The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - December 2017

Second Presbyterian Church is building a Christ-Centered Community Through Inspirational Worship, Education Ministry and the Power of Service.


First Coming

He did not wait till the world was ready,

till men and nations were at peace.

He came when the Heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for


He did not wait for the perfect time.

He came when the need was deep and great.

He dined with sinners in all their grime,

turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure. In joy he came

to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.

To a world like ours, of anguished shame

he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,

to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

In the mystery of the Word made Flesh

the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane

to raise our songs with joyful voice,

for to share our grief, to touch our pain,

He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Madeleine L’Engle


On December 3rd, the colors in the sanctuary will be blue, reflecting the season of

Advent. We light the Candle of Hope on the first Sunday. The Ghanaian

Presbyterian Fellowship will join Second Church in celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.


On the second Sunday of Advent, the service will focus on John the Baptist and his

preaching of the arrival of the kingdom of God. We will light the second Advent

candle, the candle of Peace. The sermon is entitled “Prepare the Way for Peace”.

Special music will be presented by the Second Church Quartet.


Join us for the annual Sing-Along Messiah on Sunday, December 10th

at 3:30 p.m. Directed by Maestra Catherine O’Shaughnessy, the concert will feature the Sounds of the South Loop Players, Isabel Vazquez, soprano, Marysa Abbas, alto, Stan

DeCwikiel, tenor and Stephen Hobe, bass, accompanied by organist Jay Yau.

Admission is free. Bring your own Messiah score, or purchase one at the door.

Donations are needed to underwrite this musical offering to the community. Please

invite neighbors, friends and guests to join us for this musical highlight of the



The Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant will be on Sunday, December 17th at

11a.m. All children and youth are invited to participate in this theatrical re-telling

of Jesus’ birth. Practice for the pageant will be:

Sunday, December 3rd-9:30a.m.

Saturday, December 9th-10a.m.

Sunday, December 10th-9:30a.m.

Sunday, December 17th-9:30a.m.

For more information, please contact pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers


On the fourth Sunday of Advent December 24th, we remember God’s redemptive

love that entered our world—in a new way-- in the birth of Jesus. We light the

fourth Advent candle, the candle of Love. Dr. Neff will share “Martin Luther’s

Christmas Sermon.” The service will include the traditional hymns and carols of



On Friday, December 22nd at 6p.m., Second Presbyterian Church will host a Blue

Christmas Service. This service is designed for all those that are grieving during

the Christmas season; whether it is grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a

relationship, the loss of a job, the loss of health, or the loss of a voice in our

society. The doors will open at 5p.m. for prayer and contemplation and there will

be a light wine and cheese reception following the service. If you would like more

information or have any questions, please contact pastoral assistant Leslie

Deslauriers (


On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus and welcome anew Christ’s

presence into the world. A service of traditional Christmas lessons and carols is

planned, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Neff will conclude our 175th anniversary by preaching on “Church of Angels”. We will hear the Christmas story (Luke 2: 1-20) and light the Christ candle, then conclude the service by lighting candles and singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Plan to join us for this night of holy joy!

Before the service, the Congregational Life Committee will host a festive Christmas Table, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Come early and share a meal with the church family and friends as we celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth!


Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the song of the angels,

the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift,

and good desire with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessings that Christ brings,

and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be

Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our

beds with grateful thoughts; forgiving and forgiven,

for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Robert Louis Stevenson


During the month of December, all members and friends of the church are invited

to participate in the Christmas Offering. As the church's financial year ends, we

invite you to consider giving a special gift at Christmas. We need your Christmas

offering by December 31 to be counted toward the end-of-the year budget. Please

give a gift in the spirit of the season! Thank you in advance for your faithful


The Session


And when we give each other Christmas gifts in his name, let us remember that he has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans—and all that lives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit—and that all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused—and to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins,

He came down to earth and gave us himself.

Sigrid Unset


The Lunch Bag program is holding their annual “Winter Clothing Drive” during

the month of December and January. Please bring scarves, mittens and caps;

socks; sweaters, sweat shirts, hoodies and coats. There is a receptacle in the

Fellowship Hall to leave your items of clothing. All donations of clothing will go

directly toward those in need.


When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To find the broken

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoners,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among brothers and sisters,

To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman

The Mood of Christmas


On Tuesday, December 5th. at 6p.m., all are invited to a special presentation from

Faith in Place. In October, Faith in Place gave Second Presbyterian Church a grant

for $1,250 to help with energy savings. The program on December 5th

will be informational about the various ways that Faith in Place helps Illinois residents

save money and advocate for the Earth. Come hear about ways that you can save

money and be involved in the care of God’s creation! If you have questions, please

contact pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers (


Second Presbyterian Church will host a South Loop community forum and on

LGBTQ issues on Wednesday, December 6th. The candidates for governor have

been invited to speak. Seating will begin at 5:00 p.m. The forum and debate will

begin at 6:00 p.m. After the panel concludes, there will be a reception to meet and

greet the candidates. All are welcome!


On Saturday, December 9th, from 10a.m.-12p.m., the Christian Education

Committee will provide our annual Children’s Christmas Activity where the

children and youth will help decorate the Christmas tree, decorate cookie, practice

for the pageant, sing songs, and try some of Pastor Neff’s famous hot chocolate.

All are welcome! If you have any questions or would like more information, please

contact pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers (


The ecumenical spirituality book discussion group will meet on December 12 to

discuss October 31, 1517. This book by Lutheran theologian Martin Marty

underscores Martin Luther’s contributions to Protestantism and Catholicism. All

are welcome to this discussion, led by Father Paul Huesing and Pastor Neff. The

group meets at Second Presbyterian Church at 9:15 a.m.


Join architect Nate Lielasus for a special tour of Second Presbyterian Church, Saturday, January 6, 2018 10:00 - 11:30am, which will give guests a behind the scenes look at areas of the church not typically visited, from the basement dirt floor to the charred roof timbers. The tour will focus on original architectural features from the 1874 construction and evidence of changes during Howard Van Doren Shaw's 1900 reconstruction. To reserve a space, please submit $20 per person to Friends of Historic Second Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL, 60616. The tour will be limited to 15 attendees.


All of us that witnessed it will reflect fondly and with a smile, for the rest of our lives, seeing Angel Gary come before us as part of our 175th Anniversary commemoration. This winged message, full of corny but effective humor, epitomized Gary.

His professional years in corporate marketing certainly carried over to Gary's church roles. Never shy, always smiling, full of zest, engaging and confident; that was Gary.

He also had a quiet side in going about matters of faith. Without prompting, he was a generous financial and volunteer contributor. He was a Godfather to young Anthony Ochiabutor. He enriched himself through his mentoring and involvement with Anthony and Anthony and Anthony's family.

Those of us who got to know Gary also got to know of his love for sailing, his love for his daughters and their families and of course, the love he shared with his wife, Janie.

Gary grew up in Evanston; in the shadow of (then) Dyche Staduim. His affection for Northwestern stayed with him throughout his life. He was a season ticket holder for the Wildcat football, meshing so well over the years with the die-hard fans in his section of the stadium.

NU wasn't Gary's alma mater; that was Bowling Green State University. Gary gave generously to BGSU and he was genuinely torn in his loyalties at the BGSU - Northwestern game he and I attended back in early September.

Asked on numerous occasions to serve on the Session, Gary demurred. He said he thought he could be most effective in taking on volunteer work in the church. And did he ever make good on that. Whether it was stepping up to raise funds for Georgene Acquaah's Ghanaian medical mission, taking responsibility for getting the renovation done on the women's restroom, organizing key aspects of the 175th Anniversary commemoration, taking on the task of organizing painting and clean-up projects, or serving up food at the Pancake Breakfast, Gary was the essence of a committed Christian, without being in formal leadership.

They're too many dimensions to Gary to do justice to his contributions. His visibility in his South Loop community was second to none. On his walks in the neighborhood he greeted everyone, with his kindness and his welcoming aura. In addition to being involved in community affairs, everywhere he went in the South Loop he was an ambassador for Second.

Perhaps nothing spoke more effectively about Gary's nature and his faith, however, than the way in which he approached his own passing. In seeming good health--he exercised vigorously several times a week--Gary learned in August of the cancer spreading through his body. He was forthright about sharing with us his diagnosis and his grim prognosis.

He did not ask for or expect sympathy; just for our understanding of what his condition meant. He did not outwardly agonize. And, in fact, he adopted a no-nonsense approach to putting his affairs in order. Gary planned his memorial service. He also made certain to remember his church and his alma mater with legacy gifts. He researched his treatment options pragmatically and responsibly. And when things did not go well, he made a forthright decision about how his life on earth should end.

Second Church is so fortunate to have been touched by Gary and he will truly be missed.

Mike Belleire


Congratulations to Dr. William and Dr. Jennifer Ashley on the birth of their son

Langston Cole on October 11. Congratulations also to Dr. Bill and Dr, Glenda

Ashley as grandparents!


Basic Bible study is offered each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Taught by the Reverend Dr.

Joel Tolliver, the bible study group is working chapter by chapter through the book

of Genesis. All are welcome to this inspiring and informative study and discussion!

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December 3 ~ First Sunday of Advent

December 5 ~ Faith in Place, 6:00 p.m.

December 6 ~ Illinois Forum, 5:00 p.m.

December 9 ~ Church School Christmas Activity 10:00 a.m.

December 10 ~ Second Sunday of Advent

Sing-Along Messiah, 3:30 p.m.

December 12 ~ Spiritual Book Discussion, 9:15 a.m.

December 17 ~ Third Sunday of Advent

Children’s Christmas Pageant, 11:00 a.m.

December 22 ~ Blue Christmas Service, 6 p.m.

December 24 ~ Fourth Sunday of Advent

Christmas Table, 5:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, 7:00 p.m.

January 6 ~ Basement to Belfry Tour, 10:00 a.m.

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The Christian Education Committee at Second Presbyterian Church would like to

welcome all children and youth at to a new school year and a new Sunday school

year! We have 3 classes available for children and youth ages 5 to 18.

The classes offered are:

Biblical Foundations-kindergarten-5th grade (meeting in the children’s Sunday

school room)

Confirmation Class-6th-8th grade that have not previously been confirmed (meeting

in the North Parlor)

Post-Confirmation Class-all youth that have been confirmed in the church (meeting

in the church office on the 2nd floor)


The Christian Education Committee is seeking volunteers to be substitute teachers

for our children and youth. Substitute teachers are an important part of this

ministry as it allows us to both follow our Child Protection Policy and allows for

our 2-teacher model to work. The children of this church desire to know God’s

love and joy through the adults that work with them. If you are interested in

volunteering, please contact Eric Annafi ( or Leslie

Deslauriers (

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On December 31, Denise Conway will conclude her duties as our Office Administrator. Over the past three years, Denise has served us capably. We thank Denise for her loyal and dedicated service. The church is currently seeking an administrative assistant in the new year for ten hours a week. We are also seeking volunteers to assist in the office. Orientation and training will be provided. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Neff or Clifford Crawford, chair of the Personnel Committee.


Second Presbyterian Church has reserved a time for volunteering at the Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, Friday January 26th from 9:00am - 11:00am. You must sign-up online in order to volunteer. Please contact the church office (312-225-4951) or Vicki Reynolds (312-203-4933) or click on the Chicago Food Depository registration link below. The username is secondpresbyterianchurch and the password is Hunger.


Krolls Restaurant, 1736 S. Michigan Ave. will be participating with Second Presbyterian Church to provide coats and warm clothing for our Annual Coat Drive. People donating coats at Krolls will receive 20% off their meal. Second Presbyterian Church will be partnering with Krolls on a variety of projects throughout the year including Lunch Bag Program and Tutoring. Coats and warm clothing may also be dropped off at Second Presbyterian Church in the box provided in the Fellowship Hall.


The Friday Night Family Hangout is December 8th from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. Volunteers are needed, welcomed and appreciated. Please call Tyson Thompson (312-998-2256) or the church office (312-225-4951) if you are available to volunteer.


The Lunch Bag Program welcomes the eight grade youth from Old St. Mary's Catholic Church, who come once a month to pack lunches and pack clothing. Rev. Neff leads a brief Bible study with the youth while they are at church.


Additional volunteers are needed any day Tuesday - Friday between 9:30am - 1:00pm. Come for the entire time - or come when you can and stay as long as you can. Volunteers have a fun time packing bag lunches, getting to know each other, greeting the guests and getting to know their stories. Volunteers are also needed to pick up sandwiches and food from various restaurants. Please contact Vicki Reynolds (312-203-4933) or the church office (312-225-4951) if you would like to volunteer a few hours each week.


Be sure to shop Barbara’s Basement for special one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts. New items are available each week.


The OUTREACH COMMITTEE will be changing the time of their meeting to 2:45pm on the second Tuesday of each month beginning in January. We will be begin planning projects for new ways to connect with the community. If you are interested in serving on the Outreach Committee, please contact Vicki Reynolds (312-203-4933).