Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
April 5, 2018
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!
An Easter Blessing

For Easter

If you are looking
for a blessing,
do not linger

is only
a hollow,
a husk
where a blessing
used to be.

This blessing
was not content
in its confinement.

It could not abide
its isolation,
the unrelenting silence,
the pressing stench
of death.

So if it is
a blessing
you seek,
open your own

Fill your lungs
with the air
this new
morning brings

and then
release it
with a cry.

Hear how the blessing
breaks forth
in your own voice,

how your own lips
form every word
you never dreamed
to say.

See how the blessing
circles back again,
wanting you to
repeat it,
but louder,

how it draws you,
pulls you,
sends you
to proclaim
its only word:


~ Jan Richardson

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray, on behalf of Sennett Federated Church, for baby Collin Bond, who is still in poor shape; and while the medical staff at Crouse remain hopeful, he may need a year or more of continued hospitalization. That might mean being transferred to an infant long-term facility in Albany. (Genetic testing found a mutation called CHD7 or CHARGE Syndrone that was not good.)
  • Pray for Jenna and Patrick Heery (pastor of Westminster in Auburn), who face the one-year anniversary of the stillbirth of their twin sons, Ezra and Leo, on April 9.
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:

Around the Presbytery
Boundaries Awareness Workshop

The Central New York Presbyteries Network will host a boundaries awareness workshop on April 25, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at United Presbyterian Church, 101 S Broad St, Sackets Harbor, NY. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Keli Rugenstein, Director of Clergy and Congregation Consulting in Rensselaer, NY. In addition to traditional boundaries awareness topics, Keli will address boundaries for honorably retired clergy and Edwin Friedman's model for differentiated leadership.
All pastors currently serving churches in Cayuga-Syracuse, commissioned lay pastors, pastors and elders on the pulpit supply list, and employed church educators are invited and strongly encouraged to attend so that we ensure we are offering the best of ourselves and bring our training compliance records up to date. Questions may be directed to Larry Beasley or Linda Russell at 315-632-5698, ext. 2 or ext. 1.


Special Spring Gathering, April 12-14

Featuring GA Co-Moderator Jan Edmiston

Registration deadline: April 6
The Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston will lead worship and offer three keynote presentations focusing on a specialty area for her, The Challenges and Opportunities of 21st Century Ministry, during a Synod-sponsored three-day event at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in DeWitt April 12-14.

Come learn, worship, grow, enjoy fellowship, and build stronger connections with our Central New York brothers and sisters in Christ as we consider how God is calling us to be less institutional and more missional---and explore what that means for how we move forward in our ministries and what kind of leaders we would need for such a journey. This invitation is for all pastors, elders and church members; and churches are encouraged to send teams of two or more.

Click here for an information sheet (for folks not following the COM tract).

Register online or contact Lori Hylton at or 315-446-5990. [Note: phone number in last week's e-letter was incorrect.] For more information on the Ministry/COM tract, contact Rev. Garrett Anderson, or for more information on the event in general contact Linda Russell. They can be reached at 315-632-5698, ext 4 or ext 1, respectively.


The Ordination of  
Jenna Lynn Heery

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Auburn

April 14 @ 4 pm

Jenna Heery was approved by our presbytery to be ordained to her specialized ministry of caring for grieving families and exploring with them the possibility of organ donation.

On April 14, at 4 pm, Jenna will be ordained by the Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where her husband, Patrick, pastors. It's located at 17 William Street, Auburn, NY 13021. All are invited to join Jenna for this sacred moment in her calling. The Rev. Richelle Goff, pastor of Auburn United Methodist Church, will be preaching. The Rev. Janet Newman, honorably retired member of the presbytery, will be offering the charge. A reception will follow. Come and celebrate with Jenna and Patrick on this momentous occasion! 

You always may keep abreast on happenings in and around the Presbytery by
checking the Presbytery events calendar ( and the

Around the Synod

Rochester PC(USA) churches band together
in the face of ongoing decline

Faith & Leadership

Back in 2007, when the Rev. John Wilkinson and the Rev. Judy Lee Hay met regularly for coffee at the South Wedge Diner in Rochester, New York, they often talked about the plight of a growing number of the city's churches from their denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Wilkinson, the pastor of Third Presbyterian Church, and Hay, then the pastor of Calvary St. Andrew's Presbyterian Parish, lamented the dwindling membership and financial decline at so many of Rochester's PCUSA churches. Their own congregations were holding steady, but others weren't doing so well. Two had already closed. Two others were barely holding on. Five were without pastors.

They knew that the decline they had been witnessing wasn't unique to Rochester -- or to the PCUSA. It had been happening across the nation and throughout mainline Protestant churches for decades.

Both graduates of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and both trained in community organizing, Wilkinson and Hay knew the importance of relationship building for any organization. They wondered: What would happen if Rochester's PCUSA congregations moved toward an uncertain future together, instead of separately and alone?

Continue reading...

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Four overarching themes come out of new worshiping communities research

Participants focus on diversity, children, food, social justice

by Melody K. Smith |
Presbyterian News Service

After the 2017 "Living, Dying, Rising" conference took place in August in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, a sociologist from the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Research Services department conducted informal interviews of participants, most of whom were leaders of new worshiping communities (NWCs).

The NWCs were in various stages of development, and interestingly, interviews with their leaders elicited four overarching themes: diversity, children, food and social justice.

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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