Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
March 22, 2018
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!
Palm Sunday!

Blessing of Palms

by Jan Richardson

This blessing
can be heard coming
from a long way off.

This blessing
is making
its steady way
up the road
toward you.

This blessing
blooms in the throats
of women
springs from the hearts
of men
tumbles from the mouths
of children.

This blessing
is stitched into
the seams
of the cloaks
that line the road,
etched into
the branches
that trace the path,
echoes in the
breathing of the willing colt,
the click of the donkey's hoof
against the stones.

Something is rising
beneath this blessing.
Something will try
to drown it out.

But this blessing
cannot be turned back,
cannot be made
to still its voice,
cannot cease
to sing its praise
of the one who comes
along the way
it makes.

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray for Bob and Karen Green as Bob faces continuing struggles in his recovery from foot surgery. Karen in the pastor of First PC of Mexico.
  • Pray for Rev. Janet Newman, honorably retired pastor who now worships at Westminster in Auburn, and her family. Her father, Carleton Potter, died last Friday. A service will be planned for later this year in Homer, New York.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individuals: Columbian, LaFayette; First, Liverpool; First, Marcellus; First, Mexico; Morrisville Community Church.

If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact Patrick Heery:

Other Voices from the Presbytery
Can we talk about guns?

From Lorrie Cooney
and Ginny Smith

This Saturday, on March 24, 2018, students who survived a mass shooting at their Florida school will join with families and allies to lead a march on Washington, called the "March for Our Lives," in order to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. Click here to learn more about this event. We're told that at least few members of Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery congregations will be joining the march.

In response to the current national dialogue and to the violence that has broken the hearts and lives of far too many, the presbytery's Committee on Ministry recently read the article "American Idol," authored by the publisher of the Christian Century, which you can read here.

We hope that you find the article as powerful as we did and that it might spark conversations in our congregations and presbytery about gun violence and our faithful response.

The magazine has granted us the right to use and print (up to 33 copies) as long as we include this with it:

Copyright ©  Reprinted by permission from the March 14, 2018 vol. 135, No. 6 Christian Century.
The Christian Century has created a useful discussion and study guide to help us initiate these conversations, called "Can We Talk about Guns?" You can download it here.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor bodies have addressed gun violence through the actions of many General Assemblies in the last 50 years.

Each resolution reflected a sense of moral urgency in response to rising gun violence and the cultural trends that contributed to it. These resolutions have called on the church to be involved in education and advocacy at the federal, state, and community level to prevent gun violence.

In 2008 the General Assembly recommended that churches should take seriously the pastoral implications of caring for members of our community who have experienced the pain of gun violence, advocate for legislation that would increase the safety and well-being of communities in relation to the presence of guns, and conduct a national study on gun violence.

Click here to read more about PC(USA) policies on gun violence and access important studies, resources, and the award-winning PC(USA) documentary Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence.

If you'd like to learn more, or discuss ideas for going forward, please contact us at: and

Around the Presbytery
The Ordination of
Jenna Lynn Heery

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Auburn

April 14 @ 4 pm

Jenna Heery was approved by our presbytery to be ordained to her specialized ministry of caring for grieving families and exploring with them the possibility of organ donation.

On April 14, at 4 pm, Jenna will be ordained by the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where her husband, Patrick, pastors. It's located at 17 William Street, Auburn, NY 13021. All are invited to join Jenna for this sacred moment in her calling. The Rev. Richelle Goff, pastor of Auburn United Methodist Church, will be preaching. The Rev. Janet Newman, honorably retired member of the presbytery, will be offering the charge. A reception will follow. Come and celebrate with Jenna and Patrick on this momentous occasion! 

You always may keep abreast on happenings in and around the Presbytery by
checking the Presbytery events calendar ( and the

Around the Synod of the Northeast
The Challenges
and Opportunities of
21st Century Ministry

CNY Presbyteries Partnership
Spring Gathering: April 12-14, 2018


An invitation from the Leadership Team of
the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery, chaired
by Linda Russell

Relying less on buildings and more on the Spirit, churches and presbyteries in Central New York are invited to discover new understandings of their mission and witness during the Synod sponsored Spring Gathering, April 12-14, 2018, at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in DeWitt. This event is open to all pastors, elders and church members, and churches are encouraged to send teams of two or more. This is a great opportunity to learn, grow, worship, enjoy fellowship and help build stronger connections with our CNY brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston [Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly, and now General Presbyter for the Presbytery of Charlotte] will lead worship and offer three keynotes focusing on a specialty area for her: The Challenges and Opportunities of 21st Century Ministry.
Workshops for Cayuga-Syracuse participants* will focus on what it would mean to be less tied to the traditional institutional understanding and ways of being church or presbytery and instead freed to become the life-giving, missional body of Christ we are called to be; what tools we might need for such a journey; and what kind of leaders we would need for this journey.
Registration deadline is April 6.  Register on-line at or contact Lori Hylton at or 315-632-5698, ext. 3. Click here for an information sheet outlining the schedule and content for this gathering. Come for the whole event, or attend the portions your schedule allows.
*Participating presbyteries include Cayuga-Syracuse, Susquehanna Valley, Utica, Northern New York and Albany. Participants involved in Ministry/COM will follow a specialized tract during this event. For more information on the COM tract, contact Rev. Garret Anderson at For more information on the event in general, contact Linda Russell at or 315-632-5698, ext. 1.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Death Café phenomenon

Millennials are dying to talk about dying

By Gusti Linnea Newquist | Presbyterians Today

In life and in death we belong to God. So begins A Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Yet many Presbyterians struggle to claim this foundational article of faith. The predominant American culture keeps the reality of mortality hidden from public view, even within the church.

The Rev. Talitha Amadea Aho decided early in her ministry that she wanted to counter this prevailing denial of death in American culture. Inspired by the work of hospice organizations, she was determined to host a congregational conversation on death and dying. When a friend introduced her to the resources of the Death Café movement, she knew she had the perfect way to "take away the sting" of gazing into the abyss.

Continue reading...

Creative ways to use your church property

The new mission field

By Sue Washburn | Presbyterians Today

Leaders at First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennesee, had a difficult decision to make. The congregation had existed on a downtown block for more than 200 years. It has had three sanctuaries on the site and the graveyard has tombs for signers of the United States Constitution. Numerically, the historic congregation was holding steady, but its most recent building was old and in decline. Should members invest in costly renovations so that the building could be used for 21st-century ministry? Or should the congregation move to a more modern space closer to where the members live?

These questions are not unique to FPC Knoxville. As congregations change and traditional church buildings age, the question of what to do about buildings and property becomes paramount. At one end of the continuum, older congregations wonder if they should continue allowing the building to provide a sanctuary for the members who had sustained it. At the other end, new church development leaders must decide whether to commit to bricks and mortar or continue renting space even though the weekly setup and cleanup can siphon off energy that could be used in other ways.

Continue reading...

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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