Monday in Ministry

September 22, 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


Peacemaking Offering

Other Voices from the Presbytery

Around the Presbytery

Around the PC(USA)



2014 Peacemaking Offering


The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has been committed to pursuing a peaceful and just world for many years, giving advocates and peace seekers a home in the Presbyterian peacemaking community.  In 1980, the 192nd General Assembly adopted Peacemaking: The Believers' Calling, a document that continues to guide Presbyterian peace efforts. The document declares, "the church is obedient to Christ when it nurtures and equips God's children as peacemakers."


The Peacemaking Offering is one of four special offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and is traditionally received on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October each year.  The Peacemaking Offering funds the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, enabling us to bring in International Peacemakers, hold conferences, and advocate for active nonviolent solutions to conflict.


For more information, or for resources about this, please click  Your gifts make a difference.



Other Voices from the Presbytery


Leaders from Isaiah's Table attend the Evangelism and Church Growth Conference

(by Nancy Wind)


Six leaders from Isaiah's Table: Grace, Hope, Food for All in Syracuse (including two young adults) attended the Evangelism and Church Growth Conference held in St. Pete Beach Florida in August. Nancy Wind, Coordinator at Isaiah's Table, served on the planning Conference Team. Here are some gleanings from the event...


The 2014 Evangelism and Church Growth Conference was a sold out crowd of 450 diverse Presbyterians, from across the country and world, gathering to worship together while also splitting up into many smaller "tracks", including Transformation, Evangelism, 1,001 New Worshiping Communities and several racial/ethnic groups. The theme was Go, Disciple, Live with each worship/plenary session focusing on one of those words.


Nancy was specifically part of the five person planning team for the 1,001 NWC Track. The team worked with Phil Lotspeich and Vera White from the PCUSA staff.  Nancy thoroughly enjoyed the four church planters she worked with, who have started new worshiping communities in Pittsburgh, Nashville and Hendersonville TN. Each team member has different ministry contexts, yet many commonalities of experience while leading these new communities of faith. Nancy will again have the privilege of working with them while serving on the team planning the 2015 1,001 New Worshiping Communities Conference.


A key theme heard over and over at the conference was the importance of relationship- relationship within a community of faith, with neighbors surrounding a congregation and a relationship with the Triune God. This is true in all aspects of church growth, whether in evangelism, transformation or starting a new worshiping community. Relationship building is intentional and takes time. Disciple making is all about relationship building.


A highlight of the conference for those from Isaiah's Table was the wisdom of Jannie Swart, professor of world mission and evangelism at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Jannie is a dynamic teacher who spoke passionately as a conference keynoter, leader of the evangelism track and speaker at a session of the 1,001 NWC track. He speaks strongly about our need to go out into our neighborhoods to see what God is already doing there, and then participate in that...that's our call as Church.


One of our attendees said, "I found Jannie's wisdom extremely helpful that we are only the channels - the tools Jesus uses to reach others.  That the Holy Spirit will lead us when talking with others.  Pressure is gone and I feel more empowered to see God working through me."


For the 1,001 NWC track, Prof Swart laid out a theological foundation for our call to form new worshiping communities using Luke 10 and building around each phrase in this statement: "The Lord gathers and sends disciples... to discover a trustworthy taking risks... in finding the other hospitable... for the sake of forming Christian community." This would take another article to unpack, so instead contact Nancy Wind if you want to know more!


Overall, the conference was affirming and empowering for us all. We enjoyed sharing about Isaiah's Table and appreciated the enthusiastic interest from other conference participants in wanting to hear our story. We networked, gathered a few new resources and enjoyed being with beautiful, Spirit-filled people in a beautiful setting. We feel grateful that God formed us into a group of disciples that are able to trust the Holy Spirit to lead us to be a new community of faith in the neighborhood in which we were planted so many years ago. God is so very good!



Around the Presbytery



The Presbytery, partnering with the good folks at First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles, gathered in worship, in joy, and in gratitude this last Thursday at 2:00 p.m. for the ordination of Mr. Mario Bolivar as a minister and teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and to install him officially as the Associate Pastor of the Skaneateles church.


Our thanks to everyone who was able to attend, and to members of the Administrative Commission who served on the Presbytery's behalf.


And Mario... "Welcome to this ministry!"



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


Presbyterian Disaster Assistance helps our partners in Africa


Situation Overview


The deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) has surfaced in the sub-region of West Africa, affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone; this is the largest outbreak ever recorded. The aggressive virus is among those that have neither cure nor vaccine to date.  The fatality rate is 90 percent, and usually kills within a week of exposure.


Since this is the first time this virus is affecting people in this part of Africa, the population is ignorant about its nature, effects, symptoms and means of prevention. People are therefore very much at risk, and more awareness needs to be raised.


Our Response


PDA is responding through our mission partner the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) and as a member of the ACT Alliance.  Response includes raising awareness on symptoms and infection prevention methods; training of trainers so that accurate information about the Ebola virus, its transmission and prevention can be shared with wider communities; and construction of an isolation center where patients can be observed and treated.


PDA is monitoring reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources in the United States to determine an appropriate national response should a need arise.


We wanted to let you know that NO PC(USA) mission co-workers are in areas where there has been an outbreak of the Ebola virus.



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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