Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
December 12, 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
Every child deserves a gift on Christmas


The youth group at Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church is making sure one Syracuse family will have an extra special Christmas.


LOGOS is a non-denominational Christian youth program for students in 3rd to 9th grade from any church or school district.   


Each December, LOGOS students at OHPC hold a special Christmas Celebration. Typically the students exchange gifts with each other, but this year is different. LOGOS volunteers wanted to forego the typical "Secret Santa" gift exchange and spread the love to the community.  


The group adopted a Syracuse family for the holiday. The family includes a single mother and her four children, who range in age from 9 months old to 9 years old. LOGOS students divided up the children and each LOGOS student purchased a gift for a member of the family.


On Tuesday, during LOGOS, the students wrapped the presents together and prayed for the family to have a wonderful Christmas. 



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...
  • Please pray for the family and friends of Elder Pat Neumann, who passed away on Nov 20. Pray for the Rev. Dan McCollister and his family as they grieve the passing of his wife, Julie. Elder Julie McCollister passed away on Nov 30. Pray for the community of King Ferry church in their time of grief and mourning.
  • Pray for the Rev. Ed Kang who was diagnosed with angiosarcoma. The Rev. Kang, honorably retired Cayuga-Syracuse pastor, is currently residing in a Presbyterian retirement community in Owego along with his wife Mae.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individual: Taunton, Syracuse; Westminster, Syracuse; First, Weedsport; Whitelaw
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Pastor Patrick Heery preaches from between the greens at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn. 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 
Hello, Cayuga-Syracuse!
We're two candles into Advent, which means that some of our congregations spent this last Sunday talking about peace. Of the four themes of Advent, it's arguably the one theme that is easier to talk about than to enact (go ahead, argue with me ... prove my point!)
Some describe peace as the opposite of war. Others identify peace as a lack of conflict. Martin Luther King stated: "True peace is not the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice."
"Give peace a chance." - Lennon
"Let peace begin with me..." - Miller, Jackson-Miller
"All I want is some peace and quiet!" -- Parents and Teachers. Everywhere.
In The Anatomy of Peace [1], the authors offer that when we see others as objects (as opposed to human beings) we begin an escalation of violence. In fact, beginning to see someone else as an object is an act of violence against that individual. Another Martin (this one, Buber) distinguished between understanding others as either "I/Thou" or "I/It", with the ultimate Thou being God.
When we objectify others we categorize them (In-laws, Democrats/Republicans, Immigrants and Refugees, Israeli/Palestinian) and see them as that which occupies space and time, but do not see them as someone we are in relationship with. We may see them in terms of their value to us as opposed to their value as intrinsic. Chances are good you've been on either side of this equation.
Why is this important? Because we who talk about peace cannot have peace until we bridge the gap.
The words that have become the central themes of Advent [2] may have a questionable beginning, but they aren't for wimps. Words like joy, hope, love and peace challenge our way of thinking and being in a way that echoes the readings from the prophets and the promise of the Second Coming of Christ. These are life-changing words ... if they become more than just words.
In other words, Peace should be more than a nice idea on a banner. It needs to be a life-changing way of seeing others in our families, communities, churches and world.
My challenge to you this week is to consciously choose to see everyone you meet as a person -- complete with feelings, thoughts and agency. Don't see them as your friend, neighbor, spouse, child, waitstaff, clerk, pastor, etc. See them as THEM.  
Bonus points this week if the individual you are seeing in this way is someone you've disagreed with.
Let peace begin with me, indeed.
Blessings -

[1]Ferrell, J., & Boyce, D. (2015). The anatomy of peace: Resolving the heart of conflict. Berrett-Koehler Publishers
[2] Loosely based on the lectionary readings, but codified by the Christian supply companies... the folks who sell bulletins, etc. That's right, they were a marketing tool.
The Salon was developed in the 16th century as a way for individuals to share ideas.
You are invited to exchange ideas at a modern-day virtual Salon.
Organizational Values: How they are determined, evaluated and utilized
Zoom: (contact Karen at for assistance on using Zoom)
1:30 p.m.  
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 
Join us for a conversation and sharing of ideas  
and resources around the topic of Organizational Values.
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day will be on hiatus for the rest of December.

The Rev. Karen Chamis will resume her weekily mobile office hours next month. 
From the Stated Clerk 
For the past 6 years, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence has declared an ecumenical, interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath in the month of December.

The sabbath is this week: Dec. 12 - 15.

In the year 2019, we have seen more mass shootings then there are days in the year and we have seen enough school shootings to average one per week. Thousands of people will lose their lives to gun violence this year and our nation stands paralyzed by the politics of inaction and the emotionally overwhelming images of violence flashing across our television screens. These are the moments that cry out to the church to fulfill its role as the consciousness of the nation. The December sabbath is simply a moment to pause, reflect, pray, mourn and rededicate ourselves to the non-partisan truth that death by violence is not normal or acceptable.
Scipioville Presbyterian Church in Scipio Center will observe this sabbath on Friday, Dec. 13. For 12 hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Psalms will be read aloud from our pulpit. We recognize the psalms as the most honest, vulnerable, beautiful and emotionally raw writings in our biblical canon. As we consider so much of scripture to be God speaking to a people, the psalms represent a people crying out to God. So, in response to the overwhelming trauma and destruction caused by gun violence in this nation, we will stand and speak the words of a people to their God in challenging, uncertain circumstances. We acknowledge that the time for thoughts and prayers has passed; and yet, we also affirm that the mission and action of the church must be anchored in relationship to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From our prayer, our psalms, comes a dedication to turn words into actions, psalms into proclamation.
If you would like to simply offer a moment of your presence in solidarity, please know that there is no mandatory timeframe of attendance. You are welcome to wander in and out of our sanctuary throughout the day, once, or even for a fleeting moment.  Every moment of your presence is a gift and a sign of acknowledgment for the loss, the fear, and the trauma caused by gun violence.
We hope you will consider participating by voice or by presence. For all of those who have lost a loved one, feared for the safety of a loved one, or found themselves in the uncertainty of not knowing, we offer you our voices, lifted in the common plea, "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!"
God's peace be with you.
Pastor Ben
Scipioville Presbyterian Church
3428 State Route 34
Scipio Center, NY 13147

From the Associate Stated Clerk
Attention Clerks of Session...

The season for annual statistical reports begins Friday, December 6, 2019. On that date everything you need for completing the annual statistical report of 2019 data for your church will be available online. The link for "Statistical Reporting and Frequently Asked Questions is: On that page, click the link for "Go to the Online Statistics Entry System" to enter the Church Statistics System. The deadline to submit your report is February 1, 2020. 
Thank you so much for your service! Last year all of our churches submitted their reports and Cayuga-Syracuse was one of a handful of presbyteries that achieved 100% compliance. Let's do it again! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached at or 315-730-6930.
Around the Presbytery
Need Ink?

The First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville has unopened, unused ink cartridges in the church office. They are free - first come, first served - to anyone who can make use of them. Interested? E-mail   
27 black (2)
45 black (2)
57 tricolor (1)
58 photo (1)
92 black (2)
920XL black (1)
920 yellow (1)
920 magenta (1)
940XL black (2)
940XL cyan, magenta & yellow (1)
LC61BK (1)
12A19 80 color (2 - one is marked "high resolution")
33 color (1)

Cozy Senior Living in Skaneateles

Are you looking for affordable senior housing?

The Manor, in the village of Skaneateles and within walking distance of shops and restaurants, may be just what you or someone you know may have in mind.

The Manor is comprised of six suites that include a bedroom, living room and private bathroom. The house has large common areas as well. A house manager/cook provides daily meals. There are laundry facilities on site and limited parking in a detached garage.

The Manor is a mission of the Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles. However, residency is open to all denominations. Call the church office at 315-685-5048 for more information
. There are two suites available.  

What: Annual Cookie Walk
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14
Where: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse
Cost: $8 per pound.
Come one, come all and pick out your holiday favorites.

Pies will also be available for $10.

Dates to Remember
December 16-17         Synod's Presbytery Leadership Forum at Stony Point  
December 23              GA commissioner names due to OGA
December 23               Leadership Team Christmas gathering 
February 15                 Presbytery Stated Meeting at First Presbyterian Church of Weedsport
February 24                 Leadership Team meeting  
March 23                      Leadership Team meeting
April 27                         Leadership Team meeting  
May 12                          Presbytery Stated Meeting 
July 23-24                    Thrive Seminar (for clergy aged 50+) by the Board of Pensions  
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Advent activities put the holy back into the holidays
Waiting for Christmas together

By Sherry Blackman
Presbyterians Today

'Tis the season of holy anticipation - and unholy madness. To encounter the holy, and to counteract the madness, churches are offering creative ways to slow down and smell the Christmas trees.

Here's a roundup of some of the ways churches are helping their communities be still, breathe in the incarnation and carry hope into the world.

Adventure Camp

Last year, Ramsey Presbyterian Church in Ramsey, New Jersey, held a one-day Vacation Bible School on the first Saturday in Advent. Children were taught about the traditions of Advent with an emphasis on the meaning of the Advent wreath and the four candles that would be lit in the following weeks.

According to the Rev. Steve Huston, the church partnered with Camp Johnsonburg, a Presbyterian camp and conference center in Johnsonburg, New Jersey, that provided two camp staff to keep the energy level high all day. Everyone received an Advent calendar and an Advent liturgy for families to use at home.

"The added benefit for the parents was having a kid-free day to decorate the house, shop for Christmas, or just have coffee with friends," Huston said. "It also allowed the church to invite other families from the community to participate in our Advent worship and activities."

'By golly, let  
your gifts shine'
Presbyterians Today editor uses Advent oil, humor to remind worshipers of God's good gifts
By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Visitors and staff at the Presbyterian Center have the Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson to thank for the velvet ropes surrounding the Nativity scene in the lobby of denominational headquarters.

Jackson, a parish pastor and editor of Presbyterians Today magazine, said during Chapel worship Wednesday that during Advent season last year she found herself waiting in the lobby with a copy of the magazine in her hand. Take my picture, she asked a friend. Jackson knelt before the baby in the manger and offered him the copy of the magazine.

"I decided the Wise Men wouldn't outdo me with their gifts," she said. "I told her, 'Quick! Take my picture before I'm arrested.'"

Headed home via airplane the next day, Jackson looked down at the magazine cover in her lap. Tears rolled down her face.

"I thought that the moment I entered into the Nativity, when I knelt down and presented the magazine, I remember looking at Jesus and at the magazine and realizing that God was using my gifts to tell the stories of all those Presbyterians whose voices are not being heard," she said, inviting worshipers to "stop for a holy second at the Nativity, sneak in and say to God, 'Work through me. Take my gift and use it. May my gift truly glorify your name so that the world can truly see that love rules.'"

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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