Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
April 9, 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 and supportive. In other words, we hope that these things will matter. Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed.
Mission Stories


Palms to Go  
Robinson Elmwood United Church & Fairmount Community Church UCC offered drive-thru palms on Palm Sunday.

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 all the doctors, nurses and medical staff on the front lines fighting to save COVID-19 patients.
  • Please pray for all those who are sick with COVID-19 and all those who have lost loved ones.
  • Pray for all those who feel lonely and disconnected during this time of social distancing.
  • Pray for everyone in self-isolation or quarantine.
In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: Columbian, LaFayette; First, Liverpool; First, Marcellus; First, Mexico; Morrisville Community Church
We know that Easter will be difficult this weekend, but we want to remind you that on Sunday we will celebrate that Jesus has Risen and He is with us, always. HAPPY EASTER!
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
 A socially-distant Palm Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles.
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 
Dear friends,
Tonight let us gather and tell the story to one another, the story of Passover intermingled with the story of friends gathered as well as betrayal and denial. Let us tell the story that begins with bread and cup and ends with sleepy disciples and the Judas kiss.  
We will come together, not in spaces set aside for worship, but in the sanctuary of our own homes - at kitchen tables, computer desks and comfy chairs to break bread and drink from a common cup. For some, our gathering will be facilitated by the connectivity provided by the Internet, but the real connection existed long before the computer. It's communion, after all. (We may fuss about the theology of it all, but the Spirit's got this. The Spirit's got us. Together, we abide in God.)
So let us break bread together. Let us drink the fruit of the vine together. Yes, we are physically separate at this time and place, but that never stopped the Great Cloud of Witnesses from gathering with us at the Table.
Let us participate in this supper tonight as an act of defiance against all the things that keep us apart - not just social distancing, but also all the other things that keep us from being distant from one another.
Jesus said "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."
Tonight we abide in Jesus, together.
Tomorrow is another day.
Sunday is coming.
7 to 9 p.m. Maundy Thursday
12 to 3 p.m. Good Friday
7 to 9 p.m. Good Friday  
9 p.m. to midnight Holy Saturday 
Download Maundy Thursday liturgy HERE 
Download Good Friday liturgy HERE  
The Leadership Team has voted to waive one quarter per capita payments for all of our churches.  If you've paid the first quarter, don't pay the next one.  If you've paid for the year, you can request a refund.  If your church is in a place where this is not a hardship, donate your quarter and it will go into a fund to help struggling sibling congregations.  More information will be sent to churches in the next week. 
The Board of Pensions is offering to waive one quarter pension payments for churches under 300 members, and offering deferred payments for larger churches.  Please note, this is not automatic and an application must be submitted.  The intent is that this for those congregations who have significant need.  See for more information. 
Some of our churches are applying for a forgivable loan through the CARES Act.  Information about this continues to change.  If you'd like more information, please have the appropriate person at your church (Treasurer, Business Administrator, Finance Chair, etc.) contact Karen at   
Resource Presbyter's Virtual Gatherings 

Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be holding virtual office hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays.

Karen will be available for drop-in conversations on Zoom. Come say hello, share concerns or learn a bit on how to use this important tool.  
or call 
One tap mobile 
+16465588656,,839671809# US (New York) 
+13126266799,,839671809# US (Chicago)
Pastoral leadership is invited to a Thursday morning Virtual Coffee for connection, support and fellowship.  
The Zoom meeting will start at 10 a.m.  

Join Zoom Meeting: 
Meeting ID: 510 749 428
Interactive Worship Service for all: 
Karen and the Rev. Ben Fitzgerald-Fye, our stated clerk, will hold an interactive worship service on Zoom every Sunday evening at 7 p.m. Register in advance for this meeting: 
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or
Around the Presbytery
Maundy Thursday at First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia

The Rev. Scott Cupp will be providing a liturgy and video that will be available on by 7 p.m. on Thursday. The church will be celebrating Tenebrae, a service of darkness. They will also be celebrating  virtual communion.
Please be sure to gather the following before beginning the service:
  • A small roll of bread -- enough for each person with you
  • A glass of wine ... or water
  • A candle and a way to light it
Dates to Remember
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.)
New hymn speaks to missing out on a traditional Easter celebration

Published a week ago, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette's
'This Easter Celebration' has been translated into
five languages, shared 13,000 times
By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE - Presbyterian pastor and lyricist the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written new lyrics to the tune "The Church's One Foundation" that speaks to Christians who are about to miss out on their traditional Easter celebration.
"This Easter Celebration" includes worship realities now familiar to people of faith: empty sanctuaries, choirs silenced, people worshiping alone or in small groups, staring at their phones, tablets or computers.
"With sanctuaries empty, may homes become the place
we ponder resurrection and celebrate your grace," Winfrey Gillette wrote.
Piece by piece, PC(USA) Easter  
service comes together

Producing a virtual worship service takes
time and patience

By Rick Jones
Office of the General Assembly
On Friday morning, March 27, the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, walked into the chapel of the Presbyterian Center in downtown Louisville. With his white robe in one arm and sermon notes in the other, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was preparing to do something he hadn't done for an Easter service before, deliver his sermon to an empty room.

Nelson was one of a handful of people working to pull together the PC(USA)'s virtual Easter service. The Presbyterian Center had closed on the Monday before because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the participants were practicing something they had not heard of months before, social distancing, to bring the elements of the service together.

Actually, the Stated Clerk says he is very comfortable preaching to an empty room, saying he does this quite often in preparation for a preaching engagement.

"I literally will preach out loud, generally in the house, in preparation for a sermon. That's not a new thing for me," he said. "This goes back 30-plus years when I first started preaching in Greensboro, North Carolina. Every Saturday, when no one was in the church, I would go into the sanctuary and would preach as if the church was packed. It took me back there."

A Louisville-based film and storytelling production company, 180 Degrees, set up two cameras to film the service. The pulpit and nearby cross were decorated with lights and Easter lilies.

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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