Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse

P.O. Box 6010

Syracuse, NY  13217

(315) 632-5698


February 10, 2014



Dear Friends of Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery,

Welcome to this week's edition of our e-letter, Monday in Ministry.  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.).  Your input is valued, and your comments are always welcomed!



In This Issue


Social Media

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

Around the Presbytery

Around the Synod

Around the PC(USA)



Social Media



It's amazing, especially perhaps to people of a "certain generation" (read "older") how much Facebook is used for communication.  This is not just true for individuals, but also for organizations... like our Presbytery, like your congregation.  Do you have a Facebook account?  It's easy to set up.  Later this spring, Steve Plank and Jill Fandrich will be offering a workshop or two for people from congregations who are interested in communications, and, among other things, we will take some time to help you set up a Facebook account and/or a Facebook page. In the meantime, be sure to follow and "like" us on Facebook.  You can find our Presbytery's page by going to Facebook and searching for "Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse."



The Presbytery also maintains a Twitter feed.  This gives a snapshot, with links, of some of the things going on.  You can follow us @CayugaSyracuseP.



From the Stated Clerk/Communicator


It doesn't appear in the Sunday lectionary readings but once every three years:  4th Sunday in Lent, Year C.  However, the parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son in Luke 15 always has been powerful for me.


Years ago, when I was serving a church in northern Illinois, the church treasurer – a 4th generation member – stole a little over $120,000 from the church.  (Reading the situation last fall at the United Methodist Church in Marcellus brought back lots of memories for me!)  In the process of working through all of the implications of what happened, one of our church's Mariners groups asked my wife, Caroline, and me to come and talk with them.  They all were of the same generation as the Treasurer. They all had stood up in each others' weddings.  And they were in deep pain.  We talked with them about this parable in Luke 15.  I reminded them that if the Treasurer, like the Prodigal Son, came back to us in repentance, we had to receive him with open arms of welcome and forgiveness.  However, I also talked with them about the fact that we, while not like the Prodigal Son in the parable, were like the elder brother.  Would we be resentful if the "prodigal" returned home, or would we be able to share the joy of God that he had "come to himself" and returned?  It was a tough time for that congregation.


This parable has a depth to it that is profound.  I was reminded of that again this afternoon as I was reading a quote from Henri Nouwen's book, The Return of the Prodigal Son.  Here is what Fr. Nouwen wrote:

"For most of my life, I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God.  I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life - pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures - and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself.  I have failed many times but always have tried again, even when I was close to despair.... It might sound strange, but God wants to find me as much as, if not more than, I want to find God."


I don't know about you, but it always surprises me to think that God longs for me, seeks me out, waits for me to return when I have wandered, and runs to welcome me home, throwing a lavish party that I neither need nor deserve.  I constantly strive to remember that.  This parable helps.


I guess that's why this thing is called "grace."


Blessings and peace,




Around the Presbytery


Collamer United Church

The folks at Collamer are involved in a new mission project, My Brother's Keepers. The mission is to make sleeping bags for homeless people. We will next meet on February 15, 2014 in the lower level of CUC, starting at 9:30 AM till ? Coffee/tea and bit of refreshment will be provided for those who can make it.  Address is 6665 Fly Rd., East Syracuse, NY.  For directions, call the church at 463-4939.


Buy from Amazon and Support Vanderkamp

Next time you want to buy from Amazon, go to the Vanderkamp website ( and click on the link that says "Shop, Connect, Enjoy." You can buy what you want from Amazon, and Vanderkamp gets a percentage of your order (without affecting your cost).



Around the Synod of the Northeast


Synod Council

Ruling elder Charlie Smith (Marcellus) will be attending the meetings of the Synod Council this year as our commissioner.  The next meeting is February 28-March 1.  The Council is tasked this year with preparing the Synod to transition to its new structure, as outlined in last fall's adopted document, "New Way Forward."  We look forward to hearing news from Charlie about developments.


Summit on Race

The Synod is sponsoring a Summit on Race, which will be meeting at Union Theological Seminary in New York City on March 6, 2014.  Teaching elder Steve Plank will be attending on behalf of the Presbytery, but others are welcome to attend as well.  This summit discussion will be led by Professor James Cone.  Conversations will center around Dr. Cone's latest book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree.  If you are interested in finding out more about participating in this, please contact Steve at


Church Educators' Gathering


NEACE (Northeast Association of Church Educators) is having their Annual Event April 29-May 1, 2014 at Linwood Conference Center in Rhinebeck, NY.  The theme of this year's conference is "One Service Fits All: Designing Worship for Multiple Generations." Teaching elder Theresa Cho, co-pastor at St. John's Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, will be the conference leader.  Registration deadline is April 7.  For more information, contact Craig Kunkle, the DCE at Pittsford Presbyterian Church in Pittsford, NY:  (585) 586-5688, or



Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


Per capita apportionment

So what exactly is "per capita," and what kinds of things does it fund?  Traditionally, per capita monies are given by congregations to the larger Church (presbytery, synod, and General Assembly) in order to fund the things that are needed to keep staff and programs in place that the Church has determined to be "necessary ecclesiastical expenses."  If you'd like to find out more about per capita, there is a link on our website to a flyer that explains this in more detail.  Feel free to look it up here:


General Assembly

The 221st meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will take place June 14-21, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.  Our Presbytery's commissioners are teaching elder Tracie Martin and ruling elder Jill Fandrich (Westminster, Auburn).  Becky Wind (Isaiah's Table) is our Young Adult Advisory Delegate.  Please remember to pray for them, and for all the folks who soon will begin preparing for the meeting of this Assembly.



P. O. Box 6010

Syracuse,  NY  13217-6010

(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


Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.