Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
August 20, 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

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 all those battling addiction and their families that love them.
  • Pray for all those fighting for justice and equality.
  • 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: 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
Jamesville Community Church honored the Rev. Mark C. Harrison for 22 years of service with a tree planted in his honor and a plaque. He served from 1997 to 2019.

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   
Dear Cayuga-Syracuse,
If I can channel the inspiration behind Ben and Jerry's "Cherry Garcia"... "lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been." A year ago, I was a long-term guest of the Candlewood Suites over by Carrier Circle. I'd drive back to Maryland for a few days every week or so to reconnect with my spouse and cat (not in that order!) and then return to my hotel and the work of being your brand-new Resource Presbyter. Those trips were exhausting, especially through Pennsylvania (our family jokes that whenever we're on a trip, it's as if we are always half-way through PA.)
How do you while away the hours on a road trip? I'm fond of singing out loud (windows rolled down, of course!) everything from show tunes to bawdy 18th c. camp songs. No doubt I am offering entertainment and amusement for my fellow pilgrims on the road. Five hours each way also offered plenty of time to dream about the challenges that awaited me in Syracuse. So much work to do and such good people to do that work with? I was filled with hope.
And now? After over five months of physical distancing?
Still filled with hope.
Here is why: God hasn't changed. In many ways, the work we are called to do hasn't changed. What has changed are the tools we use to do that work as well as the urgency. There has been a bit of an unveiling during these COVID times; a revealing of sorts. We're learning together what we really value, as well as what we might put aside.
When I first started here I quoted J. Gordon Kingsley who wrote that leaders ..."need to learn the song of the tribe in order to sing the song of the tribe so that others can find their place in the song and then, together, write the next verse." This pandemic hasn't changed that. Together we are beginning to hear old and new voices that are looking for where they fit in the song ... And again, I am filled with hope. As those voices are lifted up and we sing this song together, we will write the next verse. I don't know what the future holds, or what that next verse will be, but I am confident we will write it and sing it together.
(With the windows rolled down, of course.)
Grateful to be here with you,

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 12 p.m. 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  
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.  
The Salon was developed in the 16th century as a way for individuals to share ideas.
You are invited to exchange ideas at a modern-day virtual Salon.
Lift Every Voice: How to engage a broader response to issues of Social Justice
(you'll need to register in advance!)
Tuesday, August 25th at 4 p.m.
Join us for a conversation around the topic of how to encourage a broad-based response to issues of social justice ... specifically dismantling racism.
All too often there are a few voices (soloists). How can we engage the entire choir?
Note: No experts present, just good folks wanting to explore ideas together!   
2021 Budget 
2021 Budget Presented at Presbytery
The Finance Property Work Group is asking for input and feedback on the budget first read, which can be found HERE. We encourage questions you may have and would love to engage in dialogue regarding the budget proposal. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Bob Davenport
Finance and Property Workgroup Chair
Nominating Committee   
From the Nominating Committee: 
Cayuga-Syracuse is entitled to send two minister members and two elders to serve as Commissioners to the Synod Assembly October 23-24, 2020. We still have a vacancy for a second minister member. If you are a minister member of presbytery willing to serve in this capacity, please contact the Rev. Tom Oak (, 316-641-5454) or Linda Russell (, 315-730-6930) by August 20 for more information or with your offer to serve.
Thank you,
The Nominating Committee
Presbyterian Week of Action
The Presbyterian Week of Action, August 24 - 30, is an endeavor to provide a public witness that facilitates education, viability and action that reinforce our PC(USA) statements and policy that support eradicating racism and acknowledge that God loves all Black lives.   
The Presbyterian Church (USA) affirms that all Black Lives Matter.  The national office of the PC(USA) invites its congregations to participate in a Week of Action.   
The daily schedule of events and digital toolkit can be found here:
Dates to Remember
November 14    Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbytery
From InterFaith Works Round Table of Faith Leaders
In May 2019, the Rev. Dr. Peter W. Shidemantle was duly appointed by the Leadership Team as presbytery's designated representative to InterFaith Works' Round Table of Leaders of Faith. Pete is currently serving InterFaith Works as Co-Chair of their new initiative: Community Campaign for Love, and he invites us to join in this campaign to build understanding, compassion and unity across our local community. The kickoff event will be held September 13 and will include collecting donations for the non-profit "Rise Above Poverty." To learn more, read Pete's complete letter of invitation here.
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.)
Get ready to tweet about racial justice Aug. 26
PC(USA) Week of Action  
to feature Twitter chat

By Darla Carter
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Deep thinkers with a penchant for expressing themselves in 280 characters or less have a golden opportunity next week to participate in a Twitter chat being hosted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the Aug. 24-30 Week of Action.

The hour-long event begins at noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, Aug. 26, on the PC(USA) Twitter account and will challenge the public to answer questions about such topics as racism, white fragility, reparations, micro-aggressions and how racism intersects with faith and faith traditions.

"The purpose of the chat is to facilitate conversation and inspire action to eradicate white supremacy and dismantle institutionalized racism," said Dee Decker, social media strategist for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. "Twitter is a perfect social media platform to engage in discussion and conversation in a way that embraces and engages a large number of people."

The chat is one of about a dozen events being held as part of the Week of Action, a racial justice effort affirming that Black lives matter and that no one should be marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexuality.
"The week of action is structured to provide public witness that facilitates education, visibility and action that reinforces our PC(USA) statements and policy around acknowledging that God loves all Black lives," Decker said. "We hope the Twitter chat provides a forum for meaningful conversation about what it means to participate in fighting the ongoing oppression of Black lives and how to be an agent of justice, love and equality within the denomination and community."


Not just another Zoom meeting
Pastoring the Body of Christ in a Time of Pandemic'

By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian New Service
LOUISVILLE - As churches shifted to digital worship due to the pandemic this past spring, it was clear to the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow that he wasn't going to try to replicate what happened each Sunday during in-person worship.
Instead he would create a worship experience that felt comfortable enough while taking advantage of the technological possibilities that are readily available.
"No one should be surprised that I'm loving this," he said. "It's my wheelhouse."
Reyes-Chow, who was moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) and currently pastors First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, California, has been speaking and writing about faith and technology for more than a decade.
At 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Aug. 25, Reyes-Chow will lead a Zoom conversation on "Pastoring the Body of Christ in a Time of Pandemic."  The two-hour conversation is presented by Theology, Formation & Evangelism ministries in the Presbyterian Mission Agency as part of its new The Scattered Church project.

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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