Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
January 4, 2018
Dear Friends of Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery,

Welcome to this week's edition of our e-letter, Presbytery Matters. Your e-letter is now being prepared by the Rev. Patrick Heery, pastor of Westminster Church in Auburn, who has volunteered to manage the newsletter temporarily until a communicator is hired. Please direct all content requests to him at Please also consider adding his email to your churches' e-newsletters, so that he can stay abreast of what's going on in your congregations and can share relevant information.  

Our goal, as always, 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
Actively Writing the Vision of Peace

A Letter from Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, serving in Korea

Greetings to you all in the name of Jesus the Christ, the Prince of Peace, in this time of waiting to celebrate his birth and the birth of hope. Hyeyoung, Sahn, and I have been traveling the US now for four months. We are nearing the end of our six-month itineration trip of visiting churches and sharing the stories of the work we are doing alongside our partners in Korea. Our visit to the US began with a note of some trepidation in August. Our plane from Seoul arrived in Atlanta late in the evening, so we went straight to the Mission Haven house that would be our base of operations for a well-earned sleep after a 13-hour flight. We woke up the next morning to see that President Trump had given a press conference in which he threatened North Korea with "fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen" if North Korea threatens the US again. North Korea immediately responded that they would prepare to strike the US territory of Guam if the US moved toward a pre-emptive strike. The world media then collectively forgot the conditional nature of North Korea's response, and they tried to tell the world that North Korea would definitely strike US territory. Subsequently, we met with many anxious and concerned US Presbyterians as we began our visits to churches in the US soon after.

Continue reading the letter by clicking here!
(Look for the photo of Korean War Veterans adding their names to the NCCK Peace Treaty Campaign during our presbytery's event at the Presbyterian Event and Retreat Center in Auburn).

Send any mission stories from your congregation that you would like to share to Patrick Heery: .

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray for the Honorably Retired Pastor Rev. Edgar Thornburg, whose wife, Jane Thornburg, passed away in December in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ed is Pastor Emeritus for Northminster Presbyterian Church and was quite active in the presbytery before moving to Kalamazoo to be closer to family. There will be a memorial service for Jane some time in the new year; we are waiting on more details. Please hold the Thornburg family in all your love and prayers, and join them as they commend this saint to the waiting arms of our Lord.
  • Pray for the Rev. Jim Hughes, a retired pastor and member of our presbytery, who is facing significant medical challenges, including a recent diagnosis of pneumonia and a pinched nerve at both the top and bottom of his spine. Last report tells of Jim regaining strength and improving daily. Please hold Jim and his family in prayer.
Let us join in prayer for PC(USA) Mission Co-workers serving in South Korea: Choon Lim, Yen Hee Lim, Kurt Esslinger, and Hyeyoung Lee. Click here for the Mission Yearbook article about the recent PC(USA) peace delegation to South Korea (note that Earl Arnold is mistakenly represented as "Ed" Arnold in the article).

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 Patrick Heery:

From your e-letter author
Dear presbytery friends and beloved members of the body of Christ,

You've heard right! I will be shepherding the presbytery's e-newsletter for the next several months. It's all quite temporary (I've been assured!), spanning the interim period when we are without a communicator on staff. Several of you have already told me you weren't sure whether congratulations or commiserations were most in order. I'm not sure myself! But I will do my best to share with you the prayer needs, news, and stories of the presbytery and denomination as faithfully as I can, while balancing that other more-than-full-time calling of a solo pastor.

I am happy to contribute in this small way to the life of our presbytery because this presbytery has already built up my life and ministry in ways too deep for words. You were there for my wife Jenna and me when our sons Ezra and Leo died on Palm Sunday, 2017. Steve Plank and members of the presbytery helped shepherd Westminster (Auburn) during my absence. A phone call from Mario Bolivar, while we were still at the hospital, reached across the gap of grief and made us less alone. Steve cared for us in those awful hours, ministering to us out of his own woundedness as a grandfather of a child lost to stillbirth. Mary Anderson cried with us and led a beautiful, heartbreaking, hope-filled funeral. Steve drove all the way to southern Ohio to help us bury our sons in a family cemetery. So many of you prayed for us, hugged us, wept with us, reached out and supported us. Your love was part of the bridge for us between death and resurrection, despair and hope. You showed us what it means to be a connectional church, a family, the body of Christ; you held us up when we could not stand ourselves.

Your support began, however, long before our loss. It was this presbytery that supported Westminster and me in the call process that brought me here to begin with. A phone call with Steve Plank early in that process was one of the reasons I, in fact, decided to accept the call as Westminster's pastor. I was excited by the prospect of a presbytery boldly embracing a new leadership model that sought to disperse power, lift up the gifts of all, and adapt to a changing culture and set of resources. Steve was the kind of presbytery leader I wanted to work with: collaborative, funny, brilliant, and deeply loving. During that call, Steve told me about a congregation discerning whether to leave the denomination or not and asking him why they should stay. I will never forget his answer: "Because we need you." It was one of the simplest, and yet most profound and beautiful, testimonies I had ever heard to the nature of the body of Christ. I wanted to be a part of such a community.

Since then, you have empowered me in my ministry---my first call to the pastorate, full of learnings and growings. You have been my friends and my colleagues. Over and over again, I have been moved by the courage and imagination of this presbytery, its willingness to follow Christ along new paths of innovation and faithfulness. And now our Committee on Ministry Work Group has come alongside my wife Jenna as she seeks ordination to her specialized ministry of caring for grieving families and exploring with them the possibility of saving other lives through a legacy of organ donation.

So, now you see, I couldn't say no when I was asked to serve in this small way. Not after all the grace God has given Jenna and me through you.

Maybe, when the presbytery needs you, you won't be able to say no either. 

In grace and peace,
Rev. Patrick D. Heery

Other Voices from the Presbytery
Soul Space

What: A Retreat for Pastors, Lay Leaders and Worship Planners

When: January 8, 2018, 1-7 pm

Where: Liverpool Presbyterian Church
Hey pastoral leader, have you ever had a moment when Advent just finished and you haven't even caught your breath yet, and now you need to start planning for Lent? It hits you like a ton of bricks! We are here for you!
Come away for a day to debrief from Advent and to start preparing spiritually (and practically) for Lent. The first part of the day will be centered around personal reflection (spiritually catching our breath). The second part will be collaborating and planning for the Lenten season by sharing themes and specific ideas with others. A light dinner will be provided at 6pm. Worship teams are highly encouraged to come and work together to make specific plans for the season of Lent in your particular context.
~ Pastoral Leaders arrive at 1pm
~ Worship Planners come at 5pm
~ Dinner at 6:00pm
Please email Mary Anderson at or call or text 315-323-3583 for more information.
Around the Presbytery
Job Posting

Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in DeWitt is looking for a new part-time bookkeeper, to begin duties the week of January 22. If interested, please contact Rev. Peter Shidemantle - Phone - 315-446-0960.

Support Vanderkamp

God demonstrated God had another plan for this year's Vanderkamp annual facility appeal. Instead of continuing to raise funds to replace rustic cabins, the Lord made it clear to the Vanderkamp staff and volunteers that they could no longer delay repairs of the camp's Fellowship Hall. Once they began work this past fall, the scope of the project became clear. Damage to trusses from snow load over the years needs repair. That means losing the existing ceiling and insulation. It only made sense to rectify heating, insulation, and ventilation issues at the same time. By then they were well past the halfway point to a complete renovation and upgrading of the Fellowship Hall. Join in the first complete renovation of a Vanderkamp structure in recent years. Through your donation, you can help meet the needs of current guests, kampers, and visitors, while glorifying God and serving as a beacon of hope for the future of Vanderkamp's outdoor ministry. Read more and make a donation here.

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
Puerto Rico Recovery Partnerships Are Underway

In the three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Presbyterians in the Northeast have rallied to support our Boricua siblings. This support has taken many forms, growing from the particular needs and resources of those involved, which is itself a beautiful illustration of the creativity and diversity of our community. The Puerto Rico Partnerships Taskforce has been delighted to assist and cheer on these endeavors, and looks forward to continuing this work as the Synod remains committed to partnership for the long-term.

Read more for inspiration and how to get involved:
in English, o en español aqui.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
PW Churchwide Gathering 

The 2018 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women will be held August 2-5, 2018, in Louisville, Kentucky. 2018 is also the year that PW celebrates its 30th anniversary! 
The 2018 Churchwide Gathering registration book is available now! Registration opens on January 15, 2018. And the booklet has all the information you need to envision, plan and promote all the Gathering has to offer! You can  download the registration book or order a copy.
Rita Hooper says she's planning on going and will have room for passengers, as PW is a friendly lot, and with four in a room it's affordable!
Watch the promotional video...
In PC(USA) news...

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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