The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - February 2019

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, this claim is not true at Second Presbyterian Church. We are a multicultural people, as alive and diverse as any congregation in the city of Chicago.

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; from the transition to ‘separate but equal’ to the more sophisticated forms of racism today, our ancestors in the faith refused to look at things from a superficial-point of view. Their faith went deep. They were determined to keep things real. In naming the evil-doers and exposing the darkness of racism, they also articulated and named an explicit resurrection hope as a people and as a community.

During Black History month, we will have a “Minute for Mission” each Sunday, as children recite famous poems from African-Americans. 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—and their contributions. We will breathe in the courageous spirit of the past in order to infuse our present hope for the future.

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” write Avis Clendenen. In every crisis, character is called forth. In every challenge, new reservoirs of courage and focus come to our rescue.

These are the days when God’s people have to rise up, because this is what God’s people do in every generation. We rise up as disciples and live out our high calling. We encourage each other to follow Jesus more closely, believing in his unconditional hope. We give witness that the power that raises us is greater than the forces that would bring us down.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen” (Hebrews 12:1).

David M. Neff



The Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and Second Presbyterian Church will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion. The sermon will focus on the theme “When We Break Bread Together, We Are One.” All are welcome to the table of the Lord.

The Confirmation Class, under the direction of Elder Eugene Leonard, are asking each person in attendance to bring canned goods and non-perishable items for the Lunchbag Program. The youth will also have soup pots at the exit doors, for individuals to donate to feed the hungry. On Super Bowl Sunday, when much is spent on excess and waste, we remember those in need of daily bread and a hot meal.


Pastor Neff will preach on the following texts and themes during February:

February 3 - When We Break Bread Together, We are One

John 4: 31-38

February 10 - The Power of Music to Change the World

Psalm 30: 1-12

February 17 - Facing Adversity: The Storm is Passing Over

First Kings 19: 1-18

February 24 - Rewriting History as History-Makers

Genesis 26:12-22


The Board of Deacons and the Session will be holding a retreat on Saturday, February 23rd at the Shrine of Christ the King Church, 6401 S. Woodlawn. Reverend Barbara Wilson, associate executive presbyter for community ministry, will lead and facilitate the retreat. The retreat begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 1:00 p.m. A light breakfast and lunch will be served. Please keep your church leaders in your prayers as we begin a new year!


The season of Lent begins with our Ash Wednesday worship service at 7:00 p.m. The sermon will be preached by Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers. The traditional imposition of ashes will be observed, followed by the serving of the Lord’s Supper. We take on ashes as a sign of our mortality, and as a sign of our desire to say yes to God more completely and fully. All are welcome to this solemn service that marks the traditional beginning of the season of Lent.


Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.

It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.

Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work,

and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.

W.E.B. DuBois


During the month of February we will celebrate Black History Month. This year the church youth will provide Minutes for Mission highlighting African American Poets. They will read brief biographies and a poem from four well known poets. Please come out and support our young people.

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The Lunch Bag program is holding our annual “Winter Clothing Drive” during the month of December, January and February. 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.


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 $34.22 which our Treasurer pays for every member of the church. Please pay your per-capita today!


Sunday school is such a special time for children to learn about Biblical themes and stories. It is through Sunday school that children are able to ask questions, learn more thoroughly about scripture, and connect with other children from the church.

Confirmation Class/Post-Confirmation Class: The Confirmation and Post-Confirmation classes are well under way! Eugene Leonard is leading the charge by exploring the Christian values that are prevalent in the New Testament.

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On Monday evenings, Helen Smith is offering a FREE class called Mindfulness in Motion. This class focuses on bringing our tranquility from Sunday into the rest of the week through focused breathing, meditation, and easy chair yoga. Participants of all ages and activity levels accepted!


Tai Chi has begun again! The focus will be Tai Chi Chan (the pretty swaying kind) meets every Thursday evening at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall and will continue as long as there is participation. We are continuing to keep costs low and the fee will continue to be $10 at each session. Beginners and all levels of experience are welcome.


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 versus we discuss a general theme of the overall book in the bible. Last year we completed Genesis through Ruth but you can join anytime.

We meet in the fellowship hall on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at 9:30am or the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:00pm. Listed below are the dates and themes for the readings for Alpha to Omega Club for the first half of the year. We hope you will join us.

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We have begun putting all of our announcements on the television screen during Coffee Hour. Please be sure to pay attention to these announcements so that you don’t miss out on the great opportunities that we offer!


We are pleased to welcome 5 new members to the Congregation. They were accepted into membership on January 27, 2019.

Sandy Baer

Jeremy Nichols

Geraldine Qualls

Peggy Robinson

We look forward to working with them!


On Wednesday, January 16, the Tutoring Program will begin a new semester. Approximately 20 tutors from the Junior League and another 10 tutors from the community join in this ministry with approximately 30 students. Tutors are always needed. If you can give 90 minutes a week to help with homework, reading, math and science, please contact the church office at (312) 225-4951.


Recreation and Interest Ministries: Monday, February 4th 5pm Fellowship Hall

Communications: Monday, February 4th 6pm Kroll’s South Loop

Facilities: Sunday, February 10th 9:30am Fellowship Hall

Board of Deacons: Sunday, February 10th 12:45pm Library

Hospitality: Monday, February 11th 1:30pm Fellowship Hall

Community Outreach: Tuesday, February 12th 2:45pm Fellowship Hall

Session: Tuesday, February 19th 6pm North Parlor

Children & Young Adult Education: Sunday, February, 24th 12:30pm North Parlor

Congregational Life: Thursday, February 28th 6pm Fellowship Hall


The Community Outreach Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 2:45 p.m. at the church. We would welcome your membership on the Committee or invite you to join us as a visitor for a meeting.


The Hospitality Committee is seeking new faces to join the committee! One of the biggest misconceptions is that you will be working hard every Sunday preparing meals and that is simply NOT true! We have many folks who sign up to help host Coffee Hour so most of the work is already done but we would like to enhance our Coffee Hours and we need YOUR fresh ideas! The Hospitality Committee meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 1:30pm. If you are interested in checking out the committee but cannot attend the meetings, please contact Argie Johnson, Barbara Floyd, or Denise Conway!


The Church Development Committee is responsible for helping to fund the growth of our congregation and missions and to raise the capital needed to provide the facilities necessary for our space to become more relevant to the life of our community. In this endeavor, Development is working with Session, Stewardship, Facilities and Outreach to be sure that we share a VISION for our church, for its role in our community.

Watch for initiatives to adopt a more “generous” element to our regular giving, for the roll out of gift programs, to publicize the tax efficiency of making gifts to the church out of your IRA Required Minimum Distributions, the creation of investment programs that will pre-fund your gifts to the church, but allow you to earn a return on those gifts during your life.

Oh, and we will have some FUN ways of being able to participate in helping the church to raise capital…we promise!


The Community Outreach Committee is sponsoring a new fundraiser for Second Church in partnership with Finn’s Steak and Eggs Ranch. You are invited to order meat or eggs from Finn’s Ranch via their website. The ordered products will be delivered to Second Church and available for pick-up each Wednesday after 1:00 p.m. Second Church will receive 10% of the proceeds for our Operating Budget. The price list is included in this newsletter and is also available on the information table in Fellowship Hall. If you have questions, please contact Vicki Reynolds or Denise Conway.

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Save the Date:

Save the date for Friday, April 5th from 7pm-9pm as Second Presbyterian Church hosts its first Open Mic Night! All folks who are interested in showing off their talents (singing, playing an instrument, comedy, etc) are invited to participate in our Open Mic Night. If you don’t have a talent to share, you’re invited to come and watch. Cost is $5/person.


The 2019 calendar is now available for you to sign-up to host the next Coffee Hour! Do you want to celebrate a birthday or anniversary? Hosting a Coffee Hour is a GREAT way to do that! If you want to bring warm/hot items, we have chafing dishes with warmers below to keep that food at the desired temperature. Check out the sign-up board in Fellowship Hall to see all available dates!


Dr. Joel Tolliver will be leading a nine-day tour of the Holy Land June 3rd through 11th. Cost include round trip airfare, seven nights’ accommodations, all meals and entrance fees. The group will visit the Sea of Galilee, the fortress of Masada, the Dead Sea, the Shrine of the Book, the Via Dolorosa, the Knesset, the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock. Brochures are available on the literature table. For more information, please contact Dr. Joel Tolliver (312) 842-1971.


The ecumenical spirituality book discussion group will meet on February 12 at Old St. Mary’s Church to discuss Strength to Love; a collection of sermons by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On March 12, the group will discuss Creation and the Cross by theologian Elizabeth Johnson. On April 11, the group will discuss is We Need Each Other by Jean Vanier, age 90, founder of the L’Arche community in Paris. The discussions meet at 9:15 a.m. and are led by Father Brad Schoeberle and Pastor David Neff.


On Sunday, February 17th at 9:30am, the Book Club will be discussing the book Ghosts in the Schoolyard by Eve Ewing. This book discusses the racism and the school closings on Chicago's South Side.

All are welcome to attend.


The February Young Hearts gathering will be on Saturday, February 2nd at Fatpour (2206 S. Indiana Ave.) at 11:30am. Please contact Leslie Deslauriers ASAP to let her know if you plan to attend! All members and friends ages 21-40 are invited to this monthly gathering.

The March Young Hearts gathering will be on Saturday, March 2nd at Bulldog Ale House (901 S. State St) at 11:30am. Please let Leslie Deslauriers know if you plan to attend by Thursday, February 28th.


Mark your calendars for each Wednesday evening in Lent to explore Loving God, Loving Yourself and Loving Your Neighbor with Pastor Neff and Pastoral Assistant Leslie beginning on Wednesday, March 13th at 6:15pm in the Library. The study will go as follows:

March 13: How do we love ourselves?

March 20: Loving our imperfections/the grace of our imperfections

March 27: Praying our wounds

April 3: Spiritual Recharge

April 11: Safe spaces/reprocity

April 18: Discernment

We hope that you will going us for what is sure to be a wonderful Lenten journey! For more information, please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers.


Join Rev. Joel Tolliver on Tuesday at 1:30pm in the Fellowship Hall for an in-depth study on the book of John. All members and friends are welcome to participate!


On the literature table, three items are available to take home with you. “These Days” is a daily devotional guide for January through March. “Presbyterians Today” is an informative magazine about spiritual growth and churches that are involved in community and society. “Grace Before Meals” is one page of prayers to be cut out and used for table graces, written by Dr. Frank Hoffman.


Barbara’s Basement is now OPEN! Stop by for all of the South Loop’s greatest finds Tuesdays & Saturdays 10am-1pm. Donations of gently used items may be dropped off during shop hours.


Amy Haack will be traveling to Haiti in February to work with Three Angels Haiti. Her tasks will be to help with construction of community center and sew curtains for the orphanage.


On Sunday, February 24th, Second Presbyterian Church, Friends of Historic Second Church and Glessner House will co-sponsor a very special Black History Month Lecture in the Sanctuary. Beginning at 1pm, Michelle Duster, the great-granddaughter of American investigative journalist and Civil Rights Movement leader Ida B. Wells. Michelle Dust is an author, speaker, and educator. Her writing includes nine books. She co-edited Shifts: An Anthology of Women’s Growth Through Change, co-wrote the popular children’s history book, Tate and His Historic Dream, plus wrote and edited two books that include the writings of her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells - Ida In Her Own Words and Ida From Abroad. Her most recent book that she co-edited is Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls.

Michelle was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College and her M.A. in Media Studies from The New School in New York City. She has received numerous awards including the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from Dartmouth College. She currently teaches business writing at Columbia College Chicago and is working on several book projects that will completed within the next two years.

Free admission, reservations not required.

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Treasurer’s Report for period ended December 31, 2018

In 2018 on an Operating Basis, we generated an Operating Deficit of $33,490.17 including PILP Loan Repayments of $20,115.84. This compares to a forecast Budget deficit of $62,096.00.

None of the forgoing data includes any transfers from Reserves.

By the end of 2018, according to the Budget, we would have transferred $36,000. This has not been necessary as we have met our operating shortfalls by holding additional cash collected for special purposes in our bank account. At 31stDecember, the balance in our bank account was $90,030.57. We will eventually need to transfer $20-30,000 from Investments to meet the cost of roof repairs.

At 31st December, the value of our non-Education related Investment portfolios was $409,297.24.

Total Operating Income YTD to 31st Dec 2018

$ 295,405.93

Total Expenses, including Loan installments


Overall Deficit YTD


Offerings were $36,000 over budget. Member Giving was about $229.48 below plan and Non-Member Giving was $32,809.70 (65.61%) above plan.

Building Use revenue was about $3,441.75 (15.6%) ahead of plan.

Revenues from the Shop (at $2,900, 40% below plan), Weddings (60% of plan), Farmer’s Market ($783 actual vs $3,200 planned) and the Ghanaian Congregation (no revenue) all trailed plan.

Compensation was $1,620.32 (%) over plan as we paid more than planned for our Office Administrator and Building Aides.

Higher insurance premiums and debt service (by $4,538.55) than planned led to a 6% negative variance from plan.

Facilities Expense was $3,337.95 better than plan, with positive variances from energy costs and expected organ repairs being offset by higher repair and maintenance expense.

Office Expenses were nearly $2,600 better than plan, half of which came from negotiating a new contract for Internet, phone and TV with Comcast.

Worship Committee expenses were nearly 50% lower than plan ($4,913.85).

We spent $2,000 less than planned on Children’s Education.

Outreach underspent its budget by $2,706, largely offsetting the disappointing financial result from the Farmer’s Market, although we do still expect to receive $1,500 from the market organizers.

Communications only spent $430 of its $3,000 budget as it relied heavily on donated equipment and services.

We also want to thank our Assistant Treasurer and counters: Mike Belletire, Rowena Balogun, Lee Jenkins, Shirley Byrdlong-Powell, Darlene Pollard, Eugene Leonard, Ann Belletire, Argie Johnson, Marlene Heath, Barbara Crawford, Calvin Heath, and Tracy Cargo.


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.