Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
May 28, 2020
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 and 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 Jackie Murphy, and her family, as grieve and mourn the death of her daughter, Laurie.
  • Please pray for the Rev. Ed Kang (Honorably Retired) and his wife Mae who have both been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Pray for all the doctors, nurses and medical staff on the front lines fighting to save COVID-19 patients.
  • Please pray for all those who are sick with COVID-19 and all those who have lost loved ones.
  • Pray for all those who feel lonely and disconnected during this time of social distancing.
In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Amboy Belle Isle; First, Auburn; Westminster, Auburn; United Ministry of Aurora; First, Baldwinsville.
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
 Andy Miller created this beautiful painting of two generations worshiping side by side at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, depicting a church where all ages experience God. Some will see Avery and Jean in this painting; all can see a God for all ages to love and worship. 
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.
Presbytery Meeting -- JUNE 9, 2020 
The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse will hold a stated meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 online via the Zoom platform. The gathering will begin at 7:00 p.m.. Karen Chamis and Ben Fitzgerald-Fye will be available on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. to help with technical issues for those choosing to log in earlier.
Things to know:
  • This gathering may be recorded for informational and accuracy of minutes purposes only.
  • The Zoom Meeting will be open early for those who are unfamiliar or not fully comfortable with the platform. You are welcome to sign it at 6:30 PM if you need some reassurance.
  • Attendance will be taken via electronic registration. Register link information below.
Things to anticipate:
  • Our first online presbytery meeting ever!
  • A brief introduction to Zoom functions
  • Online opening worship
  • "Good News" from our congregations and worshipping communities
  • Recognition of Staff Service to the Presbytery
  • Nominations report that includes election of those willing to serve
Papers for this meeting can be found here, and include:


ZOOM Instructions

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Please make sure you've downloaded the most recent version of Zoom (5.0) as it has been updated.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m., however, the room will be open at 6:30 p.m. for those who would like to test their sound, practice raising hands, etc.

For those joining by phone, please call Karen at 908-217-7725 prior to 3 p.m. on June 9th so that she can make certain you are registered.  

Phone participants can use these controls:  
To mute/unmute, press *6   
To Raise Your Hand, press *9.

Please note we will be utilizing the "mute all" feature. In order to be recognized to speak you must raise your hand. This is done by going to the Participants tab on Zoom and scrolling to the bottom of that window. You'll see an option to raise your hand as well as to vote YES or NO. If you are new to this feature, you are strongly encouraged to come to the pre-meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Looking forward to seeing you all!

From the Resource Presbyter 
Dear friends,
Do you remember last year?
A bunch of folks realized that the year 2020 provided an excellent opportunity to strategize and, well, refocus. I saw everything from "Vision 2020" or "2020 Vision" or the longer-ranged "20/20 by 2020" for those who had the foresight (hah!) to see this coming down the road a few years ago.
Capital campaigns were planned and launched, "Think Tanks" were assembled and from our collective vantage point looking forward, the future was bright. This was to be the year of strategizing and developing bold new goals for the next few years.
And now? All of that seems like so much Babel.
Now we find our vision is far from clear. It's hard to see straight amidst the chaos, and what we can see is often blurred with tears. It's hard to see with all the dust that has been stirred up, and if anything the last three months has taught us is that so much is vanity. So much is dust.
Our vaulted 2020 Vision didn't see the mote called SARS-CoV- 2 in any of our brilliant invulnerable Babel plans. And now, into this incredible expanding void as Babel topples (every day new numbers... new names... new lives added to those lost) I can't help but think of the words of the prophet Joel who spoke of dreams and vision and prophesy even as the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh.
As the Wind picks up and the dust swirls around us, instead of bold new visions for the year 2020 and beyond we find ourselves humbled. We find ourselves very, very, human and very, very afraid.
And what is to be our response? We can go back to building Babel, grabbing bricks from one another to build a strategic vision that we can worship.
Alternatively, we could confess that our vision needs to be corrected, and lean into the new lens that Pentecost brings. "20/20 Vision With Correction!" might not have the same marketing flair -- but if it allows us to focus on building the world anew in such a way that the least of these is cared for; a world where systemic racism is acknowledged and repented of and poverty is eradicated?
Wouldn't that be a sight worth seeing?

Isn't that the vision we're supposed to be seeing?
In Christ,

Resource Presbyter's Virtual Gatherings 

Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be holding virtual office hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays.

Karen will be available for drop-in conversations on Zoom. Come say hello, share concerns or learn a bit on how to use this important tool.  
or call 
One tap mobile 
+16465588656,,839671809# US (New York) 
+13126266799,,839671809# US (Chicago)
Pastoral leadership is invited to a Thursday morning Virtual Coffee for connection, support and fellowship.  
The Zoom meeting will start at 10 a.m.  

Join Zoom Meeting: 
Meeting ID: 510 749 428
Interactive Worship Service for all: 
Karen and the Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye, our stated clerk, will hold an interactive worship service on Zoom every Sunday evening at 7 p.m. Register in advance for this meeting: 
If you are unable to participate in worship, or know someone who would appreciate a liturgy that can be used at home, please CLICK HERE.
Around the Presbytery  
What: Tag Sale to Benefit LaFayette Outreach 
When:  9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 30 
Where: Columbian Presbyterian Church, routes 11 & 20, LaFayette 
L imited admission  -- unlimited potential -- early sales welcome!
The church's annual Memorial Day Benefit for LaFayette Outreach was cancelled, but the church is committed to support the food pantry.   
Bo okkeeper needed
Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church is looking to hire a bookk eeper to work 10 hours a week. Those hours can be flexible.Candidates will need experience in Quickbooks and be comfortable working in a church environment. The church is looking for someone with over 3 years of experience. This is an immediate opening. Interested candidates can reach Pastor Elizabeth Lyman at   
Dates to Remember
June 9               Presbytery meeting (Zoom)
June 20-27       General Assembly 
July 23-24         Board of Pensions Thrive Seminar (for clergy age 50+)
August 11         Presbytery Stated Meeting, TBD  
November 14    Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Once upon a time
in a pandemic
A Presbyterian grandmother's story of social distancing

By Tammy Warren
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - While staying connected to family, friends and church, Paula Howlett, a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb, Illinois, has followed all the rules for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a retired early childhood special education teacher, Howlett understands how easily things like viruses can spread. So, she's been cautious, talking to her granddaughters by phone, video chat, driveway visits or inside-outside front-door storytime, which the kids loved. "They could see the pictures much better through the glass than on screen," Howlett said.

Maisie, who will be 5 in June and will begin kindergarten in the fall, has continued her weekly dance classes virtually, and Freya celebrated her first birthday with a safe, socially distanced parade.

Maisie  is "quite verbal," Howlett said. "Sometimes she tells me, 'I want to read you a story.' Then she tells a story from a book we've read before."

Although Howlett would love to give her granddaughters a big hug, the closest she's been to them in months is this inside-outside storybook time that began as a spur-of-the-moment idea. Typically she'd been reading by video chat with the girls each evening before bedtime. They never seem to tire of hearing Grandma Howlett, whom they lovingly call "Guy Guy," read the same stories again and again.


2020 Pentecost echoes first century church gathering
Even while isolated, we can still celebrate the Spirit's movement

By the Rev. Joseph Moore
Presbyterian Foundation
Special to Presbyterian News Service

JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana - "What a strange Pentecost this will be."

That's a consistent refrain I'm hearing from my colleagues in churches across the country. We wonder what it will look like to celebrate the movement of the Spirit in and through the early church, even as many of us won't be able to gather as a church in the same ways we have for thousands of years. If Pentecost is a celebration of the movement of God among a gathered people, how do we celebrate it absent a gathering?

As I've reflected on what this next season of church life might have in store for us, I've been struck with three Pentecost related thoughts.

First, the church has always been dispersed. When you read Luke and Acts together, the reality is that those first followers of Jesus spent far more time apart than they did together. At the end of Luke, the disciples are fearfully huddled together in Jerusalem, and Jesus appears and leads them to Bethany where he was carried up to heaven. We're told they return to the temple in Jerusalem where they were continually in the temple blessing God. On Pentecost we celebrate the miraculous movement of the Spirit in Acts 2, but by the 8th chapter of Acts these new disciples are scattered across the world. There is a constant movement from gathering to dispersion. And the Spirit is a part of it all. This is our story.

Second, the church has always been disordered. This a tough one for Presbyterians who like things decent and in order. But there was nothing orderly about the early church. On that first Pentecost they were even accused of being drunk. They tried things and failed and tried again. It's not unlike a dispersed church trying to livestream a service on Facebook Live only to be kicked off because the algorithm didn't like the music you played. We try and we fail and we try again. This too is part of our story.

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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