Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - January 2018
Second Presbyterian Church is building a Christ-Centered Community Through Inspirational Worship, Education Ministry and the Power of Service.
FROM YOUR PASTOR
One of the greatest things the church offers is a Christian worldview. A worldview (as defined by James Sire) is “a commitment of the mind or a fundamental orientation of the heart that explains ultimate reality through a story or set of propositions”.
Our worldview is that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Godself ” (2 Corinthians 5: 18). Sire believes that a Christian worldview is all-encompassing, and takes into consideration a world as large as the universe in which we live. A Christian worldview is well-researched and well-studied, a discipline of thought that is long-lasting and always growing. Gained through deep study and life-long learning and hard-won experience, a Christian worldview elevates an ethical and moral approach to life that brings vivid values into our world.
Education toward a Christian worldview can be life-changing and transformative.
Studies show that the height of most individuals’ religious knowledge peaks with confirmation, then declines the rest of life. At the same time, churches that are declining in attendance and membership experience a parallel decline twenty years earlier, as the adult commitment to religious education wanes.
Religious education is not just for children and youth. As Christians, the more we learn, the more we grow. The more questions we have, the more nuanced our faith becomes. The more we allow our spiritual minds to expand, the more our spiritual faith is deepened. The result of a more engaged worldview is more genuine commitment to the work of ministry and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18); an informed engagement in our world..
John of the Cross was once in a state of despair about his life. One day, a hooded monk walked by him. The monk was muttering to himself. “Lord, teach me all that you know.” In that prayer, lifted up, John found his life’s calling.
The Triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is our teacher. “Lord, teach me all that you know.”
SUNDAY MORNING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
The Adult Bible Class meets each Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m.—10:30 a.m. to
discuss A Living Faith in God. With the book of Daniel as our study guide, our
topics will be
January 7 ~ A Sincere Faith Daniel 1
January 14 ~ A Bold Faith Daniel 3
January 21 ~ An Obedient Faith Daniel 9
January 28 ~ A Strong Faith Daniel 10-11
All are welcome
LITERATURE FOR THE LIFE OF FAITH
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.
JANUARY 7th ~ BAPTISM OF THE LORD
On the first Sunday of the new year, we hear the gospel story of Jesus’ baptism in
Mark. How does the baptism of Jesus relate to our own baptism? “You are my
Son, the Beloved. With you I am well pleased” (Mark 1: 11). Pastoral Assistant
Leslie Deslauriers will preach. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be
January 10th ~ TUTORING PROGRAM BEGINS NEW SEMESTER
On Wednesday, January 10, 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
LEADERSHIP RETREAT FOR ELDERS AND DEACONS
In January, new boards begin their terms of leadership for the coming year.
Accordingly, it is appropriate to begin with a retreat. The Elders and Deacons will
have a mini-retreat at the church on Saturday, January 13th from 10:00 a.m.—1:00
p.m. The heart of the retreat will consist of hearing and envisioning a Five-Year
Strategic Plan for Church Growth and Participation. Please keep our elders,
deacons, pastor and church staff in our prayers that we might have an inspired year
of leadership and service!
JANUARY 14th ~ MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SUNDAY
On Sunday, January 14, we will celebrate the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. in our worship service. The service will uplift the poetry of
Langston Hughes and the artistry of James Baldwin. The service will conclude
with our traditional singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
JANUARY 21, ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION OF ELDERS AND DEACONS
The most exciting Sunday of the church year is the Service of Ordination and
Installation! The gospel lesson that day is John 1: 29-42. What is required to be a
spiritual leader in today’s world? How can we effectively serve and communicate
the gospel of Christ to those around us? Being ordained and installed as an Elder will be Howard Tiffen. Being ordained and installed as a Deacon will be Nathan
Battle and Mary Tibbs. Being installed as an Elder will be Eric Annafi, Barbara
Floyd and Dr. Argie Johnson. Being installed as a Deacon will be Barbara
Crawford and Jane Tiffen
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CONGREGATION AND CORPORATION
The Session has called for our Annual Meeting of the Congregation on Sunday,
January 28 at approximately 12:15 p.m. Annual reports will be distributed
approximately one week beforehand. A time of reflection and review is planned.
Please join us for this important meeting!
WELCOME OUR NEW (INTERIM) OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR
Leslie Deslauriers, our pastoral assistant, will assume the duties of office
administrator beginning on January 1st. This is a temporary or interim position for
ten hours a week. Office hours will be on Tuesdays and Fridays 9:30 a.m.—2:30
p.m. Her duties as pastoral assistant will include office hours on Wednesday and
Thursday, 9:30 a.m.—2:30 p.m. Please welcome Leslie to this new role in the
mission and ministry of Second Presbyterian Church!
VOLUNTEER OFFICE ASSISTANTS NEEDED
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.
WINTER CLOTHING DRIVE
The Lunch Bag program is holding their annual “Winter Clothing Drive” during
the month of December and January. 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.
SPIRITUALITY BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP JANUARY 9th
The joint ecumenical spirituality book discussion group will meet on Tuesday,
January 9 to discuss Meeting God in The Upper Room by Father Peter Vaghi. The
group will meet on Tuesday, February 14 to discuss The Spirituals and the Blues
by James Cone. All are welcome to join the discussion at 9:15 a.m. at Old St.
Mary’s Church, 1500 S. Michigan Avenue.
NEWS FROM THE PEWS
Tracy Daily and Michael Allen were married by Pastor Neff in the Pastor’s Study
on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Congratulations to the newly-weds!
Congratulations to Frank and Faith Dusek on their 48th wedding anniversary on January 26th.
Congratulations to Tru Annafi for her second year in serving as the principal
ballerina in The Nutcracker Suite at the Athenaeum Theatre.
BASIC BIBLE STUDY TUESDAYS AT 1:30p.m.
A study of the book of Genesis continues on Tuesday, January 23rd
with teacher Dr. Joel Tolliver. Please join us for an informative theological look at the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah; and their
practical application. This ongoing group meets each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. All are
GOD TEACHES ME
God teaches me the lesson of LOVE
So I can reach over my hatred
To love myself and love my neighbors
As he loves me unconditionally.
God teaches me the lesson of FORGIVENESS
So I can overcome my bitterness
To receive love and know how to give
As he forgives me limitlessly.
God teaches me the lesson of SERVICE
So I can wait on anyone I meet
To realize God’s image in His people
As God serves me, His chosen one.
God teaches me the lesson of GENEROSITY
So I can give without waiting for rewards
To multiply His graces and distribute His kindness
As He gives me the overwhelming power of Love.
I thank God for all His GUIDANCE.
Please help me to keep doing your Will.
To make my life change
To make me different
And to praise your Name forever.
Sister An Hoa Nguyen
A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR
Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with all fault-finding and leave
off all self-seeking. May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face-- without self-pity
and without prejudice. May we never be hasty in
judgment and always generous.
Let us take time for all things: make us grow
calm, serene, gentle. Teach us to put into action
our better impulses, straight forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is the little things that
create differences, that in the big things of life
we are at one. May we strive to touch and to know
the great, common human heart of us all, and
O Lord God, let us forget not to be kind!
WHAT IS PER CAPITA?
In your pledge envelopes, there is a green envelope marked “per capita”. “Per
capita” is the amount our church pays to the larger Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to
help administer our mission. In the United Methodist Church, it is called
“apportionment”. This per-capita amount goes to fund our national, regional and
local Chicago area mission. This year, the per-capita amount per member is $
33.61. Our Treasurer pays the “per-capita” on every active member, whether you
contribute or not. Please support your church by turning in your envelope and
paying your per-capita. And consider paying an additional amount for those who
may not be able to pay.
THANK YOU TO OUTGOING OFFICERS
In January, a new class of elders and deacons will take over for the new church
year. We express our deep appreciation and gratitude to outgoing Elders Chioma
Ochiabutor. We also give thanks for outgoing Deacons Doug Walters and Dr.
Amoah Korang. These leaders served the church ably and well for their terms and
made strong contributions to the spiritual life of our congregation. Please express
your gratitude and appreciation to all our leaders for their service given in the work
of the Lord
WISE COUNSEL FOR THE NEW YEAR
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
And try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms
And like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you
Because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
Live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Young Hearts Beginning in January
Young Hearts is being revived! Beginning on Saturday, January 6, all members and friends between the ages of 21-40(ish) are invited to join Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers for brunch! Each month will be a different location but it will always be the first Saturday of the month at 10am. Join us for friendship and fellowship on Saturday, January 6 at 10;30am at Weather Mark. Feel free to invite friends to join us as well! If you have any questions, please contact Leslie via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (615)630-2495
Adult Education Next Series
The Adult Education Committee would like to invite you to our next series: Poverty & Christianity beginning on Wednesday, January 31st at 6pm in the library (at the rear of the education wing). This series will focus on viewing the issue of poverty from a Christian lens. We will have speakers each week from various organizations around Chicago that focus on homelessness and helping people get out of poverty. If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact either Howard Tiffen (email@example.com) or pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Communication Committee News
Posting on YELP
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY
COAT DRIVE PARTNERS WITH KROLLS
DECEMBER TREASURER'S REPORT
We are on track to generate a SURPLUS for 2017. Member and Visitor Giving is largely
responsible for this performance. Other positive factors have included lower than expected Utility Expenses and the highly successful Leave a Legacy campaign which has serviced our PILP debt this year.
To 30th November 2017, our Net Revenues were:
Total Operating Revenue $267,752.02
Total Operating Expenses $261,419.73
Net operating Surplus YTD $ 6,332.29
Total Giving is $10,168 over plan. Member Giving is $7,785 under plan and Non-
Member Giving is $14,073 over plan.
Most major expense categories are close to plan. Facility expenses are 12% better than
As we prepare for 2018, we will continue to be vigilant on expenses, seek ways to defray our PILP borrowings and look to continue to GROW our congregation.