Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
September 3, 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 and supportive. In other words, we hope that these things will matter. Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed.
Mission Stories
United Church members about to take a load of donated goods to the Samaritan Center this summer. They will do the same on September 12th in the church parking lot located in back of the church.

Community Campaign for Love
United Church of Fayetteville is encouraging its congregants and the community to participate in Interfaith Works' "Community Campaign for Love". This initiative "encourages appreciation and respect for our fellow community members and invites us to open our hearts and minds to engage in love in action!"

One way is to make donations of personal hygiene products for Syracuse youth who face poverty and sometimes, homelessness.
On Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., church members will accept donations in the church parking lot off East Genesee Street (no goods can be left in the church building) and then UCF congregants will drive all items to the drop-off location at Rise Above Poverty.
If you can help, these are the items needed: Personal hygiene products (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, wipes, washcloths and soap), feminine hygiene products, socks and underwear.
United Church of Fayetteville is located at 310 E. Genesee St., in Fayetteville.

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
  In our prayers together this week... 
  • Please pray for parents, students, teachers and school staff as they prepare for this unprecedented back-to-school.
  • Pray for our pastors and leadership teams as they make decisions about services as the cooler months approach.
  • Pray for our country as we approach the 2020 election.
  • Please pray for James Russell, a member of Westminster Syracuse. He is battling esophagus cancer.
  • Pray for all the doctors, nurses and medical staff on the front lines fighting to save COVID-19 patients.
  • Please pray for all those who are sick with COVID-19 and all those who have lost loved ones.
  • Pray for our leaders and officials as they continue to make difficult decisions regarding social distancing and COVID-19.
In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Northminster, North Syracuse; Onondaga Hill; Faith United Church of Oswego; Presbyterian Church of Otisco; New Hope, Parish
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week

Sennett Federated Church in Auburn held its annual Blessing of the Tractors on Sunday.

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.
Resource Presbyter's Message   
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
This past week I confronted one of my fears. I went kayaking!
The fear wasn't being on the water, nor was it tipping over. No, my fear was that with my bad knees I'd never get out of the boat and back on terra firma without someone wielding a winch! (To my new friends at the Lakeside Park boat launch in Cazenovia, thank you ever-so-much for not laughing even though you were presented with several opportunities to do so.)
Fear can be an overwhelming emotion. In my case, it hits me in the gut causing indigestion and stomach pain. Other fears have resulted in restless nights or have caused me to sit paralyzed at my desk wondering how I can ever move forward.
Fear can keep you safe ... which is not a bad thing! (Wash your hands!)
The trouble seems to be in navigating when our fear is justified (fire = hot! mask = good!) or when it is the overworking of our own minds. When the latter is confronted, no winch is needed and the joy is immeasurable.
Organizations also experience fear and in a way that can be more difficult to navigate. Management guru Peter Drucker quipped "Culture eats strategy for breakfast", but the corollary to this is that "Fear eats culture as dessert" (okay, that one's mine ... and it needs a bit of work, but you get the idea).
Fear keeps us from being who we are called to be, and if that isn't bad enough, there are those in this world who will use our fear against us.
Fear occurs in organizations that have no clear understanding of their mission, and/or are fuzzy on their values. It's fear that keeps bullies in power, and conflict under the floorboards where it can do the most harm. Fear is what keeps us from doing what we know is right, and true and just.
And so, we steer clear of fierce conversations. We allow bullies to control what direction we will paddle. We permit bad behavior, because we fear retribution. We don't take risks because that's no longer in our nature. We forget who we are.
We forget Whose we are ... because we belong to the fear and not to the Love.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love." (1 John 4:18)
I can't describe the delight I felt on the water. The kayaking was fun, but it was the buoyant joy at facing my fears and the sense of returning to myself that was nothing short of elation. Remember who you are. Remember Whose you are.
Blessings -

Resource Presbyter's Announcements
The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse is now a member of the PRC - Practical Resources for Churches.  What is the PRC? Their mission is to provide faith communities time-effective, cost-efficient, and results-oriented programs and services to help your congregation fulfill your mission and ministry.  You now have access to an online resource center!  CLICK HERE for more information.

Did you know that Sexual harassment prevention training is required for all employees of churches (from pastors to day care workers and sextons and all in between) in NYS on an annual basis? We're grateful that our new partnership with the PRC means access to their webinar on this topic which fulfills NYS's mandates.
To register, click on the date below.  For people watching as a group only one registration is needed. Send a list of those in your group to 
Please be aware that you also need have your congregation's policy on file. Information can be found HERE

Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the annual conference held for those interested in cultivating stewardship and a spirit of generosity, is online this year.  
More information, and registration is here: CLICK HERE


There's a lot to think about during this season, including how to train and support the folks in congregational leadership. Need help? Take this short survey, and let Presbytery leadership know what we can do to help!

Our Resource Presbyter is curating resources regarding anti-racism.  If you have resources that have been helpful in your context, please let her know so she might share them with others!  You can find the "page in process" here:

We are still collecting stories and photos of Vanderkamp for the Celebrating Vanderkamp webpage:

If you have a something you'd like to share, please contact Karen.  

Resource Presbyter's Virtual Gatherings 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be holding virtual office hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept 9th due to a training event she needs to attend.
Karen will be available for drop-in conversations on Zoom. Come say hello, share concerns or learn a bit on how to use this important tool.  
 Join Zoom Meeting:  
Password: 216956  
Coffee with Clergy  
Pastoral leadership is invited to a Thursday morning Virtual Coffee for connection, support and fellowship.  
The Zoom meeting will start at 10 a.m.   

Join Zoom Meeting: 
Password: 798822
On Monday nights you are invited to a discussion revolving around a series entitled: "Covenantal Restoration: A 12 session film series on Faith and Race. The films include James Forbes, Bryan Stevenson, Jim Wallis and Simone Campbell, etc. Join in at any time!
We will meet Monday nights at 7:30 p.m.  
Dates to Remember
November 14    Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbytery
REQUEST: Presbyterian Women is asking our churches to send at least one name/contact person (preferably a woman) to send information to about Presbyterian Women. Please send name and email address/contact info to Susan Silliman Smith at  
The United Church of Fayetteville seeks an organist or pianist to provide worship music virtually for its streamed services and intermittent in the sanctuary Sunday services. This position exclusively for music could transition to the Director of Music Ministries when choirs can safely participate in the worship service. Candidates must be an experienced organist or pianist and technology savvy. Yearly salary range during the pandemic is $9,100-$10,400.  
For more information about UCF see Send a letter of intent, résumé, and a link to a recent video with you playing church appropriate music to:  
What: Order Pies Now  
When: Pre-order for pick-up at the end of September
Where: Columbian Presbyterian Church, corner of Routes 20 & 11, LaFayette
Contact: Call 315-677-3293  
Cost: $12 
Frozen, unbaked - ready for your holiday table or mid-winter cravings. 
What: Chicken BBQs Saturdays 
When: 11 a.m. until gone on September 19 & October 10 
Where: Columbian Presbyterian Church, corner of Routes 20 & 11, LaFayette 
Cost: Half chickens $6 or full dinners $11 
Have a question for our Bookkeeper?  Paula Lamberson is generally available on Mondays, and can be reached via email at:
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Registration now open for the 2020 Intercultural Transformation Workshops
The Sept. 19 and 26 workshops are designed to create a more diverse and inclusive denomination

By Gail Strange
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - In an ongoing effort to create a more diverse and inclusive denomination, the Presbyterian Intercultural Network and the Presbyterian Mission Agency - in partnership with the presbyteries of Sacramento and Stockton and Charlotte - will host the 2020 Intercultural Transformation Workshops.
The free workshops will be held from 1 p.m. through 3 p.m. Eastern Time on September 19 and 26. All participants must register in advance. You may register here.

The 223rd General Assembly (2018) declared 2020-2030 as the "Decade of Intercultural Transformation". A resolution called on the General Assembly meeting in St. Louis to "immediately denounce the persistent and demonic presence of racism and misuse of power and privilege in our individual and institutional lives."

The resolution calls on the PC(USA) to "invest in training and identifying trained antiracism facilitators, who will provide a geographically accessible and affordable network for congregations and mid councils, and develop a process for connecting facilitators and congregations and mid councils who seek assistance."


Take one concrete step to help dismantle systemic racism
Matthew 25 course concludes with participants devising a practical and personal next step
By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - Monday's final installment of "Awakening to Structural Racism" provided the more than 200 online participants with a tangible tool: a method for forming a concrete first step that individuals and congregations can take to dismantle systemic racism even as recent news reports indicate those first steps are sorely needed.

Alison Wood, a facilitator, learner and anti-oppression educator in Tucson who spoke during the first online course on Aug. 10 used a guided journaling technique to get participants to come up with that first step they or their congregation can take. Wood explained she was speaking chiefly to the white people taking the course.

Before forming that first step, class members had to assess their current position in their community and in the world, including:
  • Their leverage points, including their access to power. "Who listens to you?" Wood asked. What power do you have access to in order to effect change?
  • What do you need to do to make peace with losing some of what you have in pursuit of racial justice? To speak against white supremacy, "you may lose all these things," she said, "but we could gain our humanity and our lives."
  • What is that one action, that step you or your church needs to take in the pursuit of racial justice?
  • Where does the motivation for change come from? Is it from an organization led by Black, Indigenous or other people of color (BIPOC)? "If not," Wood said, "ask yourself, 'Is this the right thing to do?'" She said her church had some money to donate and selected the local chapter of Black Lives Matter. The problem was that chapter did not accept donations and wanted the church to instead donate somewhere else. "It sounded like a total no-brainer," she said. "It was a no-brainer in that we hadn't actually thought about it."
  • Where is 'white saviorism' showing up in your action, and how can you get it out?
  • In what ways are you co-opting BIPOC ideas, leadership, stories and voices without compensating them? How can you stop it? "Maybe you need to lead, but maybe not," Wood said. "How can you collaborate to follow the lead of a BIPOC-led group?"
  • How will the action burn you out? How can you prevent that?
Participants then broke into small groups to discuss their initial steps.

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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