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

July 11, 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

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...
  • Pray for the family of the Rev. Pamela Gnagy whose mother, June Gnagy, age 93, passed away on June 28th
  • Please pray for our Presbytery's delegation and all who are participating in Triennium, that they will discover an even closer relationship with God who loves them.
  • For safe travel for our Global Partners as they come from South Korea and for the Triennium delegation as they travel to and from Indiana.
  • Pray for Pastor Benjamin Fitzgerald-Fye and the Rev. Karen Chamis as they prepare their hearts, bodies and minds to take on new roles in August.
  • Pray for all those who are struggling with depression. Pray for all those who are thinking about suicide. Pray for comfort for all those who lives have been impacted by a loved one's death due to suicide.
  • Pray for the family of Ari Ase, Mya Ase and John Savage. Pray for the first responders who were called to the scene of their deaths. May God's healing hand touch the hearts of all those who need to be comforted after such an unimaginable tragedy.
  • Please pray for Dick Tuttle, husband of Sharye Skinner, who is battling pancreatic cancer.
  • Please pray for Jim Russell, the brother of elder Douglas Russell. Jim is battling esophagus cancer.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individual: Port Byron Federated; First, Scipioville; Sennett Federated Church; First, Skaneateles  
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Auburn made history recently with its very first LGBTQ+ Pride Interfaith Service called "Lift Every Voice." More than 150 in attendance. "It was a beautiful service of celebration and lament, of many voices and stories, of love abounding," said Pastor Patrick Heery. 

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.
Special Meeting 
Inspiring Statements, Unanimous Approval
A special meeting of the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery was held Wednesday morning at the First Presbyterian Church of Liverpool.  
The meeting was called to examine Benjamin Fitzgerald-Faye for ordination and membership, and for approving the call of First Presbyterian Church of Scipioville to Fitzgerald-Fye as their pastor. Presbytery members also were asked to approve the call of the Rev. Karen Chamis to serve as our Presbytery's Resource Presbyter.  
Both motions were met with excitement and unanimous approval.  
Benjamin Fitzgerald-Fye shared his statement of faith, the story of his spiritual journey and his call to ministry with those gathered. He took questions from the audience and gave inspiring answers that made everyone in attendance excited for his new role in Scipioville. But it's safe to say that Scipioville Presbyterian members Linda Van Buskirk and Jeanne Herst, were the most overjoyed by the presbytery's approval.  
Fitzgerald-Fye will begin on Aug. 1.  
The Rev. Karen Chamis also shared her spiritual journey and career path during the meeting. Her excitement for the position as our Presbytery's Resource Presbyter was matched by the excitement of those who voted unanimously to approve her call.  
"As a resource presbyter, my hope would be that my work is in resourcing you," Chamis said during her statements at the special meeting. "There's parity. We're on the same level. In fact my service is to you and not the other way around. That excites me."
Chamis attended the meeting with her husband Bill. She said returning to Central New York is a homecoming for her and she's excited to begin work. She starts on Aug. 12.  
To read documents from the special meeting, visit the Presbytery's website.
To see more photos, visit our Facebook page.  
From the Associate Stated Clerk 
Global Partners from South Korea arrive today

Four students from South Korea arrive tonight to join our Presbytery's youth delegation to Triennium. The young women, Ju Eun IM and and Eun Ji KIM, both 19 years old, come from the city of Jeonju. The young men, Mujin AN, 18, and Myungjun JANG, 22, come from Busan. They are being hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Liverpool, and before and after the trip to Triennium they will enjoy home stays with the families of Mike and Leigh Anne Herd, and Melissa and Jason Beerman.
This is the seventh time we have hosted Triennium Global Partners from South Korea since Cayuga-Syracuse began its international partnership with Pyongyang Presbytery in 2000. The Partnership is grateful to the members of Liverpool church for their generous hospitality in providing homes, a full schedule of activities, and the opportunity for building special relationships with our brothers and sisters in South Korea as we come together to worship God as "partners in Christ's service." For more information about the partnership or our Global Partners, contact Linda Russell at 315-730-6930 or

Triennium: "Here's My Heart"

Thirteen people from Cayuga-Syracuse will participate in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT 2019) being held on the campus of Purdue University July 16-20, 2019 including four students from Liverpool: John Pfeffer, Kaleb Pfeffer, Simon Van Houte and Samantha Gallagher; three students from LaFayette: Carolyn Redmore, Jenna Reese and Rebekah Reyburn; four Global Partners: Ju Eun IM, Eun Ji KIM, Mujin AN and Myungjun JANG; and two adult advisors: The Rev. Shawn Reyburn (LaFayette) and Marianne VanHoute (Liverpool). They will join the delegation from Susquehanna Valley Presbytery for the overnight bus trip to and from Triennium, leaving early on Monday, July 15 and returning home on Sunday, July 21.  
The theme for Triennium 2019 is "Here's My Heart."

"Here's my heart" -- our young people are saying to us, to the church, to the world. "Here's my heart" -- God says right back to us.

Triennium truly promises to be a "mountain top" experience for all involved and we give thanks to God for such opportunities.
From the Leadership Team
PC(USA) Ordination Exams 2019: 

Each year presbyteries are required to submit to General Assembly the names of persons willing to read ordination exams. As part of the Northeast Region, Cayuga-Syracuse readers will be evaluating exams the week of October 7-11, 2019 and we have been asked to provide one (1) ruling elder, one (1) teaching elder, and one (1) alternate reader.

The Leadership Team will appoint exam readers at its meeting on July 22, 2019.

Elder Linda Van Buskirk, one of our 2018 exam readers, has prepared information about expectations and training for this role which can be found here. If you would like to be considered as an exam reader, please send your name to Leadership Team Chairperson, Lynn Jacques, at by July 15, 2019.

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

Around the Presbytery
Administrative Assistant Needed      
An administrative assistant is need for the United Church of Fayetteville , which is located at 310 E. Genesee St., in Fayetteville.

Here's the details:
  • About 20 hours per week
  • 14 hours in July and August
  • Coordinate operations of church office
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, social media, & technology skills required for newsletters, weekly bulletins, database & website entries
  • Must be self-motivated, organized, exhibit teamwork & confidentiality
  • $15 per hour
  • Job description can be found on the church's website. 
  • Respond with cover letter and resume by July 22 to

What: Blessing of the Animals
When: 10 am. Sunday, July 14
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, 4361 Church Street in Mexico


PC(USA) Mission co-workers Charles and Melissa Johnson
to present at Liverpool First Presbyterian Church

Charles and Melissa Johnson are PC(USA) Mission co-workers who are working in Zambia. They are on interpretation assignment in the USA this summer, and will be in town at Liverpool First Presbyterian Church at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.  You are invited to come, listen and learn about their mission activities in agriculture training and women's health in Lundazi, Zambia. 

Liverpool First Presbyterian Church mission committee will provide the core meal at 6:30 p.m. Please bring a salad, fruit or desert dish to pass. Then around 7:15 p.m. we will gather in fellowship hall to hear their stories and see how God is at work at this unique intersection.

Please let Liverpool First Presbyterian Church know with a quick note by July 14 to if you plan to attend, for meal planning.

Read more about the Johnsons at their PC (USA) mission site. From there you can read their newsletters to see what they have been doing as PC(USA) mission co-workers in Zambia, or contribute directly to their specific mission ministry.


What: Blessing of the Pets
When: 9:30 a.m. Sunday, July 21
Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 17 William St., Auburn

Westminster Church will have some fun with a Presbyterian-style "blessing of the pets"  during a special outdoor worship service. The Blessing of the Animals will recognize the special bond we share with animal friends and companions, and will be blended into the morning worship on the church's front lawn. All God's creatures (two footed, four footed, no-footed, paws, claws, talons, or other) are welcome (on leashes or in carriers, please). For information, call 315-253-3331.

What: Vendors wanted for 11th Annual Tailgate Festival
When: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, 112 South St., Auburn
Open to crafters, artists, antiques, garage sale items, farmers, etc.
Coffee, drinks, baked goods, and Chicken BBQ available day of sale.

To reserve a space:
Cost: $15
Deadline: Aug. 1
Call: (315) 252-3861

Application can be downloaded on the church's website.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
First-known minister of Gun Violence Prevention installed 
The Rev. Deana Hollas will work for Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

By Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Special to Presbyterian News Service

DALLAS - On Sunday the Rev. Deanna Hollas became the first-known minister of Gun Violence Prevention following a service held at her home church in Dallas.
Sponsored by Grace Presbytery, which includes congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in north and northeastern Texas, the service of ordination was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

"In the last 100 days, 10,000 Americans have died from gun violence and 22,000 have been injured," said the preacher for the service, the Rev. Dr. Clay Brantley. "Deanna's call is a sign of the great persistence and wisdom of God."

In her new call, Hollas will serve as the Coordinator of Gun Violence Prevention Ministries of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, serving a network of over 800 local Presbyterian gun violence prevention advocates in all 50 states.

Caring for the Caregivers
A growing need presents  
ministry opportunities
By Erin Dunigan
Presbyterians Today
The Rev. Sharyl Dixon is now in her sixth year serving Kingston Presbyterian Church in Kingston, New Jersey. When she started serving the church - be it visiting the women's Bible studies or shaking hands at the door after a service - Dixon realized that what she was witnessing, in different forms, was caregiving. For some in her congregation, it was caring for a spouse with dementia. For others, it was caring for ailing parents. For still others, it was caring for children with special needs. Dixon realized there was a need to care for those offering care to others. She began to wonder what might be done.

"To meet weekly seemed too much for those who are already scraping for any amount of time for themselves," Dixon said.

So, three years ago she created a monthly gathering on Saturday mornings - a time when it seemed that caregivers might be able to get away for a few hours to simply check in, ask questions and connect. At one of the gatherings, Dixon read a poem by John O'Donohue called "For One Who Is Exhausted." A few of the women attending asked her to read it again.

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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