Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
March 26, 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

Sidewalk Gospel

First Presbyterian Church of Mexico Pastor Karen Green and her husband Bob created some sidewalk inspiration recently at the manse and church. "Know that you all are in our prayers and thoughts," Pastor Green said.

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.
  • 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.
  • Pray for Jim Russell as he continues his fight with esophagus cancer.

In the cycle of prayer our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities,and individuals: First, Cazenovia; First, Chittenango; United Church of Collamer; Pebble Hill, DeWitt; First United Church of East Syracuse 
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
   Dylan and Hayden attended Sunday School from their couch on Sunday.  
Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church used Zoom to to connect students and teach lesson on Jonah.
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,
Easter Sunday isn't about a full church.
It's about an empty tomb.
For far too long the Church has been co-opted into the belief that more is better. We have been guiled into following the metrics of society in attempting to identify what has value, and that value is based on what is bigger.  A close sibling of this way of measuring worth is the prosperity gospel: if you are blessed, you are rich.
I call ... poppycock.
Is it a wonderful thing on Easter morning to see the church filled with folks in their finery -- new hats and spiffed up shoes? Is that morning made beautiful with lilies and trumpets and the congregation bellowing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today?"
But that isn't the goal of Easter, but the byproduct of the empty tomb.
It is helpful to remember that the One who occupied that tomb, who lives and reigns forever and ever, is the same One who told us: 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
Let this Easter not be about a full church.
Let it be full of compassion for the least of these: Consider how you might reach out to those in need at this time of fear and dis-ease.
Let it be full of forgiveness: Use this time of isolation to reach out to those who have wronged you, and those whom you have wronged. Find ways to forgive and to be forgiven.
Let it be full of justice and mercy: Pay attention to those who are wronged by the systems that are in place and use what privilege you have to work toward justice. Write. Call. Connect with those who are making a difference.
Let it be full of hope.
Blessings -
Our Resource Presbyter is applying for a Block Grant from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. This grant is specifically to partner with congregations that are engaged in ministering to the unmet needs of those impacted by COVID-19. This can include things such as housing, feeding, access to healthcare, etc. Support is also available for new ministries that meet these criteria as well as those that are at risk of suspending existing programming. Those programs that targets the needs of the marginalized or refugee populations are being given priority.
If your congregation could utilize funds for these purposes, please send a short response to the following:
Description of the Project
Aims and Goals of the project, including work to be performed and expected outcomes
Target population
Date of Implementation
Brief budget
Send responses (or questions) to by Monday, March 30, 2020.
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
  Church events across the Presbytery have  
been postponed or cancelled.
Events in May and June are up in the air.  
Baldwinsville First Presbyterian Church postponed their annual April rummage sale, but is hopeful for June. We all are hopeful!
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 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.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Virtual Communion: Church leaders  
say it can be done
Office of the General Assembly issues advisory opinion on holding communion during emergency/pandemic

By Rick Jones
Office of the General Assembly

The rapid spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has raised a lot of questions within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) over how the church conducts everything from worship and communion, to official meetings in the face of quarantines and calls for social distancing. Most churches have opted to close during the pandemic and last weekend, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), called on all churches to refrain from holding worship services on site in an effort to contain the virus.

Over the last few days, staff from Theology, Formation and Evangelism in the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Office of the General Assembly and the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA) have discussed and reviewed the Book of Order, the Directory of Worship and other documentation to determine the best way to move forward. On Wednesday, the Office of the General Assembly released an advisory opinion saying churches can hold online or virtual communion during an emergency/pandemic.

"In emergency circumstances there may be situations in which the pastoral needs of that moment require that the church take actions that run contrary to normal practice," the statement reads. "During an emergency or a pandemic in which the church is unable to gather or advised not to gather in person for reasons of public health, a congregation's session may determine that this includes observing communion online."

The Book of Order gives the responsibility to the session (and other councils) to authorize the celebration of the Lord's Supper at least quarterly ... in accordance with the principles of the Directory for Worship.
Protecting your mental health during the pandemic
How to take steps to limit anxiety over coronavirus

By Darla Carter
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - As Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear addresses the state each day about efforts to fight the coronavirus, he often stresses the need to take steps to keep anxiety in check during these difficult times.
"Mental health is going to be critically important getting through this," said Beshear, who's admitted feeling a little overwhelmed on occasion, as the world and his home state wrestle with the pandemic.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says it's important to take care of your mental health during the pandemic.
"When you feel that anxiety bubbling up, get up; go do something," he advised during a recent daily briefing to the public. "Take a walk. Play with your dog. Do whatever it is that you need to do. Take care of yourself. Shut off the TV and the internet. We really need everybody to stay calm as we move through this."

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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