Blackhawk Presbytery
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Supporting Thriving Faith Communities in Northern Illinois
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Blackhawk Presbytery
1922 N. IL Rte. 2
P.O. Box 199
Oregon, IL 61061


Stronghold Camp & Retreat Center

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Synod of Lincoln Trails


The per capita assessment for 2014 is $35.56
(GA-$7.02; Synod-$3.81; Blackhawk
Presbytery $24.73)


Our Vision

Grounded in the biblical image for human community, as disciples of Jesus, 
following His witness and command for His church,
guided by the principles of trust, open communication, and genuine relationships, 
we will challenge and support our congregations to be thriving faith communities by 
     providing competent pastoral leadership,
     resourcing to energize ministry, and
     developing networks and partnerships of Presbyterians.




Elmira United Presbyterian Church

                              (309) 896-3481                             

RR 2, Toulon, IL 61483
Rev. Dale Dykstra, pastor
April 10, 2014
Dear Blackhawk Presbytery Congregation,

The Elmira United Presbyterian Church in Toulon, IL, located in the southwest corner of Blackhawk Presbytery near Kewanee, is a small (but growing) rural congregation, currently numbering 49 members.  We are yoked with First Presbyterian Church in Kewanee with the Rev. Dr. Dale Dykstra as our minister.


Last year, with 46 members, Elmira assembled 42 CWS School Kits for the Blackhawk Presbytery Kits Challenge!  Nearly one kit per member!


This year Elmira United Presbyterian is challenging all churches in Blackhawk Presbytery to assemble at least 35 School Kits and 1 Emergency Clean-up Bucket to be brought to the November 11 Presbytery meeting at Stronghold. If we can do it, anyone can


Although CWS will transport the kits to the warehouse for free, a gift of $2 per kit, made out to CWS, will help get the kits into the hands of those in need. The exact contents of CWS School Kits can be found in the enclosed brochure, and


Elmira has a long standing history of mission giving.  We have been doing the CWS School Kits now for seven years.  We use the Post-it note system, and find it works very well.  Each Post-it note contains a list of items needed for one school kit.  These notes are then placed on a podium in the vestibule of the sanctuary.  As people pass by they pick up a Post-it until all are gone. 


Collection of supplies starts in late August and goes through September.  We have two women who sew all the bags.  The first Sunday in October, Elmira holds its annual Church-wide Birthday Party with a potluck.  People sit at a seasonally decorated table with appropriate cake, depending on their birth date.  Most of our members are in attendance.  To fill in the time between the end of the church service and this special lunch, kits are assembled!  They are double checked for accuracy, then boxed for delivery to Stronghold.                                                     


In early August our church also assembles backpacks with school supplies for the needy children in the Stark County schools.  Last year 18 backpacks were collected.  With two major projects like this, back to back, it would be easy to not succeed but our generous, giving members carry on with that mission outreach, at both the local and far reaching level.  So come on!  Post those Post-it notes and see how far your congregation can go!

The Session of Elmira United Presbyterian Church
Toulon, IL