Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
March 12, 2020
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

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 Annette, wife of the Rev. Larry Bell and member of Westminster Presbyterian Church (Auburn). Annette's ovarian cancer is recurring just three months after completing frontline chemotherapy. Please pray for strength and endurance for Annette and Larry and for the doctors who are treating her.
  • Please pray for Shavonn Lynch, Candidate under Care, as she devotes herself to preparing for ordination exams the end of April and graduation from seminary in May.
  • Pray for all those who are struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.
  • Prayer request from Korea: Westminster-Auburn recently received a message from Hyeyoung Lee and Rev. Kurt Esslinger, our mission co-workers in South Korea, explaining how life there has been impacted by COVID-19. They wrote:
"Thank you so much for your support and prayer for our ministry in Korea ... We'd like to share a bit about how things are going here in Korea with COVID-19. As you know, the COVID-19 has impacted daily lives of Korean people as well as churches. Church services and gatherings are being replaced by online services, schools are being delayed, and many events and gatherings are being canceled. Small business owners and labor workers are especially having a hard time economically. Undocumented immigrants and people with disabilities have been affected by this harshly as well. Thankfully, in Korea at least, the rate of infection has begun to slow down. Yet, we have heard that many people in the U.S. are also feeling anxious as the number of confirmed cases of infection increases. 
Please join us in prayer:

1. Protect the health of all the government and medical officials who are struggling to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and pray that they can handle the situation with wisdom.
2. Please pray that Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) who have been in Korea for a year will remain healthy and successfully finish their time here in Korea.
3. Please pray that the COVID-19 crisis is over soon so that congregations can gather together to worship in the same space.
4. Please pray for those who are in a vulnerable place during the COVID-19 crisis.
5. Pray that our society, gripped by fear and anxiety, will be supportive of each other with love and consideration and overcome difficult times rather than turning to discrimination and exclusion.

We will be sending out our quarterly mission letter soon. So, you will hear a little more detail about how things are going here in Korea. Thank you again for your prayer and support."
Hyeyoung and Kurt

In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Our Presbytery (the Leadership Team, Work Groups, Committees, and Mission and Ministry Teams), the Synod of the Northeast, General Assembly staff .
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Ladies of Weedsport First Presbyterian Church are preparing the Easter candy bags for the Easter Egg Hunt on April 5.
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 
Friends -
The world may be built on shifting sand ... but we know the One who is our Rock and Redeemer.  We are blessed with the resources of faith and reason, and are tasked with the stewardship of caring for one another.
As Covid-19 continues to spread, faith communities around the world are making adjustments to how they worship and work in order to protect their members as well as the communities they serve. In addition to modifying how we worship and encouraging good hygiene amongst those who gather, we also need to minister to those who are at home. As people who are accustomed to gathering around tables, breaking bread and sharing the peace, conversations about virtual worship seem foreign. Those with compromised immune systems may find themselves in exile in their own homes for weeks at a time. How shall we respond?
Developing ways of connecting with those who are quarantined or who are socially isolated may also teach us ways of reaching out to those who shy away from church walls. Experiments in virtual worship, education, mission and outreach may offer deep insights into how we might be the church in this century beyond this present crisis.
There are several opportunities for congregations to explore being the church without going to church:
If your congregation is already hosting online worship opportunities, could you share those links with me? I'd love to be able to share them with other congregations in our Presbytery. There may be some congregations that don't have the ability to offer this ... and if you're willing to expand your virtual table to your siblings, I know it will be appreciated.
You may have heard several doctors and officials stating that folks should consider not going to church. That may be sage advice based on your particular circumstances ... but please remember, not going to church doesn't stop us from BEING the church.
Blessings -

What: Implicit Bias Training
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 13
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Oneida, 304 Broad Street    

Presented by Office of the General Assembly Colleagues Jihyun Oh, director of Mid-Council Ministries and Molly Casteel, manager of Equity and Representation   

Who should attend: Leadership Team, members of COM, Leadership Workgroup,   Church  PNCs, those engaged in anti-racism training in local congregations.    

What to expect: In this 1-day training, we will first learn and discuss concepts to  help build frameworks and mental maps that enable us to engage in equity and   cultural proficiency work, then we will apply key learnings to our own contexts.  Finally, we will reflect on how both the concepts and the application might help to  build Christ's kin-dom in our communities.   

To register, please contact:

Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 

Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations:
Date: Monday, March 16
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 W. Onondaga St., in Syracuse 
Feel free to drop in for a conversation -- or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or
Associate Stated Clerk
Congratulations Cayuga-Syracuse!

Thanks to the efforts of our clerks of sessions and/or pastors, 37 of our 37 churches successfully completed their 2019 Statistical Report for the office of the General Assembly. For the second year in a row! My sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in making this possible.
Linda Russell
Associate Stated Clerk
Around the Presbytery
The First United Church of East Syracuse has 12 hearing headsets along with one amplifier to donate to a church that could use them. The units were manufactured by Williams Sound Corp. First Untied has had a hearing aid loop system installed and thus no longer uses the headsets. For further information, contact Bill Jacques at or 315-263-9236.




Annual Lenten Soup & Bread series
The annual Lenten Soup and Bread series has begun. Each host church provides a hearty variety of soups and bread for supper at 6:30 p.m., followed by a program. Previous programs have included singing hymns, assembling care packages, listening to instrumental concerts and participating in liturgical services.

The host schedule for 2020:  
March 18: Columbian Presbyterian Church
March 25: Apple Valley United Methodist Church
April 1: Onativia United Methodist Church
There's always plenty of food and worship! Please join us.


Whitelaw Presbyterian Church

Maundy Thursday Service
Thursday, April 09 at 7 p.m. 

On this night the Whitelaw Presbyterian Church Choir will perform a Cantata entitled "LOVE DIVINE" by Joel Raney. Love Divine takes its theme from John 3:16, the Bible verse that is the central pillar of Christianity: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son; that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The love behind Christ's sacrifice is pure and unbounded and excels all others.
This is an emotional examination of the Passion of Christ, taking listeners from Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the Last Supper, to his prayers in the garden, his arrest, trial, crucifixion and his miraculous resurrection. A Tenebrae Service will be woven into this by extinguishing candles at the conclusion of each song, and the Lord's Supper will be shared.
Easter Service/Resurrection of the Lord
Sunday, April 12 at 9:30 a.m. 

This service represents the festival or holiday that took place celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.  

The day will begin with:
Continental Breakfast -- 8:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall
Worship Service -- 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Whitelaw Presbyterian church is located at
3085 Whitelaw Road West
Canastota, NY 13032
Around the Synod
Applications are being accepted for the Wurffel-Sills Scholarship and Interest-Free Student Loan Program now through April 1, 2020. Members of any church within the Synod of the Northeast, who are pursuing full-time undergraduate or seminary studies leading to a Masters of Divinity (MDIV) or Masters of Religious Education (MRE) are welcome to apply.  Part-time studies, non-credit or certificate courses are not eligible to apply.

Dates to Remember
March 23           Leadership Team Meeting
April 27             Leadership Team Meeting
April 27             Docket items due for the May 12 meeting  
May 12              Presbytery Stated Meeting, Robinson Elmwood United Church
June 4               Spring Senior Fun Day at Vanderkamp 
June 20-27        General Assembly, Baltimore
July 23-24         Board of Pensions Thrive Seminar (for clergy age 50+)
August 11         Presbytery Stated Meeting, TBD  
November 14   Presbytery Stated Meeting, Westminster-Auburn
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
'Church attendance is an individual choice'
Stated Clerk speaks about 
in-person worship and the coronavirus, and a PC(USA) office has gathered live streaming guidelines

By Paul Seebeck and Rick Jones
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is urging congregations to make decisions about worshiping in person based on what's best for their community and the people gathered for worship.

"In this time of crisis, we are presented with a challenge that calls us to engage in deep prayer and commonsense protection against a virus that we are not able to contain at this time," the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, said Wednesday. "Our understanding is that church attendance is an individual choice. It is also a representation of the grace given to us by the Almighty God."

The decision on whether church services should be canceled "is between each congregation and their presbytery leaders," Nelson said. "They need to determine what is best for their community and the individuals who gather for worship."

In response to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who said Wednesday that communities of faith in the Bluegrass State should cancel services amidst the coronavirus outbreak, Nelson said he agrees with the governor "that individuals should exercise extreme caution as it relates to public places, but this should not only be about church services. All public venues and events should be included in this, such as basketball tournaments and other events that draw thousands of people to our convention centers and meeting places."

Sunday school class inspired by Presbyterian Giving Catalog choices
Students in Lubbock, Texas, give to projects they believe are the most helpful to others
By Scott O'Neill
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Covenant Presbyterian Church Sunday school teacher Laura Baake teaches a special group of kids each week in her hometown of Lubbock, Texas. Her elementary school-age class has raised money for the Presbyterian Giving Catalog the past two years, and the children make all the decisions on where they want to donate the money they raise. You might not think a group of elementary school students would be very thoughtful about which projects to support, but you would be wrong.

"We studied the Catalog and listed the projects we felt were the most helpful to others," said Baake. "We also liked that we had the option to give to a variety of projects beyond buying animals. We prayed for the fishermen and the students whom we wished to help, made a list to prioritize our giving, then made plans for the bake sale which funded our Catalog gift."

The children took the lead in the fundraising effort, starting with making posters to promote the bake sale to church members and making announcements during the service about what they hoped to accomplish.

"Our class focuses on study, fun, service and community," said Baake. "This year we decided on the student kit ( supplies for displaced students) and prayed for children in a refugee camp. They wanted to help one child continue to study and we were able to meet all our goals."

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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