Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
July 23, 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...   
  • Pray for the peacemakers.
  • Please pray for James Russell, a member of Westminster Syracuse. His esophagus cancer has returned.
  • 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 our leaders and officials as they continue to make difficult decisions regarding social distancing and COVID-19.
In the cycle of prayer 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
The sign at the LaFayette Columbian Presbyterian Church this week
 says: "Remember the moments not the days."

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!
Monday afternoon I took a knife to some lovely ears of corn and prepared corn chowder for dinner. I loaded everything into my handy Instapot, pushed the appropriate buttons and went back to my desk.
Pro Tip #1: Corn chowder can go from creamy yellow to blackened char within a matter of minutes if your pressure cooker isn't properly sealed.
Pro Tip #2: Panera makes a lovely corn chowder and still has curbside delivery.
My response to this "burnt offering" was to sob somewhat uncontrollably for a few minutes, and then reflect on how my reaction was a bit ... exaggerated ... given it was just a few ears of corn and a bit of my time. When I drilled down a bit I realized that amongst all the other emotions I was feeling, the prevailing one was disappointment. Oh yes, there was also anger, sadness, and frustration at this surreal world and the uncertainty and injustice ... but, in that moment, what came to the top was overwhelming disappointment.
The literature suggests that disappointment is generally caused by a disconnect between our expectations and the resulting reality. Unchecked it often gives way to rage or apathy, however, if we take the time to examine why we are feeling this way it can give us incredible insight into what we value.
As we begin to return to our sanctuaries, I encourage you to make time to discuss the disappointment that we all will inevitably feel. Yes, it will be wonderful to be back in sacred space and to see each other's eyes ... but it won't be the same. Plan to talk through the experience with your leadership so that your community can benefit from learning more about what you really value. How do those values compare with those you've previously claimed? Dig out your mission and/or vision statement. Is there resonance there, or a disconnect? How does that inform your understanding of your congregation?
Disappointment may sound like a second-tier emotion -- it doesn't have the same flair as anger or the numbing nature of depression, but its impact can be significant. Ignore it at your peril. And, stir your soup.
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.  
  Join Zoom Meeting:  
Password: 216956  
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: 
Password: 798822
"Allegiance to Empire" is a series of seven films featuring Walter Bruggemann, Miguel De La Torre, Reggie Williams, etc. providing ways in which the Christian community can serve the world and at the same time be faithful to God's vision of  the  Peaceable Kingdom.
We will meet Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. for seven weeks.  Each night begin with worship, followed by the viewing of a short film and discussion.  Come and go as you like!
  If you are unable to participate in worship, or know someone who  
would appreciate a liturgy that can be used at home, please contact Karen at 
From the Stated Clerk
Greetings Presbytery Friends!

A stated meeting of the Presbytery has been called for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11 via the Zoom platform.

In order to send the docket and supporting materials out in a timely manner, all items of business, reports, requests for time, etc. are due no later than 12 p.m. on Thursday, July 30.  No time requests or reports will be accepted after the deadline.
Please send all materials and requests to

Thanks to all.  Be Well!
Pastor Ben

Stated Clerk Open Office Hours

Greetings friends! In order to keep some consistent communication and to offer you the best service possible, I am posting the following as the "official" office hours for the Stated Clerk:

 Mondays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
 Wednesdays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
 Fridays: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

When you send communication to, please be mindful that emails and calls will generally be answered during these times.  If you have an urgent matter, please text or call (814) 249-3331 and I will respond ASAP.  

Also, in order to foster more personal connections and fellowship, please feel free to request a Zoom meeting during the office hours to discuss any issues of process, polity, etc. with your friendly neighborhood Stated Clerk.

I hope you are well and send you peace!

Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye 
Stated Clerk
From the Bookkeeper
Churches should mail their checks to
Paula Lamberson, bookkeeper of Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery, at the following address:

Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Drive, 2nd floor
East Syracuse, NY 13057

Please DON'T write "c/o Synod of the Northeast" on the envelope due to it causing confusion at the post office. Thank you!
Dates to Remember
August 11         Presbytery Stated Meeting, Zoom  
November 14    Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Don't lose hope
OGA staff member offers encouraging words for those seeking citizenship

By Rick Jones
Office of the General Assembly

The sun was bright on a recent Wednesday morning as nearly two dozen staff members with the Office of the General Assembly gathered at a Louisville park for a celebration. Vicente Guna, OGA's manager of technologies, celebrated his first day as a U.S. citizen.

Guna was one of the key behind-the-scenes people for the 224th General Assembly (2020) that was held online last month at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville. At the conclusion of the assembly, the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), called Guna to the broadcast center of the assembly to express appreciation for his work and recognition on soon becoming a U.S. citizen.

Guna was born and raised in downtown Valencia, Spain, the youngest of three siblings. With an interest in geosciences, he went to college in Valencia, studying Surveying and Mapping, and did his thesis in Gävle, Sweden. He then received his master's degree in Geodesy and Cartography back in Valencia.

The co-founder of a couple of startup companies, Guna focused on the application of new technologies for water and environmental projects, mostly related to renewable energies, flood mapping, prevention, and forecasting.

"Because of my work, I traveled quite a lot around Europe, and later on around other areas like South America," he said. "I met Ariel, my wife, in Brazil, and after a while of long distance relationship and back and forth travels, we decided to get married and establish ourselves in Louisville where she was working towards her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary."
Guna began the process of gaining work authorization and permanent residency (green card) in October 2013.


New partnership offers online  
Matthew 25 curriculum
Awakening to structural racism is focus of first course

By Melody K. Smith
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Stony Point Center and Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, at the request of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, are teaming up to develop online and eventually in-person curriculum to support the Matthew 25 vision. Courses center on the three focuses of the vision: nurturing vital congregations and communities of faith, dismantling structural racism and working to end systemic poverty.

The pilot course begins Aug. 10 and consists of four two-hour classes titled "Awakening to Structural Racism." The classes, designed to be highly participatory, include biblical study, theological reflection and content designed to help participants integrate new ideas. This first course is for those who are interested in learning more about structural racism and how to resist and deconstruct its destructive power in our own lives, our churches, our communities and the broader culture.

"Given the current context in our country and around the world, so many of our churches, new worshiping communities and mid councils are eager to understand what it means to be a Matthew 25 church, presbytery and denomination," said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. "This fall we are launching four pilot programs focused on the fundamentals of the Matthew 25 Vision, with an emphasis on supporting Presbyterians who want to better understand and change our behaviors regarding structural racism."
The course is financially accessible to all who want to learn. Participants are asked to pay for the course on a sliding scale, and no one will be turned away for lack of financial resources.

All course offerings in 2020 will be offered online with two different learning formats offering participants the option of participating with others in weekly online sessions or engaging the material independently on the participants' time. Each of these courses is designed to build on the one prior. The course will integrate a broad and comprehensive reading of biblical text and a practice of theological reflection.

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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