Ministry Weekly e-news > Monday in Ministry - October 6, 2014
Monday in Ministry -  October 6, 2014

Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse
P.O. Box 6010
Syracuse, NY 13217
(315) 632-5698

October 6, 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
Session Minutes and Records Reviews

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator

Around the Presbytery

Around the PC(USA)

Session Minutes and Records Reviews Begin
The annual gatherings to review Session minutes and records books begin this Thursday. Reviews will be held each of the next five Thursdays, and people may attend either the 2:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. gathering on the Thursday of their choice. The gatherings will be held as follows:
•   October 9 - United Church of Fayetteville
•   October 16 - First United Church of Fulton
•   October 23 - First Pres. Church of Liverpool
•   October 30 - First Pres. Church of Auburn
•   November 6 - Westminster Pres. Church of Syracuse
Clerks of Session should make sure that all books are up to date, and that the self-review sheets are completed before you attend the review time. (If you are a Clerk, and someone in your church office prepares the books, please be sure that they get this information.) The review sheets may be found here on our Presbytery website.

From the Stated Clerk/Communicator
This past August 11 comedian and actor Robin Williams committed suicide. Most of us were shocked that someone who had such wealth, such an apparently happy family, such a full life would take his own life. Most of us were shocked that someone who made so many others find joy apparently could not find enough joy within himself to sustain his own life. Many knew that he battled with depression and with substance abuse, but his suicide came as a surprise to everyone.

Many comments were made in the news and ubiquitously on the internet about the joy his humor brought to their lives. He had a way with words, with actions, with expressions, with his smile that just made us feel good. Many expressed their sense of loss at his death. Many expressed gratitude for his life, and many others expressed a sense of relief that his suffering from depression was now ended, and that he was at peace.

One of the positive things that came from his widely-publicized affliction with depression was the opportunity for people to urge others to seek help if they were battling with that horrible mental illness. It seemed that the website of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was suddenly plainly in view (, and people were urged to call the national 800 number for help: (800) 273-TALK (273-8255). I am grateful that such information became so readily available and visible.

Depression is largely an invisible illness. People who so often seem intelligent, stable, productive, loving, compassionate, insightful, and emotionally "together" often struggle silently and in secret with depression. If Robin Williams' suicide brought this to our attention, then I am grateful.

However, what was not made visible, and what remained unspoken and unpublished (at least in the press and online) was that there are victims when people commit suicide... beyond just the person who ended their own life. Family members are affected in ways that are profound, and they are affected for the rest of their lives... and their unique "battle" often is also invisible, with suffering done in secret.

I know. My Mom took her life when I was 10 years old. My two older sisters had moved away from home to get married within 6 months of each other. The one most recently married had written home to say that she had just gotten pregnant. Mom had been hospitalized at least twice that I remember, with what I much later found out was severe depression. I cannot begin to imagine even now, and I of course had no method or reason to comprehend when I was only 10, how greatly she must have suffered, how much pain she must have been in for her to conclude that death was preferable. And I cannot help but think that if she would have been able to see beyond her own pain to see us, the members of her family, she would never have committed suicide. The pain we suffered was excruciating, and was intense for years. I still miss the fact that I didn't have my Mom when I was growing up... when I was in plays and concerts in high school... when I was graduated from college... when I was ordained... when I got married... when I had children... when I now have a grandson of my own.

If Mom only could have seen. But, of course, she couldn't see any of that. That is the nature of depression... and of many other mental illnesses.

If you are suffering from depression, take a risk. Reach out. Call someone: your pastor, a friend, a counselor, or the 800 number above. If you are someone who lost a family member or close friend to suicide, then you reach out, too. People care, more than you imagine.

Blessings and peace, friends,

Around the Presbytery
CROP walks begin
Several of our churches (Marcellus and Park Central, among others) are participating again in the annual CROP Walk in their communities. Nationally, Church World Service reports that there will be some 1400 CROP walks occurring across the country, most of them happening this month. It would be interesting to see which of our churches are participating this year, how many walkers they have, and how much money they raise. Please drop a note to Steve Plank, our Stated Clerk/Communicator, with that information, and he'll be sure to publish those totals. You might be surprised at the difference we all can make together! (For more information about CROP walks, feel free to visit their website.)

Around the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Good Lie
A new movie, entitled The Good Lie, is scheduled to be released in theaters throughout the month of October. The movie is about "The Lost Boys," who were orphaned by the brutal civil war in Sudan, beginning in 1983. Presbyterian World Mission has been co-partnering in South Sudan for over a century and has recently launched a new program to assist the country in developing better quality education for its children. World Mission can send a speaker to talk about the history and current situation in South Sudan and the South Sudan Education & Peacemaking Project. For more information, download the PDF here. For other information and more personal experiences, you might want to contact the good folks at First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles, who have been intimately involved with our South Sudanese brothers and sisters: (315) 685-5048.

Young Adult Volunteer program
"A year of service for a lifetime of change." That's the descriptive motto that so many young adults in the Presbyterian Church have found to be true. The YAV program is beginning to accept applicants for volunteer positions across the nation and around the world. For more information, or for information and forms to apply, just click here.

Domestic Violence Awareness month
October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month. When domestic violence occurs, hope and restoration are never easily attained. Sometimes they are decades in the making, especially if the victim or survivor of domestic violence and her family have no community of support to assist them on their long journey. This is precisely where the Church should be. As Christ's agent of hope, we are charged to be "a light, shining in the darkness," to those whose hope has been thwarted and do not know where to turn. What can your congregation do? Find information here that has been put together by the Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network. We can make a difference.

The Rev. Steven W. Plank, Stated Clerk/Communicator
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P. O. Box 6010
Syracuse, NY 13217-6010
(315) 632-5698




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