The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - October 2020

Diverse. Inclusive. Community. Engaging. Passionate.


Recently, I was talking to members of a large church in the suburbs. They asked how Second Church was faring. I told them that we maintain three bible studies, two book groups, a prayer circle, a support group and a film group . . . I told them how we've rallied around keeping the Lunchbag program open four days a week through the pandemic . . . How we've hosted the South Loop Farmers Market throughout the summer, providing fruit and vegetables from our vendors to our neighbors, building a sense of community. I told them how the Session adopted a major statement on Racism, and the RIM committee chartered a series of discussions on race relations and social injustice that are some of the strongest conversations I have ever been a part of in all my years of being in the church.

Those who listened were amazed. “We have one thousand members in our church. We don't do nearly that much!” was their response.

Second Presbyterian Church is a remarkable community of believers. We live with a mighty heart and a bold hope. If they said it can’t be done, we will find a way to do it. If there is a need in the community, we will find a way to meet it. In this time of sheltering in place, we are finding creative ways to do more to become the body of Christ.

In this difficult time, people need the church more than ever. As we rise up with faith, we practice hope. God works through us to expand our outreach and express our love for the community in the service of Christ.

I am proud of our congregation for all we have done during the last six months! I am grateful to our strong Elders and compassionate Deacons, our talented church staff, all members and friends who give faithfully to support our mission.

Keep up the good work, people of God! These days are proving our mettle. God is with us, leading and guiding us toward resilience and renewal.


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.


We are open for worship on Sunday mornings! The doors of the sanctuary open at 10:30 a.m. Each person must wear a mask, receive a temperature check, answer three questions and sign in for contact tracing. Social distancing is required for the pews. Our service is traditional, with the Quartet singing the hymns and limited responsive readings. Most people are overjoyed to return to worship. Please join us and help us keep sacred space as safe space.


Pastor Neff will preach a sermon series during the month of October, using Karl Barth's phrase “The People of God in World Occurrence.” Everyday, the people of God are part of an rapidly-changing world. How do the people of God rely on the word of God in forming our worldview? How do we keep true to the word of God while engaging our world? Using the lectionary, Pastor Neff will preach on the following:

October 11 Exodus 32 Moses and the Golden Calf. What are our idols today? How can we trust in God as our ultimate security?

October 18 Exodus 33 Moses and the Tent of Meeting. How does the church remain the place where we speak to God and God addresses us?

October 25 Deuteronomy 34 Moses and the Promised Land. God takes Moses up on Mount Nebo to see the promised land. What is our vision for our future, how can we live it out now? What legacy will we leave for our future?


The theme for our annual Stewardship Campaign is “Faith Matters-- Gifts Matter”. A letter with a pledge card has been sent to all members and friends. With joy, we will dedicate our pledges for 2021 to the Lord on October 25th.

Please give intentionally and prayerfully.


A pledge is a commitment to express our faith in concrete, tangible ways. We are asked to return to God a very small portion of all the gifts that have been given to us by God. Pledging is not a matter of fundraising; it is a matter of worship. Offering a pledge involves being thankful to God for our material gains and our prosperity. It is a commitment to remembering that God is the source and center of our lives. All good gifts come from God and are given to us as a trust to use wisely and share joyfully. A pledge is a commitment that can be changed at any time as circumstances change. Let us all remember God's many gifts to us and share our blessings through our giving and our living.

The Session

You may also submit your 2021 pledge by clicking the link below and completing the online pledge form.

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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


Covid-19 has affected each of us in different ways. If you would like to share your experiences, pray with others who are suffering, or mourn the loss of a loved one, a friend, a job, or our world please join us each 2nd Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. There will be an opening and closing prayer but otherwise will be an open dialogue for anyone who would like to join us. Pastoral Assistant Leslie will be facilitating the support group and you can email her at if you have any questions.

To join the group, please click this link Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 836 2975 1318
Password: 673212

Or you can call in on your phone!

One tap mobile
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Do you want to learn more about Villains in the Bible? Join Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers and Rabbi Marcey Rosenbaum Thursday evenings (October 8, 15, 22, & 29) at 5:30pm to hear about these complex Biblical characters. We will be meeting in person at the church but will also have a computer set up so those who don't want to meet face-to-face can Zoom in! Topic: Biblical Villains

Time: Oct 8, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Thu, until Oct 29, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
Oct 8, 2020 05:30 PM --Cain (from both the Christian and Jewish perspective) & Lot
Oct 15, 2020 05:30 PM--Old Testament Male Villains
Oct 22, 2020 05:30 PM--Old Testament Female Villains
Oct 29, 2020 05:30 PM--New Testament Villains & Satan (from both the Christian & Jewish Perspective)
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 854 9170 7717
Passcode: 964420
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Meeting ID: 854 9170 7717
Passcode: 964420
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If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers at or call the church office.



The Adult Bible Class is discussing the theme “Loving One Another”. Each Sunday's class is taught by members of the group. Call the church office to receive the curriculum on-line. Lessons for October are:

4 Love and Devotion for One Another 1 Samuel 19, 23

11 Love Your Enemies Luke 6: 27-36

18 Loving Your Neighbors Leviticus 19, Luke 10

25 Love Divine 1 Corinthians 12-13

The group meets by phone each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. The number is (312) 248-0036.


The Reverend Dr. Joel Tolliver continues to teach on 2nd Corinthians, going through Paul's letter chapter by chapter each Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Please join us for a word of instruction and encouragement The phone call-in number is (312) 248-0036..


Book Group: Our next book discussion is King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. This will take place both in person and via Zoom on October 18th at 9:30 a.m. In person, we will space ourselves in Fellowship Hall, wear masks and follow all church protocols. Others can join in via Zoom. Please email Ann Belletire if you would like to join this very lively discussion group at

Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 825 9510 3879 One tap mobile: +13017158592,,82595103879# US (Germantown) +13126266799,,82595103879# US (Chicago) Dial by your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 825 9510 3879 Find your local number:

The November book is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


The Alpha to Omega Bible Discussion Group meets monthly on the second and fourth Thursdays. Cal (312) 248-0036. For more information, please contact Flea Parker at or (210) 861-6988.

Congratulations to Debora Antwi and Michael Gyimah on the birth of their daughter Jaina Kissiwaa Gyimah in Stroger Hospital on August 30th!

Congratulations to Lovie Annafi on her reception of the Anna Grace Sawyer Scholarship from the Presbytery of Chicago.

Happy birthday to Miss Lillian Coles! Her 99th birthday is October 21st!


This fall, we welcome two new Quartet members. Corinne Wallace-Crane has sung around the country with Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Natchez Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Florentine Opera. She now exclusively sings back in the Midwest, her home. Corinne grew up in Joliet (GO SOX!) and attended Lewis University and Roosevelt University. She now lives in Naperville with her husband, Mike, her dog and three cats. She’s an Alto II in the full-time chorus at The Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a regular chorister at the Grant Park Music Festival. She’s performed at the Second Presbyterian Church in their last several Good Friday services, and is thrilled to join the quartet every Sunday!

John Concepcion grew up in Des Plaines. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at Simpson College, where he met his future husband. Married for many years, the couple adopted two children (now ages 27 and 22, respectively). His partner died in 2013. He has sung with the Lyric Opera Chorus and the Grant Park Chorus for 25 years. He is on the Advisory Board at the Center for Performing Arts at Governor State University. He recently joined the Board at Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. He lives in Flossmoor and is glad to be part of the Second Church Quartet!


The church recently received a gift of $76,000 from the estate of Marjorie Barbour. Marjorie, who died last year, loved Second Presbyterian Church. She joined Second Church in 1973, when she was baptized by Reverend Joe Francis. Always the first to arrive on Sunday morning, she sat in pew #102. She greeted each person with a hug and always showed her care, sending baskets of fruit and cards, assuring her prayers. Beautiful on the outside as well as the inside, she made a provision to leave Second Church in her will. She will be remembered on All Saints' Day and on her birthday November 15th . We praise God for the gift of her life and give thanks for her gifts which continue today!


The 1st Sunday Coffee Hour will continue to focus on race. This week a group of 5 members of 2nd Pres, Tracy Cargo, Cliff Crawford, Erik Flom, Ramon Smith, & Jane Tiffen will share and explore some of their varied experiences of race in the American context. Barbara Chasnoff will facilitate the group. All are welcome to participate and the information is in your bulletin. Join us at 1:30pm via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 827 3997 3168
Passcode: 168269
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Meeting ID: 827 3997 3168
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The Seminarian Support Committee will work this year with Brian Louis as an inquirer for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A,), The committee members will meet with him monthly, get to know Brian, offering him feedback and support in his ministry and service to the congregation. Members of the committee are: Chioma Ochiabutor, Jeremy Nichols, Paula Kelso, Pearlie Horace, Madison Moss-Vanderbilt and Doug Walters. Brian is a second-year student at the University of Chicago Divinity School.


The 2020 Nominating Committee will begin meeting in September. It's task is to present a slate of Elders and Deacons for the coming years. It also submits names for the 2020 Nominating Committee to be voted on at the Congregational Meeting in November. Please keep the members of our Nominating Committee in your prayers!

Members are:

Elders: Darlene Pollard and Eric Annafi

Deacon: Mary Tibbs

Congregation: Ann Belletire, Michael Brown, Tracy Cargo, Lee Jenkins, Chioma Ochiabutor

HIRING: Building Aides For Second Presbyterian Church

We are seeking building aides to staff for building rentals. The duties are to open/allow access to the church and offer a hospitable, friendly and responsible presence to all our guests, closing and securing the church afterwards. Light cleaning duties are required. Hours are flexible (including weekdays and weekends). If you might be interested, please contact the church office (312) 225-4951 or

Virtual Classes and Discussions and Live Streaming Services

Since the Covid outbreak reached pandemic proportions in March, we have been live streaming our services and offering Zoom and Conference Call facilities for education classes, meetings of Deacons, Session, and Coffee meetings on first Sundays.

For live streaming, initially we were blessed to be able to tap into Adam Deslauriers' (THANK YOU AGAIN ADAM) expertise and creativity to be able to broadcast our services. Session then approved an investment in a two camera system which will enable us to broadcast clearly the spoken word from the pulpit while watching clear images of our Quartet and the church interior. We plan to continue to live stream after the congregation returns to the pews. We have found that among the thousands watching our services live or on YouTube, we have had an audience across the United States and as far away as Africa and Europe!

We continue to work with the engineers to produce the best quality Sanctuary sound we can. We know we still have some challenges. Please be patient while we fine tune the equipment and install the second camera.

Meanwhile, the Zoom, Conference call and Audio Visual installation have cost us nearly $13,000. As a result of our appeal to date, we have raised about 30% of this amount.


2020/2021 Capital Campaign

In 2019, Second Presbyterian Church applied to the National Fund for Sacred Places (NFFSP) for a grant of $250,000 which would be used to improve the safety, accessibility and usability of available space. We were among the 10 congregations selected from 220 applicants to receive a grant.

While much of the focus on Second is on our extraordinary Arts and Crafts Sanctuary and stained glass windows, much of the buildings use for education, community activities like Irish Dancing, orchestra rehearsals, school basketball, community meetings take place in the 100 year old “parish house” on the west end of our building. This part of the building is in urgent need of modernization and infrastructure updates.

The campaign we envisage would modernize our electrical installation, some of which dates back to 1901; upgrade our plumbing, heating and ventilation systems; and modernize the office, meeting room and gathering spaces in our historic church building. The initial list of projects will cost in excess of one million dollars, with $250,000 being provided by the NFFSP grant. We are working with architects and engineers to flesh out the details of these projects.

We have asked Partners for Sacred Places to conduct a Feasibility Study to help us design our capital campaign to raise in excess of $750,000. This feasibility study uses individual interviews and independent research to analyze the current state of Second Presbyterian and its impact on the life of the city of Chicago, providing insight into how residents feel about the church and its work in the community.

The feasibility study report will provide a roadmap for a potential community-wide campaign for preservation and renewal of our buildings in ways that will benefit our congregation and the entire community.

Our church is growing as a center for our South Loop community. As we reach out beyond our four walls, it is exiting to join in collaboration with other community groups and partner in the work of strengthening our unity. We are known as a church for our outreach and compassion. We are also known for our hospitality and inclusive spirit. Our 'can-do' attitude underwrites all the ways we offer ourselves (and our building) to serve the cause of Christ . We are becoming what our Mission Study envisioned: “a church that the community cannot live without”.

Members of your community and the philanthropic community in Chicago and nationwide will be approached for interviews as part of the study. These interviews will involve video or phone conversations that will last 45 to 60 minutes. The interviews are structured as informal conversations and questions differ according to each interviewee. Partners will be seeking to understand:

● The interviewee's personal connection and experience of the church, including the building and the congregation

● The congregation's relationship to the larger community

● The interviewee's feelings towards a potential capital campaign and the level of support that they might be able to provide

The results of this study will enable us to launch our campaign in earnest later this year.



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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How many churches realize that community is one of the greatest gifts the church has to offer. We offer a new fellowship, a new brotherhood, a new sisterhood, a new way of belonging. We offer friendship, prayer, peace, love, fidelity, affection, ministry with those in need-- these offerings create and sustain lasting relationships. Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive-- not for ourselves, but for one another.

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey


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Alice Paul: a Suffragist and the Women's Vote

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm


Actress and Scholar Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., performs in this living history portrayal of suffragist Alice Paul. Paul was one of the most enigmatic leaders in the fight to win votes for women. She arranged parades, organized the first picketing demonstrations outside the White House, lobbied politicians, and endured imprisonment for women’s suffrage. She inspires us still in the struggle for equal rights.

This event will be online. Before the event, an email will be sent to attendees with details on how to login into Zoom or another online platform.

General admission $10/Member $8

Glessner House and Friends of Historic Second Church are partnering for this event.

This program is generously partially-funded by a grant from Wintrust.


The Memory Care Cafe will meet via Zoom and phone on Thursday, October 8th at 2:00 p.m. The theme for this meeting is "Celebrating the Fall Season". There will be a sing-a-long of songs such as "All the Leaves are Brown" by the Mama's and Papa's, "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett, "Leaves that are Green" by Simon and Garfunkel and "Thriller" by Michael Jackson". There will be a craft activity, a trivia quiz/game and chair/movement exercises.

Research suggests that listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease. Movement is even more important for individuals affected by a cognitive disorder, like Alzheimer's disease, because it can be used to foster identity, enhance communication, facilitate connection, and decrease isolation.

The Memory Cafe' is a social monthly gathering for people living with dementia and their family, friends and care partners. The Cafe' meets the second Thursday of every month. Here is the meeting link.

Meeting ID: 833 3003 0114 Passcode: 877151

For First Time user of Zoom:

Before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app by clicking on this link:

Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click the meeting link above in Step 1.

If you want to familiarize yourself with Zoom, you can join a test meeting prior to our Memory Cafe Zoom meeting. Just click on this link:

Option 2:

If you don't want to do a Zoom video meeting, you can just call in and listen to the meeting. Just dial the phone number below. You will be able to hear everyone, you just won't be able to see them. Dial 312 626 6799.


The South Loop Village is partnering with The Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer’s Disease at Northwestern in an effort to increase participation in clinical research. While people of color are much more likely to be affected by dementia, (and many other diseases) this population is dramatically underrepresented in clinical trials. Northwestern will be hosting a zoom meeting/presentation on November 12 on the benefits of research participation. Members and friends of Second Church are encouraged to register and attend. Please see the facebook South Loop Village or call (312) 225-4406 for more information.


The workers in Barbara's Basement have been preparing for fall with seasonal decor reflecting the colors of autumn. Pumpkins, lanterns, mirrors, paintings, wall hangings and small houseplants. They also offer an elegant display of fine jewelry. The shop includes fine glassware, kitchen items and table settings. All proceeds go to underwrite the mission and ministry of Second Presbyterian Church.

The shop is open Tuesdays 10:00 a.m.-- 1:00 p.m. and Thursdays during the Farmers' Market 3:30--8:00 p.m.

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The South Loop Virtual Farmers’ Market is still going on. Go online to, register your name and address, then pick out your items to order for the virtual market. Your purchases can be picked up in the north parking lot on Thursday from 2:00—6:00 p.m.


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.