Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY 13057
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.
First Presbyterian Church of Mexico
dedicates time, funding to Open Pantry Mission
The First Presbyterian Church of Mexico's Open Pantry Mission is dedicated to making sure that no one goes without.
The food pantry is funded entirely by donations, fundraisers and special offerings.
Members volunteer their time to pack three bags for each family seeking donations.
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
Deadline is 12 p.m. on Wednesdays for the current week's edition of
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
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.
- Pray for Andy Hinman and the congregation of Faith United Church of Oswego as Andy is installed as their pastor at a special service of installation this Sunday, September 29, at 3:30 p.m.
- Prayers for Elder Vic Jenkins (Baldwinsville) and the Synod of the Northeast. Vic is our presbytery's commissioner to the Synod's Mission and Ministries Commission, which is gathering this Friday and Saturday.
- 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 the family of Dick Tuttle who passed away on August 20.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals:
Isaiah's Table, Syracuse; Korean Church of Syracuse; Park Central, Syracuse; Robinson Elmwood United Church, Syracuse; South Valley, Syracuse
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:
LaFayette Columbian Presbyterian Church member get apples ready for pies. 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
From the Resource Presbyter
By the Rev. Karen Chamis
I'm attempting to write this without spoilers. If you haven't seen the now Emmy award-winning "Fleabag," you may need to see it. I don't know. You do need to know it's awkward. It's not the sort of series I'd recommend to my mother (sex, nudity, adult language warning inserted here), but there is something about this show that continues to poke at me.
The protagonist (played brilliantly by creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is a woman with absolutely NO filters trying to cope after significant loss. Her life choices are ... interesting (see adult content warning above.) Here is a woman whose name we never learn (Fleabag) and yet we're invited into her thoughts and deepest memories as she breaks the fourth wall - sharing those thoughts with the audie
nce. She creates chaos and drama wherever she goes, and the spotlight follows her.
She demands to be seen.
When a character (and what a character!) in the second season actually SEES her, she disassembles a bit, but eventually finds some semblance of
peace. The final scene at the bus stop, where she turns to walk away? That final gesture? It gives me such hope.
Here's why this series continues to poke at my thoughts: consider the many ways in which Jesus really saw those with whom he interacted - the woman at the well, Mary and Martha, the Thief on the Cross and those who were blind, lame or possessed. Jesus saw them. He didn't casually look past them, or mumble a question about the wife and the kids. He saw them for who they were, and in that seeing, there was healing.
I believe that one of our roles as the church is to SEE people. It's also the reason I sometimes find visits to churches frustrating. I'm greeted (maybe?) but not actually seen. Once folks figure out my place (Hello, I'm your new Resource Presbyter!) there's a subtle change in stance because I'm now a known quantity. My professional self is SEEN. One of our deepest failures as the church is to not see as Jesus did. We know there are others in the pews, some of them lifelong members, who have never truly been seen by another member of that church, and we rationalize that they are okay with this reality. Heck, many of those who are unseen may believe that as well.
It's difficult work, this seeing. It requires vulnerability on the part of the person with the eyes. Seeing another means knowing that persons pain and fear as well as their joy. It requires time and patience (and sometimes, a bit of stubbornness.) For the person being seen it requires vulnerability fortified with trust.
If it were easy, the world would be a kinder place. To really see someone is to begin to love someone.
As I continue to learn my role in this new place and new position, I believe some of what I am called to do is to SEE congregations. We so easily applaud that which is easily seen - mission trips and great worship (those physical manifestations that are easy on the eyes) - but just like individuals, I believe entire congregations can also feel unseen and forgotten. I have no doubt that some congregations prefer being unseen ... but I also have no doubt that that is not our calling as a connectional Church.
In Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth he writes: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."
Fleabag, in the end was fully known ... and my prayer for her is that she shall also know fully the ability to love and be loved. It's my prayer for all of us really, individuals and congregations.
For my part? I see you, church. Or, at least, I'm trying.
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations:
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: Park Central Presbyterian Church, 504 E. Fayette St., Syracuse
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
"Called and Installed"
The Rev. Tom Oak, Moderator, installed the Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye as pastor of the Scipioville Presbyterian Church at a special service on Sunday, September 22. The Rev. Stephanie Weaver, Robinson Elmwood, preached during the service.
The Rev. Lorrie Cooney charged Ben to tell the old, old stories of Jesus and the good news of the gospel in new and creative ways, especially to those who may be hearing it for the first time. Ben offered the benediction at the conclusion of his service of installation.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- An installation service will be held for Andy Hinman at the Faith United Church of Oswego at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 29.
- A Celebration of New Ministry for Adam Svereika will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 13 at the Hannibal Community Church.
From the Associate Stated Clerk
Bringing Voices to General Assembly
Presbytery is seeking a teaching elder commissioner (and alternate), and a ruling elder commissioner (and alternate) to serve at the 224th General Assembly in Baltimore, June 20-27, 2019.
Presbytery is also seeking a Young Adult Advisory Delegate (YAAD). A YAAD must be at least 17 years of age and no older than 23 years of age on June 20, 2020 - no exceptions. Since young adults are less likely to be elected as commissioners, the category of YAAD was created in 1970 so that the voices of young adults could be heard. The basic role and function of a young adult advisory delegate (YAAD) is to make the assembly aware of issues and ideas they might not otherwise come to know, and YAADs advise commissioners in a variety of ways throughout the assembly. The General Assembly welcomes young people in its midst and encourages the voice of young adult advisory delegates in its deliberations.
Applications, for commissioner or YAAD, are requested by September 30, 2019. An application and introductory letter can be found here. For more information, or questions about serving at General Assembly, contact the Stated Clerk at email@example.com. Nominees will be presented for election at the Presbytery meeting on November 2.
Session Records Review -- Sign up now!
Session records reviews will be conducted in October.
- 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!
This is the time of year that the PC(USA) sets aside to bring focus to the urgency for Christians to actively embrace the call to be peacemakers. For those churches who participate in the Peace and Global Witness special offering of our denomination (hopefully that means the majority, if not all of us!), please remember that churches in Cayuga-Syracuse retain 37.5% of the monies they collect - not just the 25% as advertised in the national denominational information and promotional materials.
Several years ago, the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse made the decision to allow our congregations to retain Presbytery's half of the 25% allocated to mid-councils. This means that churches in our presbytery retain 37.5% of the Peace and Global Witness Offering to support a mission or ministry of their choosing.
Why Racial Understanding is Not Enough
Dr. Clifton Granby from Yale Divinity School will lead discussions at the Presbytery of Utica's leadership retreat October 30 to November 1, 2019. Members of Cayuga-Syracuse (including all interested lay leaders) are cordially invited to attend Dr. Granby's discussion on Thursday morning, October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Dr. Grandby is a scholar of African American religious, political, and philosophical thought. His research and teaching reflect an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and religion, ethics, social epistemology, and theories of freedom, power and ignorance. His presentation will draw on Robin Diangelo's book: "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Race" (Beacon Press, 2018 reprint).
Welcome to "Come to the Table 2019"
Come to the Table 2019
gathering sponsored by the Synod of the Northeast will be held on November 8-9, 2019 at Stony Point Center, NY and is open to everyone in our presbytery-clergy, church leaders and all interested persons! This event happens only every other year and is a unique opportunity for us to join with others in the larger body of Christ
to pray, to learn, to sing, to worship and to experience unity in diversity.
For Such a Time as This: Crisis, Change, Opportunity
is the theme that will frame our time together this year- remembering that each generation is born for their time with all of its challenges and possibilities, and considering the ways in which each person's perspective brings an interpretation to a particular circumstance and shapes each community's response.
Our Synod is a community of 160,000+ Presbyterians that worship in 1,100+ congregations and gospel communities, organized in 22 presbyteries, in New England, New Jersey and New York. Yet, we are one in Christ who leads us.
More information and a registration link can be found here.
Friday Night Shindogs & Kampfires at Vanderkamp
What: Fun Family Evenings
Time: 5 to 8 p.m.
Dates: September 27
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.
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.
Fall Rummage and Bake Sale
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 28
Where: Sennett Federated Church, 7777 Weedsport Sennett Road, Auburn
Household items, books, toys and clothing for sale. Come find your treasure and stay for lunch. Chili, hotdogs and soups will be available for purchase along with a variety of baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, breads and pies.
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.
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.
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
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.
6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, 2019
(Parents stay for dinner from 6 to 6:45 p.m.)
Fellowship Hall at Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church
4797 Makyes Road, Syracuse
Contact Sarah Buckshot at firstname.lastname@example.org 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
September 27-28 Synod Mission and Ministries Commission
with elder Vic Jenkins
September 29 Installation of Pastor Andy Hinman - Faith United, Oswego
September 30 Presbytery Application deadline for GA commissioners & YAAD
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.)
Giving Tuesday webinar available for churches
'An invitation to be
part of something'
By Robyn Davis Sekula, Presbyterian Foundation
Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - Giving Tuesday is a popular day to give to support causes you love. But can churches use it, too?
Certainly - and the Presbyterian Mission Agency and Presbyterian Foundation are partnering to bring you a free webinar to show you how.
Joined by Rev. Philip Beck, pastor of
First United Presbyterian Church in Tarentum, Pa.
, church leaders can sign up for a webinar to learn how to use the power of
. Beck's church, a mid-sized congregation in rural Pennsylvania, has participated for five years, bringing in as much as $15,000 in one day to help fund mission and ministries of the church. "It's an invitation to be part of something," Beck says. "We offer a match gift, too, from our congregation, and people really respond to that."
Beck will share tips and thoughts on Giving Tuesday participation as part of the webinar.
Healing our borders
The valley of the shadow of death is near Douglas, Arizona
By Mark Adams
DOUGLAS, Arizona - A Catholic priest, a charismatic layperson and a Presbyterian pastor met with the patrol officer in charge of the Douglas border patrol station to discuss possible responses to the increased number of people dying while migrating in Sulphur Springs Valley, the valley in which Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, sit. The "prevention through deterrence" border policy instituted by the Clinton administration, the economic boom of the 1990s and the devastation of the Mexican economy had turned our sleepy and isolated valley into the primary crossing point for unauthorized migration into the U.S. As a nation, we chose deserts and mountains as deadly deterrents to migration. Our policy is intentionally lethal.
We asked Chief Rowdy Adams if he thought the policy that we as a nation were asking him to uphold was a moral one.
He responded with a clarity that was jarring yet welcome for its honesty:
"You've got man's [sic] law and you've got God's law, and sometimes they come into conflict with one another. For you, there is no higher law than God's law, but for me there is no higher law than the U.S. Constitution, which I am sworn to uphold."
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY 13057
"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