Second Presbyterian Church Newsletter - February 2023
Diverse ✶ Inclusive ✶ COMMUNITY ✶ Engaging ✶ Passionate
FROM YOUR PASTOR
Many are saying our society needs to jettison Black History month. Inaugurated as Negro History Week by historian Carter Woodson in 1926, his theory (cited by Clarence Page) is that African-American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them", Woodson wanted a history that would ensure that “the world sees the Negro as a participant rather than as a lay figure in history.” (Chicago Tribune, January 25).
Our congregation has celebrated Black History Month for a long time. It is an annual highlight in our congregation’s worship.
Is it time to discontinue this practice? Has America arrived at an equal valuation of every race and culture? Have we overcome past discriminations of status, wealth and power?
As we look at the issues of yesteryear, the same issues are still with us, in different form.
Police brutality still continues.
- Persons of color are still disproportionately arrested.
- Despite a few exceptions, banks continue to lag in investments in Black and Brown neighborhoods.
- Educational disparities continue, especially in areas of internet equity.
- Quality and Quantity of Life: A white person on the North Shore will live approximately 30 years longer than a black person in Englewood.
In some states, there are bills to limit textbooks and the content of what teachers can teach about racial injustice. In other states, voting and ballot laws have been enacted that directly or indirectly effect or limit voters of color.
What is the church to do? What should Christians do?
Dr. Cornell West says that we are in a crisis time in our history. While gains toward racial justice are being made, at the same time, there is a reactionary backlash. Every step forward involves moments which create momentum; and momentum creates movements. Every major social change takes 50 years. It takes a movement to change hearts and minds; it takes a movement to change laws and policies.
We are in the midst of a movement; and we need to continue the momentum to carry the story, articulate the struggle and uplift moments of transformation and transfiguration.
Instead of looking backwards, perhaps the focus needs to be learning from our history and looking forward. Faith is always about hope for the future.
Just as the struggle continues, so the work continues. Let us sing out for justice and celebrate this moment in time that moves us forward.
In the Spirit,
David M. Neff
POTLUCK SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5th
Potluck Sunday will begin the first Sunday of February and continue on the first Sunday of every month. We ask that you bring prepared dishes ready to be placed on the buffet table and served. We ask that you do not use the kitchen stove to prepare meals. For additional questions or concerns, please contact Barbara Floyd at (312) 485-0362.
WEARING MASKS RECOMMENDED FOR WORSHIP
COVID-19 Update: Effective May 11, 2023, the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE) and national emergency declarations are scheduled to end. The end of the PHE may result in tests and boosters no longer being free to all.
The Chicago Department of Public Health has now designated our Covid-19 status as LOW RISK: Low risk recommends individuals:
• Stay up to date* with COVID-19 vaccines.
• Get tested if you have symptoms.
• Follow all isolation guidance, including wearing a face mask.
• If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
Go to COVID.gov/tests to find out if you are eligible to receive free tests via mail.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Our worship services during the month of February will celebrate Black History Month. Each Sunday, students will present a contemporary hero whom they know and admire. The hymns, anthems, solos and organ music will feature black composers. Dr. Neff’s sermons will uplift the heritage of our congregation as well as issues facing current and racial reconciliation and social justice. Our children speakers will be:
- February 5 - Enwanmwosa Osazuwa
- February 12 - Jessica Ochiabutor
- February 19 - Uyioghosa Osazuwa
- February 26 - Iwonosa Osazuwa
Please join us online or in-person for worship.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH LECTURE FEBRUARY 26th
Join us for a Black History Month Event on Sunday, February 26 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm at Quinn Chapel AME Church, 2401 S. Wabash Ave. All are invited to attend this in-person event to explore the history of Quinn Chapel, Chicago’s oldest African American congregation, and hear about its role in the abolitionist movement, serving as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The program will include a presentation on the history of the congregation followed by a tour of the Gothic Revival building. The event is free but reservations are required. The program is co-sponsored by Glessner House, Friends of Historic Second Church, Second Presbyterian Church, and Quinn Chapel AME Church.
Click here to Make Your Reservation
SOUPER BOWL SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12th
Our children and youth will be collecting donations for the Lunch Bag program on Sunday, February 12th (the date of Super Bowl Sunday). In addition to cash donations, non-perishable items are needed: Fruit cups, chicken noodle soup, juice boxes, cookies, granola bars, bags of chips or pretzels and other snacks.. Please bring your items and support our children as they try to stamp out hunger.
TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD FEBRUARY 19th
We will remember Moses, Elijah and Jesus on the mountaintop in worship on Sunday, February 19th. How is worship and prayer the mountaintop of our experience? How does the struggle illuminate our peak moments and our experiences in the valleys of life? After the service, children and youth will participate in the burning of the palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday worship.
ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE FEBRUARY 22nd
We begin the solemn season of Lent with a service marking our dedication to walk with Jesus during the 40 days of Lent. Scripture lessons include passages from the prophets Joel and Isaiah. Dr. Neff’s sermon is “The Only Way Forward” based on Matthew 6: 1-21. Music will be provided by organist Michael Shawgo. All are welcome to receive the imposition of the ashes and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
SUNDAY’S PALMS ARE WEDNESDAY’S ASHES
Sunday's palms are Wednesday's ashes
As another Lent begins
Thus we kneel before our Maker
In contrition for our sins
We have marred baptismal pledges
In rebellion gone astray
Now returning seek forgiveness
Grant us pardon God this day
We have failed to love our neighbors
Their offences to forgive
Have not listened to their troubles
Nor have cared just how they live
We are jealous proud impatient
Loving over much our things
May the yielding of our failings
Be our Lenten offerings
We are hasty to judge others
Blind to proof of human need
And our lack of understanding
Demonstrates our inner greed
We have wasted earth's resources
Want and suffering we've ignored
Come and cleanse us then restore us
Make new hearts within us Lord
PER CAPITA OFFERING
Each year, Second Presbyterian Church pays a “per-capita” apportionment on each member of the church. This goes to support the mission and ministry of the larger church, including the Presbytery of Chicago, the Synod of Lincoln Trails and the General Assembly. Your gift of $36.50 per person helps the church fund its annual obligation dues to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Please submit your per-capita offering and consider making a gift to help others in our congregation that may find it difficult to give.
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
Presbyterians care! Presbyterians have been participating in the One Great Hour of Sharing since its inception in 1917. The theme of this year's offering is “You Shall Become Repairers of the Breach” (Isaiah 58:12). The needs of our world seem greater than ever. Your OGHS offering goes directly to churches and agencies that help people help themselves. Your gifts will be distributed equally in three different ways:
- Presbyterian Hunger Program-- provides help with agriculture and farming
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance-- immediate relief after an earthquake, tornado or flood
- Self-Development of People-- empowers communities to develop resources of resilience and hope
Fish boxes will be available beginning the first Sunday of Lent, February 25. Special offering envelopes are in the pews. All fish boxes and offerings will be dedicated on Palm Sunday, April 2nd.
Please give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing!
JOIN A COMMITTEE IN 2023
Committees are the foundation of Second Presbyterian Church. Committees seek to involve the diversity of church members and friends. Each committee meets monthly or bi-monthly. We seek members and friends of the church to join committees for a one-year commitment. Below are our committees and their moderators.
Worship and Music—Order of Worship, Music, Sacraments, Decorations in the Church, Special Services, Second Church Quartet, Organ and Piano Repair, Greeters, Ushers and Liturgists, Children’s Choir. Elder Ozzie Kinnard.
Christian Education Children and Youth—Educational Program for All Ages, Recruit and Train Teachers, Choose Curriculum, oversee Confirmation, Summer Camp, promote Children’s participation in the church, oversee Tutoring program, Christmas pageant, other offerings for children and youth. Elder Eugene Leonard.
Communications Committee—inform members and friends of opportunities, oversee the newsletter, church mailings, church brochure, electronic sign, church website, administer Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, outside banners, advertisements, press releases and publicity. Elders Amy Haack and Lisa Armstrong
Community Outreach—oversee the Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship, Farmers’ Market, Winter Clothing Drive, Liam’s Table, Lunch Bag Program, Second Time Around Mission Shop, join and enlist in community activities, promote the church in all community activities and events. Darlene Pollard.
Facilities Committee —oversee building repairs, approve building rentals, develop a list of critical repairs, develop a space utilization plan, oversee Wedding Task Force, hire snow removal company, oversee insurance, oversee boiler and heating, fire extinguishers, recycling in the church. Elder Jeremy Nichols.
Personnel and Office Administration—support church staff, develop job descriptions, maintain personnel files on each employee, annual review of staff performance, keep a record of background screenings for the Child Protection Policy. Elders Cliff Crawford and Anthony Ochiabutor.
Development Committee—retire our PILP debt, create an endowment through planned and estate giving, create an inventory of potential grant and gift sources, work with the Capital Campaign committee to recruit donors and corporate donors. Howard Tiffen and Elder Michael Lindh.
Internet Technology Committee— oversee all computers, printers and phones in the church; upgrading our electronic hardware; microphones, sound board, routers, alarm systems, internet, backups keeping passwords for the website and social media. Eric Annafi
Hospitality Committee - oversee coffee hour and fellowship events, monthly potluck dinners and other opportunities for building a sense of community among members and friends. Elder Anthony Ochiabutor.
Recreation and Interest Ministries—promote diverse adult education and fellowship offerings, oversee Bible studies, book discussion groups, fun and fellowship groups, retreats, day-trips, musicals and plays, other affinity groups to appeal to church members and the larger community. Deacon Flea Parker.
Stewardship Committee — promote the needs of our congregation in mission, engage in stewardship education, promote the Per-Capita offering, the One Great Hour of Sharing, Giving Tuesday, the Christmas Appeal and stimulate the sharing of time and talents in the work of the church. Elder Michael Lindh.
If you are interested in serving by serving on a committee, please contact Pastor Neff in the church office (312) 225-4951.
DEACONS MEET AND GREET
The Deacons would like to show our love and support for the congregation’s members and friends. With that in mind, Sunday, February 19th, directly after the service we will take a few minutes to give you the chance to meet the deacons and other members of your parish in the sanctuary before coffee hour. Signs will be posted in the entryway of the church so you can look up the parish you belong to. Each deacon will hold up a sign with their name on it so you can easily locate your group.
Sacred Places and Safe Spaces, Capital Campaign
Annual Report for year ended December 31, 2022
The provision of updated power supply to the building has been completed. The plumbing and venting at the south side of the building has been rehabilitated. The modernization of the restrooms has been completed. The North Parlor, north entryway and Fellowship Hall were demolished, and new fire alarm installations was partially completed.
New furnaces were installed serving the gym and Boutique Room. New windows were installed in the Boutique Room, it was plastered and painted.
In the North Parlor, a door and wall were installed to enable the room to be used uninterrupted by those using the kitchen and parking lot doors. New lighting was installed and the 100+ year-old chandeliers were cleaned repaired and reinstalled. New wall covering was added, the floor was refinished, and the room painted.
Fellowship Hall has been transformed with new lighting, a new ceiling, restored “false” archways on the north wall, wall covering, paint, wainscoting applied to the columns, new carpet and new electrical outlets.
Work has begun on the Accessible Walkway. It will be completed this Spring and landscaped.
The total expected cost of the work done and to be completed is about $1.45 million. Grants and Donations to date and Pledges to be fulfilled total $871,411. In addition we await the second half of the grant form the National Fund for Sacred Places ($125,000) and the City of Chicago Landmark Grant of $250,000 which is in escrow. We have raised to date a total of $1,246,411. We need about $204,000 to complete all the work. We aim to secure this through further matching grants and fundraising in the Community.
Our Capital Campaign Coordinator, Rick Reed, has completed his work as a contractor. He established our data bases and records, coordinated the production of publicity materials, drafted and prepared solicitations and thank you letters, organized the Steering Committee Meetings, prepared reports to the National Fund for Sacred Places, prepared and managed our application for the City of Chicago Grant. He also streamlined our ability to collect donations electronically and moderated the Capital Campaign Communications Task Force. He has handed over record keeping to Mike Belletire and other aspects of fundraising and the management of gifts and grants to Howard Tiffen.
We are grateful for Rick’s work on the Campaign.
MEN’S CORE GROUP
The Men’s Core Group will meet for Breakfast and Bible study each Saturday morning in February. Breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by Bible study and discussion. All men are invited to join each Saturday morning as you are able. For more information, contact Vince Arden at (708) 752-0943.
SOUTH LOOP MEMORY CAFE
FEBRUARY 9th - CELEBRATE THE FIRST LADIES
SOUTH LOOP SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA FEBRUARY 25th
Sounds of the South Loop presents the South Loop Symphony Orchestra in concert at Second Presbyterian Church on Saturday, February 25th at 7:30 p.m. The theme of the concert is “Celebrating Black Music”. Directed by Ahmed Al Abaca, the concert will feature music by Ornette Coleman, Florence Price, Duke Ellington, Walter Burleigh and Anita Baker. The finale will be “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The concert is free. A suggested donation of $20 will go to benefit the Second Presbyterian Church Sacred Places, Safe Spaces campaign. For more information, please see the church website 2ndpresbyterian.org.
All are welcome.
SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY
The theme from the Present Word Curriculum during the month of February is “God's Call and Its Responsibilities”. All are welcome to join us in person or by phone on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. The topics are:
- February 5 - Not Many Are Called - 1 Corinthians 1
- February 12 - Called with a Holy Calling - 2 Timothy 1
- February 19 - God Chooses the Poor - James 2
- February 26 - God Calls You into Light - 1 Peter 2
The call-in phone number is (312) 248-0036.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON BIBLE STUDY
Dr. Joel Tolliver continues to lead a lively and informative Bible study on the book of Romans each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to join in! The phone number is (312) 248-0036
SECOND TIME AROUND BIBLE BOOK GROUP
We are reading the Bible one chapter per day, following the events in chronological order of events rather than by books. Hence, the name “Second Time Around Book Group.”
Rather than study chapter and verse, we discuss chapters by sharing our thoughts about what we read in an open and supportive environment. We meet by telephone on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The call-in number is (312) 248-0036. For more information contact Flea Parker at Flea@Golden2.net or (210) 861-6988.
SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH BOOK GROUP
Our next book for discussion is Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Linda Miller will lead that discussion. If you would like to join this lively book group, email Ann Belletire at AnnaBelle620e@aol.com.
Time: Sunday, February 19th, at 9:30 am
Join Zoom Meeting: Join Meeting - Zoom Or Call: (312) 626-6799
Meeting ID: 858 7377 4596
THIRTY MINUTE PRAYER CIRCLE
Thursdays, noon to 12:30 pm. Join us for a short, online, lunchtime prayer circle. We meet by Zoom, share quick prayer requests and praises, and take turns praying out loud or listening to each other’s prayers. All are welcome!
Time: Thursdays at 12:00 noon
Join Zoom Meeting: Join Meeting - Zoom Or Call: (312) 626-6799
Meeting ID: 858 7377 4596
NEWS FROM THE PEWS
Congratulations to Kendall Arden, recently admitted to the Ph.D. program at Adler School of Professional Psychology. Kendall is the daughter of Vince and Christine Arden.
LORD, OPEN UNTO ME
Lord, open unto me . . .
Open unto me—light for my darkness.
Open unto me—courage for my fear.
Open unto me—hope for my despair.
Open unto me—peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me—joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me—strength for my weakness.
Open unto me—wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me—love for my hates
Open unto me—thy Self for myself.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!
Howard Thurman (1900-1981)
CONSERVATION WORK CONTINUES
The Sanctuary Lighting project is underway with scaffolding erected on the south balcony so that the five crown chandeliers could be removed. They will all be cleaned, rewired and reinstalled. The angel brackets above the chandeliers will also be conserved. After the south side chandeliers are returned, in about a month, the scaffolding will be moved to the north balcony where the 4 chandeliers that have yet to be cleaned and rewired will be taken down and conserved. This work should be done by the end of March, in time for the scaffolding to be removed before Easter. During the last week in March, the Mount of the Holy Cross window will be removed by Venturella Studio and begin its year-long restoration work with a return planned for Spring 2024. There will be scaffolding in front of that window for a couple weeks in March. These two major projects are funded by Friends of Historic Second Church.
ANNUAL COAT DRIVE
Please enjoy a free tour of the art and architecture of Second Presbyterian Church immediately following the Sunday service. A docent will meet you at the back of the church. Public tours are also given on Saturdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Tours are given by trained docents from Friends of Historic Second Church.
MINISTRY OF BEAUTY
Would you like to provide flowers for the sanctuary? Your gift of flowers for birthdays, anniversaries and memorials will add meaning to our service and beautify our sanctuary.
To provide flowers for an upcoming date, please contact Barbara Floyd (312) 485-0362 or email her at BarbFloyd36@gmail.com.
1 - Pastor David Neff
2 - Frederick Hairston Jr.
3 - Sue Ish
4 - Chioma Ochiabutor
6 - Vistina Brown
10 - Mark Veselack
14 - Faith Dusek
16 - Olivia Odoi-Frimpong
19 - James Acquaah
22 - Donald West
26 - Rev. Joel Tolliver
Happy Birthday to all!
TREASURER'S REPORT FOR FULL YEAR 2022
Treasurer’s Report for Full Year 2022
In the year to December 31st, 2022, we generated an Operating DEFICIT (see Budget v Actual Report) of $23,433.00 including PILP Loan Repayments of $18,959.57 compared with a Budgeted DEFICIT of $45,071.64, or $21,638.64 better than plan.
Total Operating Revenue
Total Expenses, including Loan installments
Total Revenue was $24,158.24 better than plan.
Member Giving was $19,685.27 over plan and Non-Member Giving was $2,530.05 above plan. Overall, Giving exceeded plan by $23,211.74.
Building Use Revenue was $2,947.15 under plan, after considering a shortfall of $5,000 in the payment expected from Historymakers for parking. Historymakers made scant use of the parking lot in 2022. Gym Use is $2,007.71 under plan (the Irish Dancers are no longer meeting on Saturday mornings) and Hall Rental operated $4,060.56 above plan.
The South Loop Symphony Orchestra now use Fellowship Hall on most Monday evenings and also rent the Sanctuary of two or three concerts per year. The Inclusive Collective, (a multi-denominational campus ministry based at UIC and partly supported by the Presbytery) hosts the South Loop Community Table for about 60 members of the community on Sunday evenings from September to May. These two uses of our meeting spaces have been consistent income generators for us. Bearing in mind that the North Parlor and Fellowship hall were under construction for the entire year, these results are encouraging.
Overall, Revenues exceed plan by $24,158.24, 7.7%
Total Expenses exceeded plan by $2,519.60.
Compensation was $3,774.71 above plan with unbudgeted increases in Sexton compensation ($7,061.76) having been partially offset by lower Building Aide payments ($3,138.75) than planned. This relates to our construction projects making use of our spaces more challenging, losing the South Loop Farmer’s Market from our parking lot and the generous donation of Building Aide time by a member. Quartet Compensation also exceeded Plan by $1,725.04 (11%) as we continued to employ the full quartet throughout the summer months.
Facilities expenses were $3,776.36 below plan with gas ($3,804.36, 16.5%) expenses above plan offset by lower-than-expected Building Repairs, Organ Repairs and Security expenses.
Continuing Stock Market volatility reduced the Unrealized Gains in our Investment Portfolios by about $132,000. Our total Investments including our main portfolio, our education endowment and investment deposit accounts stand at $594,000.
January 4th, 2023
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.