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

September 19, 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
Robinson Elmwood United Church is on a roll
The Robinson Elmwood United Church had a goal of collecting 2,000 rolls of toilet paper. They made its goal and then some.

Church members distributed the first 500 rolls to Sarah's Guest House. Sarah's Guest House provides lodging, transportation, meals and comfort to patients and families of patients receiving medical care in Central New York.  
More rolls will be going out this week.

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...
  • Pray for Shawn and Daphne Reyburn and their family. Daphne's father passed away last week.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
  • Pray for the family of Dick Tuttle who passed away on August 20.
  • Please pray for Charles Vollmer, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Chittenango, and his siblings. Charlie's mother passed away at the end of August.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: 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
Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church held a special breakfast on Sunday to kick off the new year of Sunday School. Carter and John will be part of this year's Confirmation Class.
See more photos on the church's 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.
From the Resource Presbyter 
By the Rev. Karen Chamis
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
In the world of the Enneagram, I'm a 7. (For those unfamiliar with this insightful tool, a great introduction is the book "The Road Back to You" by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.) What you need to know this means for my personality is that I'm a planner.
No, that's not quite right.
I'm an obsessive planner. I will spend hours planning what the coming days and weeks will look like, from the work that will be accomplished to the gifts I will give family members over the next several years. Meals? Menus and shopping lists are forever being revised in my head. Even crop rotations for my ten acres on Tug Hill (yes, I'm serious.)
Like other 7s, I can't understand how those without this tendency function. For years I asked my spouse what his plans were for the weekend because I assumed he had spent just as much time working through all the possibilities when Bill (definitely NOT a 7) was instead spending his time enjoying the present.
You can imagine how this weird tendency to continually plan has impacted my ability to honor my commitment to "...need to learn the song of the tribe in order to sing the song of the tribe..." in this new Calling. I'm working on several different strategic maneuvers for this Presbytery in my brain when my covenant with the good people of Cayuga-Syracuse is to learn to sing the song of the tribe first.
I've promised to be present in part so this isn't about me... but it is about "us". There is an incredible bonus to this - I've learned that when I am truly present, I taste the incredible meal that I'm sharing with seniors at one church and I see the light shining through the colorful windows at another. I hear (and feel!) the deep concern of members who wonder and worry about what will happen to the church they've cared so deeply for, and I delight in the joy of children praying for a member of their cohort who has just received his first Bible. I know that our God has been with me in the past, and I trust that our God will be with us in the future... but when I challenge myself to be present I know that God is with me now, and I know that that is more than enough.
Sometimes congregations seem stuck between living in the past and fearing what will happen in the future. As leadership meets to discuss what happened last month, and what needs to be done in the months to come, I wonder what would happen if we really took the time to be present in the moment? If we offered more than a perfunctory prayer, but instead chose to set aside time to abide in the abundant grace of God? Or, instead of huddling during coffee hour with like-minded folk to discuss the current state of affairs, what would happen if we relished this common time together? What would happen if we took time each day to be fully present to one another and the workings of the Spirit and focused on the holy work of "abiding"?
As for this obsessive planner ... I'm working on it, just as surely as God continues to work on me. Just don't ask me about my list of knitting projects.  

Vanderkamp Update

Late last year, Bishop John Macholz of the ELCA Synod requested a meeting with leadership of the Presbyteries of Cayuga-Syracuse and Utica, in order to explore their relationship with these Presbyteries and Vanderkamp.  Our Leadership Team appointed three representatives who attended a meeting on December 5, 2018. A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for October 7th.

Many of you may have received an email that the "Friends of Vanderkamp" are circulating, which includes a petition that suggests options in the event that the October 7th meeting results in the closure and sale of the camp.  Although I think I understand the urgency of this action, I also recognize that there is a process in place, and folks entrusted by our leadership that are already involved. Those three folks who were appointed by Leadership Team do not have the authority to make decisions (a fact that I'm sure they are grateful for!) They will report back to Leadership Team their concerns and findings, but ultimately what happens will be decided in concert with our two judicatory partners, the Leadership Team and the Presbytery.  

As Presbyterians we often lean into process because it feels safe.  Sometimes we place our faith in process because it seems to offer the false promise that decisions can be made without emotion, and that reason will win out.  I'd suggest that we trust this particular process for another reason: that ultimately that as important this (or any) decision might be, it is how we make this decision that shows who we are.  The process of conversation, fact-finding, and even debate offers space for the Spirit to move. We make our best decisions when we meet face-to-face, and are influenced by those whom we call our siblings.

My prayer, therefore, is that we pray deeply and listen closely to what each of our siblings in this Presbytery has to say. My hope is that we are willing to treat one another with kindness - because this is a tender subject, and dear to many hearts.  May we understand that there are no "sides" here, but rather one body, and that we will make each and every decision together.  It's not just who we are... but Whose we ar e.    
-- Karen Chamis, Resource Presbyter
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: First Presbyterian Church of Chittenango, 118 Arch St., Chittenango 
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: Park Central Presbyterian Church, 504 E. Fayette St., Syracuse  
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: South Valley Presbyterian Church
Feel free to drop in for a conversation - or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or 
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

You're invite to join the celebrations   
You're invited to attend the installation of the Rev. Karen Chamis as Resource Presbyter for the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse. The service of installation will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 at First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia. The service of installation will be followed by a reception. All are invited, welcome and encouraged to attend.

  • An installation service will be held for Andy Hinman at the Faith United Church of Oswego at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 29. 
  • A Celebration of New Ministry for Adam Svereika will be held at      4 p.m. on Sunday, October 13 at the Hannibal Community Church.

From the Associate Stated Clerk
Presbytery Meeting
When:  Saturday, November 2, 2019
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville 
             64 Oswego Street, Baldwinsville
8:30 am:  Registration
9:00 am:  Program
10:00 am: Call to Order

Session Records Review
Session records reviews will be conducted in October.

Clerks of Session are asked to RSVP to Linda Russell, associate stated clerk, by emailing m and make an appointment by October 21 for one of the following dates and times:
  •  Tuesday, October 22 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Liverpool
  • Thursday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Auburn-First
  • Tuesday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. @ Fayetteville
Sessions are expected to be open for 2 hours; however, the evening session may be extended to accommodate clerks who work until 5:00 p.m. If that applies to you, please register for the 5:00 p.m. session and indicate "late arrival" with an approximate time for your arrival. 
Please write "Records Review" in the email subject line and include the name of the church and the name of the clerk of session in the email.
NOTE: The records review checklist has been updated and now requires information about the church's child/youth safety policy and the church's sexual harassment prevention policy and training. The updated checklist can be found here.
Around the Presbytery

The First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles is looking for a lectern to be donated to the church. The church will pick up the lectern, which needs to be large enough to hold a Bible, etc. The church is also seeking the donation of a Bible stand for the lectern. If you can donate, please contact the church by calling (315) 685-5048.
What: Collamer United Church's annual rummage sale 
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20
            9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept, 21
Where: Vollmer's Greenhouse across from the cemetery on Route 298 in Collamer (2 miles east of Carrier Circle; or ½ mile west of Exit 7 off from Route 481.
This "gigantic and awesome" sale will offer a wide variety of great bargains from nearly new to nearly antique. There will also be a food counter and a bake sale so shoppers can snack while searching for treasures.
What: 12th Annual Interfaith Chicken BBQ  
& Pie Auction
When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 21
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 1 East Main Street, in Marcellus
Cost: $10, plus whatever you want to spend on the pie auction
The four churches of the village of Marcellus will again be joining forces to raise funds for the next Syracuse Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build.  
The complete meal will feature 1/2 BBQ chicken, baked beans, macaroni and potato salads, rolls, beverage and dessert. In addition, the ever-popular and highly successful pie auction will be held throughout the evening.

Take-outs will also be available.
Over the past 11 years, the churches of Marcellus have raised over $46,600 for Habitat, as well as providing labor for building several of the homes on Syracuse's Near West Side.
Tickets are available at the First Presbyterian Church of Marcellus by calling (315) 673-2201, the Marcellus Main Street Pharmacy or the Marcellus Library. Get your tickets early, as this event is traditionally a sellout.
What: Chicken BBQ -- Drive-thru at the Church 
When: 11 a.m. until gone on Sunday, September 22
Where: Otisco Presbyterian Church, 1873 state Route 80, Otisco  
Cost: $10 for 1/2 chicken, baked beans and salt potatoes  
          $6 for 1/2 chicken only  
What: Fall Rummage and Bake Sale
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 28
Where: Sennett Federated Church, 7777 Weedsport Sennett Road, Auburn
Household items, books, toys and clothing for sale. Come find your treasure and stay for lunch. Chili, hotdogs and soups will be available for purchase along with a variety of baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, breads and pies. 
What: Chicken & Biscuit Dinner 
When: 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday, October 5 
Where: Collamer United Church, 6865 Fly Road in Collamer, just south of the intersection of Fly Road and Route 298  
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 12 years and children under 5 years are free  
This delicious chicken dinner will include homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh cooked vegetables, beverage and delicious desserts. Take-outs available.
What: Spaghetti dinner to benefit Blessings in a Backpack program 
When: Dinner starts at 12 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 
Robinson Elmwood United Church,  
126 S. Terry Road, Syracuse 
Robinson Elmwood United Church has supported the Blessings in a Backpack program, which helps feed hungry elementary school students nationwide during the school year. Proceeds will benefit our program at Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse, where the church helps feed more than 500 children, 10 months out of the year.   
What: Harvest Ham Dinner 
When: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 12 
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville 
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12 years old and kids 5 years old and under are free 

Dinner will be served family-style 
Take-outs also available    
Menu: Ham, scalloped potatoes, squash, peas, applesauce, breads, pies and beverages
Youth program at OHPC open to children throughout Presbytery  
Does your child like to have fun, play games, worship Jesus?
Are you looking for a mid-week program that teaches about Jesus and Christian values to children in fun and exciting way?
LOGOS brings together a diverse group of Christian children from across Central New York to eat, play, learn & worship.
What:          LOGOS Preview Night
When:        6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, 2019
                          (Parents stay for dinner from 6 to 6:45 p.m.)
Where:       Fellowship Hall at Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church
                   4797 Makyes Road, Syracuse
Questions: Contact Sarah Buckshot at or 315-877-8271.  
The LOGOS System and Program is a dynamic ministry of
Christian education, the goal of which is to nurture youth
and children into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • LOGOS is a non-denominational Christian youth program for students in 3rd to 9th grade students from ANY church or school district.
  • LOGOS will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. We meet about twice a month at OPHC.
  • During LOGOS, students will eat dinner together, learn a bible study lesson, play games and participate in worship.
  • Students will present at our Celebration Sunday service on June 7.
  • There is a fee for LOGOS. Discounts for multiple students and scholarships are available.
What: Small Town Worship Tour 2019 with Seventh Day Slumber and Nathan Sheridan
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 6
Where: Hannibal Community Church, 326 Church St., Hannibal
Cost: Free    
From the Synod of the Northeast

Click here to register or for more information.
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
We are called to faith, not fear
Presbyterians respond to urgent global needs

By Kathy Melvin
Mission Crossroads Magazine

The root causes of migration are many. The answers are sometimes elusive. But Presbyterian World Mission, its mission co-workers and global partners are working together to find those answers.

Although forced migration is a global issue, there has been a strong focus in the U.S. on those seeking asylum from Central America.

According to the blog Lawfare, which is dedicated to national security issues, about 265,000 people left the northern triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) in each of the past five years, with the majority headed for the U.S. There has been a sizable increase to about 508,000 people from those three countries headed north in the first eight months of 2019.

About half of the migrants coming from Central America say economic reasons forced them to leave their homes. The northern triangle includes some of the poorest countries in the world, with a long legacy of inequality and most of the money and land concentrated in the hands of a small, elite group. Violence and insecurity, as well as vulnerability to the impact of natural disasters, are other key factors.


Manna: the biblical symbol of 'enough'

How do we trust  
God will provide?

By Rebecca Crow Lister
Presbyterians Today

Does enough exist?  Is there ever enough time, money, sleep, love, faith, justice, energy or peace for us? Why does it feel like we are always lacking in these and other areas of our lives?

While reading Ellen Davis's "Getting Involved With God," I was struck by a passage in the chapter "Greed and Prophecy: Numbers 11."

Numbers 11 is uncomfortable to read because it introduces us to an angry God. This God doesn't seem like the loving, forgiving God Jesus was talking about in the New Testament. This God sounds mean and vengeful.  But take a moment and try to view it from God's side.

The Israelites were complaining yet again, even though God had been faithful to God's promises. Their whining negated everything God had done for them. God had chosen them, rescued them from Pharaoh's army, accompanied them throughout the desert, took physical form so they could see the Divine Presence and given them food to eat every day ...  and none of that meant anything to them because they were hungry and wanted something different to eat.

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.