COVID-19 Response Task Force
January 29, 2021
What’s Your Number?

Based on the declining numbers of positive COVID 19 cases and the increasing hospital bed availability, the governor of Illinois has been slowly relaxing COVID 19 mitigation plans for the 11 regions of the state. Here is where we stand as of today (Friday January 29). The only Illinois region still in Tier 2 Mitigation is region 4 which does not apply to Blackhawk Presbytery. 
  • Illinois regions 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 are all in Tier 1 Mitigation. This covers many of the counties in Blackhawk. Tier 1 mitigation limits gatherings to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of your sanctuary capacity.
  • Illinois regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 have moved to Resurgence Plan Phase 4. This relaxed phase allows gatherings of the lesser of 50 people or 50% of sanctuary capacity. 

As always, the decision on a return to in-person worship, the limits on attendance, and the procedures to insure safety for everyone is the responsibility of each session. We continue to recommend that all congregations follow safe practices recommended by the CDC and the Illinois Depart of Public Health - wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, taking attendance for contact tracing, and no singing. Please be sure to check with the IDPH web site and your local county health officials to determine your specific restrictions. The IDPH website is

We know many congregations have voted to continue on-line worship only. Others have already been in-person or are beginning to return to limited in-person based on the guidelines. Some churches have adapted their worship schedule, such as having two services to accommodate increased member attendance. We encourage you to look at the resources on our website and previous updates for ideas. As always, feel free to contact the presbytery office if you have any questions. 
Vaccine Limbo

Illinois is now officially in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine program, covering essential workers beyond health care and persons 65+. Some counties are including clergy as essential workers, others are not.

Because some vaccination procedures will vary from county to county, check your county's health department website, Facebook page or your local news source for information. Please try to refrain from tying up Health Department phone lines as all their resources are in great demand.

You might consider helping older members of your family or church family get their vaccine appointment as this is typically done by computer online and may require email.

And try to remember:
  • ALL levels of public health want you to be vaccinated as soon as possible
  • There is limited supply of vaccine and resources needed for vaccination
  • One county's vaccination process may not be the same as another's. Be patient.
  • You may need to wait for your turn. This is not first come first served. Many factors are considered in vaccination order. Be patient.
  • There is no timeline. The speed in moving from one Phase (or group) to the next is dependent on supplies, resources, and the number of individuals in each group.
  • Register with your county - many have online registration available, perhaps a hotline or even an email address. Be patient.
  • Still have questions? Try the IDPH Frequently Asked Questions
You are invited to the Synod-Sponsored Workshop:
How to Lead When You Don't Know
Where You're Going

When: Thursday, March 18th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM Central via ZOOM
Cost: Free to all Presbyterian pastors, sessions, church and presbytery leaders (including COMs)

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old ways of doing things no longer work but a way forward is not yet clear? The workshop will feature Susan Beaumont, author of "How To Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going: Leading in a Liminal Season". Such in-between times are called liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. Read more and register today!
Paycheck Protection Program Round 2

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended by the government stimulus bill passed in December. These Small Business Administration loans are available to churches who have lost some of their financial support and can be used help to fund payroll or operating expenses. If requirements are met, the loans are completely forgivable.

Please visit our webpage, talk with your local banker or contact the presbytery with questions. Presbytery approval is not required to seek these loans.
Please continue to monitor the COVID metrics for your region of Illinois:

Blackhawk Presbytery COVID-19 page - information from past COVID updates is added regularly

Please email the Presbytery office with your questions, concerns or suggestions. We are working from home and not monitoring the office phone.