Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
November 7, 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
A Sweet Mission

Mexico First Presbyterian Church baked apple pies and apple crisps in September and October to sell. The proceeds go towards the various missions of the church.
LAMP seeks participants for Mission Trip to Mexico 
The Latin American Mission Partnership (LAMP) is organizing its 16 th
mission trip to Mexico on February 18-25, 2020. The trip will have two experienced trip leaders: Karen Dimon and Pete Shidemantle.  
Anyone over the age of 16 (14 with an adult) is welcome. The trip costs LAMP $2,600 but the cost to participants is only $1,100. Scholarships are available for up to half the cost.
The fee covers all expenses ... food, accommodations, airfare, tips, entrance into cultural exhibits .. .except for personal mementos.  
Campeche, the safest county in Mexico, will be the home base while the group travels to outlying villages. Plans include painting, VBS and other projects at the seminary or in small villages.The weather is golden and the people are friendly.  
If you ever thought of sending your teenager on a mission trip (or going yourself), this is a great experience. Every participant, without fail, said it was a life-changing experience. Applications are available from Sandi Yingling by email her at
Deadline is December 1, 2019
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...
  • Please prayer for the family of Lewis White, who passed away Monday afternoon. Lewis is the father of Nancy Wind.
  • Pray for Jackie Murphy, Karen Chamis, Monica Styron, Tom Oak, Diane Monger and Linda Russell as they travel to Stony Point Center Friday to participate in the Synod-sponsored  "Come to the Table" event.
  • Please pray for the family and friends of ruling elder Joyce Short who passed away recently. Joyce was a long-time member of Auburn-First, a faithful member of our presbytery, and a good friend of many. There will be a calling hour for Joyce at Auburn-First on Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon followed by a memorial service at 1:00 p.m.
  • Prayers for the family of Tonya and Scott Cupp (honorably retired) on the death of Tonya's mother, Julia Esseniyi.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
    Mexico First Presbyterian gives thanks to God for the growth of its Sunday School. The church was able to add a third class this year.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individual: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
Hannibal Community Church.passed out Halloween candy
to community members last week.

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 
By the Rev. Karen Chamis
Hello Cayuga-Syracuse!
They are packing up my stuff. Our stuff. Our apartment.

I've retreated to the local coffee shop because our small apartment in Rockville, MD feels even smaller now. It's filled with boxes of dishes, books and Gerald and Mo, the movers. Later today the truck will be loaded, and tomorrow it will arrive in Syracuse.

Gerald in particular is interested in talking about what he's finding. At first it felt awkward, answering questions about why I have a miniature wooden chicken coop and why there's a picture of Bill and I dressed up in 18 th century clothes (were you pretending to be Betsy Ross or something?), but as time went on I appreciated how gently he cared for our stuff, and began to understand that this is what he does for a living. He boxes memories. His questions are his way of making his living ... alive for him.  

It brings to mind the quote from MLK Jr., "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"

Of course, it's possible that I'm romanticizing his work. It may be that this is simply his way of getting through another day -- hearing stories of the things he's wrapping in paper.  For me it's been a wee bit of ministry. Each question by Gerald provokes a memory for me. Each question creates another question in my mind: "why am I keeping this?"  In the end, isn't this all just vanity and dust?

Not today. Today, this is the stuff of memories.  

There is a line between worshipping the past and honoring it. I think of Moses and the Israelites moving for forty years and think there must have been at least one person in that crowd that grieved the yarn stash they left behind. Each move I make I'm challenged to go full Kondo* and lovingly leave things in places where they will spark joy for others. Moving challenges us to determine what has value. 

It begs the question -- what would happen if our churches had to move? Certainly, the folks at Isaiah's Table could answer this, as could those at Arlington Presbyterian (who have just moved into their new space!) If you had to move your church, are there things you'd leave behind? If you had your own Gerald asking questions about the oddities he found, would your stories of those items justify their need to be lovingly wrapped and put in boxes?

See you back in Syracuse. And, if anyone needs boxes...

Blessings --

* Kondō, M. (2014).  The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing . Ten Speed Press.
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: Collamer United Church, 6865 Fly Road, East Syracuse 
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, 4361 Church St., Mexico  
Date: Monday, November 25, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse
Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: Robinson Elmwood United Church, 126 S. Terry Road, 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 
Hats off to you: Thank you
She wore many hats...
Presbytery leaders thank Associate Stated Clerk Linda Russell

For several years, when the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery needed it the most, Linda Russell stepped up and took on many roles. And during that time, she wore many hats.

At our stated meeting, Linda was presented with hats to symbolize her many roles. Many laughs were shared and each smile was backed by an immeasurable amount of gratitude.

Thank you, Linda Russell. 

Stated Meeting 
Education, Celebration & Inspiration
Presbytery Meeting held Saturday at
First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville

Our stated meeting was held Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville.

The meeting was kicked off with a special presentation by our Resource Presbyter Karen Chamis. Karen provided those in attendance with inspiration and education about the Matthew 25 church initiative.

"This is something we can be proud of and be excited about," she said about Matthew 25.

To become a Matthew 25 church, you need to select one area to focus on: Systemic Poverty, Congregational Vitality or Racism. Karen broke down each focus area and we explored how we are already focusing on these areas in our churches.

The meeting opened with a welcome by the Baldwinsville's First Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Jeanine Haven. Jeanine said she was excited to host the presbytery meeting on her 13th day on the job.
Ruling Elder Gail Banks was honored on her retirement from Amboy Belle Isle United Church and also presented with an award by Presbytery Women. Gail was presented with a Lifetime Membership to Presbyterian Women of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for her hard work, dedication and commitment to the organization.  
During the meeting, the 2020 budget was also approved. In addition to business, a worship service was held, which included a message by State Clerk Ben Fitzgerald-Fye.  
During a special Prayers of the People, Karen handed out small trays of salt. She instructed us to use our finger to trace our prayers in the salt and offer the prayer to God by pouring the salt into a bowl of water. 
To see more photos from the meeting, by visiting the Presbytery's Facebook page.  
From the Associate Stated Clerk
At the Presbytery meeting on November 2, 2019 a request was made that a list of openings in elected positions in Presbytery be shared in the Presbytery Matters e-news so that pastors and elder commissioners might help identify qualified persons for service in these positions. The list of current openings includes:
Leadership Team:
Class of 2020 = 1 adult - asap
Class of 2021 = 1 adult - asap
Class of 2023 = 5 adults - ready for election in May 2020
Committee on Representation           1 at-large member - asap
Nominating Committee                      6 at-large members - asap
Vanderkamp Board                            1 member for a 3-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2020
Treasurer                                            3-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Moderator of Presbytery                     2-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Vice-Chair of Leadership Team          2-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Suggestions should be forwarded to the Nominating Committee co-chairs: elder Nancy Wind ( and the Rev. Karen Green (    
Around the Presbytery
Inspired & Recharged

Jackie Murphy and Rita Hooper attended   
the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries            
Conference from Oct. 15-28 in Louisville.

Rita and Jackie heard a very inspiring message from the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett.They also attended workshops to discuss a variety of issues having to deal with older Presbyterians.  
What: Annual Harvest Dinner
When: 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 9
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Marcellus
Tickets: Adults $12
            Kids 5-10 years: $5
            Kids under 5 are free
What: Arise & Go
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9
Where: Sennett Federated Church
Cost: Donations only  
Dates to Remember
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
July 23-24                      Thrive Seminar (for clergy aged 50+) by the Board of Pensions
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Your photos 
tell your story
And who knows? They just might be part of the next Presbyterian Planning Calendar

By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - By way of photo submission, Presbyterians are invited to tell the world the ways their church, mid council or organization is carrying out the Matthew 25 invitation and the Hands and Feet initiative.

The Presbyterian Planning Calendar, a beloved publication of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is seeking photo submissions from congregations, mid councils, camps, conference centers and education centers for use in its 2020-2021 edition.
To date, more than 250 churches and about two dozen mid councils have accepted the Matthew 25 invitation, which calls on Presbyterians to actively engage in the world to help our denomination become a more relevant presence.

The Hands and Feet initiative builds on work that congregations, mid councils and the national office are already doing. It's designed to dovetail with the biennial General Assembly gathering. Work is underway at The Center, a ministry of the Presbytery of Baltimore. Baltimore is the site of the 224th General Assembly June 20-27, 2020.


A new look at stewardship
Enough really  
is enough

By David Loleng
Presbyterians Today
Our culture has convinced us that abundant life is about getting more - anything that's newer and better - and getting it sooner. The urge to consume now and pay later is often fed by a fear of scarcity and the myth that if we don't own the latest and greatest (insert item here) we will be left out of the crowd.

Advertising feeds this myth. The average person in the U.S. can be bombarded by thousands of ads each day. Ads often work by implying that our lives are unfulfilled, that we somehow need every excess we want. All that excess has fueled a recession-proof industry - storage units. In fact, storage units have become a booming $38 billion business in the United States, with roughly 2 billion square feet of rentable space available. Storing these purchased treasures doesn't come cheap. About 1 in every 10 households rents a self-storage unit, paying an average of about $90 per month.

While our culture's consumerism contrasts with the abundant life Jesus spoke of, it has unfortunately weaseled its way into the church, with congregations often talking in terms of either "abundance" or "scarcity."

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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