The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - February 2018

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


During February, we celebrate Black History month. While some have argued that

the 11:00 a.m. hour on Sunday morning in America is the most racially segregated

hour in the week, that is not true at Second Presbyterian Church. We are a

multicultural people, as diverse and alive as any congregation in the city of


What makes Black History month such a triumph can be found in a look backward

at black history. Forcibly brought from Africa to the states, going from the slave

experience to ’40 acres and a mule’ and to Jim Crow laws; transitioning to

‘separate but equal’ to the more sophisticated forms of racism experienced today,

our ancestors in the faith refused to look at things from a superficial-point of view.

Their faith cut deep. They were determined to keep things real. In expressing and

naming the evil-doers and exposing the darkness of racism, they also articulated

and named the resurrection hope as a people and as a community.

During Black History month, we will have a “Minute for Knowledge” each

Sunday, celebrating the contributions of Black Presbyterians. The ushers will wear

stoles of Kinte cloth, remembering our African heritage. The hymns, anthems and

organ music will feature black composers. We will remember some of the great

ones—our ancestors of the past—and the contributions they have made. We will

breathe in the courageous spirit of the past in order to infuse our present hope for

the future.

Our ancestors in faith taught us that when adversity seems strongest, we are closest

to our moment of change. When the way seems hard, the Lord pronounces a

blessing that “sanctifies every distress.” When obstacles mount, the Lord shows us

the power of his presence. “There are no short cuts to the promised land” writes

Avis Clendenen. In every crisis, character is called forth. In every challenge, new

reservoirs of courage and strength come to our rescue.

These are the days when God’s people have to rise up, because that is what God’s

people do. In every generation, we rise up as disciples and live out our high

calling. We rise up as followers of Jesus, believing in his unconditional hope. We

rise up as witnesses to the resurrection, declaring that the forces that raise us

up are greater than the forces that keep us down.

Would you join me—and join our congregation during the month of February—in

proclaiming and living out this great hope?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen”

(Hebrews 12:1)

David M. Neff


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Feb. 4 ~ Faith without Works is Dead James 2:14-26

Feb. 11 ~ A Disciplined Faith James 3: 1-12

Feb. 18 ~ Faithful Disciples Acts 9:36-43

Feb. 25 ~ The Good Fight of Faith 1 Timothy 6: 11-21

All are welcome!


Lord, help me to hold out,

Lord, help me to hold out,

Lord, help me to hold out

Until my change comes.

My way may not be easy

You did not say that it would be.

But if it gets dark,

I can’t see my way,

You told me to put my trust in Thee,

That’s why I’m asking You.

Lord, help me to hold out!

Lord, help me to hold out!

Lord, help me to hold out!

I believe that I can hold out!

I believe that I can hold out!

I believe that I can hold out,

Until my change comes.

James Cleveland


The Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and Second Presbyterian Church will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion. The sermon will focus on John 6:22-35 “The Duty of Constant Communion.”. All are welcome to the table of the Lord. During coffee hour, Ms. Georgene Acquaah will present a power-point talk about her recent medical missions trip to Ghana. Please join us to hear about her experience!


Our morning worship will focus on the story of the transfiguration. Jesus went to the mountaintop with Peter, Andrew and James. While there, the disciples received a glimpse of his resurrection-being. This transfiguration became an intensification, so they were prepared to follow him on his journey toward Jerusalem.

After the service, the children will burn palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday service in preparation for the season of Lent.


On Valentines’ Day, we will host an Ash Wednesday service at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers will preach. The service will include the traditional imposition of ashes and the sacrament of Holy Communion. All are welcome to this solemn service that marks the beginning of season of Lent.


“And the Spirit drove him into the wilderness, where he was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights”(Mark 1: 9-15). How did Jesus face the tempter? How did Jesus overcome temptation? The first Sunday of Lent remembers Jesus’ journey into the wilderness. Led and upheld by the spirit, he fast and prayed for 40 days and nights. At his weakest, Jesus was also at his strongest. When he was tempted by the adversary, Jesus found the words and willpower to overcome every temptation.


On Sunday, February 18th, there is an informal meeting of the congregation to discuss the Strategic Vision Proposal. This five page report details some ambitious goals and strategies for our next five years as a congregation. Copies of the vision are available in Fellowship Hall, and will be mailed out or e-mailed out to members in the future. Please join us on Sunday, February 18th and bring your ideas, questions or hopes to this informational and informal meeting.
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Join us Wednesday evenings (January 31, February 7, February 21, and February 28) at 6:00p.m. for an introduction to discovering how to alleviate poverty with help from the government, Christian ministries, and non-profit organizations in Chicago. Each week will provide a panel of speaker from around Chicago that are working with the homeless and those living at or below the poverty line. Panelists include speakers from: The Night Ministry, Cara Program, and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. If you have questions, please contact the church office (312) 225-4951 or email Howard Tiffen ( or Leslie Deslauriers ( ).

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The church needs volunteer secretaries to help with administration for two

mornings a week. Some of the duties of a volunteer office assistant include:

  •  Answer Phones and relay phone messages to appropriate leaders

  •  Sort and distribute mail

  •  Check office e-mail and reply as needed

  •  Photocopy materials, as requested

  •  Refer all calls for pastoral care to Pastor Neff

  •  Maintain a friendly administrative presence in the church office

  •  Other duties to be agreed upon, in consultation with the interim office administrator.

If you are available and would be willing to serve, please contact Pastor Neff or

Office Administrator Leslie Deslauriers at (312) 225-4951.


In celebration of Black History Month the youth of Second Church will present a “Minute for History” high-lighting African-American Presbyterians past and present. We hope you will be present for these informative presentations.

Take some time to peruse our display in Fellowship Hall.


The ecumenical spirituality book discussion group will meet on February 13 at Old St. Mary’s Church to discuss The Spirituals and the Blues by theologian James Cone. This book is about the origin and roots of both musical tradtions. On March 13, the group will meet to discuss Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty written by her granddaughter Kate Hennessey. On April 10th, the group will meet to discuss Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. Written by Father Gregory Boyle, this book details his work with Latino gangs in Los Angeles and the founding of Homeboy Ministries. The discussions meet at 9:15 a.m. at Old St. Mary’s Church and are led by Father Paul Huesing and Pastor David Neff.


Tru Annafi has been accepted to the School of American Ballet in NYC this summer.

Anthony Ochiabutor Jr. received his driver's permit!


The Board of Deacons would like to invite everyone to an "All Church Potluck" every first Sunday of the month.

Sunday, February 4, will be a celebration of Black history month. Bring your favorite dish to share at the potluck. All dishes are welcome!

We ask in order to minimize the cleanup afterwords, you bring your favorite dish in a foil pan or a dish you will take home. The foil containers will be put in the recycle bin.

If anyone would like to help serve or has any questions please feel free to contact Flea Parker at 210-861-6988 or Barbara Floyd at 312-485-0362. I can't wait to see, and taste, the wonderful and tasty treat you plan on bringing in celebration of Black history month

Thank you for all you do!

Flea Parker


The Reverend Dr. Joel Tolliver teaches a lively Bible study discussion each Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The group is currently discussing the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Rachel and Leah. No prior knowledge of the Bible is needed, just an open mind! All are welcome.

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The 2018 Second Presbyterian Church directory is currently being updated for printing. If you need to update your information (address, telephone number(s), or email address), please contact the church office by calling (312) 225-4951 or by email ( There will also be hard copies of the directory available during Coffee Hour if you would prefer to correct your information by hand.


There is a per-capita envelope at the front of your box of offering envelopes. Our church is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)-- one of eleven thousand “Presbyterian” churches in this country. “Per Capita” assessment is the way we pay for the world-wide mission of the larger church. A set amount is assessed each year on every member of every church to cover the expenses of our larger denomination. The amount assessed this year is $33.60 which our Treasurer pays for every member of the church. Please pay your per-capita today!


At the Session meeting held on January 23rd, committees were restructured and

committee chairs were appointed. All committees are looking for individuals to assist

with their work, if interested please contact the chair as listed below.

Administration & Personnel – Cliff Crawford

Children & Youth Education – Eric Annafi

Communications – Eric Annafi

Community Service – Vicki Reynolds

Congregational Life (Adult Education) – Howard Tiffen

Congregational Life (Hospitality) – Barbara Floyd and Argie Johnson

Development – Howard Tiffen

Facilities – Rowena Balogun

Planning & Evaluation – Mike Belletire

Stewardship – Bill Tyre

Worship & Music – Darlene Pollard


If you are 21-40 years old, you are invited to join us on Saturday, February 3rd at 11:30a.m. at Pizano's Pizza (2106 S. Indiana) for food and fellowship. Invite a friend and bring the

kids--all are welcome!

On Saturday, March 3, we will meet at 11:30a.m. at La Cantina (across the street from the church) for talking and tacos!

Please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers if you plan on attending either gathering at (615) 630-2495 or

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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.


Have you missed an event or worship service that you wanted to go to? Are you lost as to what is happening in the church? Information about worship services, volunteer opportunities, Adult education, and more can be found in a number of locations around the church. Be sure to read the announcements at the back of the bulletin, read the monthly newsletter, check the church website (, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (links on the church's website) or call the church office.


An audit committee has been formed to review the books and financial records for 2016

and 2017. The committee is chaired by Bill Tyre and includes Session members Cliff

Crawford and Vicki Reynolds. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please

contact Bill Tyre at The committee will plan to hold its first meeting

in the latter part of February.


On an Operating basis, we ended the year with a deficit of $6,063 (Budgeted Deficit $43,800: for the rest of this note, figures in parentheses represent 2017 Budget numbers unless otherwise stated) out of Total Operating Expenses of $313,031 ($300,000), less than 2% short of breaking even.


Total Giving was $251,572 (Budget $215,571), with about 1/3 coming from non-members.

Giving levels have been truly remarkable. We had thought that last year’s Budget was

challenging, but members and friends have helped us to blow through it! Building Use revenue was nearly $30,000 ($27,000) with an extra $5,000 being earned from the contractor undertaking the tuck-pointing project on the neighboring building.

Exceptionally, revenues during 2017 derived from the 175th

Anniversary celebrations were $9,500. Additionally, close to $2,000 had been collected in 2016. The 175th Committee goal was $5,000, but the Budget Committee unilaterally increased it to $11,000.

We also generated $108,000 in other restricted gifts for projects like the roof repairs and the accessible washroom.

Overall revenues, including income from investments and our Associations were nearly

$500,000! Just bear this kind of revenue generating power in mind when the Planning

Committee starts to talk about ways in which we can do even more with our programs and space.


Total Compensation was $174,000 ($168,785). During the year, the contributions from changes in the way Compensation expenses have been made up, has been profound.

  •  Session had previously approved the creation of a previously unbudgeted Pastoral Assistant position at an annual cost of $18,000. Having this position filled with such verve and enthusiasm has done much to grow our initiatives among younger members and visitors, increase our social network presence, expand our Christian Education offerings for both Adults and Children and bolster our preaching resources.

  •  Substitute Organist expenses exceeded Budget ($2,100) as did Music Director salaries and FICA ($3,400) as we made the transition to a new Music Director in mid-year (total variance, negative $5,500). The salary paid to our Quartet Members was also raised in mid-year, producing an unbudgeted deficit of $2,200.

Overtime paid to the Office Administrator and Sexton led to a negative variance totaling $6,700.

Many of these line items were offset by having spent less than expected on Building and Parking Aides, Facility Operations benefited from another warmer winter in 2016/17, spending $46,268 ($52,199)

Treasurer Expenses exceeded budget by $2,800 (a 100% negative variance) as we spent more than expected to manage implementation of QuickBooks, our new in-house accounting and payroll system. Our monthly “fixed” expense for QuickBooks and its associated payroll system is $103. We used our old bookkeeping system for two months in early 2017 at a total cost of $1,100 ($250 per month+$600 for filing 2016 YE tax and state reports).

We benefited greatly from using the Leave a Legacy Fund (about $36,000 at the start of the year) to service our loan from PILP. The PILP debt service is $3,322 per month.

Assets and Liabilities

At year end our total Financial Assets, bank accounts and investments, were $548,000. Of this amount, $85,000 is reserved for use by Associations (like the Men’s Association) and by designated projects such as the Accessible Restroom.

In 2017, we rationalized our investments and ceased using savings accounts which generate very poor returns. Income and gains in our investment portfolio generated a surplus of $62,000 during the year. Our investment advisor, Segall Bryant is doing an excellent job.

Session has appointed an Audit Committee from its members to be supplemented by the bookkeeping service (Bookkeeping for Good) that has helped us to implement QuickBooks to review the books and records of the church for 2016 and 2017.