Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
April 25, 2018
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!
For your reflection
Think your church needs 100 people to make a difference? Jesus changed the world with just 12.

Forget 'pulpit envy.' Most Americans attend a small church.

By Sue Washburn, Presbyterians Today

Not too long ago our presbytery meeting was held at a cathedral-like church with thick stone, intricate stained glass and a grand, high pulpit. As I climbed the steps to the pulpit, I swear the air got thinner. When I got to the top and behind the mic, I felt like I was commanding a starship. There was a smooth wooden shelf encircling the area, like an expansive console surrounding me, but without flashing computer screens. I felt like I could pilot the church straight to heaven. As I looked down upon my colleagues something inside me felt strange. Then I realized what it was. I had pulpit envy.

Everything that pulpit represented flashed through my mind - a big church, with possibly a big endowment. In my momentary reverie, I thought about all the members who would surely fill boards and committees, do outreach and take on meaningful mission projects in the community and around the world.

It's not just pastors who suffer from pulpit envy. Many members look at other churches and think that surely things are going better in that bigger church down the road. We think about the choirs bigger than our congregations, the computer-run lighting systems and the hip programming - all of which can make us feel like we are worshiping in Grandma's faded living room by comparison. And truth be told, some of our furniture was donated from Grandma's living room.

Up there in my temporary command center, I remembered the small church I serve. The pulpit I use each Sunday is mostly packed with audio equipment. Every so often during worship I disappear to bend down and fiddle with the audio levels if we have a special singer or if the mic has suddenly stopped working. Instead of a calm and powerful commander standing at the helm of a big church, I'm more like the busy conductor waving a stick at a small musical ensemble that is sometimes missing a few instruments.

Continue reading...

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
 In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray for the unfolding crisis in Nicaragua. The death toll has risen to at least 30 over the past several days. Learn more.
  • Pray thanks to God for the return home of Fred Banks this week, husband of Gail Banks, Commissioned Lay Pastor at Amboy-Belle Isle. Fred had surgery on March 19th and has been in rehab.
  • Pray for all affected by the van that struck pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, this week. Nine people have died and 16 were injured as a result of the attack. The driver is in police custody. Prayers for the injured, for families and first responders. Prayers for a world without violence.
  • Pray for Afghanistan and all affected by the suicide bombing in a government office in Kabul that killed 52 people and injured 112 people who were registering to vote. Prayers for peace.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individuals: Taunton, Syracuse; Westminster, Syracuse; First, Weedsport; Whitelaw.

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

Other Voices from the Presbytery
Faith Leaders Webinar This Thursday

A note from Rev. Beth DuBois, pastor of South Valley Presbyterian Church

e are approaching the Poor People's Campaign's 40 Days of Action, which begin on May 13, and are a coordinated set of mass meetings, civil actions, political education, and movement arts and music over six weeks. This culminates in a mass meeting on June 23 in Washington DC. For those interested in a Truth Commission in Central NY, we are working diligently to gather an intercultural planning group to move forward with that event, and will reach out to those who have expressed interest and keep you informed.
We wanted to send you information about upcoming events/information, which include:

FAITH LEADER WEBINAR this Thursday (4/26)
Faith leaders and faith communities will have an important role to play in the upcoming Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival 40 Days of Action, beginning on Mother's Day. We invite faith leaders from across New York for a webinar Thursday, April 26 at 7pm to learn more about plans for the 40 Days of Action in New York State and how faith leaders and faith communities can participate. Register at

The Souls of Poor Folk Audit and the Demands from the National Poor People's Campaign;
Nonviolent Direction Action Training: Saturday, MAY 5, 10AM-5PM  
@ Atonement Lutheran Church, 116 W Glen Ave, Syracuse 13205  
Want to learn more about nonviolent direct action? Thinking of participating in the May 14 civil disobedience action being organized by the Poor People's Campaign in Albany, NY or in followup actions for the campaign? Experienced trainers from the Syracuse Peace Council will facilitate this experiential training. It's important that participants plan to attend the full training. Format will include small and large group discussion, role-plays and other interactive exercises. We'll provide a resource packet, coffee and tea, and a simple lunch. Please dress comfortably. 
There is no fee to attend the training, but we will collect donations at the event to help cover material and lunch costs.  Please contact  315.472.5478  or  if you have questions.

Mark Your Calendars: 
  • Sunday, May 13  Mass Meeting Watch Party at University United Methodist Church, 1085 East Genesee Street in Syracuse. Time TBA.
  • Monday, May 14  Press Conference, March and Rally, Non Violent Direct Action in Albany, NY.  Training for Direct Action begins at 11AM.  Additional details to follow.
  • Sunday, May 20  Mass Meeting Watch Party at University United Methodist Church, 1085 East Genesee Street in Syracuse. Time TBA.
Interested parties can be added to the email list by responding to:

To find out more about the Poor People's Campaign, please visit their website, or the website of their partner, the Kairos center.

To find out about local State action, check the NY State Poor People's Campaign page or contact Beth DuBois, or 315-380-0745.

Around the Presbytery
It's really too bad that Vanderkamp summer staff don't like their jobs...

They LOVE them!!!

Please help us spread the word of Vanderkamp's summer employment and volunteer opportunities!

Paid or Volunteer Positions 
Kamp Counselors (Full-time, Residential)

Activity Specialists (Full-time, Residential--Typically when combined with duties of Counselor, Lifeguard, or Kitchen Assistant unless competent to teach/lead in multiple program areas; or Part-Time, Commuters)

Lifeguards (Full-time, Residential--Typically when combined with duties of Counselor, Activity Specialist, or Kitchen Assistant; or Part-Time, Commuters)

Kitchen Assistants (Full-time, Residential)

Cook (Full-time, Residential or Part-time, Commute)

Health Director(s)/Kamp Nurse(s) (Full-time, Residential--minimum 1 week commitment)

Volunteer Only Positions:
Kamp Chaplain (Full-time, Residential Preferred; Part-time, Commute--minimum 1 week committment)

Cabin Mentor (Full-time, Residential--minimum 1 week commitment)

Interested applicants can find downloadable PDF of all job descriptions here.

For your convenience, we have also attached flyers:
2018 Vanderkamp  Summer Recruitment Flyer in BW
2018 Vanderkamp Summer Recruitment Flyer in Color


Welcome Victoria King!
Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church is happy to announce the hire of Victoria King as Christian Education/Mission Coordinator. Victoria is known to many in the Pebble Hill congregation, as a long time member, and as she has shared her musical and dramatic talents with them over the years. In addition to her work with several schools and arts organizations in central New York and elsewhere, Victoria has served as Youth Director at the United Church of Fayetteville and Director of the Cathedral School and Faith Formation at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Syracuse.


Next Presbytery Meeting: May 12

The next stated meeting of the presbytery will be Saturday, May 12, starting at 9 am, at Vanderkamp Center, 337 Martin Rd, Cleveland, NY 13042. Please watch for meeting documents posted to the website.

You always may keep abreast on happenings in and around the Presbytery by
checking the Presbytery events calendar ( and the

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
PC(USA) 2018 Book of Common Worship now available

Last revised in 1993, new edition focuses on God's movement in the world

by Paul Seebeck, 
Presbyterian News Service

Five years in the making, the 2018 Book of Common Worship (BCW) for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be in the hands of customers in the coming weeks. There are three new sections in the BCW - on creation and ecology, justice and reconciliation, and interreligious events. Included in these sections are services for:
  • Blessings of the Animals
  • Resources for prayer and worship after a violent event
  • Guidelines for gathering neighbors of other faiths or no faith for times of celebrations, or when there is conflict or crisis
Continue reading...


Where Did Per Capita Come From?

PC(USA) apportionment system has survived more than 150 years
A seventy-five-member church in Greenwich Village (median income $100,859) is assessed exactly what a seventy-five-member church in Grundy, Virginia (median income $35,023), is assessed. Where did Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s system of funding the General Assembly-known as Per Capita-come from, and why is it flat?

As with so many other issues, American Presbyterians have long struggled with the means of supporting their mission and ministry. Eschewing England's system of patronage by landed gentry, American Presbyterians' Scots forebears supported their ministers by pew rents. By the middle of the nineteenth century, pew rents had fallen out of favor, and a thousand flowers bloomed to support local ministry.

But how would a national body, meeting annually to conduct the legislative and juridical work of the church, support and sustain those assemblies?

Continue reading...

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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