Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
December 10, 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
Isaiah's Table Installs, Dedicates Little Free Pantry

Members of Isaiah's Table gathered recently to install, fill and dedicate a Little Free Pantry next to the prayer board at their building.

The pantry was built by Elder Bob Wind, who repurposed an entertainment cabinet he purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Restore just down the street from Isaiah's Table. The Interreligious Food Consortium provided a generous donation to stock the pantry. Neighborhood partners from Peace Inc. and the Syracuse Peacemaking Project will also help with donations.

The pantry is a way to provide much needed grocery items to neighbors as well as providing a way for neighbors to help neighbors. A sign on the door says "Take what you need. Give what you can." in both English and Spanish. Offering an opportunity for community members to BOTH give and receive is a blessing to all.

Please feel free to swing by 223 Marcellus Street in Syracuse and add to the pantry or take any items that you might need!

Any donations will be greatly appreciated. Please contact Nancy Wind at for more information.

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 Allen Winegard - Clerk of Session (Baldwinsville) - as he is fighting COVID-19 at St. Joseph's Hospital.
  • Please pray for Elizabeth (Libba) Pendergrast, mother of Sam Pendergrast, Interim Pastor
    in Cazenovia. Libba, 90, has been hospitalized due to sepsis from an infection. She lives in Augusta, GA. 
  • Please keep Linda Peters in your prayers. Linda, an Elder on the First Presbyterian Church's Session, will have surgery on December 17 in NYC for heart valve replacement. Thanks everyone for holding Linda and her husband, Mark, in your heart. Some years ago Mark was C-S Presbytery Treasurer.
  • Pray for Wynetta DeVore, a member of Park Central Church, as she is in rehab at the Bishop Rehabilitation Center, 918 James Street, Syracuse, NY 13203.  Cards are appreciated .
  • Please keep the congregation of Middle Collegiate Presbyterian Church in your prayers. On December 5, the Manhattan church, which is the oldest continuously active church in the United States, burned. Visit their website for an opportunity to contribute to help the congregation.Their response is, "We will rise from the ashes."
  • Please pray for all those who are battling COVID-19 as the virus worsens in CNY and around the country.
  • Keep all those who battling cancer in your prayers. Please ask God to be by their side and to be with their doctors and families.
  • Please pray for James Russell, a member of Westminster Syracuse. He is battling esophagus cancer.
  • Please continue to pray for all those who lost a loved one due to COVID-19.
In the cycle of prayer 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

Presbyterians Today: Let Us Light Candles | Week 3
Presbyterians Today: Let Us Light Candles | Week 3

If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Northminster Presbyterian Church volunteers dropped off eight turkeys recently to Bridgeport Food Pantry! These were given to families during the pantry's Christmas meal distribution

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
Dear Friends,
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;   
This advent hymn has been with me for the last few days. Unlike the usual earworm (think Baby Shark), I've welcomed this melody into my daily life. If you're not familiar with it, imagine a single voice singing a tune that evokes the image of monks walking silently through ancient halls. The music is hauntingly beautiful and brings up a sense of deep longing for me. The lyrics by Gerald Moultrie are rooted in a chant that dates back to the third century that was sung as part of the offertory.
The line that I find myself putting on repeat is "Ponder nothing earthly-minded..."
Pondering earthly-minded things is my gig. From concern about whether or not the gifts I've ordered will arrive in time for Christmas to worrying about how our congregations are faring during this COVID-season, these days seem to be deep in thought and anxiety. Beyond this worry-work, I find my mind casting about to what life will be like six months from now - what will be our newest struggles and opportunities? How will I respond - how will WE respond - to this new world that continues to be unwound?
I am the Queen of Ponder, and although it has led to gray hair, some digestive distress and an odd rash or two, I quite like thinking about everything from the yarn choice for my next sweater to the patterns that exist in our lives together.
This hymn doesn't ask me to stop my pondering (the word suggesting not just thinking about something but engaging in though deliberately especially before coming to a decision ... thank you Webster!). No, these lyrics that echo in my bones in this season of expectation do not ask me to stop this work but rather to refocus it. It's not the pondering that is a problem, but what I'm giving this pondering energy to: "For with blessing in his hand, Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand."
When I allow myself to put aside for a time the worries and anxieties of this world and to focus for just a bit on the King of Kings yet born of Mary and to allow the mystery to touch me ... if ever so briefly ... I understand why the end of this hymn dissolves into angelic alleluias. Even in the midst of incredible uncertainty, fear, and death there is joy. I find myself able to join the six-winged seraph in the chorus. It's here that I realize/remember that it's not about me, it has never been about me and that fills me with both release and joy.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
At his feet the six-winged seraph,
Cherubim, with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
As we move toward the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, or the Sunday of joy, I pray that you'll find time to ponder and in your pondering find joy.
Resource Presbyter's Announcements
Webinar from Practical Resources for Churches:   
What: Should you do a "Second Annual" Pledge Drive?
When: 1 to 2 p.m. on TODAY (Thursday, December 10)
Leader: Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Why do we do an annual campaign just once a year? Don't a number of people forget to turn in a pledge card in the fall? Or some might not realize the first time that giving is a spiritual discipline - they need to hear it again.
Join us as we consider having a second "soft" campaign in February. Learn best practices for running this type of campaign, asking for new stewardship pledges from people who didn't pledge in the fall, and communicating more about your ministry.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced "CC Delv Sherman," yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at or on Facebook or at
Register: Click Here

What: When the Center Does Not Hold: Conflict in the Age of Polarization   
When: 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 14 
Leader: David Brubaker
Few individuals are eager to lead in a polarized time. Yet leaders today cannot escape this reality. How, then, should we lead?  Effective leadership is the critical variable that holds an institution together when conflict threatens to tear it apart. David R. Brubaker says a high level of conflict is less likely when leaders engage conflict, manage polarities, commit to respectful cooperation, speak truth, and protect their people.
David Brubaker is Director of the MBA and OLS Programs and Associate Professor of Organizational Studies at Eastern Mennonite University. He has trained or consulted with over 100 organizations around the world, and wrote Promise and Peril: Understanding and Managing Change and Conflict in Congregations.
Register: Click Here 
What: Mailchimp Electronic Newsletters
When: 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19

Leader: Jo Nygard Owns
How to create a fresh and effective electronic newsletter using Mailchimp - a free, web-based email newsletter platform. 
Jo Nygard Owens is a PCUSA minister and church communications consultant. As the founder of Vibrant Church Communications, she finds joy in helping churches communicate who they are with a clear visual language. 
What: Body Beloved: Embodiment, the Church, and Creating a Healthy Culture
When: 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 21
Leader: Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath
Diet culture exists to help us fight our fear of death. The Church is uniquely positioned to reject this messaging, and multi-billion dollar industry, and to help people live a fully embodied, incarnate faith.  Weight loss, food shaming, and negative body talk have no place in the Body of Christ.  Join us for a workshop to engage the history of fatphobia, its intersections with racism, and gain tools to create a church that claims the belovedness of every body. The Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath is a writer, Chaplain, activist, organizer, and holy mischief maker.  She is a public theologian and teller of hard truths, someone who holds pain and joy with the same breath. She is the curator of online community at Notes from the Chaplain, and an ordained United Church of Christ minister. She has written for several organizations on the topic of embodiment, including Working Preacher.  She makes her home in Exeter, NH with her spouse, the Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath, and their two precocious cats, Atticus and Windsor.
Register: Click Here 
What: New Questions for A New Day  
When: 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26
Leader: Michelle Snyder, MDiv LCSW
The pandemic presents an opportunity for churches to reframe their thinking and reboot their vision. Rather than tweaking what has always been done, this moment invites churches to embrace an expanded vision of community, catch up with societal trends, and rethink the use of new technologies.
Michelle Snyder, MDiv, LCSW, has been doing organizational consulting for over 10 years. With training in theology, systems theory, and organizational intelligence, she brings a unique perspective to her consulting and coaching work with middle judicatories, congregations, nonprofits, and clergy. Michelle has co-authored the book Life, Death and Reinvention: The Gift of the Impossibly Messed-Up Life (Magi Press, 2016).
Register: Click Here 
What: Small Church Series: Thriving Youth Ministry
When: 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 28

Leader: Stephanie Caro
Stephanie Caro has been involved in ministry to children, youth, and adults in the local church (both large and small) for a long, long time (35+ years). Her humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting and coaching at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is now Senior Consultant for Ministry Architects, which allows her to help churches assess, vision, and formulate their ministry game plans.
Her books, Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches and 99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker, were published by Group/Simply Youth Ministry. Her most recent book, Smaller Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem, was published by United Methodist Publishing House in December of 2016. Her next book, Ten Solutions for the Smaller Church, comes out in 2020. Stephanie is a contributing author to several ministry resources like YouthWorker Journal and Group Magazine. 
Register: Click Here 

Not-Your-Average Boundaries Training
Welcome to LeaderWise's boundaries training, where we believe that boundaries training doesn't have to be boring!
It's our experience at LeaderWise that pastors, church staff, and other leaders who transgress boundaries by-and-large are not predators. In fact, not even close. Most people in ministry who violate boundaries are individuals who know and follow the rules most of the time but whose judgment may be impaired due to an unusually stressful time in their lives.
 With that in mind, Not-Your-Average Boundaries Training is tailored to focus on strategies to foster mental health, emotional resiliency, and well-being. While we still cover the essentials-"Don't sleep with a parishioner unless you're married to them" and "Don't borrow money from the church board president"- we believe the best prevention is to encourage clergy to take steps to manage their stress in order to maintain balance and perspective when temptation arises. We further teach a 3-step strategy to help stop them in their tracks before they commit a boundary violation.
LeaderWise's online boundaries training workshop is lively and highly interactive, full of reflection and conversation-and even laughter. Attendees have given us the feedback that our boundaries training was a great experience, AND caused them to re-evaluate some of their own practices.
Online Boundaries Training Design
This training has three components (total time commitment approximately 5 hours):
  •  The online course, which is 2.5 hours
  • Post-course reading: you will be sent two readings on which to reflect, and
  • Post-course responsive writing to the two readings
Your boundaries training will take place online and will be conducted via secure Zoom video conferencing.
Cayuga Syracuse and Northern NY Presbyteries Live Online Boundaries Training Options:
January 19th 6-8:30 p.m. OR January 28th 2-4:30 p.m.
To register please use one of the following links:
Please contact your Resource Presbyter:  
Rev. Karen Chamis -  
Rev David Bennett -
"Blessed be the tie that binds": GA Per Capita Giving

Our website is down.
We are working on fixing the issue.
Stay tuned for updates.  

Resource Presbyter's Virtual Gatherings 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be holding virtual office hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays.
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 
Attention Cayuga-Syracuse Clergy: On Tuesday afternoons, you are invited to attend a gathering event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. Bring a beverage of your choice and catch up with what is happening with colleagues throughout the Presbytery.  
CLICK HERE to join Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 810 4159 6870
Passcode: 435913
Around the Presbytery
This will be an online event via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting: 
Password: enough!
If you would like to volunteer to login to Zoom and read psalms in shifts of 15 to 30 minutes, please contact Pastor Ben at Any help is greatly appreciated!
What: Chamber Music Benefit Concert to help Onondaga County residents facing eviction or foreclosure, sponsored by "Arts at Park: Music for a World in Need"
When: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16
Park Central Presbyterian Church will produce a live-streamed chamber music concert for the community at 7 pm on Wednesday, December 16, called "Arts at Park: Music for a World in Need."
This is a benefit concert to raise emergency funds for Onondaga County residents facing eviction or foreclosure. Donations of any amount will support the emergency services relief work of Catholic Charities of Onondaga County.
Local professional musicians Lindsay Groves, cello; Nicholas Hrynyk, piano; and Jonathan Hwang, violin, will perform Beethoven's "Archduke Trio, Opus 97" and "Variations for Piano Trio, Opus 44."
Visit for links to connect to the concert and donation webpage. Because this concert is live-streamed, chamber music lovers, near and far, can support a great cause and help celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday.
Virtual Syracuse University Brass (and Bells) Holiday Concert featuring the United Church of Fayetteville!
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, December 19, 2020 
Where: Facebook Live 
United Church of Fayetteville, its Handbell Choir and the Haiti Educational Partnership (HEMP) of the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery are pleased and honored to partner with the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble to present this virtual concert of favorite holiday pieces! UCF and the SU Brass Ensemble have teamed together for over 30 years to bring joyful music to the community. The concert raises money for the Haiti Partnership.
Join the Non-Presbyterian Women's Book Club hosted by Cayuga-Syracuse Presbyterian Women
The next series will begin Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. via zoom.
The book is "The Person You Mean to Be" by Dolly Chugh. It might be a good book to put on your Christmas Wish list!  
Though Presbyterian Women of C-S are hosting this Zoom gathering, you don't need to be a Presbyterian Woman to join.  
Interested? Contact Rita Hooper at to receive the Zoom information. 
Poor People's Campaign

We demand immediate COVID relief, a smooth and open transition of power and moral policies that guarantee universal health care, raise wages and fight chronic inequality in the first 100 days of the next administration.

Learn more about the petition HERE.

Christmas 2020

  Click here for Advance Registration to receive a Zoom invite
Communications Coordinator
Communications Coordinator Sarah Buckshot will be on vacation from Sunday, December 20 to Saturday, January 2, 2020. There will be no Presbytery Matters on Thursday, December 24 or Thursday, December 31, 2020. If you need assistance during this time, please reach out to Resource Presbyter Karen Chamis at
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.)
PC(USA) Washington office joins call for COVID relief
Presbyterians part of call-in day to senators demanding action on COVID relief bill

By Rich Copley
Presbyterian News Service

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness is joining with other faith-based groups in a national call-in day for action on COVID-relief legislation.

"Across the country, COVID cases are rising dramatically," an Action Alert from the OPW says. "The fall and winter ahead of us hold significant challenges, especially at a time when many people are already facing extreme hardship.

"Continued inaction from Congress means millions will lose their homes and go hungry."

The call is also coming from denominations and groups such as Faith in Public Life Action, the United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, and the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

Continue reading...

No longer alone

With help from '1001' leaders, ecumenical church planters hold a Zoom conference to celebrate their work and share levity at end of difficult year

By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE -  Ecumenical Partners in Outreach, a network of mainline denominational leaders engaged in church planting and revitalization, hosted its first ever "Founders' Festival" via Zoom in early December.

The gathering, which included participants from the six mainline denominations listed below, was held to celebrate the work of each denomination's new worshiping community leaders and to provide some levity at the end of 2020.

According to the Rev. Nikki Collins, national coordinator of the PC(USA)'s 1001 New Worshiping Communities, participants played a series of games designed to keep them on their toes as they interacted with one another through improbable scenarios. Breakout rooms were utilized to create teams for scavenger hunts and escape rooms -along with the poll feature for rapid-fire audience participation games.

The Rev. Nikki Collins is national leader of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement.

"The joy of being known and the chance to step away from all that has happened in 2020 to simply laugh was priceless," Collins said. "Also Shawn Kang's (1001 associate for the Central and Western Regions) funny Zoom filters kept everyone laughing."

Continue reading...

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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