Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
May 21, 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.
  • Please pray for our presbytery's partners in Pyongyang Presbytery who wrote this week to say they are "deeply concerned" about Cayuga-Syracuse and hope that Covid-19 "did not harm [Cayuga-Syracuse] severely," and that "everyone is doing well." Our Korean brothers and sisters pray for us and "for this pandemic to pass" and ask that we pray also for them.
  • 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: 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
Members of Robinson Elmwood United Church gathered on Tuesday for a parade of cars to celebrate the 90th birthday of Barb Wachob. After the parade members gathered on the lawn for the singing of "Happy Birthday". Barb told Pastor Stephanie, "this was worth waiting 90 years for."  
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 
Dear Friends,
What do you do "bestest"?
I'm a beast at knitting, and love to sing and enjoy a bit of writing as well. I'm second-best at all sorts of other things, and the list of things I cannot do (hello, mathematics!) is long. But knitting? I'm confident in my ability to knit.
Churches have a list of things they excel at as well. This season of isolation has challenged many of our congregations, because often what they do best is what they do together. From Sunday morning worship to fellowship; to bringing food to those who grieve and that authoritative thwack of the serving spoon at potlucks -- all these things we do "bestest", and we do them together.
So when the governor says we can't gather together again until late June at the earliest ... we grieve because this is what we do, and we do it well.
Who are we, if not the gathered body of Christ?

How long can we maintain social isolation from each other, and still be the body of Christ?
Who are we, if we cannot do what we do well?
I wonder what would happen if we allowed ourselves to discover what we do "second-bestest"? Fodder for this might be found in remembering the Great Ends of the Church.
The great ends of the Church are:
  • the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
  • the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
  • the maintenance of divine worship;
  • the preservation of the truth;
  • the promotion of social righteousness; and
  • the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
What's interesting to me is that this list is not ranked in order of priority (there is no "bestest" as it were) ... and yet I believe many of our congregations have placed a high priority on the top three or four. It makes me wonder what our congregations might look like if we began to focus on strengthening the other areas that identify to the church. What might the world look like if we emerged from this time of social isolation being able to claim that what we do best is the promotion of social righteousness ... or we excelled at being an exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world?
Please note, this doesn't mean abandoning what we do well. We need to continue to do that as this season continues as best as we are able ... but we might discover our faith deepens as individuals and as congregations as we embrace more fully the other Great Ends.
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. 
From the Stated Clerk

Greetings Presbyterians! I don't need to tell you that we are living in unusual and anxious times. We continue to pray for those who are affected by the Covid-19 virus and we mourn for each life taken in this pandemic. We are offering love to our neighbors by staying home and staying safe and we are exploring new ways to do both our individual work and our communal work. In so many ways, life moves forward and still needs our attention. The leadership of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracus e rightly determined that having an in-person presbytery meeting would be a dangerous and unnecessary risk to our well-being. So, we will be having an online presbytery meeting instead on June 9, 2020. Soon, the precise information and registration links will be coming your way.
As your stated clerk, it is my job to make sure this meeting is as efficient and as effective as possible. In order to do this, the following pre-meeting items will go in to effect:
  1. ALL requests for time and ALL items for the docket MUST be submitted by May 25. No submissions will be granted beyond that date. Please send all submissions to
  2. ALL motions are to be submitted in writing along with docket submissions by May 25. This applies, of course, to motions that are known in advance of the meeting and in no way shuts down the ability to make or consider motions and amendments in the actual meeting. That said, if your committee, your church, you know that you wish to make a motion at the June meeting, it would be much more efficient to have the written motion ahead of time.
If you discover the need to make a motion after May 25 and before June 9, please consider sending it in writing ahead of time.

Motions can also be emailed to
  1. Materials submitted to any other email address or individual will not be considered received until they are submitted to
  2. If committees are making reports, it would be super great if you could also send that report ahead of time.
  3. You probably notice a theme developing here ... if you can send an item by May 25, please do!
  4. The number of commissioners/representatives each church can send will not change from existing guidelines. You would send the usual number based on existing calculations.
There are also a few guidelines that we can look to as we work to make an online meeting successful:
  1. Commissioners to this meeting will need some level of comfort with technology; so, if you have commissioners in need of assistance or a crash course, feel free to reach out to me. You may also with to choose representatives with some degree of comfort with online meetings.
  2. If you are able to send me the names of your chosen representatives ahead of time that would be great too.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to email me at

Pastor Ben Fitzgerald-Fye

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.)
'We're the worst babysitters on the planet'
Environmentalist Bill McKibben says we have the answers to limit climate change

By Tammy Warren
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben is passionate about pursuing energy that comes from above - sun and wind, rather than from below - coal, oil and gas, fossil fuels that he says are literally "decreating" planet Earth.

In his lecture, "Running Genesis in Reverse: Moral Witness on a Decreating Planet," livestreamed Monday as part of the 2020 Festival of Homiletics, McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate change movement, said, "I'm not much of a theologian, but it seems like power from above, instead of from the other place."
Scotland, he said, produces twice the electricity it uses every year from wind turbines.

We've failed so far in our job as stewards, he said. "The planet's temperature is changing. Its ocean chemistry is changing. There are half as many wild animals on this planet as there were 40 years ago. All those creeping things and swimming things and flying things that God looked at and pronounced 'good' - we're wiping out."

We're doing at least as bad a job with the gospel command to "love one's neighbor," he said. "We're drowning one's neighbor. We're making it impossible for them to grow food. We're spreading illness and disease." Fossil fuel pollution and climate change are projected to take 100 million lives, he said, almost all of them in the poorest parts of the world or the poorest sections of the U.S.

Practicing self-care during COVID-19
Social distancing doesn't mean putting ministry on hold

By Rick Jones & Randy Hobson
Office of the General Assembly
As churches and pastors have discovered in the past two months, social distancing doesn't mean putting ministry on hold. The work continues in new, innovative ways.

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), urges pastors to be sure they take care of themselves while caring for others.

Watch Video:

Practicing self-care during COVID-19
Practicing self-care during COVID-19

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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