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

April 25, 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
Loving people who have been in and out of prison makes 'suffering Christ more real to us'
Isaiah's Table says 'yes' to Matthew 25 invitation  
By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - When Nancy Wind, the leader of the new worshiping community Isaiah's Table in Syracuse, first saw the Presbyterian Mission Agency's invitation for congregations to become Matthew 25 churches, she was intrigued.

Recently she partnered with the Matthew 25 Farm in Central New York. Its mission is to give away fresh vegetables and fruit to those in need in their neighborhood.
After watching a video invitation that encourages congregations to become Matthew 25 churches by working on at least one of three goals - building congregational vitality, eradicating systemic poverty and dismantling racism - Isaiah's Table said 'yes' to becoming the first official Matthew 25 1001 new worshiping community.

"Even though we're not a PC(USA) church yet, it struck me that this is what we're growing into," said Wind.


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
In our prayers together this week...
  • Please pray for Annette Bell who underwent exploratory surgery recently to investigate the cancer in her abdomen. Annette, a ruling elder at Westminster-Auburn, also continues to struggle with an autoimmune blood disorder. Her husband, Larry Bell, retired ABC pastor, was active in Presbytery for many years when he served as pastor of the Genoa church.
  • Pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula
  • Pray for the Resource Presbyter search committee, the Leadership Team, and the presbytery during this in-between time
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individual: Northminster, North Syracuse; Onondaga Hill; Faith United Church of Oswego; Presbyterian Church of Otisco; New Hope, Parish
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

You're Invited...
What: The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse and Robinson Elmwood United Church cordially invite you to the installation of The Rev. Stephanie J. Weaver as pastor of Robinson Elmwood United Church
When: 3 p.m. on Sunday May 5, 2019
Where: Robinson Elmwood United Church, 126 S. Terry Road in Syracuse

Reception to follow in Fellowship Hall
(Pastors, please wear your robes and stoles, and gather at 2:45 p.m. in our Adult Lounge)

Photo of the Week
Members from Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church, Cincinnatus United Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Jamesville and St. Joseph's Catholic Church presented this living dramatization of "The Last Supper" on Maundy Thursday at OHPC.

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 Leadership Team
Resource Presbyter Search Committee Report
From Committee Chair Lorrie Day Anson
The Resource Presbyter search committee held its orientation meeting on April 15. This meeting was facilitated by Amaury  
Tanon-Santos, Synod Networker, who will continue to resource the committee. The Rev. Lorrie Day Anson was elected chairperson. A second meeting was held this week when the committee began looking at the Personal Information Forms of interested candidates. Members of the search committee include ruling elders Sam Dance, Carla Kinney, and Nancy Wind, and pastors Shawn Reyburn, Deb Thomas, Patrick Heery and Lorrie Day Anson.
Necrology Reports   
During our presbytery's annual meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 we will take time to remember the saints in our presbytery who have gone to their eternal home in the past year. Please email names of those from your church you would like remembered to and indicate "necrology report" in the email subject line. Please indicate if the person was an ordained elder and/or deacon. Names are requested by Monday, May 6. 
Call to Service - Update from the Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee for the Presbytery of Cayuga Syracuse is looking for candidates for open positions which we would like to present for election at the May 14 presbytery meeting. Please consider elders or pastors in your congregations who have gifts and talents and who might be willing to share them at this pivotal time in our presbytery life. We know that each of you has an insight into your congregation which we lack, and we urge each of you to take a serious look to identify those who might be interested in serving.  
Suggested nominees and self-referrals should be sent to or (315) 258-0130. The committee will do the follow up. The committee -- and the presbytery -- will be most grateful for your attention to this matter. Thank you!
Chairperson Donna M. Hunt
The Nominating Committee is seeking candidates for:
Presbytery Moderator (two-year term)
Presbytery Vice-Moderator (one-year term)
Two members of the Leadership Team (one class of 2020, one class of 2022)
Two members of the Permanent Judicial Commission, class of 2025
Four at-large members of the Nominating Committee, class of 2020
One at-large member of the Committee on Representation, class of 2020
Elder Training: Family Systems in the Church
An elder training workshop on Bowen Family Systems theory and its application in the church setting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church in Rome. The workshop is sponsored by the Learning Academy of the Presbytery of Utica and is offered at no cost. The Rev. Stuart Wattles (honorably retired minister member of the Presbytery of Utica and resident of Clay) will facilitate. The Learning Academy and the Rev. Wattles cordially invite interested elders in the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse to attend.  
To register, contact the Rev. Wattles directly at: Stuart C. Wattles, 5330 Amalfi Drive, Clay, NY 13041 or More information can be found here.  
DMZ Human Peace Chain
The Rev. Kurt Esslinger, PC(USA) mission co-worker in Korea, sent the following message and invites us to join him and folks in cities around the world including in Korea, Japan, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. (a line is planned for New York City) to join hands with others (even with one or two others) who care about ending the war and creating a peace regime on the Korean peninsula. Pictures may be posted with the hashtag: #DMZPeaceChain.
Join hands on April 27th in solidarity for PEACE in Korea
Friends! Join us and peacemakers in Korea this Saturday April 27th to mark the one-year anniversary since the Panmunjom Summit between President Moon of South Korea and Chairman Kim of North Korea, which kicked off the peace process in earnest. My son and I (Hyeyoung is on her way to the US for a two-week visit) will join hundreds of thousands of Koreans who will attempt to form a DMZ People's Peace Chain along the border next to North Korea stretching from the East Coast at Goseong to the West Coast at Ganghwa Island. Many Koreans lament that international media mostly discuss President Moon and Chairman Kim's peace process with suspicion, only quoting war hawks when discussing how Koreans feel about the summits, which serves to de-legitimize dialogue. Instead of succumbing to frustration, they hope to accomplish this amazing feat so that the world will finally take note and see that many South Koreans are ready to believe North Korean promises of ending the war and creating a peace regime on the Korean peninsula, and you should join us.
Mission Co-worker the Rev. Kurt Esslinger with his colleague, Song, Seung ho,  
who is working on the coming 100th anniversary of NCCK events
Kurt currently serves in the NCCK Reconciliation Reunification Department and as coordinator of the Ecumenical Forum for Korea (EFK) of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The EFK is a forum hosted by the WCC based on face-to-face meetings between the NCCK of South Korea and Korean Christian Federation (KCF) of North Korea. KCF is the federation of Protestant Christians officially recognized by the North Korean Government. 
What: Jimmie Hawkins, of the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness, is coming to town 
When: June 10 
Where: Presbyterian Event and Retreat Center, which is located on South Street in Auburn (former Case Mansion adjacent to the Auburn-First church building)
Save the date for this Presbytery-wide event. There will be two sessions: An afternoon session will focus on clergy and church leaders and an evening session, which will be open to the public, will include a dinner.
The general theme: Understanding Poverty and What to Do About It.  
Keep watch to learn more as plans are developing.  
For questions, contact Linda Van Buskirk at or (315) 237-7115. 
Save the Date! 
What:    The Presbytery's next meeting
When:  Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Where: Presbyterian Church of Otisco 
             1873 State Route 80, Tully, NY 13159  
More details to come
What: " Website 101" Training 
When: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Drive in East Syracuse.
Meet with Communications Coordinator Sarah Buckshot about the basics of website creation and design, and other media-related questions. More information to come.   
RSVP: Sarah Buckshot at  
Around the Presbytery
What: Free "Community" Dinner
When: 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 2
Where: The First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville
             64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville
Menu:  Baked Ziti, Homemade Meatballs and Sauce, Italian bread, Salad, Beverage, Assorted Desserts

Advertising has been targeted toward seniors and lower income members of the community, in an effort to provide a wholesome meal to those who may struggle. This will be the first dinner of its kind offered by the congregation, with plans to continue on a monthly basis if it is well received.

What: Roast Pork Dinner 
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11 
Where: Amboy Belle Isle United Church
6190 Airport Road, Syracuse 
Cost: $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 5 to 12, children under 5 are free
Take-outs available  


Calling all Presbyterian Women, their daughters and friends to Auburn
Presbyterian Women will be gathering at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 at the Harriet Tubman Home, 180 South St., in Auburn.

Harriet Tubman is the woman known as "the Moses of her people." Born into slavery in Maryland in 1822, Harriet Ross Tubman would become an integral part of the Underground Railroad. She escaped slavery and moved to Auburn. She would later lead about a dozen expeditions into the South, freeing hundreds of slaves.
The home in Auburn that Tubman lived in until her death in 1893 was originally owned by U.S. Senator and Secretary of State William Seward.
After our visit to the Tubman Home, we will re-gather at the Case Mansion, also known as the Presbyterian Event and Retreat Center for lunch and tour.  P.E.R.C. is part of the ministry of First Presbyterian Church and is located at 108 South St.
Following lunch, there will be time for folks who would like to tour the Seward House, to do so, but that will be "on your own."
Registration is needed by May 28. Lunch is $8. Admission to the Tubman Home is $4.50 for adults, $3 for seniors, children 6-17 are $1.50 and under 5 are free.
Please call or email Rita Hooper at or (315) 706-3564 to make your reservations by May 28.

And now a word from Aunt Van, 
Spring is in the Air - Can Summer be Far Behind?    

Time to make plans for your summer vacation ... REGISTRATION is open for Summer Kamp at Vanderkamp.    
Visit the Vanderkamp website for full of information about our programs and new opportunities for children and youth from 6-17 years of age at kamp.  

Vanderkamp believes every child should have the opportunity to go to camp - partial kamperships are available to help make this happen and many of the churches give partial camperships too, so be sure to checkout your own church. Early bird discount by May 1 is fast approaching. 

Do you know someone, who would like to work or volunteer at kamp this summer for a day or the season or perhaps share a special talent with the kampers? Please checkout the Vanderkamp website for opportunities.

Questions: Call (315) 675-3651 or email at 

REQUEST: The kamp could use lots of glo sticks and cardboard tubes, such as the tubes found in paper towels, toilet paper and plastic wraps. Also needed is shaving cream. If you would like to bring items to the Presbytery meeting on May 14, a VK volunteer will be there to make sure they get to Vanderkamp. The door is always open at camp if you would like to take a ride out and deliver them yourself.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
How to start a local chapter of the  
Jesus Fan Club
The perks of sharing our passion

By Sue Washburn
Presbyterians Today

When I was in middle school, my neighbor joined the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club. She got a great poster that looked like it had been signed by the pop star to hang on her wall. We swooned as we stared at it, sitting on her bed and listening to mix tapes. I wondered, as I stared and swooned, what it would be like to be such an insider, to be an actual member of the fan club and get special perks.

Since then, I've been part of several fan bases as my own daughters grew up. First it was Harry Potter. We'd dress up and go to release parties and trade lines and scenes from the books and movies. Then their fandom veered into strange emo bands - a rock music genre emphasizing emotional expression - that seemed to appeal only to middle school girls, so I stayed out of it. A little later we flirted with "Dr. Who." Eventually, we became a small, multi-generational "Star Trek" fangirl club with my mom.

One day, as I was talking about going to a sermon study group with other pastors, my kids pointed out that I was actually writing Jesus fan nonfiction. From that day forward the stodgy-sounding sermon study group became known as the Jesus Fan Club - or JFC - in my planner.


PC(USA) membership decline has slowed
New Worshipping Communities are on the rise

By Rick Jones
Office of the General Assembly

LOUISVILLE -- After years of seeing hundreds of churches leave the denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is starting to see the number of departing churches decrease. The Office of the General Assembly has wrapped up its latest review of membership statistics which indicates the decline in membership may be slowing down.

In 2015, the total number of PC(USA) members was listed at more than 1.5 million. Within a year, membership declined by nearly 90,000. Last year, the decline was just over 62,000. The number of churches leaving the denomination between 2015 and 2016 totaled 203. In 2018, it was 34.

"While the difference is not great, we are encouraged by the slowing trend downward," said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). "The church of the 21st century is changing and we still believe God is preparing us for great things in the future."

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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