The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - July 2021

Diverse. Inclusive. Community. Engaging. Passionate.


We have launched our capital campaign “Sacred Places and Safe Spaces.” With an eye to the future, we want to increase our ministry to the community. We want to be good neighbors by sharing hospitality with our neighborhood. In order for our church to become a community center for the growing South Loop, we need to refurbish our building. The list of projects includes:

Electrical Circuits and Wiring

ADA Compliant Accessibility Ramp

Re-configuring new office spaces and meeting rooms

Remodeling the North Parlor and Fellowship Hall

Improvements to Gym and new HVAC furnace

Why now? Because it is time. Because it is the right time. God's grace is overflowing among us. God has brought us together through a difficult time. Now is the time to build a sense of community. Now is also the time to expand our community outreach.

What can each person do? There are many things needed . . .

Pray for our campaign efforts-- Second Presbyterian Church is dear to the heart of God, an essential mission and ministry that touches the lives of many people. Pray that our campaign reaches the people that can help us reach our goals.

Promote our campaign-- speak to your neighbors, tell your friends, this church's historical physical plant is a community center, we do so much for so many; we need the support of all.

Pledge to our campaign-- make a commitment to give what you can, in a one-time gift, a regularly monthly pledge; or one to three year commitment. Pledges can be

made by going online at

Your prayers, efforts and gifts will help provide a strong foundation for our church's ministry to the community for generations to come. Remember the words of St. Paul:

A person who sows sparingly will reap sparingly. A person who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion,for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9: 6-8).

In the Spirit,

David M. Neff, Pastor


We joyfully reopen for in-person worship! As the State of Illinois reached Phase Five, the Session has voted to open up worship fully and completely. If you have been vaccinated, no mask is needed. (Masks are required for those who are not vaccinated. A social distance of three feet is encouraged.) We will worship God in every way-- except for the passing of the peace. If you have symptoms, please watch our service online at The service begins at 11:00 a.m.


The scripture reading for our July worship services are:

July 11th-- Second Samuel 6: 1-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

July 18-- Second Samuel 7: 1-14; Psalm 89; Ephesians 2: 11-22; Mark 6:30-56

July 25 – Second Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6: 1-21

You are invited to read each set of passages in preparation for our Sunday services.


Report by Howard Tiffen:

This is the name for our Capital Campaign being launched in June 2021. It will run for three years. During June/July, you will begin to see online and at the church, Pledge Cards seeking commitments towards this campaign.

Several Task Forces are at work to contact members and friends of the church, members of the community, institutional donors as we rollout the campaign. We have completed architectural drawings that will be used to secure bids on the various elements of the project, the first elements of which will be to modernize our electrical plant and wiring and to build an accessible ramp on the south side of the building. These projects should begin this year.

Our efforts and success in this campaign will make our church more accessible, safer and more inviting.

Before there was Anthony Fauci, there was Jonas Salk.

In the early 1950s, Salk and his team developed the first effective vaccine against Polio. It was released in 1955. It took him about 5 years.

Before that success, he spent 7 years working in a team at the University of Michigan which developed the kinds of vaccines which we now use every year as a defense against flu.

From 1919, it took scientists a DECADE to produce the first vaccine effective against Spanish flu.

Scientists working with all the tools we have derived from a century of experience in vaccine development and the benefits of being able to decode and send messages to the human genome, brought that timetable down to a few months to help defeat COVID 19.

Salk said, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”

As Christians, we believe in turning Optimism into Hope through the operation of our faith and by pursuing dreams built on the expectations of those who preceded us.

When we look around this Sanctuary, we see the evidence of the work and dreams of those who went before US.

The entire decoration of the Sanctuary is a tribute to the Arts and Crafts Movement, a nineteenth Century movement which celebrated the artist, but also aimed to erode inequalities (does that sound familiar???) that had emerged during Industrialization by allowing artisans to produce art and not mind machines.

The Kellogg Family, who helped clothe Chicago from a pop-up factory built in the burnt out shell of Second’s “Spotted Church” building at the corner of Washington and Wabash after the fire in 1871, is celebrated in Tiffany’s Mount of the Holy Cross window.

Silas Cobb, is commemorated in our glorious Peace Window reminding us that he was instrumental in bringing streetcars and utilities to the residents of our burgeoning city.

The examples are endless.

This Sanctuary would not be here today, largely as it was left to us in 1901, but for the vision, efforts and management skills of this church’s largely African American leadership in the 1960's and 1970's.

These people are the ancestors we have chosen.

The issue for us today is: Are we being good ancestors?

In 1977, accepting the Nehru Award for International Understanding, Jonas Salk said,

“If we are to be good ancestors, transmitting the possibility of a better life and the joy of living, we have work to do now.”

The good news is that this is already the work of Second Presbyterian Church:

  • Through our Lunchbag Program, we provide meals through volunteers to nearly 500 people a month.

  • Our partnership with the Inclusive Collective (mainly students from area colleges) feeds and supports nearly 400 people a month through the colder months on Sunday evenings.

  • In partnership with the Junior League, we tutor over 100 children a month.

  • Through community residents, we host outdoor Farmer’s Markets in the Summer and Fall and a virtual Farmer’s market in the winter and we provide a composting service for fruits and vegetables to members and neighbors.

  • We provide rehearsal and performance space to area musicians.

  • We offer an active Mission Shop selling gently used articles at bargain prices.

  • We provide gym facilities to basketball and soccer programs gymnasts and Irish Dancers.

  • No ethnic group comprises more than 40% of our congregation.

  • Friends of Historic Second Church welcomes and educates over 3,500 visitors to our beautiful building each year.

  • We are home to book groups, bible studies, prayer circles, international diaspora communities, educational presentations, Tai Chi, fitness programs for adults, a community Memory Care Café, residents’ associations, 12-step programs, town halls for our politicians…


About 80% of those who use this building are not with us on Sunday Mornings.

We need our building to function effectively in the 21st Century with better accessibility for all, renewed power supply, heating on the third floor, more flexible meeting spaces, more attractive, better lit and inviting gathering spaces for meetings and Fellowship.

For the last two years, the Development Committee has been working with about 40 members and friends of the church in various groups and task forces to realize these dreams and hopes.

Our plans will cost us about $1.25 million.

We have secured a grant of $250,000 from the National Fund for Sacred Places; the grant requires us to raise $500,000 to be able to draw the full amount.

We have already collected early gifts towards the Campaign of $270,000. We have pledges of a further $111,000. Our entire Deacons Board and all the members of Session have or are in the process of giving or pledging to the campaign. So we need just $119,000 to qualify for the full match from the National Fund. Once we have done that, we will need to raise another $500,000 to be able to complete all of our planned work.

In total, we need commitments and donations of a further $619,000 over the next three years.

We will hold attractive events as we go through the next three tears to celebrate and to help raise funds.

We intend to seek gifts from philanthropic institutions, government, the wider neighboring community and our members, visitors, and friends.

What we would ask you to do is consider how improvements to our space will enable us to expand our educational and hospitality offerings. If we are going to be successful, we need as many of our members and friends as possible to give as much as they are able over the next three years.

This is the time to make that extraordinary gift. All gifts of whatever size ARE extraordinary as we seek to be good ancestors.

It is important that all planned gifts are memorialized by the completion of a Pledge Card. This will enable us to secure the $250,000 promised by the National Fund.

Those of you here in person today received a Pledge Card this morning. Please return completed Pledge Cards to the Church office or drop them in the offering plate.

For those of you watching our live stream, Pledges can also be made on-line by going to the Safe Spaces tab on Church’s home page.

You should expect to be contacted by a member of one of the Task Forces if you need any help with your pledge or gift.

The Institutional Task Force is preparing materials to enable you to give to the church portfolios of appreciated securities without suffering capital gains taxes, to make donations out of retirement accounts without having to pay tax on those distributions; and we are updating materials related to bequests and planned giving through wills.

Another idea: Many of us support charities important to our friends. These people are often looking for ways to support charities important to YOU. Please ask your friends to donate to our Campaign and support the educational, social and community work we do here at Second Church. Feel free to equip yourselves with supplies of Pledge Cards and informational flyers.

Join the choir of 175 angels represented in this Sanctuary. This is OUR time to be an Angel to this wonderful community.

We have the opportunity to be Good Ancestors to those who will follow.

Please grasp this opportunity with both hands, prayerfully and with real intention.



Though you may not be aware, our historic church building has a feature that is common to many Gothic-style church buildings; a rose window. Our window is located on the far west end of the building, above the Cullerton Avenue entrance at the extreme upper level.

The original window was seriously damaged in the fire of 1900 and was never restored. At some point after the fire, the original wood tracery and glass of unknown design was replaced with a Plexiglas-like backing, amidst fabricated layers of wood. The wood suffered substantial deterioration over the decades. This led the consulting engineer who monitors the exterior condition of the building to recommend replacement of the entire window structure for reasons of safety, as well as appearance.

Several months of planning were needed for this expensive work to be done properly. Creating and installing a new rose window, with art glass, was cost-prohibitive and seemed unwarranted. We were able, however, to come up with a replacement option that simulates what we understand to be the original look of that window. Bill Tyre and Nate Lielasus, board members of Friends of Historic Second Church, researched the original window. Nate, an architect, created what is in actuality a painted “sign” overlay to simulate the appearance of the original design. The sign is painted on durable, prefinished aluminum panels.

The firm Bulley and Andrews was engaged to remove the old window materials, stabilize the masonry frame to the window and install the metal cladding. The metal was cut to size and the pieces of cladding were sent to South Water Signs. South Water Signs used the pattern and color scheme Nate developed to create the painted image on the aluminum panels. Bulley and Andrews then completed the installation. The finished product is now on display and looks beautiful.

The overall project was coordinated for us by our consulting engineer, Sarah Van Domelen, of the Wiss, Janney, Elstner firm (“WJE”.) We expect the replacement work to stand up to the elements for at least a quarter of a century.

Please take the time to view the finished product. The best view is from the sidewalk across the street from the Cullerton entrance.

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Because the weather in Indiana became too bad, we were unable to pick strawberries at Garwood Orchards. However, we made the best of it by gathering together for a wonderful time visiting over brunch instead. Everyone is still very interested in planning another trip in July to pick blueberries raspberries and sweet cherries and enjoy a brown bag picnic at the Orchard pavilion. Please reach out to Flea Parker at 210.861.6988 or, if you are interested in carpooling for our next trip to Garwood Orchards on July 24th. We will meet in the parking lot at 9:00am to travel the 70 minutes to the farm.


The Farmers' Market has begun! Approximately 25 farmers and vendors offer fruits and vegetables, breads and cheeses, spices, gourmet coffees and teas. Hand-made tamales, smoked barbeque,Chinese buns, roasted nuts and yogurt are also offered.

Voter registration is offered by members of the church.

Docent-led tours of the sanctuary are offered by Friends of Historic Second Church.

Barbara's Basement Resale Shop is open for purchases. For more information, see


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.


Each month, the South Loop Village sponsors a social gathering for persons living with dementia and their families, friends and partners. This month the South Loop Memory Care Cafe will resume meeting in person at Second Presbyterian Church on Thursday, July 8th from 3:00—4:00 p.m. The theme of the July Cafe is Happy Birthday, America!

All are welcome.


This year's Tutoring Program was conducted completely online. Each week, between 5-10 students and an equal number of tutors joined on Zoom for help with homework and study habits. A Pizza Party was held on June 9th and a Points Party conferred upon students points in order to choose donated gift items. Regular online students included:

Ayannah Mims

Alia Cade

A'nya Emery

A'nijah Emery

A'nivah Emery

A'lmira Emery

A'lnira Emery

Cruz Gonzalez

Shadell Holbrook

Mario Maxie

DeVonte McNulty

Christopher Tlateba

Special thanks to the Junior League directors Jennie Oliver, Kaylee Krogh and Janie Enloe for their enthusiastic leadership. The Tutoring Program will regroup this summer and begin its seventh year with in-person tutoring this fall.


On Baccalaureate Sunday, we recognized and honored the following graduates.

Eighth Grade

Anya Emery -- National Teachers Academy

Devonte McNulty -- National Teachers Academy

Twelth Grade

Bianca Reeder -- Wheaton North High School

Congratulations to our graduates for their accomplishments as well their families!


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Custodian Marco Alberto celebrated his tenth anniversary as the sexton of Second Presbyterian Church. Marco works tirelessly to keep the sanctuary and gym clean, undertake repairs, set up Fellowship Hall for rental events, and oversee the exterior and garden of the church. A small party was held in honor of his anniversary of employment.

Office Administrator Ashley McLean is also celebrating her third anniversary of employment at Second Presbyterian Church. Ashley oversees the operations of every aspect of the church and the physical plant.

Please offer your gratitude and appreciate to Ashley and Marco for their excellent work and excellent spirit!


Members and friends of Second Presbyterian Church are meeting at the Jazz Showcase on Sunday, July 18th at 4:00 p.m. Rogue Parade is an ensemble that was created by saxophonist and composer Greg Ward. In late 2015, Ward assembled a group of highly-creative musicians featuring Dave Miller on guitar and effects, Matt Gold on guitar and effects, Matt Ulery on upright and electric bass, and Quin Kirchner on drums. He also composed a new set of music with the purpose of exploring this unique instrumentation, which blends the acoustic and electronic sonic worlds. Rogue Parade is excited to present an album featuring 11 new compositions. Tickets for the set are $20 and can be purchased online at: under "Events".

Proof of vaccination is required for all seeking admittance.


Second Presbyterian Church has a large number of canes, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. All items are free. If you or someone you know needs an item (even for a short time), please contact the church office (312) 225-4951.


Our next book of discussion is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

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

Time: July 18th 2021 at 9:30 am central time

Join Zoom Meeting: Click Here
Or Call: (312) 626-6799
Meeting ID: 868 6496 0108
Passcode: 726317


Deacon Sharon Singer is providing a free Stretch Class on Mondays from 9:30 to 10:15 am in Fellowship Hall. The class will run until August 16th. Come and improve your range of motion and flexibility. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a water bottle. Sharon has instructed fitness classes for over 20 years or more.
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2 Jason Neal

8 Samuel Soberekon

14 Rowena Balogun

19 Robert Wasmund

19 Priscilla Echols-Hych

21 Eugene Leonard

21 Flea Parker

22 Michael Brown

23 Pamela Harris

24 Vicki Reynolds

26 Jillian Bowman

30 Gerald Erickson

31 Catherine Soberekon

Happy Birthday to all!


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’s Report for this year to May 31, 2021

Our operating results continue to be skewed by receipts which should be allocated to the entire year being received in the first months of the year. In the year to May on an Operating Basis, we have generated an Operating Surplus of $2,625.39 including PILP Loan Repayments of $5,561.48.

Total Operating revenue YTD to May 31st, 2021

$ 134,441.25

Total Expenses, including Loan installments

$ 131,815.86

Overall Surplus YTD


Member Giving is $17,200 over plan, $12,000 of which is because some Members chose to make their contributions annually in advance. Non-member giving trails plan by $5,300, 18% below plan.

We have paid our 2021 Per Capita obligation to the Chicago Presbytery. However, around15% of members ($500) have still to pay their Per Capita fees.

Expenses are in line with or a little better than budgeted.

Since we began to receive gifts, in 2020, as of 24th June 2021, we have collected $276,349.08 towards the match for the NFFSP Grant. We have verbal and written Pledges to provide a further $135,000 over the next three years for a total of $411,349.08.

Additional Pledges or gifts totaling $89,000 will eventually be needed to qualify for the full NFFSP $250,000 Grant.

We now expect the full scope of our proposed improvements to cost between $1 and 1.3 million.

June 25th, 2021



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.

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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.