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

August 1, 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

Mission: Fun

Each year The First Presbyterian Church of Mexico has a program they  call SOS, which stands for Surprise of Summer, on Wednesdays in July.
This is an one hour program starting with a short Bible lesson then Christian games.  
On the last week of the program, the last activity is a slip and slide behind the manse.
Pastor Karen Green and her husband Bob create a slide for the kids.  
Here is a picture of two excited children, Elizabeth and Greyson. They decided to try the slide as a duo.
Mission Fun: Complete!  

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...

  • Pray for Elder Rita Hooper who has had a lingering summer cold .
  • Pray for Elder Bob Davenport, chair of the Finance and Property Work Group, who is suffering from numerous issues with his cervical spine. He has an appointment with a specialist on August 13th to determine if there is an alternative to a full disc replacement.
  • Pray for the Rev. Benjamin Fitzgerald-Fye and the Rev. Karen Chamis as they take on new roles this month.
  • Pray for all those who have lost their lives due to gun violence. Pray for their friends and family. Pray for everyone who has felt the pain of loss and fear due to gun violence in Syracuse and across our country.
  • In your prayers please give praise to the brave bystanders who take a stand against bullying.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individuals: minister members of the Presbytery who are engaged in specialized ministries, who are at-large members, or who are retired
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Auburn held a Blessing of the Animals worship service on July 21. 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 Associate Stated Clerk 
Our website is back

Many thanks to our communications team and our IT consultant.

Planning Calendars

The 2019-20 Presbyterian planning calendars are not expected to arrive in time for our Presbytery meeting on Aug.13. The printer is scheduled to deliver them to the PC(USA) warehouse on Aug. 8. From there they need to be packed and shipped to fill the various orders. When our calendars do arrive, I will make arrangements for them to be delivered or available for pick up at a convenient location. 
As I mentioned when we announced plans for our Presbytery's bulk order, unlike previous years the 2019-20 planning calendar begins with September rather than June. For what it is worth, I have registered my opinion with two different offices in the OGA that this change has not been helpful to our churches who begin planning for the "program year" well in advance of September and need the calendars in May, not August.

Request from our Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper Paula Lamberson reminds folks that no cash should be delivered to her office. She respectfully requests that all payments to Presbytery be made by check.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Last year NYS adopted legislation requiring all employers - including all churches - to adopt a Sexual Harassment Policy by October 9, 2018. NYS state law also requires that Sexual Harassment Prevention Training must be provided by the employer - i.e. by each church - by October 9, 2019, and on an annual basis thereafter.

Each church is asked to document in its session minutes: (a) that the church has adopted a Sexual Harassment Policy, and (b) that sexual harassment prevention training has been conducted by the October 9, 2019 deadline.
Current samples of training can be found here:
Other helpful links include:
These links can also be found on the Presbytery's website under the Resources tab, in the Policies section.


Invitation from Pyongyang Presbytery
Pyongyang Presbytery has invited Cayuga-Syracuse to send a delegation of four adults to visit their churches and attend their presbytery meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Although the exact length and dates of the visit are still being worked out we anticipate a trip of about one week.

The Korean Partnership M&M Team is currently looking for three persons, pastors or elders (preferably at least one of each), who would be visiting Pyongyang Presbytery for the first time. If you have a possible interest in this opportunity, please contact Linda Russell at or 315-730-6930.


Commissioners to General Assembly
The Leadership Team has prepared an application process for persons interested in serving as a commissioner to the 224th General Assembly June 20-27, 2020. Presbytery is seeking a teaching elder commissioner (and alternate), a ruling elder commissioner (and alternate), and a Young Adult Advisory Delegate. The application and introductory letter can be found here.
Stated Meeting 
Presbytery Gathering Preview
The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse will hold a stated meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 at Faith United Church of Oswego, 12 Mark Fitzgibbons Drive, Oswego, NY 13126. The gathering will begin with registration at 2:00 p.m. with the call to order at 3:00 p.m.  
From 2:30 to 3:00 pm there will be a time for a Q&A with Communications Coordinator Sarah Buckshot as well as a time for sharing Good News and Announcements.
Things to know:
  • Childcare is available by reservation. RSVP to by Wednesday, August 7.
  • Dinner will be served at a cost of $8.00 payable at registration. Requests for special dietary needs should be made to by August 7.
  • Internet service will be available.
  • Requests for excused absences should be sent to by August 9.
  • Names of new commissioners may be sent to for nametags by August 9.
  • The gathering may be recorded and pictures will be taken.
  • Dress comfortably. The sanctuary and fellowship hall are not air conditioned.
Things to anticipate:
  • Greetings from our new Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis
  • Election and installation of a Stated Clerk
  • A "first read" of the proposed budget for 2020 (per capita remains $38.50)
  • Examination of two Inquirers who are transitioning to the status of Candidate Under Care
  • Granting the status of Honorably Retired to the Rev. Dr. Peter Shidemantle
  • Saying "Godspeed" to the Rev. Dr. Craig Lindsey as he transitions to Arizona
Presbytery gatherings are important opportunities to do business together, to worship together around Word and Sacrament, to learn together, and to connect with and engage in "one-anothering" with our sisters and brothers from throughout the Presbytery.
The Docket for this meeting can be found here.   
2020 Draft Budget First Read 8-13-19 (print for best viewing) 
Other documents to follow.
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

Around the Presbytery
What: 11th Annual Tailgate Festival
When: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, 112 South St., Auburn
Coffee, drinks, baked goods, and Chicken BBQ available day of sale.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Ray Jones named director of Theology, Formation and Evangelism
Former evangelism leader  
and interim director will lead ministry area
By Melody K. Smith
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - The Presbyterian Mission Agency announced today that it has named the Rev. Dr. Ray Jones III as the new director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism (TFE).
The Rev. Dr. Ray Jones III.

"Ray has a heart for evangelism and all that encompasses. The foundation of his faith is built on the person and work of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, the executive director and president of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. "I believe he will continue to lead this vital ministry area with the same dedication and energy that has blessed him and the Mission Agency thus far."

Jones has been serving as the interim director since fall 2017, and associate director for evangelism at the Mission Agency for eight years prior. With a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary, he has also served the church as a pastor in congregations in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

"I love the church and I am humbled by this call to serve God," Jones said. My desire is to continue to walk in the way of Jesus - just like Matthew 25 calls us to do - so that the world is saturated with God's love."


Helping preachers navigate difficult  
Old Testament passages
Doctoral students produce the weekly podcast 'First Reading'

By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - One year into providing their First Reading: The Old Testament Lectionary Podcast, Emory University Hebrew Bible doctoral students - and preachers - the Rev. Rachel Wrenn and Tim McNinch are delivering a weekly tool for preachers who crave practical sermon help on the Old Testament passages found in the Revised Common Lectionary.

McNinch, a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary who's served as a campus pastor and church planter, and Wrenn, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said by telephone Monday their labor of love is a product of their shared passion for the Old Testament, which is sometimes relegated to a secondary position during Sunday sermons in favor of, say, the lectionary's gospel passage.
"We discovered we both have a side passion for translating this stuff into something usable for people preaching on the Old Testament," McNinch said.

Once each month, the two scholars interview a guest expert - a seminary or university faculty member - on an upcoming Old Testament lectionary passage. Those podcasts last for about 50 minutes.

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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