Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
December 5, 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
Memory Café blends support and social time 
As our population ages, Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are on the increase. One challenge of living with memory changes is that social ties can be severed at a time when they are so badly needed -- both for the person experiencing the changes and for their caregivers. A helpful response is the formation of Memory Cafés, first in The Netherlands and then across Europe, and now in more than two hundred locations throughout the United States.  

A Memory Café is a safe and comfortable space where an individual with memory changes and their caregivers can socialize, listen and sing to music, play games, and enjoy other appropriate activities. 

The Syracuse Memory Café (SMC), an outreach program of Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in DeWitt began in January 2017.  The SMC is run and staffed by 20 members of Pebble Hill. Church members provide a place for community and socialization in a safe, welcoming and friendly environment.   
A typical Syracuse Memory Café includes coffee and socializing, a humorous ice breaker, a few songs, a specially arranged activity or entertainment such as a drumming circle, magicians, Tai Chi, or a musical presentation like the Syracuse Pops Chorus or a Ukulele group followed by a light meal. 

The Syracuse Memory Café meets on the second Wednesday of each month in Pebble Hill's fellowship hall and there is no charge to attend. The program has guests that travel from as far away as Watertown.    
If you know of someone that is suffering from any form of dementia or someone that is a caregiver to a dementia sufferer, please tell them about the Syracuse Memory Café. Anyone and everyone is welcome!   
For more information, visit SMC website or Facebook page.
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 Elder Pat Neumann, who passed away on Nov 20. Pray for the Rev. Dan McCollister and his family as they grieve the passing of his wife, Julie. Elder Julie McCollister passed away on Nov 30. Pray for the community of King Ferry church in their time of grief and mourning.
  • Pray for the Rev. Ed Kang who has just been diagnosed with angiosarcoma and will begin chemotherapy treatments very soon. The Rev. Kang, honorably retired Cayuga-Syracuse pastor, is currently residing in a Presbyterian retirement community in Owego along with his wife Mae. He is well known to many of us as an ardent supporter of our international Partnership with Pyongyang Presbytery in South Korea.
  • Pray for the Rev. Kurt Esslinger, our mission co-worker in South Korea, and our Christian brothers and sisters in North and South Korea. Kurt has been participating in the Ecumenical Forum for Korea (sponsored by the World Council of Churches) in Shenyang, China where he just facilitated a meeting with the Korean Christian Federation from the DPRK (North Korea). Major events are being planned by the National Council of Churches in Korea for Washington DC the week of June 22, 2020 (coinciding with our General Assembly) regarding the 70th anniversary of the breakout of the Korean War and current efforts to support a peace treaty. Whether or not Christians from North Korea will be allowed to participate in these events depends on whether or not the U.S. will grant them visas.
  • 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: Isaiah's Table, Syracuse; Korean Church of Syracuse; Park Central, Syracuse; Robinson Elmwood United Church, Syracuse; South Valley, Syracuse 
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Hannibal Community Church members had an awesome time decorating and making cookies last Sunday. See more photos on the church's Facebook page.

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 
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!

It's that Pleasin' Season!

I knew we were deep in it when I overheard a man wearily talking about the three different types of stuffing he was preparing for Thanksgiving (let the debate about stuffing vs. dressing commence!) His plan was to make something to please his new mother-in-law as well as his father. The final stuffing was his own preference, or as he referred to it, a "dealer's choice."

Many of us are hard at work pleasing folks this time of year. From gifts to cards... even where we decide to spend our holidays can be geared around the needs and desires of another. To please someone is to satisfy their needs or desires, sometimes at the expense of our own.

Churches get into the swing of 'pleasing' as well. I recall several pastors who have said to me over the years that during this season they try to have something for everyone! In my last church, we came up with the idea of doing a holiday hymn sing prior to the Christmas Eve service so that on that night, everyone's favorite carol could be sung.   

There is nothing wrong with pleasing others...
...unless it is making you miserable.

That guy with the stuffing seemed to regret his decision to make three variations of the same dish. The woman at Target buying a ton of plastic for her children didn't seem as jolly as that task would warrant. There were some Christmases when this pastor barely had the energy for Christmas Eve, let alone a full hymn-sing.

Pleasing others can be exhausting. Of course, the opposite isn't healthy either.  Those who work to only please themselves become mean and embittered.

It is no accident that during this "Pleasin' Season" we tell the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Dicken's Scrooge is a model of someone who initially only pleased himself. At the end of the story he figures it out, and his life changes not because he wants to please others, but out of an abundance of spirit. Scrooge on Christmas morning is an image of generosity, which is in stark contrast with someone who is focused on pleasing others. The difference between generosity and pleasing folk is, well, as different as stuffing and dressing.  

As you go about Advent, and as you prepare for Christmas, are you seeking to please others? Or are the gifts you give and the time you spend offered out of your own joy?

Wishing you generosity and joy this season -


Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Monday, December 9, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse
Please note: Karen will be on hiatus for the rest of December, but will be back doing Mobile Offices beginning in January.
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 Stated Clerk 
For the past 6 years, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence has declared an ecumenical, interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath in the month of December.

This year, the sabbath is scheduled for Dec. 12 - 15.

In the year 2019, we have seen more mass shootings then there are days in the year and we have seen enough school shootings to average one per week. Thousands of people will lose their lives to gun violence this year and our nation stands paralyzed by the politics of inaction and the emotionally overwhelming images of violence flashing across our television screens. These are the moments that cry out to the church to fulfill its role as the consciousness of the nation. The December sabbath is simply a moment to pause, reflect, pray, mourn and rededicate ourselves to the non-partisan truth that death by violence is not normal or acceptable.
Scipioville Presbyterian Church in Scipio Center will observe this sabbath on Friday, Dec. 13. For 12 hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Psalms will be read aloud from our pulpit. We recognize the psalms as the most honest, vulnerable, beautiful and emotionally raw writings in our biblical canon. As we consider so much of scripture to be God speaking to a people, the psalms represent a people crying out to God. So, in response to the overwhelming trauma and destruction caused by gun violence in this nation, we will stand and speak the words of a people to their God in challenging, uncertain circumstances. We acknowledge that the time for thoughts and prayers has passed; and yet, we also affirm that the mission and action of the church must be anchored in relationship to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From our prayer, our psalms, comes a dedication to turn words into actions, psalms into proclamation.
We are inviting our siblings in Christ to join us with your presence and/or with your voice. We are looking for volunteers to read in 15, 30, 45, or 60 minute shifts. Our hope is that this 12 hours will be a diversity of voices and faces speaking in unity with one another in response to an epidemic. 

If you are interested in being a reader, please email ASAP.

If you would like to simply offer a moment of your presence in solidarity, please know that there is no mandatory timeframe of attendance. You are welcome to wander in and out of our sanctuary throughout the day, once, or even for a fleeting moment.  Every moment of your presence is a gift and a sign of acknowledgment for the loss, the fear, and the trauma caused by gun violence.
We hope you will consider participating by voice or by presence. For all of those who have lost a loved one, feared for the safety of a loved one, or found themselves in the uncertainty of not knowing, we offer you our voices, lifted in the common plea, "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!"
God's peace be with you.
Pastor Ben
Scipioville Presbyterian Church
3428 State Route 34
Scipio Center, NY 13147

From the Associate Stated Clerk
Attention Clerks of Session...

The season for annual statistical reports begins Friday, December 6, 2019. On that date everything you need for completing the annual statistical report of 2019 data for your church will be available online. The link for "Statistical Reporting and Frequently Asked Questions is: On that page, click the link for "Go to the Online Statistics Entry System" to enter the Church Statistics System. The deadline to submit your report is February 1, 2020. 
Thank you so much for your service! Last year all of our churches submitted their reports and Cayuga-Syracuse was one of a handful of presbyteries that achieved 100% compliance. Let's do it again! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached at or 315-730-6930.
Korea Peace Treaty Overture

The Korea Peace Treaty overture approved by our Presbytery on November 2nd has been received by OGA and listed as OVT-011. A few presbyteries have already voted to concur and several others across the country are in various stages of considering our overture.
General Assembly Commissioners and Delegates

At its November 2nd meeting, the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse elected the following persons to serve at the PC(USA) General Assembly in Baltimore June 20-27, 2020:

Teaching Elder:                         Shawn Reyburn (LaFayette)
Teaching Elder Alternate:          Ben Fitzgerald-Fye (Scipioville)
Ruling Elder:                             William Newell, Liverpool
Ruling Elder Alternate:              (vacant)
Young Adult Advisory   
Delegate:                                  David Seitz (Weedsport)
Young Adult Advisory
Delegate Alternate:                  Daphne "Rebekah" Reyburn (LaFayette)
Please include them in your prayers as they spend the next several months preparing for this responsibility.
InterFaith Works Roundtable of Faith Leaders

The Rev. Pete Shidemantle, honorably retired, represents the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse on the InterFaith Works (IFW) Roundtable of Faith Leaders.  He offers the following invitation:
Many of our churches support refugee families through IFW, especially during the holidays.  There is still time for congregations to be a Faith Partner Ambassador for a New American family by building a gift basket and delivering it to the family.  For more information, and to be connected to a family, you can email Daryl Files at or call her at 315-449-3552, ext. 208.
To read more about the work of IFW and how they have responded to recent acts of vandalism on houses of worship, chick here for Pete's full report.
Around the Presbytery
Cozy Senior Living in Skaneateles

Are you looking for affordable senior housing?

The Manor, in the village of Skaneateles and within walking distance of shops and restaurants, may be just what you or someone you know may have in mind.

The Manor is comprised of six suites that include a bedroom, living room and private bathroom. The house has large common areas as well. A house manager/cook provides daily meals. There are laundry facilities on site and limited parking in a detached garage.

The Manor is a mission of the Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles. However, residency is open to all denominations. Call the church office at 315-685-5048 for more information
. There are two suites available.  

What: Annual Soup Cafe
When: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 6
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia, 27 Albany Street, Cazenovia

Tasting cups available and a variety of sizes. Gourmet soups include a loaded potato soup, a seafood frogmore stew, cheddar broccoli, shrimp bisque and buffalo chicken wing.
Come early; the soup goes quickly, and the desserts are wonderful. Eat in or take out.  
For more information, call (315) 655-319

What: Annual Christmas Shoppe
When: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
Where: First United Church of East Syracuse. 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse 

Children ages 5-12 are welcome to shop for their families. 
Prices range from $0.25  to $5. "Elves" will be waiting to assist your children with their purchases and wrapping. Enjoy refreshments and relax while waiting for your children to finish their shopping.

What: Annual Cookie Walk  
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 
Where: Amboy Belle Isle United Church, 6190 Airport Road, Syracuse
Cost: $10 per pound

What: Eastman Fundraising Concert
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 
Where: Korean Church of Syracuse, 1800 E. Genesee St., Syracuse  
Cost: General admission is $15. Student admission is $10 
Contact: 315-474-8346
This concert is the annual fundraising concert for New York Bible Conference, which will be held in Jan. 9 -1 1 , 20 20 at White Eagle Conference Center, Hamilton, NY. This concert has been held since 2006. This concert is performed by the Eastman music school students association, HESED, from Rochester.     

What: Annual Brass and Bells Concert
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8
Where: United Church of Fayetteville, 310 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville

Enjoy the afternoon with friends and family as both ensembles, SU Brass and the UCF Handbell Choir, will play tunes  .

A free-will offering will be taken for the Cayuga-Syracuse Haiti Educational Mission Partnership (HEMP) to purchase books and workbooks for children in Paulette, Haiti and, as always, folks are encouraged to donate non-perishables for the Fayetteville-Manlius Food Pantry.   
A reception will follow in Fellowship Hall.   

What: Jamesville Community Church will host the annual Holiday Concert for the Central NY Flute Choir
When: 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8
Where: Jamesville Community Church is located at 6300 E. Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville
Cost: Free
Guests at this family-friendly concert will hear everything from works by Bach and Mozart, to music from the animated film "The Snowman."

The CNY Flute Choir includes community members performing on piccolo, C flute, alto flute and bass flute.  

What: Annual Cookie Walk
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14
Where: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse
Cost: $8 per pound.
Come one, come all and pick out your holiday favorites.

Pies will also be available for $10.

Dates to Remember
December 16-17         Synod's Presbytery Leadership Forum at Stony Point  
December 23              GA commissioner names due to OGA
December 23               Leadership Team Christmas gathering, home of Karen Chamis
February 15                 Presbytery Stated Meeting at First Presbyterian Church of Weedsport
February 24                 Leadership Team meeting  
March 23                      Leadership Team meeting
April 27                         Leadership Team meeting  
May 12                          Presbytery Stated Meeting 
July 23-24                    Thrive Seminar (for clergy aged 50+) by the Board of Pensions  
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Ministry by the vulnerable with the vulnerable
Presbyterian churches  
in Iraq faithful to  
Matthew 25 call to  
'serve the least of these'

By Elmarie Parker, Mission Connections
Special to Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners from the Assembly of Evangelical (Presbyterian) Churches in Iraq are sharing, in their own words, about the Matthew 25 ministries to which they have been called.

Ministries bringing hope to incarcerated women and children in Kirkuk, housing to Muslim and Christian families displaced from their homes in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, and clean, drinkable water to people in southern Iraq -- all are ministries supported by U.S. Presbyterians.

Ministry to incarcerated women and children in Kirkuk:

"I write to you today to provide an update on a recent visit to the Kirkuk women's jail," explained Mayada Jazrawi, who oversees the prison visitation ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk.

"There were 52 women and 15 children. As has been the case in our recent visits, the majority of the women in jail were widows of suspected ISIS terrorists. Many of them were familiar with us, including the newer ones who hadn't met us before - the rest of the women had told them about us."


The real  
'Mister Rogers'

This Presbyterian minister is as genuinely nice in person as he is on TV

By Eva Stimson for Presbyterians Today
Special to Presbyterian News Service
Editor's note: The film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" has rekindled the nation's appreciation for Fred Rogers, the best-known Presbyterian clergyperson since John Witherspoon. In 1997, Eva Stimson, then editor of Presbyterians Today, was fortunate to interview Rogers. Below is her piece, published in the March 1998 edition of Presbyterians Today.

PITTSBURGH - Anyone with kids and a television set knows Fred Rogers. Three generations of children have grown up with "Mister Rogers" - the friendly sweater-and-sneakers-clad grownup who talks frankly about feelings and invites them to be part of his TV "neighborhood." What is less widely known is that Fred Rogers is a Presbyterian minister, ordained in 1962 by Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Early on a Monday afternoon America's best-loved neighbor is catching up on stacks of correspondence in his office in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, following a quick trip to Toronto. Just before a scheduled interview he squeezes in time for a carton of yogurt.

Then he appears, smiling and relaxed, to ask, "What do you want to talk about?" For the next hour his comments emerge thoughtfully, deliberately, graciously - just like on TV.

It is not hard to imagine this man giving up his lunch break for eight years to take Bible and theology courses. "It's fairly unorthodox to go to seminary on your lunch hour," he says. "Which is what I literally did."

That was back in the 1950s. Rogers had just begun working for WQED in Pittsburgh, the nation's first community-supported public television station. He had planned to go to seminary right after college - in fact had already been accepted - but got sidetracked by a call to work in television. A few years later seminary became a way of undergirding this call - to minister to children and their families through the media.

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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