The Record

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.


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.”

David Neff



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


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.


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



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


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!


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”.


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


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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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

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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!

Mary Stewart


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.


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


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 ( 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 ( or pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers (

Communication Committee News

The Communications Committee is working hard to make sure that you are aware of everything going on at Second Presbyterian Church. Did you know that we have a church events calendar posted in 3 places? Check out the bulletin boards in Fellowship Hall, the Cullerton Ave. foyer, and just outside the kitchen. You can also check out our facebook, twitter, and Instagram (links on the website). Please be sure to thoroughly read the announcements in the bulletin, check your emails for reminders, read the newsletter, periodically check the website (with an active google calendar that you can sync to your calendar!), and follow us on social media. We will also be working with other committees to get information out to you in a more timely manner. If you have any suggestions, questions or would like to serve on the Communications Committee, please contact Eric Annafi ( or pastoral assistant Leslie Deslauriers (

Posting on YELP

Please take a minute to sign up to write a review of the church for Yelp. Ma y people choose a church for their wedding or decide where to attend church by going to Yelp to read reviews. We already have some excellent reviews but we could use more. It is very easy and you can write about what you like about Second Presbyterian - is it the warmth and friendliness of the congregation, the wonderful diversity of who worships here, the church's community outreach programs, the inspiring sermons by Dr. Neff, the amazing music every Sunday, or the moving Christmas Eve Service? Maybe it is the beauty and contemplative nature of the sanctuary? Please take time to write your own review. Thank you.
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Second Presbyterian Church has reserved a time for volunteering at the Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, Thursday, February 1st at 1pm. You must sign-up online in order to volunteer. Please contact the church office (312-225-4951) or Vicki Reynolds (312-203-4933) or click on the Chicago Food Depository registration link below. The username is secondpresbyterianchurch and the password is Hunger.


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.


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.