What We Believe
In recent years, the leadership debated making significant changes. In Presbyterian style, we formed a committee to study how and why worship has evolved and what is meaningful. Then we began correcting outdated or problematic elements, while maintaining the aura of this beautiful sacred space. The Pulpit, Communion Table and Baptismal Font are central, open and available, with no altar-rail dividing the people from leadership. A new 3-manual 40 rank Cassavant pipe organ was recently installed, adding to the hand bell ensembles, adult and youth choirs, and grand piano, to allow music to support and emphasize our worship of God. Children are welcome and encouraged in worship. The running joke being how long it will take for Dr. Lindsey to take infants up in his arms to comfort them, while continuing the sermon. Years ago, someone named, we want a preacher to look us in the eye and talk to us, rather than reading a scripted sermon, so Rev. Lindsey routinely leaves the pulpit to converse with the congregation at the Table.
We believe it is a sin to bore God and bore one another! Worship is fast-paced, relevant, meaningful and fun. The Presbyterian Church has an emphasis on stimulating preaching and relevant liturgy, so the entire worship service is crafted by the preacher and music staff for this congregation on this day, based on what is going on in the world, and as a blended whole.
This is a Church that enjoys good music, and the congregation weekly sing from the Psalter and traditional hymns. The Organist, Chancel Choir, Bell Ensembles, Children's Choir and guest musicians provide space and time in the midst of worship for meditation and reflection. Intentionally, the choir process up the center aisle in worship, to sit in he front rows of the congregation, coming to the Chancel to lead in music while the preacher and lay reader blend into the congregation. The Church is also home to Skaneateles Festival and local Tai Chi and Yoga programs that provide additional opportunities for music and meditation. This is a Church that understands there needs to be balance of having the familiar spiritual touchstones (the Lord's Prayer, Gloria Patri, Doxology, Benediction) while also being challenged and surprised by what is real, human and joyful!
In our earliest identity as the Schaneateles Religious Society, this congregation served this community as the local courts, the local schools, and as a community of worship/prayer and Bible study.How different, if the Faith Community were still responsible for the Courts, rather than focusing on punitive damages, pain and suffering, the focus of these early Church Courts was on "forgiveness" and "Redemption" and what was needed to re-accept one another as members of this community.
The Mission Statement of this Church is:
"This is God's Work! All are invited, welcome at the table, encouraged and able to participate. The challenge of leadership is to make the resources of the Church available to all seeking and wanting to receive."
As such, the Mission of First Presbyterian Church is to serve as a catalyst in the community.As The Church, in this Community, in the World Today, we play with what Google cannot answer! We live with questions, taking relationships as vows.
We are called from different walks of life to continually grow in commitment, to meet the needs of societal change, locally and with partnerships throughout the world. A full description of the commitment of this church to mission and particular missions can be downloaded here: First Presbyterian Church History
Presbyterian Mission Locally and Around the World The First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles is a local congregation (within the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse, within the Synod of the Northeast) of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Presbyterian comes from a Greek word meaning connected from the local in partnership as the larger body. As such, this church financially and prayerfully provides its fair share of support for the Presbyterian mission of Jesus Christ (in excess of 20% of the Operating Budget), in and around Central New York State, the Northeastern United States, and throughout the world. However, this Church is also structured to support and encourage work, we want to see occur, but which we do not need to control. First Presbyterian Church has "spun-off" numerous non-profit independent corporations, related to the Church, extending ministry and mission this Church wants to see take place, but not needing to be directly underneath the wing of the Church. Empowering Mission in this way, this Church encourages giving to Mission hundreds of times as much as the local Church's own operating budget.
When we rebuilt the facilities in 1998, the church committed to using the building as a community resource, to provide space for what we as a church would want to provide but do not need to own or control. Today, this church is home to Art Shows and Music Festivals, Education programs, Co-ops, and Community based youth programs far greater than the church's own budget and staff could provide, which also could not exist in this community without the mission and witness of the First Presbyterian Church. The church does enforce an Abuse Prevention & Response Policy, requiring that all church programs and building uses will have leaders trained in recognizing symptoms of abuse, having criminal background checks, and following procedure, in order to make this resource available and safe as a place of Sanctuary.
Skaneateles Festival Offices and Chamber Music Concert Series
Skaneateles Festival brings Grammy Award winning musicians for Concert series using the acoustically dynamic Church Sanctuary each August.
Boy Scouts Troop 161 is one of the largest in New York State with over 100 Eagle Scouts in the history of the Troop.
Affiliated Cub Scout Pack 161 introduces boys into scouting and prepares them for Boy Scouts.
Several Cub Scout Dens meet regularly in the church education wing.
Pray, Worship, Grow
Prayer and Worship
Our spirits are nurtured when we cultivate a healthy prayer and worship life. Spiritual growth takes place throughout our lives.
Worship is at the heart of all we do to honor and glorify God. We worship the Lord not only on Sunday mornings, but in every way we honor God with the way we live and in our service to others done in Christ's name.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1
Prayer is our lifeline to the Lord. In prayer we both talk to God and listen for God's voice speaking to us. A simple formula for prayer is to follow the A.C.T.S. method.
A - Adoration: Give praise to God for the love, mercy, and grace shown to you and offer your love for God in return.
C - Confession: Confess your sin. Confess your faith.
T - Thanksgiving: Give thanks for the blessings you have received.
S - Supplication: Bring your concerns before the Lord.
Waling the labyrinth is a spiritual practice that began centuries ago as a way of engaging the body, mind, and spirit in a meditative, reflective, and meaningful way of prayer. See the Welcome Page for more information on our labyrinth built into the floor of Dobson Hall, our large fellowship room.
Check back soon for more information on how to deepen your prayer life and nurture your spirit in God's love.