Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
October 17, 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
Haitian Teens Enjoy Summer Cooking Classes
Cayuga-Syracuse Haiti Educational  
Mission Partnership sponsors tasty program

The Cayuga-Syracuse Haiti Educational Partnership sponsored cooking classes for students in Paulette, Haiti during the summer.

The daily courses helped teach skills and provided a delicious activity for the students. The cooking classes were funded by a generous donation from two committee members.

Students learned about nutrition, how to read recipes and how to measure ingredients. The students especially liked tasting the treats they made.
United Church of Fayetteville holds annual  
inter-generational 'Church in the World' day
The United Church of Fayetteville recently held its inter-generational "Church in the World" day.  
Congregants are often involved in outreach ministries throughout the year and have their favorites as does UCF, but this day is a chance for young and old to participate in activities together.
Members and friends signed up for one of five outreach activities after a shortened church service last month:  
  1. Adopt-a-highway roadside beautification
  2. The F-M Food Pantry to organize food and clothing supplies
  3. Making and packing over 200 sandwiches for the Samaritan Center
  4. Serving lunch at the Clear Path for Veterans fundraiser
  5. Building beds for CNY children through Sleep in Heavenly Peace
"The World Sunday is always a rousing success each year with participants receiving more than they give," said Rich Brundage, UCF outreach chair.   
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...
  • Pray for Karen Chamis, Ben Fitzgerald-Fye and Linda Russell as they attend the PC(USA) Mid Council Leaders Gathering in Baltimore this week.
  • Pray for family, friends and acquaintances who struggle with mental illness.
  • Pray for Pyongyang Presbytery, our sister presbytery in South Korea, as they gather for their biannual meeting this week; for Kurt Esslinger, Hyeyoung Lee, and Choon Lim, our PC(USA) mission co-workers in South Korea; and for all who work for peace on the Korean peninsula. 
  • Prayers for the family of Tonya and Scott Cupp (honorably retired) on the death of Tonya's mother, Julia Esseniyi.
  • Please remember in your prayers Esther Brinkerhoff Rounds who is home with caregivers after two hospital stays. She would appreciate cards at 116 Oswego St. #3, Baldwinsville, NY 13027.
  • 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: Our Presbytery (the Leadership Team, Work Groups, Committees, and Mission and Ministry Teams), the Synod of the Northeast, General Assembly staff.
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Marcellus First Presbyterian Church celebrated two baptisms this weekend, including  
baby Cayden's baptism. Cayden's parents, Casey and Carol, and sister, Clara, posed  
for a photo with interim pastor the Rev. Anne Marie Meyerhoffer. 

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!
What's your sign?
No, I'm not asking for your astrological sign... I'm curious about what sort of placard you carry every day that lets folks know who you are. Perhaps you wear a hat that proclaims your affinity for a sports team, or maybe it is the car you drive. It could be that perpetual smile on your face, or the way you ignore folks that make you uncomfortable. What are you saying to the world with what you wear, how you speak and act? Does that outward manifestation resonate with who you really are?
Part of what has prompted this rambling is that Robinson Elmwood United Presbyterian is changing their sign. This new outward manifestation of identity is no small thing, but I also know that this congregation has done some good work in discerning who they are as a congregation. I'm laying odds that the outward sign will match what is going on inside the doors.
We know that when our outsides match our insides we are perceived as being authentic. This rings true for congregations as well as for people, and for the sake of the Gospel, we need to be who we say we are.
Our denomination is encouraging congregations and presbyteries to adopt the Matthew 25 initiative. This initiative asks that we focus on at least one of three areas: congregational vitality, confronting structural racism and addressing systemic poverty. It's hard to argue with the urgency of these issues, and yet I'll confess to some hesitance in signing on with the initiative. My concern is that, for the sake of the Gospel, we need to be who we say we are.
Talk, especially as Presbyterians, is cheap. If we take on the bold vision of Jesus and actively work to end systemic poverty and breakdown structural racism we need to be prepared to act sacrificially. The need is great - but are we willing to set aside our time, talent and treasure for this work? (That third invitation is to become vital congregations isn't any easier ... trust me on this one!)
Prior to the next Presbytery meeting (November 2 at Baldwinsville) we will be spending some time talking about the Matthew 25 initiative. I'd ask that between now and then that you would prayerfully consider if this were something your congregation is willing to participate in. There are no dues, no contracts to sign - all that is required is a 'yes' ... but please know that yes could have deep ramifications for our work together as the Church.
It could change our signs.
Blessings -
Domestic Violence Prevention Training    
Churches are not immune to domestic violence  
and churches play a vital role in bringing  
healing to people affected by domestic violence    
Who & What: Capital Area Baptist Association and the American Baptist Women's Ministry are collaborating to host a domestic violence awareness and prevention program for churches in Upstate New York.
When: Nov. 15 and 16
Why: To assist in providing certification training for churches and provide adaptable policies and procedures for churches' response to domestic violence situations, CABA is partnering with nationally recognized trainers Safe Haven Ministries.  
Where: All events will be held at Latham Community Baptist in the greater Albany area and is open to all churches
Cost: $10 per person, which includes lunch. Registration is required.  
Safe Haven Ministries, a national leader in domestic violence prevention programs, will provide a 7-hour training program. Topics covered during training include:
  • Prevention strategies 
  • Domestic violence behaviors 
  • Supporting victims & survivors 
  • Issues of faith and domestic violence 
  • Safety planning for victims & the church 
  • Responding to and supporting abusers 
Safe Haven will work with you to create policies and procedures that support appropriate violence response and prevention. Some areas of policy include: 
  • Training for staff and volunteers
  • How to handle disclosures of abuse 
  • How to respond when abuser attends church 
  • How to promote healthy relationships for adults and youth
  • Practices that support primary prevention
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 Onondaga St., Syracuse   
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse
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 
From the Leadership Team
Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications:
The Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications are now being accepted through 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 Stated Clerk
Docketeering Deadline is TODAY
Friends, our stated meeting is on Nov. 2. The deadline for submitting information to be included on the docket is TODAY.

The Docket Mailing will need to go out shortly to adhere to the 10-day notification deadlines.

If you have questions or know of a late submission, please email the Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye at
Thank you in advance for your submissions and your cooperation. 
God's Peace be With You,
Pastor Ben  
From the Associate Stated Clerk
Session Records Review -- Time to make a date!
Clerks of session are asked to RSVP to Linda Russell, Associate Stated Clerk (, and make an appointment for one of the following dates and times: 
Tuesday, October 22 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Liverpool
Thursday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Auburn-First
Tuesday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Fayetteville
The updated checklist can be found here.
Please write "Records Review" in the email subject line and include the name of the church and the name of the clerk of session in the email. Thank you!
Elder Commissioners to Presbytery
The next meeting of Presbytery will be held on Saturday, November 2, at First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville beginning with registration at 8:30 a.m.
One of the key principles of Presbyterian church polity is to have equal numbers of ministers and elders in all councils above the session. For this reason, it is sometimes necessary to invite churches to send one or more additional elder commissioners to Presbytery meetings. In Cayuga-Syracuse additional commissioners are assigned according to size of church staff, size of church membership, or, when needed, on a rotating basis in alphabetical order. These numbers are determined and announced at the annual meeting in May and apply to meetings held through May of the following year. 
The number of elder commissioners currently assigned to churches through the May 2020 meeting is as follows:
  a.     Churches sending two (2) elder commissioners include: Amboy, Auburn-First, Aurora, Chittenango, Collamer, First United East Syracuse, Weedsport, Whitelaw
b.     Churches sending three (3) elder commissioners include: Auburn-Westminster, Baldwinsville, Cazenovia, DeWitt-Pebble Hill, Fayetteville, Skaneateles, Syracuse-Park Central
c.     All other churches and Isaiah's Table are eligible to send one (1) elder commissioner.
Congratulations to Westminster-Auburn!
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn learned this week that it was awarded an innovation grant from the Synod of the Northeast in the amount of $10,720 to support its REACH program.
As a historically activist congregation in a historically activist community, Westminster seeks to embrace its legacy to meet the new and emerging needs in its neighborhoods and region. Through REACH (Relate, Explore, Act, Care, Help) the congregation seeks to provide radical welcome to the diverse population of children, youth, and families in their area by establishing multi-sensory, multi-modal, co-developed, and socially engaged opportunities to encounter meaningful community and spiritual formation. REACH is a new way of looking at children and youth ministries and its vision is one of transformative love. REACH offers:
  • A place that welcomes all children and youth and empowers diversity
  • A life journey in which all generations collaborate to nourish faith, raise up leaders, and meet the needs of the community
  • A chance to wonder by asking big questions and exploring faith through multi-sensory experiences of nature and the arts
  • A modern spiritual practice involving the whole community
Learn more about this program and the process of applying for a Synod grant at the Presbytery meeting on November 2.
Around the Presbytery
Can you solve the mystery?

Baldwinsville First Presbyterian has received four 12 inch, 20 ounce sterling silver offering plates. Two antique collectors in Wyoming, who thought they should be returned to their original church, sent them.

After contacting several churches, their home has not yet been found. The inscription on each plate reads as follows:

Given to the First Presbyterian Church
To the Glory of GOD and in loving memory of
Olive Belden
Died April 27th, 1901

Is your church the home for which these beautiful plates are seeking?  If you can help solve the mystery of Olive Belden, please contact Baldwinsville First Presbyterian at (315) 635-9964.

What: Rummage and Bake Sale
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, October 18
Where: Amboy Belle Isle United Church , 6190 Airport Road, Syracuse

Friday Night Shindogs & Kampfires at Vanderkamp

What: Fun Family Evenings
Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
Dates: October 18
Cost: $10 per person (6 & under are free)

The night includes BBQ, hayride, campfire with silly songs and s'mores.
BBQ will be served from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Kampfire begins at 7 p.m.

Registration: Required by noon the day of event by calling (315) 675-3651 or visiting the Vanderkamp website.

What: Basket Bingo 
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, October 19 
Where: In the annex at The New Hope Presbyterian church, 814 Rider Street.
Make a donation to receive your bingo card(s). There will be many themed baskets (seasonal,children, pet, entertainment, etc.) The bingo games will continue until the baskets are diminished. There will also be door prizes. Refreshments available for purchase during intermission.
The proceeds will be donated to the Parish Ecumenical Food Pantry and the APW Backpack program.
The CNY Poor People's Campaign and the congregation of Hopps Memorial CME Church invite the public on Sunday, Oct. 20, 6:00-8:00 p.m. to learn about and reflect upon the Four Hundred Years of Inequality, 1619-2019. The group will discuss the ecology of inequality - past, present, and future - and reflect on how this single event in 1619 affects all of us today, no matter the color of your skin or the amount of money in your pocket.  

This event will be held at Hopps Memorial CME Church, 1110 South State St. in Syracuse. Hopps is an accessible facility with ample, private parking.  
Light refreshments will be available. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Learn more about the campaign below: 
 The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
By Rev. Denise Anderson
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and corrosion consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor corrosion consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Jesus of Nazareth (according to Matthew 6:19-21)
In August 2015, I attended an event at Montreat Conference Center called "Dr. King's Unfinished Agenda." This event was hosted as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic and at the time controversial address at Montreat's Christian Action Conference.  
At that commemorative event, we heard from Charles Blow, Leonard Pitts, Dr. William Barber, Congressman John Lewis and Bishop Vashti McKenzie in what can only be described as a transformational, inspiring and enlightening experience. We came away from that event reinvigorated and determined to further the cause of justice.
What: Chicken & Biscuit Dinner 
When: Saturday, November 2 (Time to be announced)  
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  
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    
Dates to Remember
October 17-21               Mid Council Leaders Gathering, Baltimore
October 21                    RSVP deadline for Session Records Review appointment
October 22                    Session Records Review - Liverpool
October 23                    Docket mailing
October 24                    Session Records Review - Auburn-First
October 28                    Leadership Team meeting, Auburn-Westminster
October 29                    Session Records Review - Fayetteville
November 1                  Benevolent Care applications due
November 2                  Presbytery meeting, Baldwinsville
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 Synod of the Northeast
Young Ministry Leaders at Stony Point

The Synod of the Northeast invites young ministry leaders to a special gathering at Stony Point Center on November 7-8, 2019. "Young ministry leaders" are people in their 20s and 30s who are actively engaged in ministry in a variety of settings within the Synod's bounds, including Cayuga-Syracuse. Many are ordained as teaching elders, ruling elders, or deacons, but ordination is not required. Registration deadline is October 24, 2019. Details can be found here.
Welcome to "Come to the Table 2019"

The Come to the Table 2019 gathering sponsored by the Synod of the Northeast will be held on November 8-9, 2019 at Stony Point Center, NY and is open to everyone in our presbytery-clergy, church leaders and all interested persons! This event happens only every other year and is a unique opportunity for us to join with others in the larger body of Christ to pray, to learn, to sing, to worship, and to experience unity in diversity.  
"For Such a Time as This: Crisis, Change, Opportunity" is the theme that will frame our time together this year- remembering that each generation is born for their time with all of its challenges and possibilities, and considering the ways in which each person's perspective brings an interpretation to a particular circumstance and shapes each community's response.
Our Synod is a community of 160,000+ Presbyterians that worship in 1,100+ congregations and gospel communities, organized in 22 presbyteries, in New England, New Jersey and New York. Yet, we are one in Christ who leads us.
More information and a registration link can be found here.
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Golden Rule 2020:  
a call for dignity and respect in politics
Group: Jesus' command to 'treat others as we would like to be treated' should also apply to political discussions
By Tammy Warren
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Do you find yourself wishing political leaders would speak more respectfully to one another as they share their perspectives on important issues?
The National Institute for Civil Discourse is coordinating a yearlong effort - leading up to the 2020 national election - to pray for the healing of divisions in the United States and to promote use of the Golden Rule in politics.

On Sunday, Nov. 3, exactly one year before the national election, Christians from across the theological and political spectrum will emphasize Christian teachings about human dignity and, in particular, Jesus' command to "treat others as we would like to be treated," which also applies to political discussions.

The idea for "Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics" grew from a meeting last May, hosted by the National Institute for Civil Discourse at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. At this gathering, the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, and 20 other Christian leaders came together for two days to discuss how people of faith can work together to combat the incivility and division in the U.S.

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day
Many communities honored the nation's first residents 
By Gail Strange
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - Traditionally, on the second Monday of October the United States celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.
However, on Monday many communities across the nation celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples Day is part of a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer and rather honor and recognize Indigenous people, the original occupants of the Americas.
Many scholars believe it was Viking Leif Erickson who first came to what would be become known as the New World from overseas. They believe Columbus wasn't the first European to discover what we know as the Americas and that he first landed on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas.  And, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Columbus never set foot in North America, but in present day Venezuela on his fourth journey.
While Columbus didn't technically discover America, he was instrumental in the colonization of North America and its lasting effects on this nation.
In an effort to help Presbyterians realize the atrocities enacted upon Indigenous people, the Presbyterian Mission Agency through the Native American Intercultural Congregational Support ministry has conducted the Blanket Exercise so that individuals can better visualize the impact of Columbus and the Church's actions against Indigenous people.

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
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