The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - May 2020

Diverse. Inclusive. Community. Engaging. Passionate.


When I was a child, I rang the bells of the church each Sunday. At 10:55 a.m. my brothers and I would go into a musty attic loft and pull down hard on the heavy wire-chord. Fifteen times, a few more for holidays. Inwardly we would plea: Come to church people! Time for worship!

For the last forty days, I have been ringing the bells of our church once or twice a day. The peel of the bells sounds a call to prayer. The bell gives a clarion call to remind our neighborhood of God’s transcendent goodness. The bell chimes another call—to remind the people that the church will one day be open again.

Because the work and the worship of the church has been deemed an essential service, I am fortunate to be able to come into the church four mornings a week. Just to be here is a blessing. To see the sun streaming through the stained glass windows. To intuit the order and symmetry of the architecture, to feel the earthy holiness of the woodwork and statues; to feel the sublime thoughts of heavenly praise in the murals. “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). There is peace and serenity here. There is a strength that comes from the great cloud of witnesses who have worshiped here. Carlyle Marney called them balcony people, those who have gone before us and experienced their own crises of faith-- our ancestors who taught us how to be strong in hope and dig deeper in love.

I feel their presence with us in the afternoons, as I slip into a pew and pray for each member and friend. I pray for safety and protection for all; I pray for all our children and grandchildren; I pray for cures and healing; I pray for our senior citizens and our elderly; I pray for our Lunchbag program guests and our volunteers. I pray for the health and well-being of everyone who comes in contact with this church. I pray for health care workers and hospital staff, police and firemen and EMTs. I pray for all our political leaders. I pray for a new church to emerge from this crisis—a new community of love-- with a bold vision to work together and witness to that still more excellent way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1).

It is time to ring the bells. Will you join me?

In Easter joy,

David M. Neff


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.


On the first Sunday of May, the Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and Second Presbyterian Church come together to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. This Sunday is traditionally designated as Good Shepherd Sunday. The scriptures include Psalm 23 and John 10: 1-10. The sermon, anthems and hymns will reflect on God as the Good Shepherd, and our call in Christ to be shepherds for one another. Tune in at 10:55 a.m. for the live service of worship:


On Mother’s Day, we cherish and honor the gifts of all women. Seminarian Kjirstin Almos will preach. Her sermon will be based on her study in the book of Ruth. A special litany of thanksgiving will be offered. The Men’s Association will do something creative that day in honor of all girls and women. Join us for our service which begins online at 10:55 a.m. at


Spring has arrived and with it the joy of green grass, budding trees and blossoming flowers. Our service will focus on the joy and beauty of God’s creation. The scripture lesson is John 14: 15-21. Pastor Neff’s sermon will uplift the spirit of God that makes everything alive.


Our worship service will celebrate the ascension of Jesus (recorded in Acts 1: 6-14). Traditional theology teaches that Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. Before ascending, he left his disciples in charge of the church and gave the apostles his mission. Pastor Neff will preach on the question “How Do We Create Heaven On Earth?” Join us at 10:55 a.m. at


Our tradition on Pentecost Sunday is to wear an item of red clothing for worship. As the liturgical colors in the sanctuary turn red, we invite you to continue our tradition and wear red that morning. Scripture include the story of the first Pentecost Acts 2: 1-21 and Numbers 11:24-30. “Holy Spirit Zone” is the theme of Pastor Neff’s sermon.

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Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

The heavens are not too high, God’s praise may thither fly;

The earth is not too low, God’s praises there may grow.

Let all the world in every corner sing,

my God and King!

The church with psalms must shout:

No door can keep them out;

But above all the heart must bear the longest part.

Let all the world in every corner sing,

my God and King!

George Herbert, 1633

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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


During this time of “Shelter in Place”, the Church has been deemed an “essential service” to the community by the city of Chicago. Office Administrator Ashley McLean is working in the office Tuesday and Fridays; and working from home on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Her projects include promoting the church and increasing the reach of our communication. Sexton Marco Alberto is working Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings and afternoons, working on long overdue cleaning projects. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers works in the office on Tuesday and Friday mornings, offering administrative leadership and support, as well as pastoral care for all. Pastor Neff is here Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings to maintain a consistent pastoral presence at the church. He rings the bells daily, prays for members and friends and is available for phone calls and pastoral counseling. Music director Michael Shawgo continues his work as organist and choir director. Keep the staff in your prayers as they seek to accomplish the continuing work of the church!


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you, infinitely, for your Divine light and grace. Thank you for blessing and healing the world right now. Thank you for allowing all your children to flourish and prosper, as we trust in you. Thank you for giving us the eyes to see the Light. Thank you for giving us ears to hear the Truth. Thank you for giving us strength and courage to always do what is right. We give thanks for Divine Justice. We give thanks for renewal.

Thank you for showering the earth with blessings of wellness and longevity. Thank you for releasing the past. Thank you for releasing what no longer serves us. Thank you for allowing us to accept each other with unconditional love. Thank you for teaching us how to better love ourselves. Thank you for all the positive transformation that is taking place right now. We welcome more blessings.

We ask you to do for us that which is in the Highest Good of All.

We extend our love to infinity and beyond.

Thank you, Heavenly Father for your blessings, now, and always.


(submitted by Amber Amour)


Marian Liataud and Pastor Neff invite you to join Zoom for a Circle of Prayer at noon each Thursday. The format will include a time of prayer for all who need prayer, asking God to hold and bless every situation. “Prayer holds the key to heaven” (James Weldon Johnson).

Thursday Circle of Prayer 12:00 p.m.

Meeting ID is 166 736 982

Password: 151691

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Thank you for contributing to the Easter Lily Fund

In memory of Jacqueline B. Haywood Allen

In memory of Richard Durwood Dyson

In honor of Carolyn Smith

In honor of Tracy Maria Daily Allen

Sandy Baer in memory of Smitty and Skids

Nate Battle in memory of Neomia Battle

Ann & Mike Belletire in memory of Galen & Arlene Brainard

In memory of John & Dorothy Belletire

Michael Brown in memory of Carol Brown and Shelby Brown

Mary Kathleen Doff in memory of Ross & Ginny Gooch

Linda Hardy in memory of Holman & Hardy Families

In memory of Leola Hardy

Paula Kelso in memory of Lucille “Lucy” Johnston

In memory of Patricia “Pat” Norby

Ozzie Kinnard in memory of Gerald S. Kinnard

Vicki Lofton in memory of Roosevelt Jacobs

Moss Family in honor of our church family

Rev. David Neff in memory of Lucille Hicks Neff

Raymond Michael Neff

Jeanette “Bunny” Neff

Darlene Pollard in memory of Celia & Henry Pollard

Howard & Jane Tiffen in memory of our parents

Douglas Walters in memory of Lenore Walters

Jeannine Warner


Adult Bible study is offered every Sunday morning from 9:30—10:30 a.m. with the Present Word curriculum and informal discussion. The Bible Study conference call number is (631) 270-1376 and the ID number is 7582750. You can simply call in on your phone to be part of the discussion.

All are welcome!


The Book of Romans continues to be our Bible study each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Taught by the Reverend Dr. Joel Tolliver, we are going chapter by chapter in Paul’s Letter to the Romans, studying insights for personal discipleship. No prior knowledge of the Bible is necessary. The number to call in is (631) 270-1376 and the ID number is 7582750. Just call in on your phone to participate. All are welcome.


The OSM/ Second Presbyterian Church book discussion group will meet on Tuesday, May 19th via Zoom to discuss When God Happens by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Williams, a biblical scholar and church historian, writes about the desert fathers and mothers. The book for June 16th is The Shattered Lantern by Ronald Rohlheiser. Each group will convene at 9:30 a.m. For more information, please contact the church office.


The Alpha to Omega Club is a group designed to help folks with meeting their goal of reading the Bible cover to cover. Rather than discussing specific verses we discuss a general theme of the overall book in the Bible. Last year we completed Genesis through Psalms but you can join anytime. Each discussion takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. If you would like to participate, please contact Flea Parker at


Second Book Group will be meeting on April 19th at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. The book will be My Antonia by Willa Cather. Upcoming books are:

The Sixth Extinction. An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert on May 17th

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd on June 21st

To join in on the meeting, you can use your computer (as long as it has a microphone and camera) or your telephone. Simply follow these instructions:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 166 736 982
Password: 151691

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Meeting ID: 166 736 982
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If you would like to make a book group suggestion, please see Howard Tiffen, Ann Belletire or Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers.


Children are dealing with a lot of change, stress and isolation due to the pandemic so the Children and Youth Education Committee worked to uplift their spirits on Easter Sunday. Many of the Sunday School children living across the street from the church received a surprise basket on their door Easter morning. They were filled with books, toys and treats. I'm sure the Easter Bunny wore a mask while delivering and brightened their day. Thank you to all that donated or wish to donate for future children's activities during this time.


Second Presbyterian Church has a wonderful tradition of beautiful flowers adorning our altar for Sunday worship. The flowers will be displayed during our streaming service on Sundays. Make a donation in memory of a deceased loved on or in thanks for an anniversary, birth, etc. Donations can be mailed or contributed online.

Thank you!


With all that is going on around the world today, we cannot help but appreciate God's mercies

on us all. Though we are forced by circumstance to distance ourselves from each other, we are ever more in need of and closer to God than we have ever been. Though our church doors are forced by circumstances to be shut to all except volunteers with and participants in our Lunchbag and Sunday evening community meal, God is in more households today, than he has ever been-we worship from our households instead of in the church building.

God's name is pronounced more than anything else, every second all over the world, among the wealthy, the poor, the big and the small, even the healthy and the sick, His name is on every lips either in praise or in request for some sort of intervention as the only and last hope for healing.

Watching the news these days, all we see and hear are that people are dying all over the world because of this pandemic virus. We are forced to ask why most of us are spared while others succumb to this deadly virus. Well, the answer is not farfetched, we are spared only by HIS grace and not by our powers, and because we are spared, we should appreciate God's grace by any and all means necessary.

Giving thanks to God in appreciation for HIS mercies is the least we can do during this trying period. As we continue to live in this new normal of gathering virtually for worships and meetings, many of us are adjusting our habits accordingly. Some if not most of us are enjoying worshiping as a family in our PJ's on Sunday mornings and other days of the week. Some of our members who moved away, and were unable to physically attend or worship with us on Sunday mornings, are now grateful to be rejoining our church community virtually.

In this new normal, we are also adjusting our appreciation to God, and our giving to the church. Since the offering plates are no longer being passed down the rows, people are now:

1. Setting up reoccurring online gifts and giving;

2. Mailing in their checks to the church (Our office administrator is still working , receiving and answering mail and calls).

3. Setting up automatic electronic giving through banks.

4. Giving online through our website portal,

5. We are working on a soon to be launched “Text to Give'' option.

One of the most challenging steps in discipleship for some of us today might be to show appreciation or give during this season of uncertainty but remember that a giving heart is an appreciative heart. We give in response to God's incredible generosity towards us, and it is always an act of faith and an act of worship. So, in appreciation to support what God is doing in and through Second Presbyterian Church today, you can give through any of the above methods as God continues to Bless Us All.

Anthony Ochiabutor




Please remember that the church is CLOSED to everyone except staff and Lunch Bag Program volunteers (who are volunteering that day) even if you have a key. It is important that we keep the church clean and safe for all who are there day-to-day (Marco, Pastor Neff, Ashley, Leslie, Lunch Bag volunteers) and we cannot keep up with the disinfecting if folks are coming and going. Please help us be able to continue serving you (virtually) and our community by staying at home!

If there is something you need from the church or if you need pastoral care, please call the church at (312)225-4951 or email Office Administrator Ashley McLean at

Updates from the RIM (Recreation and Interest Ministries) Committee

1. The RIM committee is in the process of developing a group trip to explore the Civil Rights Monuments and Museums in the Montgomery and Selma, Alabama areas. We are excited to share the following information with you in the hopes that you will wish to participate. Based on current health circumstances we cannot set a specific time yet but we are looking at late Fall 2020 or Spring/Fall 2021. Please express your interest in the Civil Rights Trip to the RIM Committee by emailing to We will keep you updated as further information can be developed.

WHAT: 2nd Presbyterian Civil Rights Trip

Fly to Birmingham, Alabama.
Travel by CHARTERED BUS to Montgomery & Selma.
Visit the Peace & Justice Museum, Dexter Baptist Church, Selma bridge and other museums & highlights as time allows.
Led by a Civil Rights expert.

WHO: 20-30 2nd Presbyterian congregants (and friends as space allows)

WHEN: 4 days & 3 nights, Fall or Spring as circumstances allow

WHERE: Hotel in downtown Montgomery AL

COST: Estimated $800 - $1,000 including flight.

2. RIM has also tentatively scheduled a bus/van trip on Saturday, July 25 to visit the Holocaust Museum in Skokie before the special exhibit on Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves on August 16. This trip will cost $35 per person and includes van rental and box lunch at the museum. Currently the museum is closed. We will update you when we can develop more solid information.


In the period ended 31st March 2020, on an Operating Basis, we had generated an Operating Surplus of $5,679.05, including PILP Loan Repayments of $3,241.89. This compares to a forecast Budget Deficit YTD of $4,995.63. We have received some contributions form members representing their gifts for the full year and the full year’s payment by Friends of Historic Second Church. If we adjust our results for the parts of those payments received in advance, our true YTD deficit is closer to $12,000.

Total Operating Income YTD to 31st March 2020


Total Expenses, including Loan installments


Overall Surplus YTD


Offerings are about $8,500 over budget, but this is more than accounted for by some members fulfilling their full year commitment in January. Bearing this in mind, Member Giving is roughly on plan and Non-Member Giving is $4,357 BELOW plan. At the date of this note, we have collected 100% of our Per Capita Obligation to the Presbytery. The Presbytery adjusted DOWN all Per Capita assessments by one twelfth in recognition of the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

Building Use Revenue is being materially disrupted due to the pandemic. Unless there is a material change in the State Stay at Home order so that we can begin to permit groups to use the building, we will have to refund about $3,000 in gym use fees already received in advance.

Donations form visitors and non-members is materially lower with the church building closed. On-line giving has increased, but not by enough to offset the missing revenue.

The Covid-19 crisis has affected us in several ways. Weekly giving is down and building usage is minimal. Easter is typically one of the largest dates for giving. If the church is closed for 8 Sundays including Easter, we are likely to lose $20-25,000 in revenue.

We have asked for and been granted a moratorium on Principal payments on our PILP loan for two months. This is protecting cash by just over $1,000 for May and June 2020.

We have received through Wintrust a loan under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program of $37,910. Provided we continue to employ 14 people for the next two months, this loan will be forgiven. It will become a grant April 25, 2020.


Our committees are still working and meeting and they still need YOU to join! All committees are working to meet virtually either through conference calls or video meetings. If you would like to be involved, the following information will help you:

Facilities Committee: Chair---Howard Tiffen until a new chair can be found Meets 2nd Sunday (usually) of the month at 9:30 a.m.

Development Committee: Chair--Howard Tiffen

Recreation & Interest Ministries Committee: Chair--Ann Belletire Meets 2nd Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Children & Young Adult Education Committee: Co-Chairs--Amy Haack & Dr. Lisa Henry-Reid

Community Outreach: Chair--Vicki Reynolds Meets 2nd Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Communications: Co-Chairs--Eric Annafi & Amy Haack Meets 1st Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

Stewardship: Chair--Howard Tiffen

Hospitality: Chair--Argie Johnson Meets 4th Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Worship & Music: Chair--Darlene Pollard Meets 5th Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Administration & Personnel: Chair--Dr. Cliff Crawford

EVERYONE is welcome to join a committee whether you are a member of the church or not. As we work to fulfill our Vision Statement, we need your help in accomplishing this task. If you would like to contact one of the Committee Chairs but don't have that person's information, please contact our Office Administrator Ashley McLean.


Do you feel like you’re missing out on information on the church? Have you missed a worship service that you would have liked to attend? Be sure to read your monthly newsletter, check your email, read the announcements in the back of your bulletin, check the church calendar (on the website and the bulletin board outside of the kitchen, and above the water fountain) and check social media. The calendar on the church website is a google calendar and you can even sync your phone or tablet so that you’ll never miss another church event! If you’d like more information or would like to update your contact information, please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers ( or call the church office (312) 225-4951.