Monday in Ministry

November 25, 2013



In Our Newsletter

  • Presbytery's online presence
  • Mission Partnerships
  • Marriage Equality and one congregation
  • Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator
  • From our churches 



Don't forget our Presbytery online...


Be sure to "like" our Facebook page:  Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse.  Stay up-to-date on Presbytery happenings. And on Twitter:  CayugaSyracusePresby (or @CayugaSyracuseP).  Use the hashtag #cspresby to mark any tweets you make about the Presbytery.

If your church has an online presence - Facebook, Twitter, or any other - please  let Steve Plank know.  Just email him at



Mission Partnerships


LAMP - our Latin America Mission Partnership - recently completed a two-year mission. The Francisco Chan Lopez family from Campeche lived in Central New York learning  and sharing their gifts and faith with many of our churches. Now LAMP is planning our next mission trip to Campeche in February 2014.  We are currently receiving  applications for trip participants who will be funding most of their trip expenses. We already have pledges from some churches and the synod.  If you'd like to make  a donation, make checks payable to Northminster Presbyterian Church, LAMP, and  mail to Art Adamsen, LAMP Treasurer, 7578 Manor Lane, Liverpool, NY 13088.


Our Korean Partnership Group is getting ready to open the application process for people interested in a mission visit to South Korea around Easter time in April  2014.  We're been partnering there with Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, Presbyterian mission co-workers, who run the Young Adult Volunteer program in South Korea.  If you'd like to follow along with the things they are doing, you can read their blog here:



PCUSA and NYS on marriage equality


As you know, New York State legalized same-sex marriages in July 2014, having become the sxith state in the US to do so.  (As of this past June, Illinois became the  16th state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.)  As you also may know, although it still is being debated, the Presbyterian Church has not authorized same-sex marriages.  This has put our churches - our sessions and ministers, particularly - in a unique bind... That which is sanctioned by the State has not been authorized by the Church.

One of our churches has been studying, praying, and discussing this dilemma for  much of the past two years, and has come to a decision about what to do.  The Session of Park Central Church in Syracuse announced last Sunday its new policy on this  matter.  The policy is simple, brief, and clear.  It says:

"Park Central Presbyterian Church adopts a separation of civil marriage and a service of invoking God's blessing for both dual-gender and same-gender marriages.  All  couples will have a civil marriage ceremony performed by clergy in the Parish House prior to the religious blessing ceremony."

Our Presbytery will be considering proposing two overtures to the General Assembly on this matter at a special Presbytery meeting on Saturday, February 1 (time and  place TBD).  Opportunities for conversations and discernment will be held during January. How is your congregation dealing with this?



Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator


I am so enjoying working my way around the Presbytery, beginning to get to know  folks and places of ministry here.  As I'm getting around more and more, please  be sure to keep in touch with me about things that are happening in your congregation.  You may write me anytime at

By avocation, by interest, by passion, and by an almost-2nd-major in college, I  am an historian.  I love history!  That wasn't always the case, but my U.S. History teacher during my junior year in high school absolutely turned me around in my appreciation for history.  It is in knowing our past that we can gain a clearer sense of who  we are in the present and an ability to discern where we might or should go in the future.

The Governing Council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1676, issued the first, formal Thanksgiving Proclamation - at least issued by immigrant settlers  in this land.  President George Washington proclaimed our first national day of  public thanksgiving, calling the citizens of our new nation to set aside a day "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God."   In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, established  Thanksgiving Day as an annual observance in our country.  And so, this week, we  stand in that long tradition of setting aside time to give thanks to God.

Of course, the idea of thanksgiving long pre-dates any observances of ours on this continent.  One of the traditional names of our Sacrament of Communion is Eucharist, which comes from the Greek New Testament word, eucharisteo, which means "be thankful," "render thanks," "be grateful."

For what are you thankful?  For which blessings from God are you particularly and especially grateful right now?  Among other things, I'm grateful for the fact that our son and daughter-in-law will be visiting us in our new home for Thanksgiving.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to live in such an incredibly beautiful part of the United States.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as your Stated Clerk and Communicator.  I'm grateful for my health.  I'm grateful for my family, near  and far.  I'm grateful that God has taken the initiative to reach out and accept me and love me and bless me, despite my shortcomings, my sins, and the brokenness that is a part of me.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer was so accurate, wasn't he, in his assessment that the Church is both the communion of saints and the communion of sinners?  In fact, he sounded almost like a Calvinist when he wrote that!).  I'm grateful for  friends, old and new.  I'm grateful that I can take the trash out in front of my house late tonight, and have a wonderful 5-minute conversation about the holidays and children with a man I've never met, of a different race than me, who just happened to be walking down the street at the same time I wheeled out our trash cans.

I'm blessed indeed... and I am profoundly thankful.  How about you?


Blessings and peace, Steve



From our churches


First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, NY offers an Open Food Pantry every month to help feed the hungry and needy folks in their community.  They also will be involved in their annual Project Reindeer in December.

A young man from the United Church of Fayetteville, who is a student at Syracuse  University, recently attended part of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of  Churches that was held last month in Busan, Republic of Korea.  (Our hope is to  interview him and share some of his experiences and impressions of his time there).

There are lots of holiday events being offered in the churches of our Presbytery.  If you pass that information along to Steve Plank, he'd be more than happy to put your events on the Presbytery's calendar, and also to publicize those in our e-letter.  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  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