Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
November 14, 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
LAMP seeks participants for Mission Trip to Mexico 
The Latin American Mission Partnership (LAMP) is organizing its 16 th
mission trip to Mexico on February 18-25, 2020. The trip will have two experienced trip leaders: Karen Dimon and Pete Shidemantle.  
Anyone over the age of 16 (14 with an adult) is welcome. The trip costs LAMP $2,600 but the cost to participants is only $1,100. Scholarships are available for up to half the cost.
The fee covers all expenses ... food, accommodations, airfare, tips, entrance into cultural exhibits .. .except for personal mementos.  
Campeche, the safest county in Mexico, will be the home base while the group travels to outlying villages. Plans include painting, VBS and other projects at the seminary or in small villages.The weather is golden and the people are friendly.  
If you ever thought of sending your teenager on a mission trip (or going yourself), this is a great experience. Every participant, without fail, said it was a life-changing experience. Applications are available from Sandi Yingling by email her at
Deadline is December 1, 2019
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 of Lewis White, who passed away recently. Lewis is the father of elder Nancy Wind. Cards may be sent to Nancy, husband Bob, and daughter Rebecca Wind at 212 Breakspear Road, Syracuse, NY 13025.
  • As another cold winter weather hits us, please pray for those who are homeless. May there be enough warm beds and warm meals to help them during their time of need.
  • Please pray for the family and friends of ruling elder Joyce Short who passed away recently. Joyce was a long-time member of Auburn-First, a faithful member of our presbytery, and a good friend of many.
  • Prayers for the family of Tonya and Scott Cupp (honorably retired) on the death of Tonya's mother, Julia Esseniyi.
  • 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: 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:

Photo of the Week
First Presbyterian Church Mexico after a beautiful dusting of snow. 

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!
"What happens if this doesn't work?"
It's a good question. The statement under the question is "this isn't going to work." It's been used in our family (generally thought, not spoken) whenever Dad         jury-rigged something that had cords. Dad was trained as an electrical engineer, which is far different from being an electrician. The man would test if a wire were live by licking his fingers and touching it. Yes, he's still with us, wonderfully, amazingly so. Perhaps more amazing is that most of the time, what he wired DID work.
"What happens if this doesn't work?" is a question I hear in my visits with folks
around the Presbytery. The question is generally in reference to my position, which
is held together with duct-tape and approximately two years of funding.
Of course, most congregations aren't strangers to the question. They ask it of
themselves as they Call a new pastor, or make adjustments to an already lean
It's a good question.
It's the wrong question.
The question we should be asking is: "What happens if this DOES work?"
If this does work ... will more lives be changed?
If this does work ... will God's kin-dom expand?
If this does work ... will more children be fed, more folks have housing, more people
experience justice and mercy? 
If this does work ... will it mean that more people experience the transformative love of God?
In the Book of Order (part of the Presbyterian Constitution) there is a section that
states: The Church is to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even
at the risk of losing its life. (F.10301) If we dwell on the "what if it doesn't work"
question, we will find ourselves paralyzed and concerned with sustainability.
Everything is dust, my friends.
The better question leads us back to ponder whether or not our decisions help us to
be a community of faith. It's a question that begs us to lick our fingers and touch the
bare wire to see if it is live ... and to see if it is life-giving. Try it at your next
meeting ... you may find the results to be empowering or even shocking!
Blessings -
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 
Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations: 
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, 4361 Church St., Mexico  
Date: Monday, November 25, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Place: First United Church of East Syracuse, 823 Franklin Park Dr., East Syracuse
Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: Robinson Elmwood United Church, 126 S. Terry Road, Syracuse  
Date: Monday, December 9, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse
Please note: Karen will be on hiatus for the rest of December, but will be back doing Mobile Offices beginning in January.
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 Associate Stated Clerk
Report from the CNY Missional Structures Team
[This is a follow-up to the verbal report made by the Rev. Garrett Anderson at the Presbytery meeting on November 2, 2019.]
The CNY Missional Structures (CNYMS) Team, made up of representatives from Northern New York, Susquehanna Valley, Utica and Cayuga-Syracuse presbyteries, began meeting in the Spring of 2019. The purpose of the team is to discern the most faithful way for us to serve the mission of Christ within our presbyteries. We are considering how a re-alignment, re-shaping and re-committing could spark a new and vital spirit in our congregations.
Our task for the summer was to hold targeted meetings for conversation about specific questions within our own presbyteries. The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse held three meetings in May and June. The entire CNYMS team will meet later this fall to check-in, to welcome new leaders, and to chart our next steps in the missional structures process.
In the meantime, we thought it important to offer the "raw data" from the C-S meetings. Notes summarizing the information gathered from our three listening sessions can be found here.
Garret Anderson, Jenna Heery, Nancy Wind

At the Presbytery meeting on November 2, 2019 a request was made that a list of openings in elected positions in Presbytery be shared in the Presbytery Matters e-news so that pastors and elder commissioners might help identify qualified persons for service in these positions. The list of current openings includes:
Leadership Team:
Class of 2020 = 1 adult - asap
Class of 2021 = 1 adult - asap
Class of 2023 = 5 adults - ready for election in May 2020
Committee on Representation           1 at-large member - asap
Nominating Committee                      6 at-large members - asap
Vanderkamp Board                            1 member for a 3-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2020
Treasurer                                            3-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Moderator of Presbytery                     2-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Vice-Chair of Leadership Team          2-year term beginning June 1, 2020
Suggestions should be forwarded to the Nominating Committee co-chairs: elder Nancy Wind ( and the Rev. Karen Green (    
Around the Presbytery
'How lovely are thy branches'
Vanderkamp is selling Christmas trees

Vanderkamp is selling farm-fresh trees grown organically without chemicals harmful to the environment.

Order forms and payment are due by Nov. 17.

Order forms can be found here.

Learn more about the sale and how you can help Vanderkamp by visiting the sale's webpage.

What: Annual Christmas Bazaar & Luncheon
When: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23
(Lunch served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Where: Amboy Belle Isle United Church, 6190 Airport Road, Syracuse

Dates to Remember
November 21-23          Moderators' Conference, Louisville
November 25               Leadership Team meeting, First United, East Syracuse
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, home of Karen Chamis
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.)
'Standing together in a world divided'
Bangkok consultation creates statement of unity

By Kathy Melvin
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) and World Mission organized a gathering with ecumenical representatives from around the world last week in Bangkok, Thailand. The purpose was to have deeper conversations about worldwide crises such as climate, weakened democracy within nations and increasingly divisive practices among nations.

The origin of the consultation is the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in St. Louis, which asked ACSWP to be more in conversation with non-U.S. Christians about challenges facing the world community and issues of international law. At the same time, World Mission was hosting a series of domestic and international consultations with U.S. and global partners.

The Rev. Philip Woods, World Mission's associate director for strategy, program and recruitment, was set to create a gathering that would address political and economic limits to the holistic mission of the church and to our partnership with other churches. The two ministries worked together to create the Bangkok consultation.


Young women's  
leadership training  
reaches beyond the church
Ministry helps shape new leaders  
for both church and community

By Gail Strange
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - Shannon Schmidt is currently designing an ethics curriculum at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a class she will be teaching in the spring of 2020. The course will be split between MIT students and incarcerated students who are working toward their bachelor's degrees and will be taught in a prison-based setting. In addition to this work, Schmidt serves as a facilitator for a support group for formerly incarcerated men in Boston.

She served as a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegate to the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women as a part of the Leadership Development and Young Women's Ministries sponsored by the Racial Equity & Women's Intercultural Ministries. She has worked as a Compassion, Peace, & Justice fellow at the PC(USA)'s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. While there she served as a student assistant to the General Assembly.

"Each of these experiences were transformative to my growth, both within the PC(USA) community and on a deeply personal and individual level," she said. "Throughout my time serving in these roles, I found myself constantly drawn to deepen my understanding of the intersections of interfaith organizing and social justice. Looking back, I can recall leaving each of these experiences with a lens of perspective which routinely nudged me to recognize the coalitions and communities of faith-based actors above and below the surface of the American and global political landscape."

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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