Monday in Ministry

March 31, 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


Holy Week

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

Around the Presbytery

Around the PC(USA)



Holy Week


In just less than two weeks we will begin our spiritual pilgrimage through Holy Week.  All of our worshiping communities will be observing Palm Sunday on April 13, and many will have special worship services throughout that week, especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  Then, the entire Christian community joins in joyful adoration on the celebration of Easter, April 20! Be sure to check with your church and note the opportunities being presented to help us through our journey during Holy Week.  All such opportunities will be time well spent.



From the Stated Clerk/Communicator


How is your journey through Lent progressing?  As is often the case, it is a series of varying experiences for me.  There are times when I feel close to the Lord, aware (at least partially) of the depth of his love for me every time I look at a cross. There are times when I see, even through Lent, the "other side," when I am aware that there always is an undercurrent of hope and joy, wonder and triumph that I glimpse, knowing that the celebration of Christ's Resurrection awaits me at the end of this liturgical season.  Then there are other times... times when I find myself doing all of the "things" that need to be done.  To be sure, they are different things than when I served as the pastor of a congregation, but there are things that more than fill my time.


What I am aware of once again is the need for prayer.  St. Paul called us to "pray always," or "pray without ceasing."  The Orthodox tradition of the Jesus Prayer as a guide for praying continually is helpful, but I don't always remember to use that.  (If you are not familiar with that particular spiritual tradition among our Orthodox brothers and sisters, and if you'd like to know more, just holler; I'd love to talk with folks about that.)  So living into an attitude of prayer is something that I continue to find myself needing more and more.  It's ironic, isn't it, to think that finding/making time for prayer is something that a "Church person" needs to do more of?  And yet I confess it freely... knowing that I am most assuredly not alone in this need.


Whether working in and for the Church, or working somewhere else, or going to school, or living into retirement, most all of us have busy lives filled with too many things, too many appointment, too many worries, too many distractions from the spiritual life.  In his wonderful and challenging book, The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson wrote these words.  Now, he was writing to pastors, but I think it applies to most all of us.

"It takes time to develop a life of prayer: set-aside, disciplined, deliberate time. It isn't accomplished on the run... I know I can't be busy and pray at the same time.  I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray.  I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted, or dispersed.  In order to pray I have to be paying more attention to God than to what people are saying to me; to God than to my clamoring ego."


I'm going to be working again to make the time to pray... even, or perhaps especially, as I work.  Work and prayer are not mutually exclusive; quite the contrary.  The key, I believe, is being consciously aware of God's presence within us, working through us, in the lives of others we meet, in the splendor of creation.  Care to join in this endeavor?


Lenten blessings,




Around the Presbytery


Dementia Workshops


Nearly everyone in our congregations has a family member or friend who is struggling with some form of dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.  We know how heartbreaking it is, and how challenging it can be for caregivers. There are two upcoming sessions being hosted by Pebble Hill Church, offered by the Alzheimer's Association of CNY. "Know the 10 Signs:  Early Detection Matters" will be presented on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.  On Tuesday, May 13, also at 7:00 p.m., the program will be on "Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Diseases: The Basics."  These programs are free and open to everyone, and we wanted our sister churches in the Presbytery to know you are invited.  Registration for these events is required; call 472-4201 x125.  If you need more posters, please call Pebble Hill, and we will deliver them to you.  Please call Pete Shidemantle if you have any questions.




We continue to remember two members of the Presbytery in prayer.  Teaching elders Lorrie Day Anson and Andrew McTyre both experienced the death of a parent in the last couple of weeks.  Let us continue to offer our prayers for their comfort and peace as they and their families begin their journeys through grief and loss.



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


Mudslide in Washington State


You should know that the Presbyterian Church, through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, is actively involved with people in the area of the Washington State mudslide.  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in touch with the Presbytery of North Puget Sound to offer One Great Hour of Sharing funds and other assistance. At their request, PDA has sent two members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) to help in the response. In many situations, NRT members meet with local Presbyterian pastors, tour impacted areas when appropriate, and discuss opportunities for collaboration with the broader faith community. You can help in this effort by praying, and also by your gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing.  You also can donate directly to this ongoing effort in Washington by noting this designation on your check to your church for OGHS:  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in touch with the Presbytery of North Puget Sound to offer One Great Hour of Sharing funds and other assistance:  DR000015 - USA Disasters and Emergencies.


General Assembly in Detroit in June


Commissioners to this year's meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church soon will be assigned to a specific standing committee of the Assembly.  After a couple of days of general meetings, which will include the election of the next Moderator of the General Assembly, commissioners and advisory delegates will meet for some three days in their individual committees to consider the business sent to them by the mid-councils of the Church:  presbyteries and synods.  The last few days of the Assembly will be spent considering the reports of these committees.

Please remember to pray for those going to this year's Assembly, especially our commissioners and Young Adult Advisory Delegate:  teaching elder Tracie Martin, ruling elder Jill Fandrich (Westminster, Auburn), and YAAD Becky Wind (Isaiah's Table).



The Rev. Steven W. Plank, Stated Clerk/Communicator

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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