Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
June 18, 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
Isaiah's Table Installs New Prayer Board

Isaiah's Table has been busy showing their near westside of Syracuse neighborhood that "we're still here!"

They've cleaned up the landscape surrounding their corner building, while expanding their gardening space on the backside of the building. They've planted a variety of vegetables and posted signs in their community gardens to "Help Yourself."

Especially exciting, they've installed a new prayer board on the Marcellus Street side of the building in both Spanish and English. This prayer board has permanent lettering with chalk available to write in or draw prayers. One side is for thanksgivings and the other for prayer requests.

A small group from Isaiah's Table gathered to bless this new addition to their ministry on June 11th.

God is ALWAYS doing a new thing! Thanks be to God!

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 James Russell, a member of Westminster Syracuse. His esophagus cancer has returned.
  • Please pray for Annette Bell, and her husband the Rev. Larry Bell, as Annette faces yet another cancer diagnosis. Annette is an elder and beloved member of Westminster-Auburn; Larry served the church in Genoa and was active in our presbytery for many years.
  • Please pray for MaryLou Miller - elder and clerk of session at New Hope - she was in a bicycle accident.
  • Please pray for reduced tensions and peacemaking efforts on the Korean Peninsula.
  • 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.
In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Columbian, LaFayette; First, Liverpool; First, Marcellus; First, Mexico; Morrisville Community Church.

If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Members of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Parish gave their church sign  
a makeover recently. They planted perennials in memory of Ray and Sharon  
Robbins & Laurie Smith Lawall after the service on Sunday.  
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!
I've been rummaging about these last few days attempting to pull together a broken dissertation. What began as a passion for discovering how ritual might be used to change organizations has... well, changed several times over the course of the last few years. Then again, I've had a bit of a metamorphosis myself these last few years -- and I'm not referring to the gray hair.
Where my writing has finally settled is in looking at organizational identity, as well as organizational identification (yes, those are two separate things, and I've got the notes to prove it) and how organizational culture helps to shape and maintain that identity through ritual, amongst other things.
"Who do we say we are?" is a core question organizations ask of themselves.
"Who do they say we are?" is also important.
But deeper down are the other questions, the ones we dare not ask because we're afraid of the answers. How do we know who we are? What informs that knowledge of the self?
I think about our congregations who on March 13th, 2020 could have told you exactly who they were... only to find on March 15th that their entire sense of identity had changed... and I think about building on rock and building on sand.
I wonder about congregations who moved easily into this new territory, even though it meant learning new technology, because their identity was focused not on a building, but on relationships with God and one another.
I'm inquisitive about those congregations who are halfway in the middle -- with a core group of folks who made the move to online, as well as those who found their online attendance double that of what they'd see on a typical "in the building" Sunday.
I'm curious about congregations who have found themselves engaged in conversations regarding race, perhaps for the first time, and am wondering how that might change their identity.
My hope and prayer is that even as we begin to prepare for moving back into our buildings we take some time to discover what this wilderness time has said about our identity and what that might mean for us moving forward?
Finally, I always appreciate conversation partners around this sort of stuff. I promise not to use you as a sermon illustration (although, you might end up somewhere in this dissertation!)
Blessings -

The Presbyterian Planning Calendar offers more than nice pictures and a space to write in your meetings -- it also offers many resources that are keyed to certain months of the year.  You can order the calendar through the PCUSA store for $16.95 ea., OR you can join the Presbytery in its bulk order and pay only $9.75 per calendar. These 2020 - 2021 calendars begin with September. If you're interested, send an email to by July 1st indicating the number of calendars you are requesting.

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
"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 for 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!
Beginning Monday, June 29th at 7:30 p.m. 
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

Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church Summer Forums
This summer on Thursday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m., Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church will be running a series of forums examining the issues of race and racism. Because of recent crowd size expansions, the church will hold these sessions in person using Fellowship Hall in the basement, which will allow for social distancing. If the weather is nice, the crowd can move outside, so throw a lawn chair in your car! Masks will be required.
To start us out, please watch the film "Just Mercy" based on the book by the same name. The story will land us right in the middle of the issue that is absorbing so much attention now, the relationship between police and the justice system and African Americans. As you watch the film, please consider the following questions:
  • How does the film shine a light on systemic racism in policing and the justice system?
  •  Are these issues present outside the south?  
  • Brian Stephenson encounters resistance from a number of different people. How does he overcome that resistance and what does his technique suggest about responding to person based barriers to change? 
You can find Just Mercy on a number of streaming services and online. Various options for free viewing are listed HERE.  
What: Chicken BBQ 
When: 11 a.m. until gone on June 20, July 18 and August 15 
Where: Columbian Presbyterian Church, Routes 11 & 20 in LaFayette
Cost: SAME PRICE since 2015 ** Half chickens $6  ** Full dinners $11
Dinners include ½ chicken, applesauce, savory bacon-baked beans, salt & butter potatoes, roll & butter
Pre-order: Call 315-677-3293 before noon on the Friday before or email

Open to the public
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles is located  
at 97 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles
Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc. present 
"Into the Light" Bible Study Webinars.  
The webinars will be held:
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 24
  • 6 to 8 p.m. on June 30

Black Lives Matter
Passionate & Peaceful
Oswego churches join BLM movement

Faith United Oswego and Bristol Hill Volney joined with the Oswego community to march in this week's Black Lives Matters protest, which started at Sheldon Hall of SUNY Oswego and marched about 2 miles to Oswego City Hall. 

It was a passionate and peaceful protest/march of about 200 people that stopped and occupied two major intersections in Oswego for the time the police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck. 


Dates to Remember
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.)
during protest
A conversation with three Presbyterian clergywomen from Presbyterians Today

Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - The Rev. Samuel Son, manager of diversity and reconciliation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency, recently held a roundtable discussion with three Presbyterian clergywomen to discuss the challenges and opportunities of leading a congregation during protests and pandemic.

"Protests have risen across the cities of America and the world, declaring 'there's no peace without justice,' and saying the names of ones murdered," Son said. "When reading these news stories, I heard the Pentecost story in a new light, a group of 120, mouths lit by the fire of the Holy Spirit,  going out into the street, disrupting a national holiday, saying the name of #Jesus, who was unjustly killed not more than 50 days ago in those very streets.

"I invited three pastors to share their perception of these protests and the complexity of leading a congregation and a city during protests and a pandemic. They lead multi-racial congregations, and in America, that means, as sociologist Korie L. Edwards says, dealing with racial justice."


World Refugee Day: A time of solidarity and celebration
Presbyterian churches are encouraged to take part

By Darla Carter
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Activities are being planned nationwide for World Refugee Day, a time of solidarity and celebration for refugees, who have faced unique challenges during the Trump administration.

"On this day, we are reminded about the piercing policy changes made during this current administration," said Amanda Craft, Manager of Advocacy in the Office of Immigration Issues for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of the General Assembly. "In the current fiscal year, we are only welcoming 18,000 refugees (as a nation). This is down from the regular annual goal of 75,000 individuals. This has a direct impact on families here and families waiting to arrive."

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which provides humanitarian assistance to refugees and asylum seekers on behalf of PC(USA), looks forward to the annual observance of World Refugee Day as a way to connect with churches and get them involved. The official day is June 20.

"We ask churches to incorporate at least one worship element into their Sunday worship services between June 21 and July 5 to remember the refugees here and around the world," said Susan Krehbiel, PDA's Associate for Refugees and Asylum. It's an opportunity for churches to "celebrate the gifts of refugees but also to remember those who are still looking for a place to call home."

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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