Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
5811 Heritage Landing Dr., 2nd Floor
East Syracuse, NY  13057
(315) 632-5698
February 27, 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, supportive. In other words, we hope that these things will matter. Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed.
Mission Stories

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 those impacted by the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the for those who lost loves ones to the virus and other flu strands.
  • Pray for all the animals who are abused and neglected. May God protect all of his creatures.
  • 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: Taunton, Syracuse; Westminster, Syracuse; First, Weedsport; Whitelaw
If you'd like to share a particular joy or concern with the Presbytery, please contact:

Photo of the Week
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Syracuse celebrated God's love and grace in the sacrament of baptism on Sunday morning.
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,
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."
Not that long ago I recall saying those ritual words and applying ashy crosses to the foreheads of friends knowing these folk were well aware of their own mortality. One had stage four cancer, and the other had just buried her spouse and was struggling with a terminal disease. Yet there they were, standing before me as I marked them as human: humans from the humus, earthlings from the earth. Mortal.
This action -- reminding them they would return to the earth -- was an affirmation of what they had already grappled with. What was different in that moment was the knowledge that everyone around them had joined them in those thoughts. In that specific time and place, we all remembered we were little more than dust. Although their arms bore the bruises of blood work and IV tubes ... we all bore dusty crosses on our foreheads or hands. We joined them in remembering who we were, as well as Whose we were.
Churches also get a bit dusty. Churches that were built for specific purposes and demographics find their purpose challenged as neighborhoods change. Some adapt and find new purpose (sort of like what the March of Dimes did after the polio vaccine was developed!) Others relocate either to reach a new mission field, or to flee a mission field they fear.
Congregations die. The Church does not.  
When we remember how tenuous our existence is as individuals and as a corporate body, we may also remember we belong to the Creator of dust and starlight.  
Acknowledging our eventual death as individuals and as congregations helps us to remember that our purpose is not to live forever. Indeed, "The Church is to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its life." (F-1.0301). From the most robust congregation filled with vitality to the church that struggles every day to survive ... we are all dust, and we all belong to God. We all bear the mark of the cross.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Remember that you....we ... all belong to God.

What: Implicit Bias Training
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 13
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Oneida, 304 Broad Street    

Presented by Office of the General Assembly Colleagues Jihyun Oh, director of Mid-Council Ministries and Molly Casteel, manager of Equity and Representation   

Who should attend: Leadership Team, members of COM, Leadership Workgroup,   Church  PNCs, those engaged in anti-racism training in local congregations.    

What to expect: In this 1-day training, we will first learn and discuss concepts to  help build frameworks and mental maps that enable us to engage in equity and   cultural proficiency work, then we will apply key learnings to our own contexts.  Finally, we will reflect on how both the concepts and the application might help to  build Christ's kin-dom in our communities.   

To register, please contact:
Resource Presbyter's Mobile Office Day 

Our Resource Presbyter, the Rev. Karen Chamis, will be working remotely at the following locations:
Date: Thursday, March 5 
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  
Place: Freedom of Espresso, 128 W. Genesee St., in Fayetteville   
Date: Tuesday, March 10 
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Place: Faith United Church of Oswego, 12 Mark Fitzgibbons Drive, in Oswego 
Date: Monday, March 16
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  
Place: Salt City Coffee, 509 W. Onondaga St., in Syracuse 
Feel free to drop in for a conversation -- or just to say hello
Karen can be reached at 315-632-5698 (option 1) or
Around the Presbytery



Annual Lenten Soup & Bread series
The annual Lenten Soup and Bread series has begun. Each host church provides a hearty variety of soups and bread for supper at 6:30 p.m., followed by a program. Previous programs have included singing hymns, assembling care packages, listening to instrumental concerts and participating in liturgical services.

The host schedule for 2020:  
March 4: Apple Valley United Methodist Church
March 11: Otisco Presbyterian Church
March 18: Columbian Presbyterian Church
March 25: Apple Valley United Methodist Church
April 1: Onativia United Methodist Church
There's always plenty of food and worship! Please join us.

What: Pastors Lunch
When: 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 3  
(The first Tuesday of the Month)
Where: Robinson-Elmwood church.
Bring your own lunch. The group is reading "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott.
Dates to Remember
March 23          Leadership Team Meeting
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+)
Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
'Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return'
Ashes, communion elements and a Pauline epistle form foundation for Presbyterian Center's Ash Wednesday service

By Mike Ferguson
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE - After a simple and beautiful Ash Wednesday service, worshipers left the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center nourished by the Lord's Supper and marked with ashes imposed on their foreheads.

"We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance, and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed by the gospel of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, associate for worship in the Office of Theology and Worship and Wednesday's preacher. The ancient sign of ashes "speaks of the frailty and uncertainty of human life and marks the penitence of this community."

Gambrell weaved his sermon together with Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, found in 2 Cor. 5:20b-6:10, where God tells the church in Corinth, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you."

"See, now is the acceptable time," Paul tells the church. "See, now is the day of salvation!" As "servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God ... We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see - we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
Group urges formation of presbytery Earth care teams
Toolkit available to help people become better stewards of God's Creation

By Darla Carter
Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE -   Presbyterians for Earth Care has a new program and toolkit to promote the creation of Earth-care teams at the presbytery level to address issues such as climate change.

The Presbytery Earth Care Program was touted in a "Green Your Presbytery" webinar that was conducted recently with help from the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

"Some of you may have an Earth-care team at your church, or you may wish you did," PEC Coordinator Jane Laping said during the February webinar. "Our strategy involves forming such a team at a higher level that includes many churches, not just one."

The teams would reach out to congregations in their presbyteries and provide them with resources and encouragement to include Creation care in various aspects of church life, Laping said.

The ultimate aim of the program is for PEC to collaborate with individuals and churches to become better stewards of God's Creation, Laping said.

"Climate change is now a crisis situation, and people are literally ready to do something," Laping said. "What is lacking are leaders. You could be a leader of your presbytery's Earth-care team. Think of the impact this could have for earth care in the Presbyterian church and in the country."

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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