The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - March 2019

Second Presbyterian Church is building a Christ-Centered Community Through Inspirational Worship, Education Ministry and the Power of Service.


March is one of my favorite months. It is the month where spring tries to push away winter and we begin to get a taste of what is to come. It seems that the sunrises and sunsets are more vibrant, reminding us of God’s majesty and the birds begin to chirp a little louder each day. March, for me, is a month where I begin reflecting on what is to come and I feel a newfound energy and joy erupting from deep within. This March, the season of Lent begins on March 6th and God calls us to a place to confession and reconciliation. As we begin to see new buds on trees and (hopefully) warmer weather, my hope is that you will also think about the ways in which God has given your life renewal time and time again. We are simply humans and we are going to fail repeatedly but remember the words of the poet when he says “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Allow God to guide you with tender love and mercy as we wrestle together with our faults, mistakes and missteps. We are a community of faith that prays with and for one another but also walks together in one another’s faith journeys. Happy March!


Leslie Deslauriers, pastoral assistant


Today we remember the mountaintop experiences of the disciples as they saw Jesus transfigured in his divinity as the Son of God. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers will preach. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated by the Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and Second Presbyterian Church.

After the service, children and youth are invited to participate in the Burning of the Palms, which prepares the ashes for Ash Wednesday.


The season of Lent begins with our Ash Wednesday worship service at 7:00 p.m. The traditional imposition of ashes will be observed, followed by the serving of the Lord’s Supper. We take on ashes as a sign of our mortality, and as a sign of our desire to say yes to God more completely and fully. “May we love what Christ commands and desire what he promises” (Book of Order, the Church of Scotland).


O God, we pray this day:

For all who have a song they cannot sing,

For all who have a burden they cannot bear,

For all who live in chains they cannot break,

For all who wander homeless and cannot return,

For all who are sick and for those who tend them,

For those who wait for loved ones and wait in vain,

For those who live in hunger,

and for those who will not share their bread,

For those who are misunderstood

and for those who misunderstand,

For those who are captives and for those who are captors,

For those whose words of love are locked within their hearts

and for those who yearn to hear those words.

Have mercy upon these, O God.

Have mercy upon us all.

Ann Weems

Kneeling in Jerusalem


Our guest preacher today is Fr. John Costello, S.J. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, John Costello found another world awaiting his pleasurable discovery at the cosmopolitan St. Ignatius College Prep on Roosevelt Road. With the resultant lifetime theme of exploring other corners of the vineyard, he went on to earn his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Following a four-year stint teaching as a Jesuit Volunteer in Peru, he returned to Chicago to earn an MA degree from Loyola University. He entered the Jesuits where he completed an MA in Humanities from the University of Detroit, in Michigan, and an MDiv from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, CA. Following his studies, he was ordained to priestly ministry in 1983. Fr. Costello’s mission assignments have included academic administration, fund raising and teaching. He began his career at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently serves as the Vice Chancellor of Loyola University Chicago.


March 24th, 2019

God put us on this earth to live in families.

Those families are defined in so many beautiful ways.

God’s church is often called the family of God.

On this special Friends and Family Sunday, we encourage you to invite your family and friends to join us in worship.

We are Family!


Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.

It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.

Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work,

and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.

W.E.B. DuBois

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Join Us for Easter Worship Opportunities

Ash Wednesday Service:

Wednesday, March 6th at 7:00 pm

Communion and Imposition of Ashes

Palm Sunday:

Sunday, April 14th

Palm Processional begins in Fellowship Hall at 10:45 am

Good Friday:

Friday, April 19th at 7:00 pm

Seven Last Words of Christ

Easter Sunday:

April 21st

Service begins at 10:45 am

We are accepting contributions of $15 to decorate the Sanctuary with Lilies on Saturday, April 20th. Forms will be available the fourth Sunday in March. Or make the donation on line at indicate Easter Lilies in the comment section


A church member’s generous donation has provided 1000 Peace Window Postcards. On the back of this beautiful card is our schedule for Lenten services and activities. The cards can be found on the Literature Table and in the Vestibule. Please take several cards and share them with your neighbors and friends. Invite a friend to church or to join us for a special music program! They will be glad that you did!


The One Great Hour of Sharing is a chance to share God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world by providing relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry and support for the poor and oppressed. The offering goes to help Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self-Development of People. Fish banks are available for children and adults to contribute their coins. The dedication of the One Great Hour of Sharing is Palm Sunday April 14. “You shall be called repairers of the breach” (Isaiah 58).

The Lunch Bag program is holding our annual “Winter Clothing Drive” during the month of December, January and February. 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.


Sunday school is such a special time for children to learn about Biblical themes and stories. It is through Sunday school 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.

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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!


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 versus 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.

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Pastor Neff will offer Sunday morning classes in March for adults on the subject of children and youth. Contemporary research is coming out to help our children claim and grow in their faith journey. Dates for future programs are:

March 10 The Spiritual Lives of Children, 9:30--10:30 a.m.

March 24 Keeping Your Teen in Touch with God 9:30--10:30 a.m.

March 31 Faith Development for Parents 9:30--10:30 a.m.


Per Capita Chant Presented by the Quartet on 24th February 2019

I lift up my eyes to the | congre- | gation; from whence cometh Per | Capi- | ta Pay- | ments. *Help from the Presbytery | comes be- |cause we all make our Per | Capi- | ta pay- | ments

The Presbytery give us Pastors and | study | guides; The Presbytery gives us loans, and dis- | | lief pro- |grams. *The Presbytery gives us | so much | more and meetings which are | very | very | long.

The Presbytery neither | slumbers, nor | sleeps. The Presbytery needs us all to pro- | vide | our sup- | port. *It is | our right | hand. And all it asks of us is thirty-four dollars and | twenty | two cents | each.

Please write out | your checks | now for thirty-four dollars and | twenty | two cents | each. *Please write out | your checks | now It’s only thirty-four dollars and | twenty | two cents |


Readers may recognize Psalm 121 as a paretial inspiration. The music is a traditional Anglican Chant


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!

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The Scoop from the Session

The Session of Second Presbyterian Church is in the process of implementing the goals and actions in our 2018 Strategic Plan.

How can you help? Work on one of our committees!

Community Outreach – Vicki Reynolds, Chair- Develops missions and outreach opportunities including the Lunch Bag Program and community relationships

Facilities – Howard Tiffen, Chair - Oversees the interior and exterior property

Worship and Music – Darlene Pollard, Chair – Coordinates worship and music, recruits greeters, ushers and communion servers. Plan special services.

Communications – Eric Annafi, Chair – Disseminates social media, press releases and other advertisements for events. Also updates the website.

Children and Young Adult Education – Eugene Leonard, Chair – Choose and implement church school curriculum. Make recommendations for the Scholarship Fund and Oversee tutoring

Recreation and Interests Ministries – Howard Tiffen, Chair Coordinates activities for adults including Bible Study.

Administration and Personnel – Clifford Crawford, MD, Chair – Serve as support to church staff. Oversee office equipment

Nominating – Rowena Balogun, Chair - Welcomes nominations for church officers from members of the congregation

Stewardship – Anthony Ochiabutor, Sr, Chair – Develop and Promote ongoing Stewardship education

Hospitality – Argie Johnson and Barbara Floyd, Co-chairs - Coordinates weekly Coffee Hours and Special Receptions

Development – Howard Tiffen, Chair – Creating an endowment, investigate grant and gift sources, obtaining resources to support building improvements

Strategic Planning and Evaluating – Monitors the implementation of the Strategic Plan


The Community Outreach Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 2:45 p.m. at the church. We would welcome your membership on the Committee or invite you to join us as a visitor for a meeting.


The Hospitality Committee is seeking new faces to join the committee! One of the biggest misconceptions is that you will be working hard every Sunday preparing meals and that is simply NOT true! We have many folks who sign up to help host Coffee Hour so most of the work is already done but we would like to enhance our Coffee Hours and we need YOUR fresh ideas! The Hospitality Committee meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 1:30pm. If you are interested in checking out the committee but cannot attend the meetings, please contact Argie Johnson, Barbara Floyd, or Denise Conway!


The Development Committee sponsored this month’s Generosity Audit by Generis. We provided our consultant with considerable data covering the last two years. On Tuesday 19th February, Generis Consultant, Jennifer Perrow, met or telephoned nearly 40 members of our community as she gathered information and perspectives on our giving and stewardship. Thank you to all who participated. We will have her report and recommendations in mid-March.

We have continued to press Draper & Kramer for resolution of their commitment to make a grant to the church in return for zoning changes on their new development at Wabash and Cermak. We hope for more news in the next month.

In conjunction with Facilities and Friends of Historic Second Church, we have developed a list of several projects designed to improve accessibility and utility and community value of the spaces at the west end of our building (Fellowship Hall, North Parlor, school rooms, office spaces on first, second and third floors) as we pursue the goals set out in our 2018 Strategic Plan. We will use this list to develop a Letter of Intent and Grant Request for funds from Fund for Sacred Places and the 21st Century Fund


The Facilities Committee has been monitoring the completion of the repairs to the roof. Work had to be suspended in December as the weather deteriorated. Our contractor also ran out of slate material. The roof was found to be in worse condition than expected. Our contractor and engineer had estimated using 450 slates. So far, they have used 750 slates. With about 20% of the work still to be done, we remain 200 slates short. Work will start again on 25th March and be completed by Easter. We will then begin work to rehabilitate the garden.


All members and friends ages 21-40 are invited to a luncheon at Bulldog Ale House (901 S. State Street) on Saturday, March 2nd at 11:30 a.m. Please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie ASAP if you plan to attend.


The Community Outreach Committee has partnered with the Community Renewal Society designating Second Presbyterian Church as a member congregation. The Community Renewal Society was founded in 1882 and is a progressive, faith based organization that advocates for social and economic justice. CRS organizers work with congregations to identify, train and develop congregational leaders. These leaders work to identify the key issues affecting the members of their church and community and help to determine legislation and campaign priorities. If you are interested in learning more or would like to participate in discussions on issues pertaining to the South Loop community, please contact Vicki Reynolds (312-203-4933).

Each Sunday evening between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., Second Presbyterian hosts the Community Table in partnership with Inclusive Collective and South Loop Campus Ministry which are campus ministries of the Methodist/Presbyterian and Episcopal/Lutheran churches. Folks from all walks of life—college students, homeless people and neighborhood residents come into Fellowship Hall for a hot meal, brief worship, fellowship, music and other activities. There is great energy and enthusiasm at the gathering. It is fun to participate in this weekly event and you are invited to just drop in either as a guest or as a volunteer. All are welcome. Come any Sunday evening and check it out!!


The Community Outreach Committee is sponsoring a new fundraiser for Second Church in partnership with Finn’s Steak and Eggs Ranch. You are invited to order meat or eggs from Finn’s Ranch via their website. The ordered products will be delivered to Second Church and available for pick-up each Wednesday after 1:00 p.m. Second Church will receive 10% of the proceeds for our Operating Budget. The price list is included in this newsletter and is also available on the information table in Fellowship Hall. If you have questions, please contact Vicki Reynolds or Denise Conway.

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Monday, March 4th: Recreation and Interest Ministries Committee—5 p.m. in Fellowship Hall Chair: Ann Belletire

Monday, March 4th: Communications Committee—6 p.m. at Kroll’s South Loop Chair: Eric Annafi

Sunday, March 10th: Facilities Committee—9:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall Chair: Howard Tiffen

Sunday, March 10th: Board of Deacons—12:45 p.m. in Church Library President: Flea Parker

Monday, March 11th: Hospitality Committee—1:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall Co-Chairs: Argie Johnson and Barbara Floyd

Tuesday, March 12th: Community Outreach Committee—2:45 p.m. in Fellowship Hall Chair: Vicki Reynolds

Sunday, March 17th: Children and Young Adult Education Committee—12:45 p.m. in North Parlor Chair: Eugene Leonard

Sunday, March 31st: Worship and Music Committee—12:45 p.m. in Pastor Neff’s Office Chair: Darlene Pollard


Do you have a special talent or love to sing, dance, recite poetry, or play an instrument?! Then the Second Presbyterian Open Mic Night is THE night for you! On Friday, April 5th from 7 p.m.—9 p.m., we will be celebrating the many gifts and talents of those in our congregation and community with our first ever Open Mic Night. More information to come but be sure to reserve the date and begin working on your presentation! Cost for this amazing and fun fundraiser will be $5/person. Included in your cost is a night of fun, laughter, popcorn, soda, and local brews.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! The Spring Sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, rain or shine. This is our annual plant sale, book sale and opportunity to shop Barbara’s Basement. We are planning to include more vendors in this sale so watch for more information which will be available in the April Newsletter.


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!


On Sunday, February 24, you all signed 32 letters to Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth urging them to advocate for immediate comprehensive immigration reform. Social justice advocacy letters are available for signing generally the last Sunday of the month during coffee hour. The Community Outreach Committee appreciates your support in this endeavor; and, remember, anything we do, can have an impact.


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.


The Contemporary Spirituality Book Group will meet on Tuesday, March 12 to

to discuss Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril by Catholic theologian Elizabeth Johnson. On April 9, 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.


Book Group:

Our Book Group will meet once again on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 9:30 a.m. in the Church Library. The book for March is A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen.

The April book will be The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli. This discussion will be on Sunday, April 21st (Easter) at 9:30 a.m.

All are welcome to participate in our monthly Book Group. If you have suggestions for our book group, please sign up on the sheet outside the kitchen


Beginning Wednesday, March 13th at 6:15 p.m., Pastor David and Pastoral Assistant Leslie will co-teach a Lenten Study Series on Loving Your Neighbor and Loving Yourself. The schedule will be as follows:

March 13: How do we love ourselves?

March 20: Loving our imperfections

March 27: Praying our wounds

April 3: Spiritual recharge

April 10: Safe spaces and reprocity

April 17: Discernment

This class will meet in the Church Library and last from 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. and all are invited to join us as we discover the many ways in which God speaks to us and through us. For more information, please see either Pastor Neff or Pastoral Assistant Leslie


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!


The gospel of John continues to 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 John, studying insights for personal discipleship. No prior knowledge of the Bible is necessary. 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.


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

During the first two months if the year, we have received significant payments and gifts covering building use for the entire year and gifts from members and friends fulfilling full year commitments. Some members and friends have used their IRA Required Minimum Distributions to fulfill their pledges for 2019.

On the expense side, snow clearance expenses already exceed our annual budget!

We will be able to make meaningful comparisons of our Budget to Actual results after the end of the first quarter.


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.