Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
February 1, 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!
Presbytery Meeting Information and Documents
Stated Meeting of Presbytery,
February 10, 2018

The next Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse is Saturday, February 10, 2018. Our host is First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles located at 97 East Genesee Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152, at the north end of Skaneateles Lake. Registration begins at 8:00 am, and the meeting will convene at 9:00. The meeting will be recorded and pictures taken.
Please send the name(s) of your elder commissioner(s) to by February 5 so that name tags can be prepared.
Childcare is available for this meeting by reservation. RSVP to the church at 315-685-5048 by Monday, February 5, for childcare.
Lunch (Doug's fish sandwiches, coleslaw, dessert and beverages) will be served at the church for a cost of $7.50.
We will be joined in worship by the Rev. Michael Gehrling, 1001 New Worshiping Communities: Associate for Assessments and the Northeast Region, as guest preacher. (Michael will also be available for conversation during lunch and immediately following the close of business.) Also participating in worship will be the bell choir and vocal choir from Skaneateles. The offering during worship will support Eastern Farm Workers Association in Syracuse and Skaneateles, a new mission of the Skaneateles church.
A number of special things are happening at this gathering including
  • installation of our new Stated Clerk, Larry Beasley,
  • recognizing the work of Jenna Heery as a Family Services Coordinator for Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network as a validated ministry and her examination for ordination,
  • an "Open Space" time for those present to weigh in on the future of the presbytery during "Discerning God's Will Together" with Tom Oak, chairperson of the Visioning Work Group,
  • and more!
Presbytery gatherings are important opportunities to do business together, to worship together around Word and Sacrament, to learn together, and to connect with our sisters and brothers from around the Presbytery.
Papers for this meeting can be found below. Just click on the links, and the PDF should open automatically, or you should be given the option of either opening or downloading the PDF; if you encounter any technical difficulties, please reply to this email, and I'll forward you the documents .....................
Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray for Fred Banks, who has been dealing with lingering health issues for some time
    and has recently been diagnosed with cancer. He was scheduled for surgery February 1 but has been told that surgery will have to be rescheduled pending another heart catheterization. Fred's wife Gail serves as Commissioned Lay Pastor at Amboy Belle Isle United Church. Please keep Fred and Gail in your prayers.
  • Pray for the victims, families, and shooter of the school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, last week, where two teenagers were killed and more than a dozen more injured.
In the cycle of prayer for 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 Patrick Heery:

Other Voices from the Presbytery
Take A Sermon, Leave A Sermon

From Rev. Deb Thomas,
First United Church of East Syracuse
Do you ever find yourself looking at the same old Lectionary passages you've cycled through time and again and wonder what new thing you might find to preach on to give fresh inspiration, hope, or understanding to your congregation? Recently, the passage from Mark 1: 21-28 recounted the people's amazement at Jesus preaching: "What is this? A new teaching!" (v. 27). That is exactly what I found myself looking for on yet another Saturday night when I found myself frustrated that my sermon was incomplete, and what I had so far was falling short of my admittedly ridiculously high standards that I place upon myself. I often wish I could simply re-use one of my old sermons, but I never seem to be able to do that. If I'm lucky, I might be able to recycle a story or illustration, perhaps even a paragraph, but what I really want is a new teaching. A new perspective. A new spin, thought, or idea.
Not only is it hard to find a "new teaching" but it's also hard to find the creative space you need when you're feeling the pressure of Sunday morning fast approaching. Pastoral self-care articles abound attributing pastor burn-out to the fact that, despite our best intentions and our best attempts at setting boundaries, it just happens that far too often we find ourselves working on our sermons on Saturday night simply because the needs of our church members interrupt us so much throughout the week. On those desperate Saturday nights, wouldn't it be nice to have a place to find a great ready-to-go sermon to preach that was written by someone you know and trust AND has given you permission to use?
If you can relate to any of this, and/or if you're tired of coming up short with new ideas from any of your usual resources, you may be interested in the following. I'm working on creating my own personal website and would like to include a restricted page available only to my friends and colleagues where we could do a free sermon exchange. The page will be entitled "Take a Sermon, Leave a Sermon." (Please note, this is not affiliated with First United Church of E. Syracuse or the presbytery.) The idea would be to post sermons that you are willing to allow others in the group to preach in their own churches. There would be some ethics rules of course, such as giving credit to the author when a sermon is used in its entirety with some sort of footnote in the bulletin or a verbal nod from the pulpit. Unlike sites such as "Desperate Preacher" and "Sermon Central" that have a wide range of (sometimes questionable) theological applications, this would be a site that would be mostly local, mostly Presbyterian, and mostly relatable to the issues that concern the congregations in our area. If nothing else, it could be a good resource for a different perspective or new illustrations to use in your own preparation.
Please let me know if this is something you are interested in, should I figure out all the ins and outs of setting it up online. It will be awhile before I can get it together, but in the meantime, I may begin something similar as a closed group on Facebook if I know there are people interested in it. My email is or you can text or call me at 315-657-0147. Thanks for your consideration. --Deb

While this is not a project of the presbytery, we are excited to share the creative work of one of our pastor members, whose project underscores our current drive to network better. We are all better disciples when we work together. It's recommended that for this project, contributors might indicate their preference for citation in order to ensure their desired creative attribution. If you have an idea that you'd like to share, please reach out. 

Around the Presbytery
From Michael Gehrling, 1001 New Worship Communities Associate
Grace to you all, and peace in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! I'm greatly looking forward to joining you all at your upcoming Presbytery meeting. In addition to sharing with you in worship, I'll also be offering a workshop after the meeting to introduce you all to the work of 1001 New Worshiping Communities. 1001 is not merely a program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, it's a movement and goal for the whole PC(USA), initiated by vote of our General Assembly in 2012. So, 1001 is a movement you're a part of, because it's a movement of the whole church.
You may wonder whether attending this workshop will be worth your time as a teaching or ruling elder in an established church. One of the most common things I hear as I've traveled the country sharing about 1001 is leaders of established churches telling me they want to incorporate some of the missional principles of new worshiping communities. Our new worshiping communities often function like the "Research and Development" department of the church, taking risks and discovering new forms of witness and ministry that all churches can learn from. I hope you'll join us on February 10 and join the many congregations and leaders who have found inspiration and innovation through this movement of God's people.   
Events with Michael and the New Worshiping Communities Workgroup:
  • Friday, February 9th - 6:30pm.  Dinner and Conversation at Gordon Biersch (Destiny USA)  Please RSVP
  • Saturday, February 10th :  Presbytery Meeting, and post-meeting conversations in the Fellowship Hall at Skaneateles Church
  • 5:30 (ish) - Dinner with Michael and Isaiah's Table in Syracuse.  Suggested donation $10 for Dinosaur BBQ.  RSVP to Nancy Wind by Noon on Saturday
For more information on these events, and about the New Worship Communities Workgroup - contact Nancy Wind or Dan DeBrucker-Cota

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

Around the Synod of the Northeast
New Jersey church seeks release for member picked up by federal authorities

First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen, New Jersey, is seeking the release of an Indonesian Christian member who was picked up last week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Roby Sanger was dropping his daughter off at middle school when the agents approached and took him into custody. He now faces deportation.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
PW & ACWC Joint Statement on Sexual Injustice

As courageous women, children, and youth from across the United States share their #MeToo and #ChurchToo stories, we reflect on the PW mission which says, in part, that Presbyterian Women will build an inclusive caring community of women that strengthens the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), works for justice and peace, and witnesses to the promise of God's realm. As a committee called by the church to be a prophetic voice to and for the church on issues of gender justice, ACWC is a partner to PW in this mission.

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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