Monday in Ministry

November 18, 2013


In Our Newsletter

  • Social Media sites
  • The Philippines
  • Leadership Team Work Groups
  • Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator
  • From our churches


Follow along on our Social Media sites...

Have you begun following along with things on our Facebook page?  Be sure to "like" our Facebook page:  Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse.  Stay up-to-date on Presbytery happenings.

You also can keep track of happenings in and around the Presbytery via our Twitter feed:  CayugaSyracusePresby (or @CayugaSyracuseP).  Use the hashtag #cspresby to mark any tweets you make about the Presbytery.  And if you or the church of which you are a part uses Twitter, please let Steve Plank know.



The Disaster in the Philippines

News continues to emerge from the Philippines as a result of the super-storm, Typhoon Haiyan.  Remember the people of the Philippines, and the Church there, in your prayers.  Any gifts of support would be most effectively designated through Presbyterian  Disaster Assistance.  See their website for more information.

PDA also has sent teams of people already to areas of Illinois where a record number of tornadoes yesterday caused widespread damage, along with several deaths.

We Presbyterians are known for our compassionate and effective outreach through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.  As someone on the Gulf coast said, "You Presbyterians were the first ones here after the hurricane came ashore, and you're still here  after everyone else left."



Leadership Team Work Groups

What area or areas of ministry in the Presbytery excite you?  What gifts for ministry do you feel Christ has entrusted to you?  How is the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart to get involved in something beyond your own congregation? See the latest summary from the November Leadership Team meeting.  In it is a description for each of the Team's Work Groups.  Those Work Groups are:

* Human Resources

* Finance and Property

* Committee on Ministry

* Preparation for Ministry

* Leadership Development

* Records and Overtures

* Camping Ministry

* Committee on Representation

Contact anyone on the Leadership Team if you'd like more information about becoming involved on any of these Work Groups.  With the exception of Committee on Ministry and Preparation for Ministry, anyone may serve on a Work Group.  To serve on those two work groups, one must be a ruling or teaching elder.



Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator

It's always good to hear from folks about things in the Presbytery... whether that's church news, reactions to articles in Monday in Ministry, or just a note about something or other.  Please remember that I have transitioned to my more "permanent" email  ddress, tied to our domain name for the presbytery:  I'll still be checking my gmail address for a while, but I'll begin to phase that out before long.  Please be sure to change this in your address book and records.

150 years ago tomorrow, a nationally renowned public speaker named Edward Everett delivered a speech that was some two hours long at the dedication ceremony for the cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Everett apparently was prepared for everything, even having a tent erected near the podium so that, in the course of his speech, he could take a bathroom break if nature called!  His speech was 13,607 words long.  By contrast, my sermon manuscripts have run somewhere between 1500-1800 words.

However, even my usual-length sermons are overly verbose compared with the speaker that followed Everett onto that podium that bright November day in Pennsylvania.   President Lincoln almost wasn't invited to speak, since the sponsors of the event weren't convinced that his plain-spoken, home-spun words would sufficiently honor the somber ceremony.  However, Lincoln delivered his "few, brief remarks" that day... 10 sentences, using 272 words, that have been firmly etched in our national psyche.

It gives me pause as one who has been delivering sermons for 36+ years to think  of the impact of that two minute speech.  I've been amused at the Facebook "challenge" that's been making the rounds, asking preachers to think about limiting a sermon to 272 words!  If anyone you know has tried it, I'd love to hear from them.

Author and theologian, the late Henri Nouwen, wrote about how we can utter words  that are filled with power and meaning... words that build love and community.   He said that the words we speak should come from a place rooted in prayerful silence.  He wrote: "A word with power is a word that comes out of (prayerful) silence.  A word that bears fruit is a word that emerges from the silence and returns to it... A word that is not rooted in silence is a weak, powerless word that sounds like a "clashing cymbal or a booming gong." (1 Cor. 13:1)." (From Nouwen's book, The Way of the Heart, p. 56)

No matter how long or short a sermon might be, and no matter how long or short any conversation is that we might have with someone else, are our words just so much fluff and hot air, just blah, blah, blah?  Or do our words carry authenticity,  convey love, spark dialogue, engender community, call for justice, build peace? May all of our words come from that place deep within us where we commune with God, so that the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, might be manifest in the words we utter.


Blessings and peace, Steve



From our churches

First Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville has a number of choir robes in different colors that are looking for a new home.  If you're interested, please contact the Clerk of Session, Al Winegard, at

  Amboy Belle Isle Church will be hosting their annual Christmas Bazaar at the church on Saturday, November 23, from 9:30-2:00.  Lunch will be served from 11:00-1:30.

Teaching elder Caroline Simmons, from the Collamer United Church, will be one of  the co-hosts for a journey to the Holy Land, February 13-24, 2015.  Contact her for more information:

What's happening in your congregation?  Be sure to email your church newsletter  to Steve Plank, or include the Presbytery in your regular mailing list.  (Contact information is below, or send an email to Steve Plank []).  We want folks to know what God is doing in and through your community of faith!



This e-newsletter is sent to all Commissioners, Ministers, Clerks, Christian Educators, and others interested in the life of the Presbytery of Cayuga - Syracuse.  Each newsletter features timely announcements and worthwhile information-assembled from notices we receive from you in our churches, the Synod of the Northeast, and various programs and offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


Presbytery of Cayuga Syracuse

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