The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - July 2020

Diverse. Inclusive. Community. Engaging. Passionate.



Second Presbyterian Church is a diverse, multicultural congregation. We believe that attitudes and actions of prejudice and discrimination are sinful. We believe that racism and injustice and “the violence of poverty” are social sins that grieve the heart of God and continue to harm our sisters and brothers.

The sins which began on America’s shores in 1619 continue to destroy our communities today. Now is the time to stop racism!

We as a congregation are committed to protesting injustice and working for systematic change toward racial equality in every area of our society. As our Lord Jesus Christ advocated for the poor and outcast, we have always been committed to the racial and social equity that the Black Lives Matter movement stands for. We invite you to join us for worship and service, education and study, action and advocacy.

The Session of Second Presbyterian Church


Many of you read the Chicago Tribune or the Sun-Times newspaper cover-to-cover every morning, to stay current on the news. As our Governor and Mayor and public health officials steer us toward reopening our society, they do so with caution and sensibility. They understand the metrics and data. They understand the test scores and the neighborhoods of our city. They also understand the needs of small businesses and commerce to provide a sound economic engine for the city. As we move from Phase III to Phase IV, we move with trepidation and cautious hope.

In light of this recent movement, our Session affirmed three actions at the last meeting.

First, we will begin to open the church to members and friends in a limited way. Individuals may come together to meet, committees can meet, small groups (under ten) can meet. For all church meetings, a mask is still required; social distancing of six feet and handwashing. At the conclusion of each meeting, tables need to be wiped down and sanitized.

Second, we will begin to honor our gym rentals and renew our facilities rentals. Rentals help the church engage our community and are a source of much-needed income for the church. Recover Illinois has strict guidelines for youth activities and recreational programs. All rentals will be done in strict accordance with the policies.

Finally, we hope to open our sanctuary for worship on Sunday, September 6th. We anticipate opening our doors and renewing our corporate worship together. We will get to see each other and give our unified praise to God. As always, the most important factor the Session considered was our responsibility for the health of our congregational members and friends; the ongoing safety and protection necessary in keeping our society healthy. If things change or the virus increases its spread, the Session will continue to monitor the situation and render the most responsible decisions we can for the health of our members and our society.

A letter will go out in mid August detailing how our worship service, of necessity, will be different; what changes we can expect.

Until then, we ask you to keep giving and supporting the church. Keep your offerings current. We also ask you to keep our staff members in your prayers as our ministries continue. Lift up our Elders and Deacons and pray for all our committees and their work areas as we begin to dream again for the fall. How will we relaunch the church? How will we enter into a new chapter of our life together?

Our congregation is great in faith, mighty in hope and deep in love! Can we trust that God is doing something new in our midst?

Keep safe, keep healthy and enjoy this summer in Chicago!

In Christ,

David M. Neff



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.


Student Pastor Kjirstin Almos will give her farewell sermon on Sunday, July 19th. With her winter and spring semesters completed at Dubuque Theological Seminary, Kjirstin returns to Fourth Presbyterian Church where she is an active member. Kjirstin will continue her employment as pastoral care chaplain at Avita Medical Center. During her time here, Kjirstin has preached regularly, shared in worship leadership, joined in the Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon Bible studies. She conducted her own bible study during Easter “Finding God in the Wilderness.” She also co-taught this summer’s Contemporary Theology course. She has participated in the Session and committee meetings when able. As she leaves, we as a congregation offer our prayers and our thanks for a job well done!

We also thank members of the Seminarian Support Committee, chaired by Dr. Argie Johnson, including Erik Flom, Doug Walters and Jeremy Nichols.

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During this time of pandemic and social distancing, members and friends of the church are asked to compose prayers for the people of God. Please send your prayer compositions. We will publish them as they become available. You may also submit your prayer requests by completing this form


Covid-19 has affected each of us in different ways. If you would like to share your experiences, pray with others who are suffering, or mourn the loss of a loved one, a friend, a job, or our world please join us each Sunday at 1:30 p.m. There will be an opening and closing prayer but otherwise will be an open dialogue for anyone who would like to join us. Pastoral Assistant Leslie will be facilitating the support group and you can email her at if you have any questions.

To join the group, please click this link Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 836 2975 1318
Password: 673212

Or you can call in on your phone!

One tap mobile
+13126266799,,83629751318#,,1#,673212# US (Chicago)


Marian Liataud and Pastor Neff invite you to join Zoom for a Circle of Prayer at noon each Thursday. The format will include a time of prayer for all who need prayer, asking God to hold and bless every situation. “Prayer holds the key to heaven” (James Weldon Johnson).

Thursday Circle of Prayer 12:00 p.m.

Meeting ID is 166 736 982

Password: 151691


How does theology respond to crises of civilization? How does the church respond to the injustice in society? Pastor Neff and Student Pastor Almos will teach a weekly Zoom course during July. The course will be for one hour each Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. We will study the book Quest for the Living God written by Catholic theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson. Each chapter comments on the major Catholic and Protestant theological movements of the 21st Century. A weekly study guide will be offered. Topics are:

July 1 – Response to Extreme Poverty and Privilege: Liberation Theology

July 8 – Response to Racism: Black Theology and Black Power

July 15 – Response to Sexism: God Acting Womanish

July 22 – Doing Theology Latinamente

July 29 – Response to Environmental Exploitation and Abuse: Ecotheology and Eco-justice

August 5 - Response to Pluralism: Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue

All are welcome. To join the Zoom Meeting: piNEkvWTF4Zz09

Meeting ID: 883 6562 0431 Password: 141973

Dial by your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)


Adult Bible study is offered every Sunday morning from 9:30—10:30 a.m. with the Present Word curriculum and informal discussion. The Bible Study conference call number is (631) 270-1376 and the ID number is 7582750. You can simply call in on your phone to be part of the discussion.

All are welcome!


First Corinthians is being studied each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Taught by the Reverend Dr. Joel Tolliver, we are going chapter by chapter in Paul’s Letter to the people of Corinth, studying insights for personal discipleship. No prior knowledge of the Bible is necessary. The number to call in is (631) 270-1376 and the ID number is 7582750. Just call in on your phone to participate. All are welcome.


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 Psalms but you can join anytime. Each discussion takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. If you would like to participate, please contact Flea Parker at


Second Book Group will be meeting on July 19th at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. The book will be Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

Upcoming books are:

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson on August 16th

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich September 20th

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild October 18th

To join in on the meeting, you can use your computer (as long as it has a microphone and camera) or your telephone. Simply follow these instructions:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 166 736 982
Password: 151691

One tap mobile
+13126266799,,166736982# US (Chicago)

If you would like to make a book group suggestion, please see Howard Tiffen, Ann Belletire or Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers.

Congratulations to Second Presbyterian Church for paying our 2021 “per-capita” commitment in full! A check for approximately $3500 was sent to the Presbytery of Chicago as our responsibility for the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Thank you to all who gave and all who shared in this ministry!


On June 28th, we recognized our graduates and honored their accomplishments. Our graduates for this year are:


Tru Abena Annafi Lindblom Math and Science Academy


Kate Belletire Sandburg Middle School

Elmhurst, Illinois

Andy Chinyobsa Ochiabutor Heritage Middle School

Valedictorian and Class President

Tajea Williams Ryder Elementary School



Lovie Yaa Annafi Whitney Young High School

Academic Scholarship

Loyola University

Anthony Ebby Ochiabutor Jr. Thornton Fractional South

Football Scholarship

Trinity International University


Jillian Elizabeth Bowman Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

Special Honors

University of Chicago

Charnice Vivian Lipscomb Bachelor of Science (Nursing)

Tennessee State University

The recipients of the Lucille Byrnes Scholarship, presented by the Christian Education Children and Youth Committee, are Lovie Annafi and Anthony Ochiabutor, Jr.

Congratulations to these deserving students and their families!


Our Zoom Coffee Hour in July will feature Dr. Argie Johnson reflecting on the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. Dr. Johnson is a lifelong Presbyterian, growing up in North Carolina. As a senior at Johnson C. Smith College, she sat down at ‘whites only’ lunch counters to demand change. She has served in every area of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and been a witness in the struggle for social justice. As a public educator, she served as Deputy Chancellor for New York City Public Schools and as Superintendent for Chicago Public Schools. Her talk will be on “How Can We Effect Change Today?”


Join us on Friday, July 24th at 6:30 p.m. for our virtual Movie Group. We will be discussing the movie On the Basis of Sex which is a biopic about the early years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's career. All are welcome to join the discussion. You can watch the movie on multiple streaming services.

The August Movie Group will be on Just Mercy about attorney Bryan Stevenson. Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 878 3025 7932
Password: 602018
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,87830257932#,,1#,602018# US (Germantown)
+13126266799,,87830257932#,,1#,602018# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 878 3025 7932
Password: 602018
Find your local number:

You may join the Movie Group discussions via Zoom by following these instructions:


We had plans to update the garden on the north end of the building this spring but with the pandemic, plans slowed down. The garden is still growing on its own and full of native plants.

One plant that is growing is the common milkweed whose main virtue is its appeal to the butterflies, especially the monarch. Gods magic is all around us, in and out of our church each day!


Docent Training: A wonderful way to learn about the world-class art and architecture of Second Presbyterian Church is to join the upcoming Docent Training Class of 2020. Even if you don't aspire to become a docent, it is a fun way to learn about the church. Training sessions will occur on Wednesdays, September 9, 23, 30 and October 7 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm and on Saturday, September 19 from 9:00 am till noon. A partial list of topics includes the Arts and Crafts Movement, architects James Renwick, Jr. and Howard Van Doren Shaw, glass artists Louis Comfort Tiffany and Edward-Burne Jones and much more. Please visit the Friends website under Announcements on the Home Page and click the link to Docent Training to complete the application on-line.

Restored Bartlett Mural: Thanks to a grant from The Service Club of Chicago, a Frederic Clay Bartlett mural is coming back to life. Under the excellent hands of Parma Conservation experts Elizabeth Kendall and Peter Schoenmann, the mural that surrounds the St. Paul Preaching at Athens window (southwest corner) is again showing off its true colors. New features, including white lilies and bright red pomegranates, are getting revealed as a heavy layer of dirt, grime and airborne pollutants are removed. Please visit the mural to see its amazing transformation.

Just for Fun: If you are looking for a new way to visit the church while you are still stuck at home, there is a fun way to do it: Go to and click on "Stained Glass Window Story Series" on the homepage to view the brief videos about the famous leaded glass windows of the church. Individual docents have created 5 minute videos discussing why a particular window is their favorite. Friends' staffer Heather Kendall shot and expertly edited the brief videos. You are sure to learn something revealing and perhaps think about YOUR favorite window in a new way.


Year to date on an Operating Basis, we have generated an Operating Surplus of $983.39, including PILP Loan Repayments of $4,329.44. This compares to a forecast Budget Deficit YTD of $18,122.05. YTD does include building usage income from Friends of Historic Second Church and Historymakers and some member contributions for the full year. In total., this overstates our actual revenue by about $16,000.

Total Operating Income YTD to April 30, 2020


Total Expenses, including Loan installments


Overall Surplus YTD


Offerings are about $8,700 over budget, but this is more than accounted for by some members fulfilling their full year commitments. Bearing this in mind, Member Giving is roughly on plan and Non-Member Giving is $10,300 BELOW plan.

We have paid our Per Capita Obligation to the Presbytery. We collected $20 more than we had been asked for.

Building Use Revenue is being materially disrupted due to the pandemic. It is unlikely that we will see a material change for the next couple of months.

Donations from visitors and non-members is materially lower with the church building closed. On-line giving has increased, but not by enough to offset the missing revenue.

We are seeking gifts to meet the $12,000 cost of an audio-visual installation that will enable us to broadcast our worship services LIVE over the internet. Please consider making a gift on a one-time basis to help meet this expense.

Meanwhile, gifts to the church have been maintained at the levels we have seen in large part due to the phenomenal work done each Sunday by Adam Deslauriers. Adam “designed” and then operated the most creative installation to enable us to live stream our services without interruption since March



Supporting our church’s mission, especially through these trying times is as easy as 1-2-3 With GivePlus Mobile. Our congregation can express it’s generosity in the moment — right from the palm of your hand. Even though we are unable to gather on Sunday's, your giving helps support our efforts in the community and mission of our church. Please try our new app and let us know how your experience was!

1. Download the app GivePlus Church through the App Store and Google Play. Search for “GivePlus Church” to download the app, then be sure to allow access to location services if you’d like to use the app’s Find Churches Near Me feature.

2. Find our church. Search under zipcode 60616 and select Second Presbyterian Church

3. Give!

GivePlus Mobile supports donations via all major debit and credit, as well as ACH donations.

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Please join us the first Sunday of each month for Zoom Coffee Hour! You can come say "hi" to all of your church family by clicking this link immediately after worship. Your bulletin each month will also have the link.

We will be continuing this virtual Coffee Hour until we are able to worship together again.


Our committees are still working and meeting and they still need YOU to join! All committees are working to meet virtually either through conference calls or video meetings. If you would like to be involved, the following information will help you:

Facilities Committee: Chair---Howard Tiffen until a new chair can be found Meets 2nd Sunday (usually) of the month at 9:30 a.m.

Development Committee: Chair--Howard Tiffen

Recreation & Interest Ministries Committee: Chair--Ann Belletire Meets 2nd Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Children & Young Adult Education Committee: Co-Chairs--Amy Haack & Dr. Lisa Henry-Reid

Community Outreach: Chair--Vicki Reynolds Meets 2nd Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Communications: Co-Chairs--Eric Annafi & Amy Haack Meets 1st Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

Stewardship: Chair--Howard Tiffen

Hospitality: Chair--Argie Johnson Meets 4th Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Worship & Music: Chair--Darlene Pollard Meets 5th Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Administration & Personnel: Chair--Dr. Cliff Crawford

EVERYONE is welcome to join a committee whether you are a member of the church or not. As we work to fulfill our Vision Statement, we need your help in accomplishing this task. If you would like to contact one of the Committee Chairs but don't have that person's information, please contact our Office Administrator Ashley McLean.

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The South Loop Farmers’ Market has begun. Go online to, register your name and address, then pick out your items to order for the virtual market. Your purchases can be picked up in the north parking lot on Thursday from 2:00—6:00 p.m. The regular Farmers’ Market has also begun! Face masks are required; strict social distancing will be observed.


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.