Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
July 30, 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
Mission: Christmas in July
Embracing the Spirit of Christmas during a pandemic 

The sanctuary was empty, there was no snow on the ground and the pastor donned a Hawaiian shirt. Members and guests in face masks sat six feet apart in the parking lot behind Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church and others relaxed in lawn chairs spread out on the grassy hill, which was illuminated by Tiki torches.  
It didn't look like Christmas. 
A warm summer breeze helped the flames of the candles dance in the wind as dusk rolled in and sound of "Silent Night" filled the air.  
But, it felt like Christmas.  
The Syracuse church held a "Christmas in July" service Sunday evening with the mission to remember and celebrate the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. What better time to remember the joy and excitement of the Christmas season than now during a pandemic?
What better time to embrace the Spirit of Christmas? 

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 keep Pastor Becky Kaiser in your prayers. She is doing better after an illness last week, which sent her to hospital. Please keep her in your prayers as she is still recuperating.
  • Please pray for James Russell, a member of Westminster Syracuse. His esophagus cancer has returned.
  • 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: Our Presbytery (the Leadership Team, Work Groups, Committees, and Mission and Ministry Teams), the Synod of the Northeast, General Assembly staff.
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week

Isaiah's Table in Syracuse is grateful for Matthew 25 Farm and their beautiful
produce that helps feed the community.

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 
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
Churches and other organizations are struggling with their sense of purpose; individuals (clergy and others) are questioning their vocations. We are all asking questions about who we are NOW, as well as whether we really like who we are NOW.
It's as if we're all collectively sighing and asking if this is it, or as Dante's protagonist quipped "Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark for the straightforward pathway had been lost."
In other words ... welcome to our shared mid-life crisis (of sorts).
Now, if this were truly a mid-life crisis (of sorts) we might consider working through the experience with a good therapist. We'd be invited to talk about our disappointments surrounding our lives and our response to it. Perhaps we'd grieve a bit together about relationships lost and plans set aside. We'd talk through our anxiety and concern about what life is like now - collectively, and individually - because grief isn't something you find a path around. Eventually, we'd have worked through the box of Kleenex and we'd sit up a bit straighter and begin the work of "what comes next".
What does come next? I'm not asking when you're reopening the buildings, or what your ratio of people to hand sanitizer looks like ... I'm asking what future God is calling you to build. How has this season changed you, changed your organization, changed your community?
How we have reacted to this season says much about us as individuals, and as a church. What we do next will speak volumes about our priorities as well as our understanding of purpose.
Go, be the church!

Resource Presbyter's Virtual Gatherings 
Our Resource Presbyter will be on vacation from July 30th to August 8th. If there is an emergency, she can be reached at 908-217-7725.  Please leave a message and she'll get back to you as soon as possible.  Office hours, etc. will resume the week of August 9th.
From the Stated Clerk
Greetings Presbytery Friends!

A stated meeting of the Presbytery has been called for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11 via the Zoom platform.

In order to send the docket and supporting materials out in a timely manner, all items of business, reports, requests for time, etc. are due no later than 12 p.m. TODAY (Thursday, July 30).  No time requests or reports will be accepted after the deadline.
Please send all materials and requests to

Thanks to all. 

Pastor Ben

Dates to Remember
August 11         Presbytery Stated Meeting, Zoom  
November 14    Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Praying for one another
How a Mission Yearbook prayer and other unexpected prayers helped turn me around

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson
Presbyterians Today
Special to Presbyterian News Service

Just how powerful is prayer?

On Sunday morning I was greeted by an email from a colleague at the Presbyterian Mission Agency with these words: May you feel the love and receive strength from all the prayers coming your way this day.
It turns out my name was listed on Friday's Mission Yearbook devotional - which features short stories on the work Presbyterians are doing and asks for prayers for the ministries being done.

I was surprised, touched and then thankful, for I didn't realize how much I needed this. In an instant, I felt the stress leaving me and my energy returning. As the day progressed, several other emails came from all around the country from people I did not know, all reaching out and telling me that I was in their prayers.

The last email I received was from a new worshiper of my virtual worshiping community, Old Stone Well Farm, telling me how she woke up with me on her mind and that she has been thinking about me and praying for me all day. Her prayers carried me through the rest of my day.

I will always remember the first time I experienced how strong and powerful the connection is between brothers and sisters in Christ when we pray for one another. I was going through a rough patch in life, facing many decisions as to what my next steps would be. Specifically, where was God was calling me to serve next? Was it time to leave a congregation? What did God really want from me? What if I made a mistake? What if I was listening more to my wants and desires? I was making myself sick with all the questions swirling in my head.


PC(USA) highlights the power of protest

Office of Public Witness urges Christians to  
get involved in spiritual advocacy

By Darla Carter
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - As protests against racism continued in Oregon and other parts of the country, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of Public Witness held a webinar this week explaining the importance of challenging the status quo and making one's voice heard through the ballot box.

The Washington office also highlighted the need for Christians to join the fight for justice that has garnered headlines for months now following the deaths of innocent African Americans, such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor, at the hands of police and white vigilantes.

Protest is not just a form of political engagement but also "a part of our faith," explained the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness (OPW).
"We say that protest for social justice really equals spiritual advocacy and I think that's one of the things that those of us in the faith community really need to hit harder on," said Hawkins, who pointed out that Jesus himself turned over tables when he felt that the temple of God was being misused. "This is a part of how we see God wants us to live."

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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