Monday in Ministry

November 4, 2013


In Our Newsletter:

  • Social Media sites
  • Mission Partnership News
  • Session Minutes Reviews
  • Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator
  • From our churches



Follow along on our Social Media sites...


We're trying to build up our social media presence.  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.



LAMP news...


LAMP - the Latin America Mission Partnership - has been a joint relationship between our Presbytery, Utica Presbytery, and Campechano Presbytery of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  Complete information about LAMP activities, past and future, is posted on our website.  View the latest communication about this here:


LAMP is now hoping to fund and complete a hands-on, meaningful project at the Presbyterian Seminary in Campeche, Mexico.  They hope to visit there in 2014, and to have at  least 14 participants from this area to go there.  They would like to hear SOON - by November 15 - from people who are interested in attending.  They also solicit your prayers and financial support.  Please read the communication piece to find out complete details.  You also may contact Sandi Yingling:




Two more dates for Session minutes' reviews


Two dates remain to have your session's minutes and rolls reviewed.  This Thursday a 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. gathering will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Auburn.  Next Thursday, gatherings will be offered at the same times at Westminster in Syracuse. The Book of Order is clear that the proceedings of sessions are to be reviewed annually by the presbytery, just as the presbytery's proceedings are reviewed annually by the Synod. (G-3.0108a)  If your records have not yet been reviewed, please be sure to attend one of the four gatherings being held in the next two weeks.



Notes from the Stated Clerk/Communicator


This past weekend, my wife, Caroline, and I went to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Hudson Falls.  Caroline stayed there a few days longer, getting things packed  up from her temporary stay there as we are getting ready to move into our home  in Syracuse the end of this week.  We're excited, to say the least!


As I was driving back to Syracuse Sunday afternoon, I was listening to a radio program in which previous speakers gave TED talks on the subject of "success."  One of the speakers said something that got me thinking... He said that the United States has a culture based on the concept of "meritocracy."  In other words, we base an individual's value not so much anymore on where they live, who their family is, or even how much money they have.  We base it on what they "do."  And thus people either have or  don't have "merit" to society.  Further, he posited the idea that we feel that people "deserve" the merit they either have or don't have.  If they are what we deem as  a "success" in life, then they deserve their success.  Conversely, if someone is seen as a "loser" or "failure," they are deemed to have deserved that as well.   This whole idea that people are either a "success" or a "failure," a winner or a loser, is rampant in our society.


What got me thinking is how this relates to ways in which we view our congregations.  We assume that congregations that continue to lose members each year do so because they somehow have done something to "deserve" that sort of "failure"... they have not adapted enough, been flexible enough, been welcoming enough, been open to change enough, etc.  Similarly, the few churches that seem to grow in numbers each year clearly "deserve" their "success"... they have offered new services, praise music, varieties of worship experiences, innovative leadership, etc.  Do we really want  to buy into society's automatic judgment of whether and how our congregations are either "winners" or "losers," successes or failures???  I think that's dangerous... and I think it's unbiblical.


We ought not fall into the mindset that dwindling numbers are acceptable without question; we need constantly to find new and meaningful ways to spread the Gospel of Jesus to a world that still is hungry for meaning and lasting values in life.   However, we also need to remember that Christ never, ever called us to be "successful."  We are simply called to be faithful. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could find some way, in our annual statistical reports to the General Assembly, to demonstrate our faithfulness to our calling as followers of Jesus?  What might that look like?  How might we define and describe such faithfulness?


Blessings and peace, Steve



From our churches


In May 1971, the East Syracuse congregations of the First Methodist Church and the First Presbyterian Church voted to unite.  In 1973 a new building was constructed and became the First United Church of East Syracuse.  Our Presbytery meeting was held at this church just a few days after the congregation celebrated their 40th anniversary.  God's blessing to the saints there on this special occasion!


First Presbyterian Church of Marcellus is having their annual Harvest Dinner this Saturday, Nov. 9, at the church, from 4:00-7:00 p.m.


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).  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