Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698

October 3, 2019
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
'Standing on the  
Shoulders of Empowered Women'
Presbyterian Women travel through Central NY

This past July, more than 25 Presbyterian Women traveled through Central New York on a USA Mission Experience trip; the theme was "Standing on the Shoulders of Empowered Women."

The first night festivities began with dinner at the Geneva Presbyterian Church and a visit by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to graduate from medical school; often thought of as the first woman doctor in America. Following that, the women walked to the park across from the church and shared in prayer, with thousands across the country, for the immigrant children in detention centers and their families.

The women spent two days in Cayuga-Syracuse visiting the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse and Matilda Joslyn Gage Home in Fayetteville. Then it was back on the bus and up to Oswego for a tour of Safe Haven, the only World War II Refugee Shelter in the United States. Dinner was served at the Community Center in Hannibal and was prepared by members of Parish's New Hope, Mexico Presbyterian and First United Church of Fulton.

The group spent its second day in Cayuga-Syracuse in Auburn, touring the Harriet Tubman House, where they had the great experience and pleasure of meeting Harriet's great, great grand niece. After a visit to the Seward House the group had a delightful High Tea at the Presbyterian Event and Conference Center, prepared by the Rev. Banu Moore and her crew. Then it was off to Willard Chapel for a tour of the only totally Tiffany Chapel in the world.  For dinner, the women were guests of Skaneateles Presbyterian Church.
Look for a full article about the trip in the November-December issue of Horizons Magazine, the award-winning magazine of Presbyterian Women.  
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...
  • Prayers for the family of Tonya and Scott Cupp (honorably retired) on the death of Tonya's mother, Julia Esseniyi.
  • Please remember in your prayers Esther Brinkerhoff Rounds who is home with caregivers after two hospital stays. She would appreciate cards at 116 Oswego St. #3, Baldwinsville, NY 13027.
  • Pray for Shawn and Daphne Reyburn and their family. Daphne's father passed away earlier this month.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
  • Pray for Sharye Skinner. Her husband, Dick Tuttle, passed away on August 20. Please keep Dick's family in your prayers. 
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:

Photo of the Week
Liza T. has been a member of Liverpool First Presbyterian Church for nine years and on September 29 she celebrated her 10th anniversary of sobriety. 

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 
 By the Rev. Karen Chamis
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
I've successfully moved into our Syracuse apartment after six fine weeks of hotel living (shout out to the folks at the Candlewood Suites at Carrier Circle - it's a bit worn around the edges, but the staff are top notch!) The cat will move in with me after MidCouncil later this month, and the spouse and furniture are due to arrive the first week in November. Whew!  
Rereading the first paragraph, I realize I need to modify the adverb in the first sentence. There are still a few lingering issues with my move ... and I'm looking at you, Spectrum. Cable and Internet are part of our rental package, but setting up the account and the installation of equipment is the purview of the resident. I dutifully called Spectrum, set up my account and was told where to pick up the equipment. In all fairness, they DID ask if I wanted to have a technician bring the boxes and install them, but I'm my Dad's daughter, and knew I was up to the challenge.
You know where this is going.
After several hours of struggling with cables and calling technical support (three times! three different answers!) the assemblage of geeks discerned that I had done everything correctly, but that the problem was with the coax cable in the apartment itself. And so, on Wednesday of this week, I will be entertaining an angel in the form of an Installation Technician.
Later this week, I will be the one Installed. I'm amused by the parallel.
Some things you simply can't do on your own. Even though you might possess the technical skills (I did it right, I'll remind you!) when it comes to any sort of connection -- Cable Network/Router, Church/Pastor, Resource Presbyter/Presbytery -- there needs to be good effort on both ends in order to make the darn thing work.  
Sometimes, you need some help getting something installed properly.
There are several definitions of "Install" provided by Webster's. In the case of a pastoral installation, we usually use the definition that is similar to "induct." Given my experience this past week, I think the other definition is more apropos: "to place in position or connect for service or use." That's the purpose of the Installation service this Saturday. Both parties - Presbytery and Resource Presbyter - will be connected for service and use. Of course, I'm the one being Installed for service and use. I get that. But it's meaningless unless we're connected. I'm so incredibly grateful for all the ways this Presbytery has reached out and done the sacred work of connection and encourage you to continue in doing so.
This Saturday, I'm bringing in a few folks in addition to the Administrative Commission who will help with the Installation. Think of them as a Godly Geek Squad of sorts. I've invited them because of their expertise in this work ... as well as for the joy I know they have for MidCouncil work. Like the Cable Guy, they will bring their own gifts and coax our connection (see what I did there?) to each other. I'm grateful for each of them.
Enough about me. How about you? Where are you currently plugged in and connected? Is the connection (to your faith group, family, spouse, friends and God) functioning at full capacity, or does it need some coaxing? If the latter rings true for you, let me encourage you to find folks with the technical expertise who can help with those frayed relationships. If you need help finding that assistance, holler. I'm here to serve.
P.S. The Installation Service is at 2 p.m. on October 5th at First Presbyterian of Cazenovia. 
Blessings -
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Place: Marcellus First Presbyterian Church, 1 E. Main St., Marcellus 
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: South Valley Presbyterian Church
Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 Onondaga St., Syracuse  
Feel free to drop in for a conversation - or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or 
From the Leadership Team
Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications:
The Benevolent Care Fund Grant applications are now being accepted through Nov 1, 2019.   

The purpose of this fund is to provide benevolent grants to institutions that assist in the care of elderly persons within the bounds of the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery. 

Examples of previous requests are: food gift cards for shut-ins within the church community, senior lunch programs, "Music and Memory" program for nursing home residents, replacing dining room chairs and driveway/parking improvement at senior centers.

The application form can be found on the our website. Completed applications can be submitted to Leadership Team Chairperson, Lynn Jacques, at

Mark your calendars   
Call to Special Presbytery Meeting
In accordance with Article V of the bylaws of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse, and at the request of two ministers, the Rev. Lorrie Day Anson and the Rev. Patrick Heery, and two elders, Sam Dance and Nancy Wind, from different churches (Otisco, Auburn-Westminster, Onondaga Hill and Isaiah's Table), the Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Tom Oak, has called a special meeting of Presbytery for 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 5, 2019 be held at First Presbyterian Church of Cazenozia, 27 Albany Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035 for the purpose of installing the Rev. Karen Chamis as Resource Presbyter for the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse.
Members and friends of Cayuga-Syracuse are invited and encouraged to join Karen and her family for this special celebration in the life of our Presbytery. A reception graciously hosted by the members of the Cazenovia church will immediately follow the service. Minister members of presbytery who wish to be excused from this meeting are asked to notify the Associate Stated Clerk at   
A Celebration of New Ministry for Adam Svereika will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 13 at the Hannibal Community Church, 326 Church St., Hannibal.

From the Stated Clerk
Docketeering Deadline Approaches 
Friends, as we begin the work of preparing for our stated meeting on Nov. 2, we want to remind you that the deadline for submitting information to be included on the docket is Thursday, Oct. 17.

The Docket Mailing will need to go out shortly thereafter to adhere to the 10-day notification deadlines.

If you have questions or know of a late submission, please email the Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye at
Thank you in advance for your submissions and your cooperation. 
God's Peace be With You,
Pastor Ben
From the Associate Stated Clerk
Elder Commissioners to Presbytery
One of the key principles of Presbyterian church polity is to have equal numbers of ministers and elders in all councils above the session. For this reason, it is sometimes necessary to invite churches to send one or more additional elder commissioners to Presbytery meetings. In Cayuga-Syracuse additional commissioners are assigned according to size of church staff, size of church membership, or, when needed, on a rotating basis in alphabetical order. These numbers are determined and announced at the annual meeting in May and apply to meetings held through May of the following year. 
The number of elder commissioners currently assigned to churches through the May 2020 meeting is as follows:
  • Churches sending two (2) elder commissioners include: Amboy, Auburn-First, Aurora, Chittenango, Collamer, First United East Syracuse, Weedsport, Whitelaw
  • Churches sending three (3) elder commissioners include: Auburn-Westminster, Baldwinsville, Cazenovia, DeWitt-Pebble Hill, Fayetteville, Skaneateles, Syracuse-Park Central
  •  All other churches and Isaiah's Table are eligible to send one (1) elder commissioner.
Per Capita - The Tie That Binds
Per Capita is "the tie that binds."
  •  It is the annual giving that unites the entire church in the ongoing and essential work that guides our denomination.
  •  It provides the means to strengthen the connections of our work and build lasting relationships.
  •  It helps all Presbyterians share God's love through mission and ministry, locally and globally.
  • It is how we, as Presbyterian siblings, mutually and equitably share the costs of coming together to discern the Spirit's leading for the future.
  • It is an expression of our desire to live into the call to "one anothering." 
The proposed Per Capita for 2020 is $38.50 per church member (based on those 2018 membership numbers you all reported this past February) -- the same per capita as in 2019. This recommended Per Capita will be voted on at the November 2nd Presbytery meeting.
Thank you to everyone who helps support our Presbyterian family locally, regionally and nationally as we work together to help God's kingdom bear good fruit in this time and place.
Session Records Review - 13 signed up, 24 to go!
Session records reviews will be conducted this month. Thirteen Clerks of Session have made a reservation -- 24 to go! Clerks are asked to RSVP to Linda Russell, Associate Stated Clerk ( ), and make an appointment by October 21st for one of the following dates and times:
Tuesday, October 22 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Liverpool
Thursday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Auburn-First
Tuesday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Fayetteville
Sessions are expected to be open for 2 hours; however, the evening session may be extended to accommodate clerks who work until 5:00 p.m. If that applies to you, please register for the 5:00 p.m. session and indicate "late arrival" with an approximate time for your arrival. The records review checklist has been updated and now requires information about the church's child/youth safety policy and the church's sexual harassment prevention policy and training. The updated checklist can be found here.
Please write "Records Review" in the email subject line and include the name of the church and the name of the clerk of session in the email. Thank you!
Peace and Global Witness
Yea rs ago the P eace and Global Witness Offering was known simply as the Peacemaking Offering. Renaming it as the Peace and Global Witness offering was a reminder that the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere. We share the responsibility to stand in support of our global sisters and brothers and this offering provides a means for helping those who are engaged in dealing with conflict and nurturing reconciliation around the world.
In Cayuga-Syracuse, churches retain 37.5% of the monies they collect - not just the 25% as advertised in the national denominational materials - to support a mission or ministry of their choosing. Fifty percent (50%) of the collected offering goes to support the work for peace and reconciliation being done by Presbyterians around the globe (think PC(USA) "mission co-workers") and 12.5% goes toward the outreach mission of our Synod.
International Partnershi
ps are another way to engage in "global witness." Churches in Cayuga-Syracuse participate in four that I am aware of: Haiti (Paulette Educational Mission), Korea (Pyongyang Presbytery), Mexico (LAMP, Compeche Presbytery) and Sudan (Lost Boys Clinic). If your church is participating in "global witness" in a way other than the four mentioned, please send details to with "global witness" in the email subject line. Thank you!  
Around the Presbytery
Friday Night Shindogs & Kampfires at Vanderkamp

What: Fun Family Evenings
Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
Dates:      October 4
                 October 11
                 October 18
Cost: $10 per person (6 & under are free)

The night includes BBQ, hayride, campfire with silly songs and s'mores.
BBQ will be served from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Kampfire begins at 7 p.m.

Registration: Required by noon the day of event by calling (315) 675-3651 or visiting the Vanderkamp website.

The First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles is looking for a lectern to be donated to the church. The church will pick up the lectern, which needs to be large enough to hold a Bible, etc. The church is also seeking the donation of a Bible stand for the lectern. If you can donate, please contact the church by calling (315) 685-5048.
What: Chicken & Biscuit Dinner 
When: 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday, October 5 
Where: Collamer United Church, 6865 Fly Road in Collamer, just south of the intersection of Fly Road and Route 298  
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 12 years and children under 5 years are free  
This delicious chicken dinner will include homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh cooked vegetables, beverage and delicious desserts. Take-outs available.
What: Spaghetti dinner to benefit Blessings in a Backpack program 
When: Dinner starts at 12 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 
Robinson Elmwood United Church,  
126 S. Terry Road, Syracuse 
Robinson Elmwood United Church has supported the Blessings in a Backpack program, which helps feed hungry elementary school students nationwide during the school year. Proceeds will benefit our program at Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse, where the church helps feed more than 500 children, 10 months out of the year.   
What: Harvest Ham Dinner 
When: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 12 
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville 
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12 years old and kids 5 years old and under are free 

Dinner will be served family-style 
Take-outs also available    
Menu: Ham, scalloped potatoes, squash, peas, applesauce, breads, pies and beverages
What: Benefit Day for Weedsport First Presbyterian Church at Arby's  
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, October 14 
Where: Arby's on Route 31 in Weedsport 
Mention Fundraiser for First Presbyterian Church Youth Group
Youth program at OHPC open to children throughout Presbytery  
Does your child like to have fun, play games, worship Jesus?
Are you looking for a mid-week program that teaches about Jesus and Christian values to children in fun and exciting way?
LOGOS brings together a diverse group of Christian children from across Central New York to eat, play, learn & worship.
What:          LOGOS Preview Night
When:        6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, 2019
                          (Parents stay for dinner from 6 to 6:45 p.m.)
Where:       Fellowship Hall at Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church
                   4797 Makyes Road, Syracuse
Questions: Contact Sarah Buckshot at or 315-877-8271.  
The LOGOS System and Program is a dynamic ministry of
Christian education, the goal of which is to nurture youth
and children into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • LOGOS is a non-denominational Christian youth program for students in 3rd to 9th grade students from ANY church or school district.
  • LOGOS will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. We meet about twice a month at OPHC.
  • During LOGOS, students will eat dinner together, learn a bible study lesson, play games and participate in worship.
  • Students will present at our Celebration Sunday service on June 7.
  • There is a fee for LOGOS. Discounts for multiple students and scholarships are available.
What: Small Town Worship Tour 2019 with Seventh Day Slumber and Nathan Sheridan
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 6
Where: Hannibal Community Church, 326 Church St., Hannibal
Cost: Free    
Installation Service 
A day of celebration
Andy Hinman installed as pastor in Oswego  
Andy Hinman, a licensed minister in the United Church of Christ, was installed as pastor of Faith United Church of Oswego on Sunday, September 29. Faith United Church is a joint witness of the UCC and Presbyterian denominations.

Dates to Remember
October 5                      Installation of the Rev. Karen Chamis, Resource Presbyter
October 9                      Sexual Harassment Prevention training compliance deadline
October 17-21               Mid Council Leaders Gathering, Baltimore
October 21                    RSVP deadline for Session Records Review appointment
October 22                    Session Records Review - Liverpool
October 23                    Docket mailing
October 24                    Session Records Review - Auburn-First
October 28                    Leadership Team meeting, Auburn-Westminster
October 29                    Session Records Review - Fayetteville
November 1                  Benevolent Care applications due
November 2                  Presbytery meeting, Baldwinsville
November 8-9               Synod - "Come to the Table" at Stony Point
November 21-23           Moderators' Conference, Louisville
November 25                Leadership Team meeting, First United, East Syracuse
December 23                GA commissioner names due to OGA
December 23                Leadership Team Christmas gathering, home of Karen Chamis
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
19 new worshiping communities  
awarded Mission Program Grants
13 get $7,500 to help get them started,  
while 6 receive $25K to help them grow

By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian News Service

Growing Neighbors, a Spokane, Wash., new worshiping community, grows through urban farming and community development. (Photo courtesy of Growing Neighbors)
LOUISVILLE - On behalf of Presbyterian Mission Agency, during its latest grant cycle the Mission Development Resources Committee  (MDRC) recently approved 19  Mission Program Grants to worshiping communities.

Thirteen $7,500 seed grants were awarded to help a diverse number of 1001 New Worshiping Communities get started in various presbyteries across the country.  In addition, two existing worshiping communities will receive $25,000 investment grants to help them live into their mission and ministry. Four will receive $25,000 growth grants as they work toward becoming viable Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) communities.

The worshiping community grant recipients are listed below, followed by their presbytery and synod:
Investment Grants:

The Rev. Michael Plank (son of our former stated clerk Rev Steve Plank) hosts a 1001 worshiping community at Underwood Park CrossFit in Fort Edward, N.Y. Plank co-founded and owns the facility along with his spouse, Loren Grogan.

Underwood Park CrossFit (Albany, Northeast) holds worship services on Friday nights for members of its fitness community. These worship services consist of a group workout with warm-ups, exercises and cool-downs, combined with prayer, Scripture, teaching and preaching. 
PC(USA) 1001NWC, Underwood Park CrossFit
PC(USA) 1001NWC, Underwood Park CrossFit


God is silent
And often, that's a  
helpful strategy for us, too

By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian News Service

AUSTIN, Texas - The Just Worship event began at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Monday with a rousing worship service punctuated by passionate message on justice from the Rev. Dr. Paul T. Roberts.
Those gathered in the Texas capital are exploring the essential connection between how we worship and how we work for justice. Before they heard from Roberts, who is president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, worshipers recalled through song, story, Scripture and prayer how God came into the world in Jesus as a refugee in the time of empire.

They also remembered the saving death of Jesus, his life and his love.
With that as a lead-in, Roberts began addressing the struggle for justice in our culture beginning with Job.

"Lord Tennyson once described (the Book of Job) as 'the greatest poem of both ancient and modern time,'" Roberts said. "Actually, it is an investigation into the problem of divine justice."

A prosperous man who has everything, family, fortune and friends, Job loses it all due to no fault of his own.

Crushed, confused and searching for answers, Job finally speaks of his frustration:

"God has no right to treat me like this -it isn't fair! If I knew where on Earth to find him, I'd go straight to him. I'd lay my case before him face-to-face, give him all my arguments firsthand. I'd find out exactly what he's thinking, discover what's going on in his head. Do you think he'd dismiss me or bully me? No, he'd take me seriously. He'd see a straight-living man standing before him; my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges." -  Job 23: 2-7 (The Message)

But God is silent.

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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