The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - March 2021

Diverse. Inclusive. Community. Engaging. Passionate.



February has been a tough month. Perhaps our sense of social isolation is becoming greater. Perhaps our sense of endurance is wearing thin. . Add the snow, ice and cold-- and the irregularity of the vaccination process-- and people are feeling more vulnerable than ever. At the same time, we are more hopeful that life will get back to a new normal within a few months.

When everything seems like an uphill climb, I am reminded of an old-school Irish teaching. When circumstances looked bleak, the Celtic Christians would say “Christ's suffering was more than that.”

During the season of Lent, we remember the passion of Jesus of Nazareth; the cross that he took upon himself for our salvation. In proclaiming Jesus as Lord (kurion), the early Christians believed that Jesus represented God's ultimate mastery of every situation. The winds and the waves obeyed him. The demons and unclean spirits yielded to him. Most diseases and sicknesses were cured under Jesus' power. When he accomplished his faithful witness, he gave up all his divine powers willingly and suffered death on the cross.

Remember his dying. Remember him giving his life for us. His suffering redeems our suffering. His suffering makes sense of every trial that we will undergo. And remember his rising. Remember his miraculous resurrection. Remember how the disciples were raised; and the community of disciples became inspired and transformed because he appeared to them in all his resurrection glory.

As we are stretched during this Lenten season, I hope you will remember that there is someone who is stronger and more spiritually powerful than all the effects of this pandemic. Christ is “the power and wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Christ is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Through his death and resurrection, God has made him “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15)

Our faith can touch him, because Jesus seeks us out, calls us by name, offering his wisdom and his strength.

May you find the spiritual power to face each trial and overcome each challenge this month.

With God's grace-- revealed in Jesus Christ-- we are inspired and strengthened for the journey ahead. A resurrection awaits us.

In the Spirit,

David M. Neff

Big picture


The Session voted to open the sanctuary for in-person worship on Palm Sunday, March 28th. The sanctuary will open at 10:30 a.m. Everyone will be asked questions of admittance, a temperature check will be taken and a contact-tracing form will be signed. Everyone will wear a mask during the service. Palm branches will be given to all in attendance.


Big picture


This year, we will forego our tradition of the Seven Last Words by Theodore DuBois. Instead, the Quartet will present “Service of Darkness” by Dale Wood on Good Friday, April 2nd. These seven choral meditations on the last words of Christ are adapted from the ancient Tenebrae service, concluding the service with a darkened sanctuary. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. for this solemn service of remembrance.


On Holy Saturday, the Christian Education Committee will host an Easter activity for children and youth. We will meet at the church at 11:00 a.m. The program will consist of arts and crafts activities, Bible discussions and story-telling, singing and an Easter egg hunt in the sanctuary. We will be careful to wear masks and maintain strict social distancing during the program. The event will conclude at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, please contact Amy Haack or Dr. Lisa Henry-Reid.


Presbyterians care! Presbyterians have been participating in the One Great Hour of Sharing since its inception in 1917. The theme of this year's offering is “Let's Build the House of God.” With Covid-19 ravishing every community, the needs of our world are greater than ever. Your OGHS offering goes directly to churches and agencies that help people help themselves. Your gifts will be distributed equally in three different ways:

Presbyterian Hunger Program-- provides help with agriculture and farming

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance-- immediate relief after an earthquake or tornado or flood

Self-Development of People-- empowers communities for resilience and hope

Fish boxes and special offering envelopes are available. Call the church office. Your fish boxes and envelopes will be sent to your home.

Please give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing!

Friends of Historic Second Church News

Big picture


Friends of Historic Second Church has some good news to brighten your day. A second Tiffany window restoration will begin in March.

The St. Paul Preaching at Athens window, in the southwest corner of the balcony, will be removed, crated and transported to the Venturella Studio in New York for fourteen months of conservation work. Venturella Studio is the same conservator who performed the stunning transformation of the Tiffany Peace window in 2017-2018. The window will be carefully removed by Venturella during the week of March 22nd.

At the studio they will document, then disassemble, clean and repair all twenty-two sections of the window, one piece of glass at a time. The glass will then be reassembled with new leading. The faces of St. Paul and the Athenians show areas of significant paint loss. These will be in-painted by an expert. After the removal, Wiss, Janney, Elstner and Bulley Andrews Masonry Restoration will make any needed repairs to the exterior masonry and window opening. A temporary, weather-proof window covering will be installed. In the spring of 2022, the window will be re-installed with a new steel frame and new protective covering. The plaster will then be repaired and repainted in the original color palette.

Friends has raised the $450,000 cost for this large project. When completed, the St. Paul window will be transformed. The faces of all the Athenians will be once again be visible. The amazing Tiffany glass will sparkle in the sun again. And St. Paul, with a restored face, will proclaim to us of Jesus and His resurrection.

Big picture


During this time of pandemic and social distancing, members and friends of the church are asked to compose prayers for the people of God. Please send your prayer compositions. We will publish them as they become available. You may also submit your prayer requests by completing this form


One of the most mystifying books of the Bible is the Book of Revelation. Composed by John on the Isle of Patmos in 70 A.D., its symbolism and prophecy have frightened and comforted Christians for 1900 years. Please join us for a five week Bible study, taught by Seminarian Brian Louis. Using Zoom, the class will meet each Wednesday night during Lent beginning on February 24 at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome! The Zoom and phone-in information is:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 527 029 8656

Passcode: 865126

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,5270298656#,,,,*865126# US (Chicago)

+13017158592,,5270298656#,,,,*865126# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 527 029 8656

Passcode: 865126


This quarter of The Present Word focuses on Prophets Faithful to God's Covenant. Who are the ancient prophets of the Bible? What messages do they give us today? Please join us each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

March 7 Moses, Prophet of Deliverance Deuteronomy 18

March 14 Joshua, Prophet of Conquest Joshua 5

March 21 Huldah , Prophet of Wisdom 2 Kings 22

March 28 Elijah, Prophet of Courage 1 Kings 18

Please join us each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. The call in phone # is (312) 248-0036.


Pastor Neff offers a Bible study each second Saturday of the month. “No Short Cuts to the Promised Land” offers Biblical insights into leadership development. Based on the stories of Moses and the Hebrew people, each lesson will include personal meditations on growing one's talents and developing as a leader. The Bible study will be on Saturday, March 13th at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome.

March 13 - The Church Jesus Calls Us To Be

April 10 - Connecting with the Community

May 8 - Discerning God's Vision for the Future

June 12 - The Prayer Life of a Faithful Church Leader

The class will be held in Fellowship Hall at 10:30 a.m. and conclude by noon. Each person will have their own table and remain masked and socially distant.

All are welcome .


Reverend Dr. Joel Tolliver teaches a class every Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Please join for an hour of stimulating bible study and discussion.

The conference call in number is (312) 248-0036



The Alpha to Omega Discussion group is in the New Testament. Meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. We will cover the book of John. No computer is necessary; participants will be on a conference call. Please use this phone number: (312) 248-0036 (No pin is required). For more information contact Flea Parker at or (210) 861-6988.


Wintrust Bank will continue its series of FREE Money Smart classes on Monday evenings via Zoom for all who are interested. Their Money Smart Curriculum, provided by the FDIC, is a great tool to help our communities reach their goals.

This training program is geared toward consumers, small business owners, and young adults, and this FREE program provides pretests, workbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and certificates of completion.

Please make note of the days below:

March 8, 2020 – MODULE 6: Credit Reports and Scores

They will be conducted at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. The modules will be mailed to us at the church so we can distribute them in advance. Please sign up and send your name and email to Howard Tiffen ( or Ann Belletire (

Big picture


In a beautiful musical piece, the maiden note bears within it the entire succeeding composition; that inaugural note does not sound, and then disappear into silence; rather, remaining in all the notes that follow, it instructs them in how to ring. Even when the piece concludes, it does not merely expire-- instead inspires yet unsounded initial notes, and the future compositions that will be built upon them.

So it is with life, and particularly with kindness.

Kindness is in this world in two basic ways: It is passed along through the laborered effort of the many, but it is begotten only through the effortless instinct of the few. Sandra Lyn Baer was one of the frew.

Sandra Lyn Baer-- Sandy to her friends, and others who loved her-- passed awayon December 20,2020. Beloved daughter, sister, teacher, benefactor and friend, Sandy, in her memory, continues to be those things.

More rare and more tough than diamonds by far, for eight years Sandy battled a foe that inexorably fells those it fights. Still, in the midst of these embattled years, Sandy never surrendered her zeal for life to that foe, despite the tribulations it imposed upon her. Somehow, when suffered seemed to be her lot, Sandy chose to thrive-- and, in the end, likely with a wink and a smile, claimed a final victory. An intrepid spirit, there is no doubt that Sandy approached the original mystery-- which we all must face-- with fascination rather than fear.

Though her body has ceased to manifest the conduct of her soul, Sandy's life, and the abundance of kindness, begat by her in its course, will continue to ameliorate the world through the conduct of those who were lucky enough to have known her; she will-- through the kindness she has wrought-- continue to resonate long after we, ourselves, have passed on. One day, generations from now, one stranger will bestow upon another stranger a kindness; one neither demanding nor expecting any recompense. In that moment, so far removed from now, and though un-noted and beyond the ken of all contemporaries, Sandra Lyn Baer will-- in essence-- be heard again.

Patrick Gill


God, we have all had to deal with stomping snow off our boots, shoveling our way out of our homes and carefully walking down slippery sidewalks the last few weeks. You never said our journey of faith would be easy (or Chicago winters) but just put our faith in you and you would guide us the rest of the way. You have taught us how to help a neighbor, shovel a path and hold a hand of a stranger walking down a slippery sidewalk.

2020 has been a transforming time for us all but with your guidance, our Church and all the love, faith, support your kingdom has provided us, we will prevail and be much stronger Christians.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.


Amy Haack


On March 26th , we will discuss Winter’s Bone. This 2010 American mystery drama film was adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name by Daniel Woodrell. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as a teenage girl in the rural Ozarks of Missouri who, to protect her family from eviction, must locate her missing father.

Each person will watch the movie on their own and then we will gather on Zoom to discuss it.

This event is brought to you by the RIM committee. Join Zoom Meeting: 0WFlDRTNodz09 Time: March 26th at 6:30 p.m. Central Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 878 3025 7932 Password: 602018 One tap mobile: +13017158592,,87830257932#,,1#,602018# US (Germantown) +13126266799,,87830257932#,,1#,602018# US (Chicago) Dial by your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Find your local number:


Our next book of discussion is Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman.

This will take place via Zoom on March 21st at 9:30 a.m.

Please email Ann Belletire if you would like to join this very lively discussion group at

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 825 9510 3879

One tap mobile: +13017158592,,82595103879# US (Germantown) +13126266799,,82595103879# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Find your local number:


Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Alexander and Bradley Cawn who were married here in the sanctuary on February 6th, 2021.

Congratulations to Frederick E. Hairston Jr. and Mark Veselack who were married here in the sanctuary on Valentine's Day, February 14th.


As announced at our Annual Meeting, our congregation is embarking on a major program to refurbish our church physical plant. A related capital campaign is also getting underway so that we can take advantage of a $250,000 matching grant that can be used for the renovations. The remodeling plans include renovations to Fellowship Hall and the North Parlor, improvements to our restrooms, providing an “accessibility” walkway and entrance at the church front and updating our offices and other improvements. A copy of the design booklet along with samples for floor coverings and wall coverings are on display temporarily in the North Parlor. If you would like a computer “link” to the design booklet email Mike Belletire at and he will forward the link.
Big picture


6 ~ Ken Reeder

10 ~ Etta Byas

12 ~ Vivienne S. Ashley

14 ~ Robert Stone

16 ~ Emily Parr

18 ~ Dr. Lisa Henry-Reid

21 ~ Dr. William Ashley

22 ~ Anthony Ochiabutor Jr.

22 ~ Pearlie Horace

Happy Birthday to all!


Despite our congregation not having fully returned to in-person worship, there is a continued need for members to help with our recycling program.

We are asking for volunteers to come and pick up the items to be recycled on Sundays after the church service. These items are then taken to the collection area located at 16th and Clark. Congregation members interested in volunteering for the recycling program should email Karen Ashley-Bowman at

Thank you!


Treasurer and Development Committee Report for period ended 31st January 2021

It takes a few months for our fiscal performance to tell us much about how we are doing. In January on an Operating Basis, we have generated an Operating Surplus of $12,895.10 including PILP Loan Repayments of $8,708.25.

Total Operating Income YTD to 31st January 2021

$ 39,747.69

Total Expenses, including Loan installments

$ 26,852.59

Overall Surplus YTD


Offerings are above plan because some Members choose to make their contributions annually in advance.

Several members have paid their Per Capita contributions, but we are awaiting contributions totaling $1,968.63, meaning that more than 55 members have yet to contribute their Per Capita dues. Please pay for yourself (and others if you are able) as soon as you can. You can pay online if that is easier for you.

Since we began to receive gifts, as of 12th February 2021, we have collected $149,797.71 towards the National Fund for Sacred Places (NFFSP) Grant match. We have verbal commitments to provide a further $151,000 over the next three years for a total of $300,797.71. We need less than $200,000 to meet the challenge provided by the NFFSP. That will enable us to qualify for the full $250,000 grant awarded to us.



Supporting our church’s mission, especially through these trying times is as easy as 1-2-3 With GivePlus Mobile. Our congregation can express it’s generosity in the moment — right from the palm of your hand. Even though we are unable to gather on Sunday's, your giving helps support our efforts in the community and mission of our church. Please try our new app and let us know how your experience was!

1. Download the app GivePlus Church through the App Store and Google Play. Search for “GivePlus Church” to download the app, then be sure to allow access to location services if you’d like to use the app’s Find Churches Near Me feature.

2. Find our church. Search under zipcode 60616 and select Second Presbyterian Church

3. Give!

GivePlus Mobile supports donations via all major debit and credit, as well as ACH donations.

Big picture
Big picture


The Community Outreach Committee is sponsoring a winter coat drive again this year beginning mid-November. You may drop clean coats off at the church Tuesday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. or on Sunday mornings. Scarves, hats, gloves and mittens are also welcome.


Ashley is hard at work on the new 2021 Church Directories and we want to make sure your information is correct! If you have a new phone number, address or email, please let Ashley know by either emailing her ( or by calling the church office (312)225-4951.


We are a diverse and inclusive community, bringing people to Christ through the power of service, education, hospitality and compassion.


Second Presbyterian Church seeks to be a diverse, vibrant and passionate Christ-centered community of hospitality and outreach actively serving the South Loop, the city of Chicago and the world. We accomplish this through inspirational worship in our historic sanctuary, educational ministry to all ages, and the power of compassionate service to our neighbors.