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

August 29, 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

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 teachers, school staff, parents and students as they prepare to head back to school.
  • Pray for all those who are facing a difficult decision. May God be with them to guide them now and always.
  • Pray for all those who are struggling due to the loss of a loved one.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: 
United Church of Fayetteville; First United Church of Fulton; God's Vision Christian Church, Hannibal; Jamesville Community Church; First, King Ferry.   
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week

Children enjoy treats at Time Lab Vacation Bible School at Hannibal Community Church.
. See more photos on the church's Facebook page.

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.
Important Announcement from the Resource Presbyter 
Dear Ones in Christ,

The following information is URGENT and needs to be shared with your congregation's leadership immediately.  

The Issue - Anti-Sexual Misconduct Policies and Training

  • NYS has put into place mandatory anti-sexual harassment legislation that includes training requirements for all employers - including churches.
  • "Employee" includes all workers, regardless of immigration status.  Employee also includes exempt or non-exempt employees, part-time workers, seasonal workers and temporary workers.  
  • ALL employees must complete the model training (or comparable training) that meets the minimum standard by October 9, 2019.
  • This training must be completed annually.
  • In addition, every employer in the New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy.  A model of what this looks like is here.
  1. The NYS website has the standards of compliance
  2. NYC has developed a training video that can be used. Please note that the resources and information for NYC are not the same as those for NYS, however this video is in compliance with both.
Next Steps

  1. Ensure all employees have taken the training and have received a certificate of completion. This needs to be kept on file.
  2. If your Session has not adopted a Sexual Harassment Prevention policy, it must do so. A record of this decision should be in your Session Minutes.
  3. Please note that you need to not only have this policy in place, but your congregation needs to abide by it.

All - I'm grateful for your work on this. Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist with complying to this mandate.


From the Resource Presbyter 

By the Rev. Karen Chamis
Hello Cayuga-Syracuse!  

Last week I set up my mobile office at the Scipioville Church. It's a sweet country church building set back a bit from the road with a large expansive lawn. It's the sort of church you imagine has been in that exact same spot for generations.

Except... it hasn't.
Those who know the story of this church know that it was MOVED from one site to another in order to accommodate the building of a Fellowship Hall. I'll let that sink in for a minute. Back in the early 1960's, this congregation desired a place for fellowship and gathering so much they MOVED the building to another location.
When I consider the sheer number of meetings, consultants, experts and bar fights that often accompany church decisions to ... oh, I don't know, change the paint color in the women's bathroom ... the magnitude of this move is mind-boggling. What an incredible undertaking!
As I toured the sanctuary I thought of those who must have had such a passion for fellowship with one another they were willing to move mountains (or churches!). It's difficult to imagine a group of people having such a fire in their collective soul ... and yet, I've seen glimpses of the same in other places. The Arlington Church in north Virginia sold its building in order to build affordable housing. Isaiah's Kitchen has relocated in order to feed both body and soul. Something transformational happens when we look to where there is need and we are willing to sacrifice.
What are you willing to move in order to accomplish your congregation's mission?  
This isn't about restructuring committees ... this is about tearing down in order to build up in a new way. Or, a bit closer to home, what are you willing to move in your own life that will help you accomplish the work you've been called to do?
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: Fayetteville United Church, 310 E. Genesee St., in Fayetteville 
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Time: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: Westminster Church in Auburn, 17 William St., in Auburn
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

From the Associate Stated Clerk
Session Records Review
Session records reviews will be conducted in October.

Clerks of Session are asked to RSVP to Linda Russell, associate stated clerk, by emailing m and make an appointment by October 21 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
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.
Note: 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.
Around the Presbytery
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: Baked Chicken Dinner  
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 
Where: Amboy Belle Isle United Church, 6190 Airport Road, Syracuse 
Cost: Adults are $10
          Children 5 to 12 are $5
          Children under 5 are Free 
Take-outs available
What: Pancake Breakfast 
When: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 
Where: Federated Church of Port Byron at 35 Tex Pultz Parkway, Port Byron 
Cost: Adults are $6
          Children 5 to 12 are $3
          Children under 5 are Free  
The church will serve pancakes, eggs to order, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, toast, baked goods and beverages.

Eat-in or take-out available. 

What: Blood Drive   
When: Wednesday, September 11 
Where: Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church, 4797 Makyes Road, Syracuse
  • 1 donation can save up to 3 lives
  • Every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood
  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
From the Synod of the Northeast

Click here to register or for more information.
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Searching for God's kingdom
Some days it's hard to find, but it's always there

By Dori Hjalmarson
Presbyterians Today
Living in Honduras during the spring and summer has felt especially difficult and intense. What started as a labor dispute between teachers' and doctors' unions and the government has become agitation against government corruption and economic desperation. Classrooms from elementary to university have been closed at various times, and public hospitals have not been attending patients. Taxi and bus drivers have been occasionally involved in blocking streets and shutting down cities. The U.S. Embassy was vandalized and has been partially closed.

It is difficult for me to see God in this environment. If God is in the rule of law, there is little of that. If God is in social and economic justice, there is even less. If God is in peace, compromise and goodwill, there is almost none.

Some days I have had to look very closely for the smallest sign of God's presence. Mark's Gospel gives me an image that I can hold onto: With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

'Flint' film from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance set to premiere
Documentary to have public premiere at restored theater in the heart of Flint; showings also planned in other cities

By Rich Copley
Presbyterian News Service

FLINT, Mich. - " Flint: The Poisoning of an American City," a production of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's Story Productions, will have its world premiere in the heart of the city whose story it tells.

The movie from director David Barnhart and editor Scott Lansing will have its first public showing, hosted by the city, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan. Guests will include the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), along with community leaders, experts on lead and Flint residents.

Tickets to the premiere are $10 to the general public and free to residents of Flint. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, experts and community leaders.

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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