Monday in Ministry

March 3, 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

 

This Week...

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

Around the Presbytery

Around the Synod

Around the PC(USA)

 

 

This Week

 

Ash Wednesday

Most all of our congregations will be having special events this week to mark the beginning of Lent.  Be sure to take advantage of such offerings:  Shrove Tuesday suppers, Ash Wednesday services, special programs or Bible studies to begin the journey into Lent.

 

Time Change

Don't forget that Daylight Saving Time kicks into gear this coming Saturday night, March 8.  Remember to "spring ahead."  And this is important to do, because you know how embarrassing it would be to come into your church Sunday morning only to be greeted by everyone else leaving. J

 

 

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

 

Lent is here

 

For years I've had a love-hate relationship with Lent.  There were years I'd actually look forward to those preparatory weeks leading to Holy Week and Easter.  I'd anticipate times set aside for silent prayer and meditation as I would engage - sometimes alone, sometimes with others - in Lenten disciplines of silence and prayer.  However, there were those other years... years when I wouldn't quite dread Lent, but I clearly did not look forward to it.  I remember once even describing Lent as "the ecclesiastically sanctioned liturgical season of depression."  I know.  Harsh, wasn't it?

 

The challenge of Lent for me, especially during those years when God would seemingly have to drag me into the season, is that it really is a time when we're asked... invited... charged to face ourselves.  We're called to follow Jesus into the desert, where we must candidly look at ourselves without the pretenses in which we sometimes clothe ourselves.

 

Lent is the season of the Church year during which we are summoned to more intentionally follow Jesus.  That is hard, partly because we know that Jesus' path led to the cross.  That also is hard because, in the desert, Jesus had to face his own fears, his human frailty, his mortality.  So during Lent, as we are called to walk in "The Jesus Way" (to borrow the title of Eugene Peterson's powerful book), we are called to strip away all the superficial veneer in our lives and be brutally honest and vulnerable... with ourselves... before God.

 

This Wednesday will be the first time in decades that I will not stand before a worshiping congregation and invite people into the Lenten journey.  However, I still am moved - and challenged - by these words from our Book of Common Worship:

 

Friends in Christ, every year at the time of the Christian Passover we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance, and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes. This ancient sign speaks of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marks the penitence of this community.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by works of love, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God.

 

The invitation is extended... to each of us.  Let the journey begin again.

 

Blessings and peace,

Steve

 

 

Around the Presbytery

 

Drive-Thru Meal in Church

First Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville is sponsoring their 8th annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Drive-Thru.  It will be held this Thursday, March 6, from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  The cost is $9.00.  Donations were received last year to provide meals for patrons of their food pantry, and they were able purchase meals for 30 appreciative folks!

 

Per Capita Payments

Results are in from 2013 per capita apportionment payments.  31 of 38 congregations paid 100% of their apportionment!  Of the remaining seven, all but one paid at least something toward per capita.  The Presbytery, of course, is responsible for paying 100% of the entire per capita assessment to General Assembly and Synod, but our churches' faithful giving to this helps a great deal.  Our thanks to all who paid, and our encouragement to all of our churches to be sure to pay in 2014.

 

Latin American Mission Partnership

LAMP will be sending a good-will mission team to our partners in Campeche, Mexico from March 13-18.  Sarah McTyre will be presenting letters of greetings from both the Utica Presbytery and the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse. Shawn Reyburn will be preaching on Sunday at one of the churches in Campeche and Andrew McTyre will be the translator.  The primary purpose of this trip is to lay the foundations for a planned mission trip from our Presbytery to the two presbyteries in the Campeche area in February 2015.

 

 

Around the Synod of the Northeast

 

Synod Council news

Ruling elder Charlie Smith (Marcellus) attended the recent meeting of the Council of the Synod of the Northeast that was held February 28 - March 1.  He reports that the Synod is moving progressively ahead with implementing the restructuring plan outlined in the paper adopted last fall, "A New Way Forward."  Changes under this plan include the following:

  • A Leadership Team consisting of six individuals will provide overall coordination and implementation of Synod programs and ministries:  Synod Moderator, Moderator-elect, past Moderator, Treasurer, Stated Clerk, and Synod Leader.  They also will act as the Nominating Committee.
  • There still will be a Personnel Committee, Committee on Representation, and Permanent Judicial Commission.  However, there also will be three additional, new working groups:  Networks, Mission, and Governance.
  • New Bylaws are being written and will be presented to the Synod Assembly this October for adoption.
  • The size of the Synod Council is being increased, with each of our 22 presbyteries encouraged to elect a commissioner to the Council.  In addition, 1/3 of our presbyteries will name a YAAD (Young Adult Advisory Delegate) to the Council.

 

 

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

 

Self-Development of People

Once a year, Presbyterians around the country are encouraged to celebrate the ministry of SDOP.  This year, Self-Development of People Sunday is scheduled for March 16. If you'd like to find out more information about what you might do on this special day, all you have to do is click here:  http://www.pcusa.org/media/uploads/sdop/pdf/sdop_sunday_2014cweb.pdf.

 

Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday

Several congregations set aside at least one Sunday a year to focus on the gifts of ministry of the women in our churches.  Many churches will celebrate this on Sunday, March 9, but this can be done any time of the year.  The Church has several resources available to help plan such a service.  Just click on this link:  http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/all-women/resources/.

 

 

 

 

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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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