings, and implementation of other public health measures.

The State of Illinois has updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people based on the recent guidance from the CDC.
We All Walk a Different Path

With vaccinations increasing and COVID infections decreasing, many may feel a sense of relief to return once again to their church and their somewhat normal lives. However, there are also many who, for a variety of reasons, are still filled with unease, anxiety or even fear. They may be focused on the "but what if" risks we have all heard about: variant viruses lurking and rendering the vaccine less effective, less than 100% vaccine effectiveness, vaccine "breakthroughs", unfounded theories and more.

Christians should be mindful of the very real fears of their fellow citizens and offer abundant grace, understanding and a non-judgmental ear. Use reassuring language such as "it's okay if you want to continue to mask, even if vaccinated". As with someone's vaccine hesitancy, the most important thing to do is to be a compassionate listener. You could state your own personal choices or decisions without resorting to persuasive or preachy language.

The article, "How to Manage Post-COVID Anxiety" may also be helpful.
Panel Discussions

Practical Resources for Christians (PRC) offers educational opportunities in the upcoming weeks that might be of interest:

Tuesday June 1, 2021
2:30 – 3:30 PM CDT
Join us for resources and ideas to help your congregation return to singing in a way that is safe and practical for you. We realize this is a deeply contextual issue, so we can't give you all the answers, but our panelists will provide resources, ideas and plans from their own work, encouragement and advice.
Brian Hehn - Director of the Center for Congregational Song
Karrie Rushing - Music Director, First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, NC and board member for Presbyterian Association of Musicians

Wednesday June 2, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM CDT
Want to be sure that you are using music legally online, in person, and in print? Join us for a webinar with Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) and their sister company Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS). Learn about the individual blanket licenses and bundles they offer and ask questions about your usage.
Nate Scott is the Director of Publisher and Songwriter Relations at Christian Copyright Licensing International. Deanna Rose is the Operations Manager at Christian Copyright Solutions
--From PC(USA) Legal Services, April, 2021

--From the Presbyterian Outlook May 25, 2021 by Religion News Service
Celebrates the following congregations who met the Six for Six Challenge in the very challenging 2020 - Congratulations!

  • Ridgefield-Crystal Lake
  • DeKalb Westminster
  • Galena First
  • Geneva Fox Valley
  • Henry First United
  • La Rose Crow Meadow - new this year!
  • Rockford Second/First
  • Rockford Westminster
  • Sterling First
  • Woodstock First - new this year!