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

August 15, 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
2019 Lodi Summer Camp
VBS for Refugee Children
Lodi Summer Camp, the annual vacation bible school camp organized by the Korean Church of Syracuse for refugee children, was held at Cornerstone Christian Church during the first week of July. 
This year, Lodi Summer Camp experienced an even deeper presence of God's grace
The camp had a total of 176 children participating in VBS from Burma, Central African Republic, Chin, Congo, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tanzania, Korea and America. During the camp, 88 children accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.    
Children were able to hear the Gospel, make crafts in art class and enjoy outdoors games together. As a result, the camp served more than 1,400 refugee friends and immigrants .
A ll of the staff members who served this ministry were able to strongly experience the grace of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit. God gave powerful and special grace to all those who were involved.
Lodi Summer Camp used the "them-to-them" method to share the Gospel. Like last year, the junior staff members, children 6 to 13 years old, participated in all of the training, orientation, prayer, worship and planning classes. They spread the Gospel to their peers.  
The camp had special teachers who attended VBS as refugee children. Now they serve this ministry as assistant teachers or staff members.
A message from the Rev. Dr. Yong Ju Jee, senior pastor at the Korean Church of Syracuse:
As a missional church, we have served our community and neighbors who come from all nations, and we hope to continue to serve.
We thank God for providing everything that we need.  
We welcome others churches in the Presbytery that want to join us for God's Great Commission. Also, we welcome any individual or church who would like to support us financially.  
Please pray for us to continue this ministry next year.  
Thank you for your prayers.

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 all those who have lost their lives due to gun violence. Pray for their friends and family. Pray for everyone who has felt the pain of loss and fear due to gun violence in Syracuse and across our country.
  • Pray for all those who are struggling due to the loss of a loved one.
  • Pray for all those in our Presbytery who are entering new roles in their professional and personal lives.
Pray for the reunification of Korea
North Korea and South Korea share only one holiday: National Liberation Day of Korea, celebrated today on Aug. 15. It marks the day in 1945 when Japan declared unconditional surrender and Korea regained independence after 36 years of occupation...
Every year in August, Christians around the world  pray for Korean reunification. This year we will join those voices, remembering the united Korea that was able to decolonize itself from Japan and praying for it to be restored. We'll pray for leaders to have the courage, conviction, and conscience to ignite conversation, lean in, and listen to each other. We'll pray for the will to use all the tools at our disposal: moral persuasion; rational arguments; non-violent direct action and protests; economic, political, and diplomatic leverage; education; and revival of hope among people of the world.
Let us pray using words written jointly by North Koreans and South Koreans and recommended by the World Council of Churches:
Lord, hear the prayers of the beloved Christians throughout the world for peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula. May the people of the North and South meet each other with a smile, and may North Korea and the U.S. establish a peace treaty by ending the hostilities. ... Now in this moment, give us faith with the ability to love."
The complete article can be found here.  
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Amboy Belle Isle; First, Auburn; Westminster, Auburn; United Ministry of Aurora; First, Baldwinsville 
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Jamesville Community Church held its first day of Vacation Bible School this week and it was great. They had more than 60 children and 20 volunteers.  
Learn more on the church's VBS by visiting its 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 Facebook page.
Stated Meeting 
Business, gratitude, fellowship & saying goodbye
Dozens gather Tuesday for stated meeting in Oswego
The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse held a stated meeting on Tuesday at Faith United Church of Oswego.   
Presbytery gatherings are important opportunities to do business together, to worship together around Word and Sacrament, to learn together, and to connect with and engage in "one-anothering" with our sisters and brothers from throughout the Presbytery.
Here's some highlights from the meeting:
The Rev. Karen Chamis was welcomed to her first stated meeting as the Presbytery's Resource Presbyter. The search committee gave her a gift basket full of welcome items that will help her unwind on her personal time, including a New York State parks pass, wine and wine glass that states, "Jesus touched my water." The Rev. Patrick Heery welcomed her and thanked her. You can watch his speech on the Presbytery's Facebook page.  
The Rev. Benjamin Fitzgerald-Fye was elected and installed as the stated clerk of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse. Fitzgerald-Fye will begin on Sept. 1. He was elected for a one-year term.
Shavonn Lynch from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn became a "Candidate Under Care" of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse during the meeting. This is the next stage of her journey as she pursues her call to ministry.   
Dan DeBrucker-Cota became a "Candidate Under Care" of the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse at the meeting. This his next step in his journey towards ministry. As it was said in the meeting, Dan is an inspiration to everyone who meets him and "we are in awe of you."  
At the meeting we recognize and thanked two very important pastors as they move on from their roles in the Presbytery. The Rev. Dr. Peter W. Shidemantle was recognized and granted the status of Honorably Retired. The Rev. Dr. Craig Lindsey joined us via FaceTime from Arizona. We celebrated him as he transitions to a new call in Arizona.  
A Huge Thank You
The Presbytery would like to send out a huge thank you to Faith United Church in Oswego for hosting our stated meeting. The facility provided a beautiful gathering space and church volunteers prepared a delicious meal for us to enjoy.  
Thank you for your hard work. 
The dates for the next for Stated Meetings were announced and they are as follows:  
Saturday, November 2
Saturday, February 15
Tuesday, May 12
Tuesday, August 11 
To see more photos from the meeting, visit our Facebook page. 
To read papers from the meeting, visit our website.
The next stated meeting will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville.

From the Resource Presbyter 
Learning Your Song
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
I write this as I finish my first day of ministry in your midst, and as I prepare for the Presbytery meeting tomorrow. I'm impatient (twitchy, even!) to get started - to plunge in head-first and to start casting a vision for what's next...
I'm not going to do that.
You Called me to be your Resource Presbyter, and although I'm pretty sure none of us are sure of exactly what that means, I'm pretty certain it doesn't involve me casting a singular vision for our work ahead. Rather, I believe my task is to help equip us as a Presbytery to discern that vision together so that our congregations can effectively (and effusively!) share the transformative love of Jesus Christ.
I need your help in this.
College President J. Gordon Kingsley wrote that the real work of leadership is to learn the song of the tribe in order to sing the song of the tribe - to help others find their place in the song so that they can be participants in writing the next verse. Over the next few months I hope to spend time listening to your song. I want to meet you and yours where you are, so that I can better learn your song and your story.
Borrowing an idea from Sharon Core (Presbytery of Western Reserve), I'm scheduling a "Mobile Office Day" once a week. What this means is that I'd like to come to your church with my laptop and hotspot and perch there for a day.  We'll let folks in the Presbytery know that I'm there and that if anyone wants to stop by to chat or to share lunch (brown bag at noon!) they'd be welcome. All I need is a place to sit - a Sunday school room, narthex or coatroom. My goal is not to inconvenience you... so if this is impractical, we will figure out another way I can learn a bit about your congregation's context.
I also covet invitations to visit your church on Sunday mornings (I'll happily sit in the pew*) as well as attend the various meetings in and around your church - Session, Deacons, Youth Groups, Bible Studies, Knitting Groups (please?), etc. Just send me an email at and let me know what works for your congregation.
I look forward to learning your song... learning OUR song as a Presbytery.
*Happy to preach if you need me to (no honorarium!) but I'd really love to experience worship on a 'normal' Sunday.
Karen will be working remotely from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Scipioville church.  
Feel free to drop in for a conversation, or to just say hello.   
Karen's next Mobile Office Event will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at the Shamballa Cafe, which is located at 11 W. Genesee St., in Baldwinsville.

Interested in hosting? All Karen needs is a place to sit!   
Let her know your availability: 
From the Leadership Team

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
What: Chicken BBQ
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 (Typically sells out by 11:30 a.m.)
Where: Columbian Presbyterian Church, which is located at the corner of Route 20 and Route 11

Columbian Presbyterian Church will have its last summer Chicken BBQ on Saturday. Full dinners include 1/2 chicken, salt potatoes, baked beans, applesauce, roll/butter and dessert for $11; 1/2 chicken for only $6
Pre-order by noon on Friday, August 16 by calling 315-677-3293.
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
No pews is good news
Baltimore church wants to stay true to its social justice roots

By Paul Seebeck
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - Light Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore has been home to a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation for more than 160 years.  Founded as a place of refuge for children who worked in factories, Light Street always knew it existed for the city's working-class neighborhood.

That is until the development of Baltimore's Inner Harbor began a rapid gentrification of the Federal Hill neighborhood. The centerpiece of that development, the shopping complex Harborplace, opened in 1980.

Gradually the church, which had served its neighborhood with a soup kitchen, flea market and an affordable housing project, became disconnected from its now more affluent, secular transient community of young professionals.


What happens when you invite death along for the ride?
Lori Erickson explores mortality in  
her new book at home, abroad

By Westminster John Knox Press
Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE --The same week her brother died unexpectedly, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson moved her mother into a memory-care facility. Suddenly faced with the existential question of death, she set out on a quest, her own tutorial in death.

Rather than exploring the five stages of grief or learning how to put together a living will, she wanted to understand how to truly live with death. "Each of us needs to find our own way through the thicket of speculation about our eventual deaths and what comes next, if anything," she writes in her new book of spiritual travels, " Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper." In places as far away as New Zealand and as nearby as the nursing home up the street, Erickson explores her experience with death and how cultures all around the world confront mortality.

In the Vatican necropolis, Erickson stood by what might be St. Peter's bones and pondered how death surrounded the bright celebration of art and life in Rome. In New Zealand, she spent a week among the Maori who believe their ancestors walk among them. In Crestone, Colorado, she visited the only nondenominational, open-air cremation ground in the U.S. to learn about the elemental power of this final death ritual.

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
Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.