Summary of October 18, 2016 Presbytery Meeting


The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse held its stated meeting on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at Amboy Belle Isle Community Church in Syracuse.  We are grateful to the folks at Amboy Belle Isle and to their pastor, Commissioned Ruling Elder Gail Banks, who provided such gracious hospitality and such a wonderful meal!

The Stated Clerk reported that two special groups within the Presbytery have begun their work.  The Session of First Presbyterian Church in Chittenango requested to begin the process outlined in the Gracious Dismissal Policy of the Presbytery.  The Presbytery has named the following people as the Presbytery members of the Presbytery Discernment Team: teaching elders James Moore and Pete Shidemantle, and ruling elder Nancy Wind (Isaiah’s Table).  Teaching elder Mary Anderson was appointed chairperson.  The congregation has named three members to the PDT, and the Session moderator, teaching elder Lorrie Cooney, will be a member with no voice or vote.  An Administrative Commission has been named to work in partnership with the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Auburn to address issues related to the church’s ownership of the Case Mansion.  Members of the Commission are ruling elders Joe Russo (Park Central), Beth Flynn (Auburn First), and Barbara Adams (Scipioville), and teaching elders Craig Lindsey and Banu Moore.  Mr. Russo was elected as the chairperson, and Ms. Flynn was elected as the clerk.

During the worship service at this meeting, the Presbytery celebrated the Sacrament of Communion, CRE Gail Banks preached, ruling elder Rita Hooper (Fulton) was installed as Vice-Moderator of the Presbytery, and teaching elder Mario Bolivar was installed as Vice-Chairperson of the Leadership Team.

Members and commissioners were invited to share items of Good News from their congregations and worshiping communities, and from Vanderkamp.  Some of those who shared were:

  • James and Banu Moore about events in the Scipioville community and activities of the Committee on Representation.
  • Bill and Penny James about news from Vanderkamp.
  • Jim Thayer from Liverpool about their use of the Great Commission Funds to help build a new cabin at Vanderkamp.
  • Nancy Wind about an upcoming event with author Doug Pagitt that will be happening in the Presbytery next year.  She also asked people to complete a brief survey to help the Leadership Development Work Group in their planning.
  • Susan Smith about upcoming PW events.
  • Deb Thomas about the “Fabulous Fourth” program at First United Church of East Syracuse, which celebrates special, interactive events during worship on the fourth Sunday of each month.  Deb will be producing a booklet about what she’s done this past year.
  • Mario Bolivar about the new, laminated nametags that he has printed for use by folks at Presbytery gatherings.
  • Linda Russell about the November 1 deadline for receipt of Benevolent Care Grants.  She also talked about the Peace and Global Witness Offering, and about the change in distribution percentages within our Presbytery.  She also shared two stories of the Aurora and Korean congregations’ use of Great Commission Funds.
  • Sharye Skinner about Sunday’s installation of the Rev. Tom Oak as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia.
  • Sam Dance about Onondaga Hill hosting some 400 youth from across the country for a Group Work Camp who will be coming to Syracuse to work and help in some of the impoverished areas of the community.  There will be opportunities for area congregations to help as well.  This will be in the summer of 2018.


The Presbytery received a report from this summer’s Presbyterian Youth Triennium…. and to see some 60 presbyters engage in an energizer truly was a sight to behold!

The 2017 Presbytery budget was approved by the Presbytery.  The per capita apportionment for 2017 is $37.75, up from $35.22 in 2016.  The breakdown is $7.50 for General Assembly, $4.10 for Synod of the Northeast, and $26.15 for Presbytery.

Ruling elder Charlie Smith reported for the Ministry Work Group (formerly, the Committee on Ministry, or COM, Work Group) regarding transitions within our Presbytery:

  • The Rev. Tom Oak is being installed as the pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Cazenovia on October 23.
  • The Rev. Tracie Martin was recognized for her ministry, and the Presbytery honored her on the occasion of her retirement on October 31.
  • The Rev. Janice Fitzgerald will begin her ministry as the Interim Pastor at Robinson Memorial Presbyterian Church on November 27.


The Presbytery elected ruling elder Dan DeBrucker-Cota (Robinson Memorial) for service on the Leadership Team, class of 2019.

The Presbytery’s Bylaws and Standing Rules were amended as proposed by the Leadership Team.  Among other things, the number of Presbytery meetings/gatherings was changed to four times per year: February, May, August, and November.

Shaughn Anson (Young Adult Advisory Delegate) and Gordie Howard (ruling elder commissioner) reported about their experiences at this summer’s meeting of the General Assembly.  Ruling elder Charlie Smith reported about the work of the Synod’s Mission and Ministry Commission, and ruling elder Rita Hooper presented a report from the Synod Assembly, 

The next Stated Meeting of the Presbytery will be sometime in February, date and place to be announced.


Teaching elder Steve Plank,

Stated Clerk/Communicator