Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
October 31, 2019
Dear Friends of Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery,

Welcome to this week's edition of our e-letter, Presbytery Matters. Our goal is to highlight things going on throughout the Church: within our Presbytery, in our congregations, as well as in the Synod of the Northeast and across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We hope that these are things that will be helpful, informative, challenging, encouraging, supportive. In other words, we hope that these things will matter. Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed.
Mission Stories
We want to hear about the mission stories from our Presbytery's worshiping communities. What mission work are you involved in? How are your members working in the community? What story would you like to share with others in the Presbytery?
Send any mission stories from your congregation that you would like to share to:  
Deadline is 12 p.m. on Wednesdays for the current week's edition of
Presbytery Matters.
We want to share your stories, missions, activities and more. Also, make sure to like our Facebook page by clicking the "Like us on Facebook" tab at the top of this letter.

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
I n our prayers together this week...
  • Please pray for the family and friends of ruling elder Joyce Short who passed away on Tuesday. Joyce was a long-time member of Auburn-First, a faithful member of our presbytery, and a good friend of many. There will be a calling hour for Joyce at Auburn-First on Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon followed by a memorial service at 1:00 p.m.
  • Prayers for the family of Tonya and Scott Cupp (honorably retired) on the death of Tonya's mother, Julia Esseniyi.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individual: First, Cazenovia; First, Chittenango; United Church of Collamer; Pebble Hill, DeWitt; First United Church of East Syracuse
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week

Robinson Elmwood United Church held its annual Heritage Sunday Celebration and Harvest Supper on Sunday. The Syracuse Highland Pipe Band made the day extra-special.

To have your photo considered for "Photo of the Week" post it to your church's Facebook page and tag the Presbytery of Cayuga Syracuse's Facebook page.
From the Resource Presbyter 
By the Rev. Karen Chamis
Hello Cayuga-Syracuse!
As we reach the end of October, thoughts turn to whether Skittles are the better catch, or if Snickers are still king (duh!). Turns out, the answer to that question is different based on your generation. Apparently, I show my age even in my candy preferences.
Generational studies abound. Painted with broad-brush strokes, and generally offering a nod to outliers, they help us understand what makes those folks who grew up in different contexts 'tick'. There are several excellent authors who help churches to understand what the different needs of Generations X, Y (also known as Millennials), Boomers, the Silent Generation, etc. These studies focus on attitudes and actions, and help congregations understand who they are trying to reach.
Sociologists (and others) study generational cohorts because out of all the predictors, age is the one that offers the most reliable predictors in terms of attitudes and behaviors. [1]
Churches generally engage in generational studies because they are concerned about dwindling numbers in the pews (and in the offering plate.)  We study the next generation because we fear there will not be a next generation in our churches.
I'm not arguing that is a bad thing. I will suggest that the motive might be an issue (let's put in a coffee bar in the back of the church so more millenials will come ... and then lead our committees is not the best motive.) Certainly, the art of translating the Gospel into the language of the people is a concept that existed before Generational Theory was postulated and it's important.
I would argue is that the reason why the church wants to reach the next generation is the bit that needs to be sorted out first. It's not to increase our numbers, but rather to share the transformative love of the Christ, right?
Perhaps we need to not only look forward to who will follow us in the great parade of faith ... but to look backward? How did we get here? Who are the saints before us, and what did they do that made their faith so persuasive?
"Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might."
Looking back in my own life, I am thankful for the saints who went before me to taught me about Jesus in how they lived their lives. Preachers and teachers, but also grandparents, great-grandfolk, neighbors and shopkeepers who made decisions based on their faith and sometimes even made that connection for me. They showed me in their actions that their faith was important to them. It wasn't the old "in our family, we go to church on Sundays because that is what we do" sort of thing. It was more "in our family, we go to church on Sundays because this is who we ARE."
What if the key to reaching the next generation is how we live our lives?
What if the key to reaching the next generation is how the church lives its life?
Regardless, I'm grateful for the many, many generational cohorts that have proceeded my own (I'm officially on the cusp ... but identify as Baby Boomer, if you want to know. But you knew that when I opted for the Snickers bar, didn't you?) For all the Saints ... who from their labors rest...
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Please note: Today's mobile office hours are cancelled and there is no mobile office the week of November 3 due to moving.
Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: Collamer United Church, 6865 Fly Road, East Syracuse 
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, 4361 Church St., Mexico 
Feel free to drop in for a conversation - or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or 
Next Stated Meeting 
The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse will hold a stated meeting on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville, 64 Oswego Street, Baldwinsville, NY 13027. The gathering will begin with registration at 8:30 am and a special program at 9:00 am followed by the call to order at 10:00 am.
Things to know:
  • Childcare is available by reservation.
  •  Lunch will be served at a cost of $5.00 payable at registration.
  • Internet service will NOT be available.
  • Names of new commissioners may be sent to for nametags.
  • Requests to be excused should be sent to by TODAY.
  • This gathering is handicap accessible.
  • This gathering may be recorded and pictures will be taken.
Things to anticipate:
  • 9:00 am: "Being a Mathew 25 Church" - a special presentation by Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis
  • Worship with communion
  •  Celebrating the award of a Synod innovation grant and learning how to apply
  • Approval of the 2020 Budget
  • "Good News" from our Congregations and Worshipping Communities
  • Tips from Communications Coordinator Sarah Buckshot
Parking for Presbytery Meeting: Parking is available in the church lot, on both Oswego and Elizabeth streets, and in a parking lot directly across the street from the church's front entrance. Please do not park in the Assembly of God lot adjacent to the church as you will interfere with their outdoor clean-up.  
Presbytery gatherings are important opportunities to worship together around Word and Sacrament, to learn together, to do business together, and to connect with and engage in "one-anothering" with our sisters and brothers from throughout the Presbytery.
Papers for this meeting can be found here, and include:
From the Leadership Team
Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications:
The Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications are now being accepted through TOMORROW!!! (Nov. 1, 2019) 

The purpose of this fund is to provide benevolent grants to institutions that assist in the care of elderly persons within the bounds of the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery. 

Examples of previous requests are: food gift cards for shut-ins within the church community, senior lunch programs, "Music and Memory" program for nursing home residents, replacing dining room chairs and driveway/parking improvement at senior centers.

The application form can be found on the our website. Completed applications can be submitted to Leadership Team Chairperson, Lynn Jacques, at

From the Associate Stated Clerk
Session Records Review:  
Twenty-three churches completed their session records review during the three scheduled gatherings. Churches who have not yet had records reviewed are invited and encouraged to contact Associate Stated Clerk Linda Russell ( to arrange a make-up date.
Co-clerks Charlie Hood and Dennis Tobin successfully completed the session records review for Whitelaw Presbyterian Church on Tuesday.
Around the Presbytery
What: All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast
When: 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, November 2
Where: King Ferry Presbyterian Church
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under

What: Chicken & Biscuit Dinner 
When: 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, November 2    
Where: Collamer United Church, 6865 Fly Road, Collamer
Tickets: $10 for adults
$5 for children 5 through 12
Children under 5 are free
Take-outs available  
The Bazaar will feature handcrafted items and a variety of goods from the following shops:   The Bakery, The Stitchery, St. Nicholas' Place, the Peddler Shop, The Twisted Vine, Mrs. Claus' Cafe and Grandma's Attic.
What: Small Town Worship Tour 2019 with Seventh Day Slumber and Nathan Sheridan
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 6
Where: Hannibal Community Church, 326 Church St., Hannibal
Cost: Free    
What: Annual Harvest Dinner
When: 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 9
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Marcellus
Tickets: Adults $12
            Kids 5-10 years: $5
            Kids under 5 are free
What: Arise & Go
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9
Where: Sennett Federated Church
Cost: Donations only  
Dates to Remember
November 1                  Benevolent Care applications due
November 2                  Presbytery meeting, Baldwinsville
November 5                  Pastors' lunch and book study at noon  
November 8-9               Synod - "Come to the Table" at Stony Point
November 21-23           Moderators' Conference, Louisville
November 25                Leadership Team meeting, First United, East Syracuse
December 23                GA commissioner names due to OGA
December 23                Leadership Team Christmas gathering, home of Karen Chamis
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
'So many signs of life in our denomination right now'
Director of Mid Council Ministries takes her turn at 'Coffee with the Clerk'
It could be, the Rev. Jihyun Oh said during this week's Coffee with the Clerk, that fermentation has something to teach us about discipleship. She's been thinking about both processes as she prepares to speak to a small church gathering in Presbytery of New Hope in January.

"There is a sense in which things have to die. It looks messy and gross and it smells stinky," Oh, director of Mid Council Ministries in the Office of the General Assembly, told the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, during the weekly conversation he hosts, posted on Facebook by Spirit of GA. "But in the end there's something really nutritious and amazing that gets formed - and it's transformed. I think food science has something to teach us about faith."

"You just took the success model right out of ministry," Nelson responded with a laugh.

Oh, who's been on the job since July 1, has served congregations and worked for more than five years a chaplain in a hospital that treats trauma patients.

"There was something about the way I learned to be present" in her work as a chaplain, she told Nelson. She learned to listen "for what's being said and what's not being said."

What she's seen so far in the PC(USA)'s mid councils - presbyteries and synods - are "so many signs of life in our denomination right now. I see amazing ruling elders and teaching elders and churches doing amazing things, being faithful to God's call and making wise decisions." After "living with life and death" while ministering to trauma patients and their families and friends, "now there's always hope, and that's a good thing. It's given me a lot of perspective."


 Stop acting like the house isn't on fire
Preacher urges Presbyterians to get serious about
'always reforming'

By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - We might be a Reformed Church, but we're not reforming.
The Rev. Kate Murphy, pastor of The Grove Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, reminded worshipers celebrating the Reformation on Wednesday in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville that God's kingdom, which many refer to as God's kin-dom, is multiethnic, as described in Scripture including Acts 2.
"A segregated white church is an idolatrous lie," she said. "We act like the house isn't on fire. We act like the multiethnic church is one option. It's not a way to be the church - it is the church."
Murphy was part of a panel working in Louisville since Monday to discern what it will take for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to become an intercultural denomination. The denomination's membership is about 90 % white and about 10 % people of color.
Last year, the 223rd General Assembly declared the coming decade beginning in 2020 as the Decade of Intercultural Transformation.

5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
"I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them
bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.