Monday in Ministry

February 24, 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


Communications and Reports

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

News around the Presbytery

New around the Synod

News around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)



Communications and Reports


Social Media

Remember to "like" our Presbytery's Facebook page so that you can follow along on more up-to-date happenings in our congregations, around the Presbytery, and around the Church in general.  You also can follow us on our Twitter feed:  @CayugaSyracuseP.  Just click on the buttons above to go right to the links for our Presbytery.


Annual Statistical Reports

The deadline has passed for Clerks of Session to submit their congregation's statistics online to the General Assembly.  However, the Stated Clerk/Communicator still has access to data entry on that site, and would be willing to enter data that Clerks might want to pass along to him.  Just call Steve Plank at (315) 632-5698, or email him:



From the Stated Clerk/Communicator


Years ago I was the pastor of a congregation in northern Illinois.  The staff consisted of myself, a full-time administrative assistant, a part-time Associate Pastor, a part-time Director of Music, a part-time organist, and a part-time custodian.  To say that we were a "diverse" staff is an understatement!  We were male and female, younger and older, from very different socio-economic backgrounds, from different family configurations, and with different theological viewpoints.  It was WORK to be Head of Staff there, but we managed to work well together and have a lot of fun at the same time!


I remember one afternoon when we were beginning a staff meeting.  Someone had led our opening time of devotions and prayer, and we were beginning to go through the coming month's calendar.  Someone had mentioned something about TV ads, and we began reminiscing about old ads we'd all seen when we were younger.  Suddenly, our choir director, who was theologically and politically the most conservative of us by far, said, "I remember all the cigarette ads that used to be on TV, and it seemed that everyone on TV shows smoked.  And now... Well, within less than a generation, our whole society has turned things around and made smoking socially unacceptable in most places.  I wonder why we can't do that about handguns?  What would it take for our society to simply decide that handgun ownership was just unacceptable?"  We were all stunned to silence.


Since I'm writing about this now, you can tell that her question has stayed with me these past twenty-or-so years.  And what has stayed with me is not just her question about handguns.  What would it take for us to make political rancor that paralyzes effective governing absolutely unacceptable in our society?  How about bullying?  Sexually inappropriate comments or jokes?  Racism?  An ever-deepening economic divide?  Religious fundamentalism that is rigidly intolerant?  The turn-around that is needed to care for our environment?  What would it take?


What would it take for us within our Presbytery to be able to move beyond the hurts, mistakes, broken trust and broken relationships that many have experienced in the past?  I don't mean that we should just adopt Bobby McFerrin's carefree philosophy from his 1988 song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy!"  We need to fully recognize our heritage - both the richness and the brokenness.  We acknowledge our commonality as sisters and brothers in Jesus our Lord.  We make the decision to move into a new future together.  What would it take?


This morning's closing collect in the Service of Morning Prayer went like this:

As you cause the sun to rise, O God, bring the light of Christ to dawn in our souls and dispel all darkness. Give us grace to reflect Christ's glory; and let his love show in our deeds, his peace shine in our words, and his healing in our touch, that all may give him praise, now and forever.  Amen.


I pray that as we continue to grow and share and learn to move into new ways of being as a Presbytery, that we all might, indeed, "reflect Christ's glory, (letting) his love show in our deeds, his peace shine in our words, and his healing in our touch."


Can I get an "Amen?"


Blessings and peace, friends,




Around the Presbytery


Theological Education Fund

As mission funding patterns have changed through the years within the Church, we developed a national network of people - one person from each of our 173 presbyteries - who volunteered to interpret the ministries of our seminaries to their presbytery, and to encourage extra-mile mission giving to the Theological Education Fund.  Our Presbytery's volunteer in this position for the past few years, ruling elder Frank McDowell, no longer is able to do this, so we need someone else to fill this position.  There is a regional representative from the Seminary Support Network who will work closely with this person to help them with this interpretive task.  If you would be interested, please feel free to contact Steve Plank.  He'll put you in touch with the person who will help.


May Stated Meeting of Presbytery

Folks are already asking about when the next regular meeting of the Presbytery will be.  Our May Stated Meeting will be on Saturday, May 17, time to be determined.  The good folks at Otisco have volunteered to host us for this meeting.  Be sure to put the date and place on your calendar, and watch for more information coming soon.


News from our Korean Partners

You might be interested in following along with the news about the Young Adult Volunteers

who are serving in Daejeon, South Korea.  They have a Facebook page that gives lots

of news and information.  You can find their page here:


Choir News from Oswego

Faith United's Choir is singing at the March 29 game between the Syracuse Crunch and the Binghamton Senators!  If you contact the Church, they can send you a flyer that will get you admittance to the game for $14 - a $10 discount.



Around the Synod of the Northeast


Synod Council

Ruling elder Charlie Smith from the Marcellus Church will be attending the meeting of the Synod Council that is this coming weekend.  The Synod of the Northeast adopted a major restructuring plan last October, and the Council will be spending a lot of time and energy this year getting us ready for what they are calling their "New Way Forward."  We look forward to hearing updates from Charlie as things proceed.


Restructuring = New Bylaws (among other things)

As the Synod moves into their new structure, one of the things that needs to happen is a completely new set of Bylaws and Standing Rules.  Our Stated Clerk/Communicator, Steve Plank, was asked to be part of a small task force of folks to prepare a draft of this document that will be presented to the Synod this fall.



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


Overtures to General Assembly for this June

The Office of the Stated Clerk has acknowledged the official receipt of the three overtures that our Presbytery approved sending to the General Assembly at our February1 special meeting.  These will be added to the other overtures that presbyteries and synods from around the country have sent for the prayerful consideration of commissioners to the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


Board of Pensions Medical Dues Changes

As you may or may not be aware, there are some major changes coming in terms of medical benefits and dues from the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church.  These will take effect in 2015.  At least a few people from our Presbytery will be in Philadelphia the end of April to attend the Regional Benefits Conference put on by the Board of Pensions, and we will come back with more information after that meeting.  Also, our regional representative of the Board of Pensions, Rev. Allison Seed, will be at the May 17 Stated Meeting of the Presbytery, and she'll be available to speak to these changes and talk with individuals as specific questions arise.



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


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