Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
February 20, 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, supportive. In other words, we hope that these things will matter. Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed.
Mission Stories
A sweet farewell for years of dedication
Morrisville Community Church Food Pantry says goodbye to two founding volunteers

The Morrisville Community Church Food Pantry is saying goodbye to two of its founding volunteers.  
Henry Douglas, the co-coordinator, resigned earlier this year and Mark Shepard, the assistant coordinator, is relocating to Maryland with his wife Connie. The Morrisville Community Church Food Pantry recently held a special luncheon to say thank you and farewell.  
Douglas, Shepard,Co-Coordinator Sue Bartow, and volunteers and members of the Morrisville Community Church, took over the Food Pantry from Community Action Program on January 1, 2016. It was moved into the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building building on Eaton Street, in Morrisville and moved into the Morrisville Community Church, 3824 Swamp Road in 2018.
It is now going into its fifth year of operation.
Douglas and Shepard were recognized for their dedication and many contributions in helping to keep the pantry a local resource available to those in need of food assistance in the Morrisville-Eaton Central and Stockbridge Valley school districts.
"Their energy and expertise will be truly missed," according to the volunteers.
 All of the pantry volunteers that were able to attend the luncheon were present.

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 all those who are sick, battling cancer and fighting silent diseases.
  • Pray for all those who are traveling during this holiday break for CNY schools. May God protect them during their journey.
  • Pray for those impacted by the  outbreak of the Coronavirus and the for those who lost loves ones to the virus and other flu strands.
  • Pray for all the animals who are abused and neglected. May God protect all of his creatures.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Isaiah's Table, Syracuse; Korean Church of Syracuse; Park Central, Syracuse; Robinson Elmwood United Church, Syracuse; South Valley, Syracuse
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Gabby Allahar is a Confirmation student at Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church. Confirmation class students are challenged to memorize the 66 books of the Bible. The students used cards to see how well they are doing. Gabby is doing great.
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!

It's hard to believe that this is Transfiguration Sunday ... and that next Wednesday we remember that we are dust. This time of year we engage in a form of spiritual whiplash: moving from mountaintop experiences to remembering our own mortality. This time of year isn't for wimps.
As I move around the Presbytery, this plays out in other ways. Many of our congregations are a mashup of moments when we experience the heights of our communal faith experience in worship, only to feel a complete reversal as we sit around the Session table and discuss the budget. It happens in the other direction as well - with Session meetings being all faith-in-action, and Sunday morning leaving us feeling parched.
Of course, this makes sense. Our congregations are also a mashup. We're petty and generous, nit-picking and expansive in our love. We don't stand up to bullies and we encourage folks to burn-out. We also encourage each other and find ways for folks to use gifts and skills. We welcome the stranger and ignore them (sometimes simultaneously!) We have a knack of bringing out both the best and worst in each other. Week after week we offer the same inconsistency. It's a wonder we're still around. (Good thing we are fluent in this whole resurrection business, right?)
Given that church is made up of humans (and total depravity being our calling card) perhaps we should simply be grateful for those moments of grace? Those moments when we feel that the Church really is about kin-dom building? Should we be content with what we have, and not covet what we don't?
No. Although I don't ascribe to the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian Perfection (google it!), I do believe we are the church reformed and always being reformed. Whether that reformation comes from God or from our own desires for something better ... we are called to challenge the status-quo and work toward the kin-dom.
So, where do we start? How does your congregation move from good to great? How do you move from inconsistency to a more consistent pattern of, well, being the church?
It begins with a healthy dose of introspection and assessment. There are several solid tools available for this - including the Congregational Assessment Tool by Holy Cow Consulting. There are other ways of auditing programming and organizational structure, but do know this is really hard to do without someone outside the organization letting you know what they see. If it would be helpful for me to come and hold up a mirror for you, just let me know.
Praying for you. Always.

What: Implicit Bias Training
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 13
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Oneida, 304 Broad Street    

Presented by Office of the General Assembly Colleagues Jihyun Oh, director of Mid-Council Ministries and Molly Casteel, manager of Equity and Representation   

Who should attend: Leadership Team, members of COM, Leadership Workgroup,   Church  PNCs, those engaged in anti-racism training in local congregations.    

What to expect: In this 1-day training, we will first learn and discuss concepts to  help build frameworks and mental maps that enable us to engage in equity and   cultural proficiency work, then we will apply key learnings to our own contexts.  Finally, we will reflect on how both the concepts and the application might help to  build Christ's kin-dom in our communities.   

To register, please contact:
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 

Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations:
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2020
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  
Place: Bailiwick Cafe, 441 NY-5, Elbridge 
Feel free to drop in for a conversation -- or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or
Information for Stated Meeting
Thank you to First Presbyterian Church of Weedsport for hosting our stated meeting and serving a delicious lunch! 

More photos from our meeting:
Visit our Facebook page for more from our Stated Meeting.
Around the Presbytery


What: Pastors Lunch
When: 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 3  
(The first Tuesday of the Month)
Where: Robinson-Elmwood church.
Bring your own lunch. The group is reading "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott.
Dates to Remember
February 24     Leadership Team Meeting
March 23          Leadership Team Meeting
April 27            Leadership Team Meeting
April 27            Docket items due for the May 12 meeting  
May 12             Presbytery Stated Meeting, Robinson Elmwood United Church
June 4              Spring Senior Fun Day at Vanderkamp 
June 20-27       General Assembly, Baltimore
July 23-24        Board of Pensions Thrive Seminar (for clergy age 50+)
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Practical tips for experiencing the fullness of Lent
'Living liturgically'
By David Gambrell
Presbyterians Today
We see the days marked on church calendars - Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Palm/Passion Sunday, All Saints Day, etc. - but what importance do they have on our spiritual formation, our faith, our evangelism? How can understanding the liturgical year, and incorporating it into our daily lives, deepen our relationship with Christ? The Christian year provides a wonderful framework for practicing the great mystery of our faith. This series of columns focuses on such practices - providing ideas and tips for "living liturgically," be it in church, at home or out in the community.

Lent at a glance

In the first few centuries of Christian tradition, the season of Lent emerged as a time of penitential preparation for the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Saturday, spanning 40 days (not counting the six Sundays). Holy Week, the final week of Lent, begins with Palm/Passion Sunday and concludes with what is known as the "Paschal Triduum" or "The Great Three Days" - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

Spelling out a vision for the  
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Vision 2020 Team completes its report, including resources mid councils and churches can use

By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - The Vision 2020 Team has completed its Guiding Statement and has a handful of other recommendations in draft language for the 224th General Assembly to consider when it meets in Baltimore June 20-27.
Special committees and commissions had until Friday to send their reports to the General Assembly in order to meet the 120-day deadline.
Using the denomination's acronym to form its Guiding Statement, God calls the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), according to the Vision 2020 Team, to be:
  • Presbyterians are called to confess their sins and ask the Holy Spirit to guide them. "By grace Christ binds us together," the statement reads, "cleanses us in the waters of baptism, nourishes us at the Lord's table and sends us out to share the Good News."
  • "Reformed and always being reformed, we follow the Holy Spirit in new and imaginative ways to places we have not yet been," the statement says. "We work for God's justice and peace for all people in every land, walking with the vulnerable, the marginalized and the abused."
  • "Against forces that seek to divide, Christ compels us to bear witness to a love that connects communities across great differences," according to the statement. "We approach others in a spirit of openness and trust as we follow Jesus Christ in respecting the freedom of other religions, worldviews and traditions."
  • "Gratefully following the One who washed the disciples' feet, we list to our neighbors, working to meet their practical needs," the document states. "The Holy Spirit pushes us beyond the familiar, meeting people where they are as we share Christ's transformative love."
  • "We are people of the resurrection," the document states. "Though death surrounds us, we are not afraid because we follow the One who was raised from the tomb. In the sure and certain hope of resurrection, we joyfully testify that the church and its members are called to follow Christ's model by risking all, even life itself, for the sake of the Gospel."

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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