Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
March 29, 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!
A Lenten Journey for the Presbytery
As we approach Easter and the promise of new life in Christ, it's time to come back to the question posed to us at the February presbytery meeting: What does it mean for us, as the presbytery, in this time and place, to follow Christ?

Or put another way: As followers of Christ, what are the three core values that shape our ministry and mission together? How is Christ leading us to get up and get out in proclaiming his gospel?

At the beginning of Lent, we were invited to spend the next forty days sitting at the foot of God, listening for God's purpose for us, just as Christ did in the wilderness. We were reminded that this was no abstract question. The presbytery wasn't looking for generalities. We wanted to know what specific work and values we are called to.

We were invited to share this question with our Session and Deacons, with our congregations and prayer groups. Even if you haven't done that yet (it's been a full and busy season), there is still an opportunity for collective conversation and reflection. Consider taking these questions to your congregations in the coming month. Make this part of your own personal prayer life and discernment.

We invite you then to share your responses with the presbytery's Leadership Team. Click here for the Team's contact list.

Joys and Concerns around the Presbytery
In our prayers together this week...
  • Pray for former executive director at Vanderkamp (1978-1985) Dick Lacy, who broke his neck and damaged his spinal cord on Thursday, March 8, 2018. After 7-hour surgery and 7 days in the ICU, followed by 11 days in Upstate University Hospital, he was transferred on March 26 to Syracuse Veterans Hospital into the 5 year old Spinal Cord Rehab Center. He is participating in arduous and very long work to regain use of arms, legs, body muscles, and an ability to swallow again. Since 2016 Dick and his wife Martha (Volunteer Coordinator) have been encouraging many people to give time to participate in Vanderkamp's rebirth under Penny & Bill James. Short visits are encouraged, and cards may be sent to his home at 4616 Grace Place, Jamesville, NY 13078, for Martha to take them to the VA. Dick's birthday is April 14.
In the cycle of prayer for our Presbytery, please pray for these congregations, faith communities, and individuals:   Northminster, North Syracuse; Onondaga Hill; Faith United Church of Oswego; Presbyterian Church of Otisco; New Hope, Parish.

If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact Patrick Heery:

From the Leadership Team
Please see below some important updates from the presbytery's Leadership Team:

New Communicator Position...
The Communications Work Group is in the process of writing a position description for a part-time Communicator. A draft description was presented to the Leadership Team at its March 22nd meeting for comment and will be refined for presentation at the April 26th meeting. The goal is to offer a recommendation for the position at the May 12th Presbytery meeting. Members of the group working on this position include Mario Bolivar, Karen Green, Rita Hooper, Patrick Heery, Jill Fandrich, and Deb Thomas.
Plans for the new Presbytery website suffered a setback recently when the company hired to design the site was unexpectedly sold to another company and the project was not moved forward. A refund of our deposit has been promised. On March 22nd, on recommendation from the Communications Work Group, the Leadership Team approved the hiring of freelance web designer Jess Haswell. This path will allow us to create a new website with friendly software, local and flexible support, training and a how-to manual, and with a design that will allow us (now and with successor staff and volunteers) to do our own content management and future redesigns, all with potential cost savings to Presbytery. Many thanks to Mario Bolivar, point person for the website project, and to Patrick Heery and Jill Fandrich for their assistance. In the meantime, while our current website is embarrassingly out-of-date, it does still have a few helpful items under the resources tab.
Stated Clerk...
It was with great regret that the Leadership Team received the news that Stated Clerk Larry Beasley must relinquish his position effective May 31, 2018. Larry's primary, full-time, position is with the Presbytery of Utica, which has recently had to add unforeseen additional responsibilities to Larry's workload. This makes even his very part-time (10 hours/week) contract with Cayuga-Syracuse unsustainable. The Leadership Team tasked Linda Russell with forming a 3-5 member group to search for a new Stated Clerk with the goal of presenting a recommendation to Presbytery at the May 12th meeting. While Larry will, of course, continue to take calls and emails related to polity and stated clerk duties, the Leadership Team reminds folks that you can also reach out to the LT Chair (Linda Russell), Moderator (Rev. Shawn Reyburn), and Ministry/COM Chair (Rev. Garrett Anderson) by calling 315-632-5698 and selecting the appropriate extension.
Background checks...
Effective April 1, 2018, background checks done through Presbytery will be processed by Paula Lamberson through the Presbytery's bookkeeping office. For more than eight years the good folks in the office at Robinson Elmwood United Church have handled this service, graciously and professionally, and the Presbytery offers them our profound thanks! Going forward, we will follow the same basic procedures except that requests should now be sent to Paula at Questions? Contact Linda Russell at 315-632-5698, ext. 1.

Planning Calendars for 2018-2019...
Churches and individuals wishing to order Presbyterian Planning Calendars through the Presbytery's bulk order should email their request to Linda Russell at by May 1. The actual price will be determined by the shipping cost but should be similar to last year (approximately $9.00 per calendar). The goal is to make calendars available at the May Presbytery meeting, but that date is earlier than last year's meeting and delivery will depend on when the calendars finish printing and become available for shipping. Any questions, call Linda at 315-632-5698, ext. 1.

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! 


Chicken and Biscuit Dinner

Amboy Belle Isle United Church (6190 Airport Road, Syracuse, NY 13209) will be having a chicken and biscuit dinner on Saturday, April 7th.

Service begins at 4:30 pm. Take-outs are available. Adults are $9.00; ages 5 - 12 are $5.00; and children under age 5 are free.


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

Last week's e-letter shared a Christian Century article about guns. A typo said that you were free to print 33 copies. That was a mistake. It should have said 300 COPIES.

The magazine has granted us the right to use and print (up to 300) as long as we include this with it:

Copyright ©  Reprinted by permission from the March 14, 2018 vol. 135, No. 6 Christian Century.

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterians join hundreds of thousands in march against gun violence

Office of Public Witness organizes denominational contingent in Washington

By Rick Jones |
Presbyterian News Service

Across the country and the world Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took part in rallies and demonstrations against gun violence. The March for Our Lives was organized by students in various communities.

The main event was in Washington, D.C., led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were gunned down on Feb. 14. The crowd demanded that Congress enact stricter gun-control legislation to crack down on school shootings. As of Saturday, there have been 17 school shootings in the U.S. since the first of the year where someone was either hurt or killed, according to national law enforcement officials.

The Office of Public Witness participated in the D.C. march.

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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