Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - May 2019
Second Presbyterian Church is building a Christ-Centered Community Through Inspirational Worship, Education Ministry and the Power of Service.
FROM YOUR PASTOR
There is a garden patch in my back yard. Every spring I dig up the soil, root out the weeds and plant seeds. With a prayer toward heaven, I plant cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil leaves and other produce. I add fertilizer, water the soil and make sure the nearby tree branches are pruned back so that there is plenty of sunlight. For a week or two, nothing happens. It takes great faith to do gardening! As the seeds take root and begin to grow into a shoot, then a stalk, then a leafing plant, each day brings a new occasion to look for a sign of hope.
After a month, there is often that happy moment when the “first fruit” appears. A bell pepper! A tomato! It is a joyful moment, because the first fruits always symbolize that the garden will grow.
St. Paul write that, with the resurrection, Jesus was the “first fruit of those who have died” (1 Corinthians 15: 20). He is the first fruit of the new creation, the first to rise out of the ground of death which was cursed by the sin of Adam. As he rises to newness of life, Jesus the Crucified and Risen One affirms death, but also affirms something greater than death.
The new life that comes from God is offered to us in the invitation to bear fruit; to be creative and generative and energized for life’s joys and tasks. Jesus said “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. I have ordained you, that your lives should bear much fruit” (John 14: ). The fruit we bear involves our life-giving relationships with people, especially those with whom we share the good news. Christ is the Lord of all spiritual growth. We are alive together and grow together. The fruit we bear includes the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5: 22-23).
May you be fruitful this spring and summer—and may your always look out for that first fruit of the growing season, which is now.
David M. Neff
MAY 5 ~ GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY ~ FIRST SUNDAY POTLUCK
This Sunday is traditionally designated as Good Shepherd Sunday. The scriptures include Psalm 23 and John 10: 22-30. The sermon, anthems and hymns will reflect on God as our Good Shepherd, and our call in Christ to be shepherds to one another.
On the first Sunday of May, the Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and Second Presbyterian Church come together to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. All are invited to share in the Congregational Potluck after the service. Please bring your favorite dish to share and enjoy the favorite dishes of others!
MAY 10 ~ A PLACE AT THE TABLE
Second Presbyterian Church will host its second installment of A Place at the Table on Friday, May 10th. All Lunchbag guests and community neighbors are welcome to share in this common meal, offered by the 7th and 8th Graders of Old St. Mary’s School and Church. A meal of pasta salad, bread and dessert will be provided by The Firehouse Restaurant. If you would like to join us—or you would like to serve, please contact Denise Conway, Vicki Reynolds or Pastor Neff. The supper begins at 5:00 and concludes at 7:00 p.m.
MAY 12 ~ MOTHER’S DAY
On Mother’s Day, we cherish and honor the gifts of all women. Pastor Neff’s sermon will focus on the theme of love. “If You Love Me” are the words uttered by Jesus to Peter before his ascension (John 21: 1-19). The Men's Association will host the girls and women that day by serving as ushers, greeters, liturgists and readers. They will also honor our women by presenting corsages. A festive catered meal and reception is planned. Please join us for this special Sunday!
MAY 14 ~ SPIRITUALITY BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP
On Tuesday, May 14th, the spirituality book discussion group will meet at Old St. Mary’s Church to discuss We Care for One Another by Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche community in France. On Tuesday, June 11th, the group will meet at Second Presbyterian Church to discuss The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. All discussions begin at 9:15 a.m. Please join us for these discussions before the group takes a break for the summer.
MAY 18 ~ SPRING SALE
The annual Spring Market will be on Saturday, May 18th from 9am-1pm in the parking lot, library, and downstairs in the basement! There will be spring flowers (indoor, outdoor, herbs and more), books, jewelry, and local goods from vendors in the area! There are flyers available at the church for you to share with your neighbors and friends!
MAY 19 ~ WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world; I rest me in the thoughtOf rocks and trees, of skies and seas, his hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world; the birds their carols raise;
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world; he shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass, I hear him pass, he speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world; O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world; why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let the heavens ring;
God reigns, let the earth be glad!
Maltbie Davenport Babcock
Remembering Celia Moy Cheung
A memorial service was held in Chinatown for long-time member Celia Moy Cheung on April 7th. Many family and friends gathered to honor her joyful, productive life, her lively sense of humor, her deep and faithful hope for the community of China town and the city of Chicago. Celia was baptized here at Second Presbyterian Church--- with her three sisters—on April 7th, 1946. She continued to support the church through her giving and her presence, especially on Good Friday and Easter. She was known for providing meals for the Rummage Sale workers. She will be missed. We trust her light shines more brightly now in the realm of God’s eternal dwelling place.
PASTOR NEFF STUDY LEAVE
Pastor Neff will be taking two weeks of study leave from May 23rd to June 4th. He will be traveling to Cairo, Egypt. Part of his leave will be exploring the historic mosques and meeting with an Imam during the month of Ramadan. He will also visit the ancient Coptic churches in Cairo and meet with a professor of the Evangelical Protestant Seminary. A day trip will include visiting Mount Sinai and St. Catherine’s monastery, the site of the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Mount of Transfiguration. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers will be “on call” and serve as pulpit supply in his absence.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION HOUR
Christian Education Hour is such a special time for children to learn about Biblical themes and stories. It is through Christian Education Hour 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.
Tai Chi is still going strong and meeting every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. All classes are $10 and it is open to anyone and everyone!
ALPHA TO OMEGA
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 verses 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.
NEWS ANNOUCEMENTS DURING COFFEE HOUR
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!
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!
FACILITIES COMMITTEE REPORT APRIL 2019
The roof repairs are finally complete and the fencing on the Cullerton side of the building has been removed. We are tidying the space and will shortly be engaging landscapers to rehabilitate the area and create Gary’s Garden
The Communications Committee hosted Second Presbyterian Church’s first Open Mic Night on Friday, April 5th. It was amazing! Ramon and Leah smith emceed and performed some comedy. Our performers included: Richard Chubb on the guitar, Helen Smith and Pastor Neff doing poetry, and Brian Reed performing stand-up. We will be hosting another Open Mic Night in the near future so keep a lookout on our social media and website for that date! Thank you to all who helped, donated funds, beer, and popcorn, and for making the evening a great success!!
BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART AND BAHA'I TEMPLE TOUR
The Recreation and Interest Ministries Committee will be taking a group to the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern and to the Baha’i Temple on Wednesday, June 26th. Cost is $25/person and there is limited space available. To reserve your spot, please complete the sign-up form on the back table and give your form and fee to Cliff Crawford (email@example.com) as soon as possible.
The van will leave the church at 9:45am and return at 3:30pm.
CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULT EDUCATION COMMITTEE
TOUR OF THE HOLY LAND
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.
CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP
IM USING WHAT WAS IN LAST MONTHS NEWSLETTER BUT I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THIS DAY???
The Contemporary Spirituality Book Group will meet on Tuesday, May 12th, the group will meet to discuss We Need Each Other by Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche community. All meetings begin at 9:15 a.m. at Old St. Mary’s Church.
SUNDAY MORNING ADULT BIBLE STUDY
Adult Bible study is offered every Sunday morning from 9:30—10:30 a.m. with a curriculum and informal discussion. All are invited to attend!
BASIC BIBLE STUDY ~ THE BOOK OF ACTS
The book of Acts will be our Bible study each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Taught by Dr. Joel Tolliver, we are going chapter by chapter in the book of Acts, studying insights for personal discipleship. No prior knowledge of the Bible is necessary. All are welcome.
The May 19th Book Group will meet at 9:30am in the library and discuss The Defender by Ethan Michaeli. All are welcome to attend whether you finished the book or not.
Upcoming books are:
June 16th: Educated by Tara Westover
July 21: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
August 18th: Why Religion? A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels
NEWS FROM THE PEWS
Bass Vince Wallace is cast as Quequeg in the upcoming Chicago Opera Theater production of Moby Dick.
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.
TREASURER'S REPORT APRIL 2019
Year to date on an Operating Basis, we have generated an Operating Deficit of $4,680.75 including Loan Repayments of $3,410.46.
Operating Income YTD to 31st March 2019 $ 91,230.51
Expenses, including Loan installments $ 95,911.26
Operating Deficit YTD ($4,680.75)
We are running behind budget at the moment, largely due to the very cold and snowy winter, certainly as compared to recent history. At the same time, we are accelerating our engagement with our Missions and outreach to the Community, as you will read elsewhere in The Record, so your Gifts to the church are finding many useful causes.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the church office (312) 225-4951.