The Record

Second Presbyterian Monthly Newsletter - March 2018

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


The leaders of Second Church have been working on a Strategic Vision and Plan for the past six months. Meeting regularly, the Task Force has concluded its work. This seven-page document was recently shared with the congregation and is currently being discussed in committees and around fellowship table. What is the hope of the plan?

In the next five years, we desire to double our worship attendance. During this same period, we want to double our participation in fellowship groups and interest groups. We want to grow the church school by thirty children. We want to get an equal number of people involved in our ministries and participating in our programs.

Some strategies call for reorganizing our committee structure. One plan calls for redefining the work of the Board of Deacons. Some strategies call for broadening our categories of membership, so that no one feels excluded or left out. Another prioritizes our broad goals.

How do churches grow? At any given time, only about 15-20% of Protestant congregations are actually growing. 80% tread water, or continue patterns of decline. The number one reason that congregations decline is the failure to develop a plan of outreach.

The preamble of our vision is exciting! In claiming that we are a multi-cultural congregation, we are sharing the good news of God’s rainbow of diversity. People all over Chicago would love to worship in a congregation as rich and diverse as ours!

The South Loop is going to grow by 5,000—10,000 new residents in the new five years. For us to meet the growth—with forward-thinking and creativity, and with Christ-like welcome and hospitality—we are embracing a plan now to grow in the future.

Would you pray for our Session and Deacons, our pastors and staff? Pray that a whole new generation of newcomers will get involved? Would you pray that we might “catch the vision” of God’s spirit at work in our lives?

Stay tuned for more details as the vision unfolds, and begins to be implemented! These are exciting days in the life of our church!

David M. Neff


Big picture


The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated today by the Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship and second Presbyterian Church. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers will preach. The Bellchoir of First United Methodist Church, under the direction of Mark Veselack, will be special musical guests.


On this Fourth Sunday in Lent, we will be reminded of God’s devout and steadfast love for the world through reading from John’s Gospel and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers will preach.

Remember to set your clocks forward on Saturday night as Daylight Savings Time begins!


On Sunday, March 18th, we will observe "Celebrating the Gifts of Women Sunday." Our Presbyterian Women will lead and conduct the entire service. Dr. Argie Johnson will preach. All are welcome to this special service in honor of Women's History Month.


“Lift High the Cross!” will be the theme of Palm Sunday. We will meet in Fellowship Hall for announcements, then (weather permitting) will process through the Cullerton Avenue doors, down the sidewalk and into the sanctuary. Palm branches will be passed out to all in attendance. The Youth Choir will sing.


The Seven Last Words of Christ by DuBois is a Second Church tradition. Held on Good Friday, the scripture readings and anthems render the dramatic story of the last hours of Christ’s life. Directed and accompanied by organist Jay Yau, this solemn music features soloists from the Second Church Quartet and friends. Please join us for this sacred night at 7:00 p.m. A free-will offering will be received to support the music program of the church.


We will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord with lilies and Easter bonnets, festive organ and choral music, preaching and celebration! Harpist Bethany Lake will begin the service at 10:40 a.m. Reverend Neff's sermon is entitled “Wounded, Risen Healer” based on John 20: 19-29. The Second Church Quartet will sing, and organist Jay Yau will play the glorious music of Easter. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. All are welcome to join in the acclamation of the early church: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!


The Contemporary Spirituality Book Group will meet on Tuesday, March 13 to discuss Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Father Gregory Boyle. The founder of Homeboy Industries, Father Boyle practices the unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ in street work with gangs in Los Angeles. On April 10, the group will meet to discuss Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty by her granddaughter Kate Hennessey. All meetings begin at 9:15 a.m. at Old St. Mary’s Church.


Congratulations to Elder Loretta Gratias-Bremer upon her retirement as staff member of the Presbytery of Chicago. A good friend of Second Church, Loretta has done Christian education in many congregations, taught Boundary Training workshops and wrote the Child Protection Policy used in the Presbytery and in many congregations.


The Board of Deacons would like to invite everyone to an "All Church Potluck" every first Sunday of the month.

Our next potluck is Sunday, March 4. Bring your favorite dish to share at the potluck. All dishes are welcome!

We ask in order to minimize the cleanup afterwords, you bring your favorite dish in a foil pan or a dish you will take home. The foil containers will be put in the recycle bin.

If anyone would like to help serve or has any questions please feel free to contact Flea Parker at 210-861-6988 or Barbara Floyd at 312-485-0362.

Thank you for all you do!

Flea Parker


The Board of Deacons is collecting donations for lilies to adorn the sanctuary for Easter Sunday, and to take to the hospitalized and homebound. The cost of a lily is $15. You can designate if the lily is in honor of a loved one, or in memory of a loved one. Forms are available in the weekly worship bulletin; or call the church office with your order. The deadline to submit an order is Palm Sunday, March 25. Lilies can be taken home after the service on Easter Sunday.


On Sunday, April 1st, the Children & Youth Education Committee will host the annual Easter Egg Hunt for all children ages 2-12 in the sanctuary following worship. Please bring a basket or bag for you child. For more information, please contact the church office.


The book of Genesis 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 Genesis. All are welcome.

Big picture


On Wednesday, January 31st, the Adult Education Committee began a new lecture and discussion series on poverty. The series was titled Surviving the Rat Race: the politics of poverty and delved deeper into the challenges that agencies, organizations, and law enforcement face when dealing with poverty in Chicago. As we heard from community members, we learned how to view this very real problem through a Christian lens. The Adult Education Committee will be meeting on Monday, March 12th at 6:00p.m. to debrief this series and to plan for the next. All are welcome to join us for our next meeting. For more information, please contact Elder Howard Tiffen ( or Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers (


There are new giving buttons on the church website. New buttons include Lunchbag program, Weddings and Unrestricted Endowment Gifts.


Presbyterians are people in mission. At the heart of our mission is our commitment to be the Body of Christ at work in our neighborhood and world.

Committees are at the heart of our mission and ministry. Some committees meet during the day, others at night. We need every member and friend to join a committee!

Children and Youth Education ~ Eric Annafi

Meets on the fourth Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Stewardship ~ William Tyre

Meeting time TBA

Congregational Life ~ Flea Parker

Meeting time TBA

Adult Education ~Howard Tiffen

Monday, March 12 at 6 p.m.

Hospitality ~ Barbara Floyd and Argie Johnson

Meeting time TBA

Worship and Music ~ Darlene Pollard

Meets on the fifth Sunday at 12:45 p.m.

Community Outreach ~ Vicki Reynolds

Meets on the second Tuesday at 2:45 p.m.

Communication Committee ~ Eric Annafi

Meets 1st Monday of the month, 6 p.m. at Kroll's


Young Hearts (all those between the ages of 21-40) are meeting on Saturday, April 7th at 12pm at Asian Outpost (1315 S. Wabash Ave.). Please contact Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers by April 5th if you plan to attend.

Big picture


The Session has been talking extensively about a five-year strategic plan. The Vision and Strategic Plan Task Force met for regularly for six months to discuss our future vision and goals to reach our vision. Before adopting this plan, the Session is undergoing a month of prayerful listening. If you would like a copy of the plan, please contact the church office (312) 225-4951. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please contact an Elder. Active Elders are William Tyre (clerk), Argie Johnson (assistant clerk), Eric Annafi, Rowena Balogun, Clifford Crawford, Barbara Floyd, Vicki Reynolds and Howard Tiffen.


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 boards outside of the kitchen, in Fellowship Hall, and at the Cullerton Ave. lobby) 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.

The next Communications Committee Meeting will be on Monday, March 5th at Kroll’s South Loop at 6:00p.m. If you would like to serve on this committee, please contact Elder Eric Annafi ( or Pastoral Assistant Leslie Deslauriers.


Please join Friends of Historic Second Church for 2018 Docent Training. Classes are at the church on Thursdays April 19, April 26 and May 3 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm and on Saturday, May 12 from 9:00 am to noon. You will learn about James Renwick, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frederic Clay Bartlett and Howard Van Doren Shaw and the art and architecture they created at Second Presbyterian Church.

Please complete the application form at: Volunteer commitment is only two hours a month for certified docents.

Big picture


Since 1949, One Great Hour of Sharing has sought to make the love of Christ real for individuals and communities around the world who suffer the effects of disaster, conflict, and severe economic hardship and for those who serve them. From the beginning, this has been an ecumenical undertaking, and it is currently supported by eight Christian denominations including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Today, projects are underway in more than 100 countries, including the United States and Canada. Receipts exceed $20 million annually and are used for disaster relief, refugee assistance, development aid, and much more.

The One Great Hour of Sharing offering is received during Lent and supports three impactful programs of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

  • · Presbyterian Disaster Assistance – works alongside communities as they recover and find hope after the devastation of natural or human-caused disasters;
  • · Presbyterian Hunger Program – takes action to alleviate hunger and systemic causes of poverty so all may be fed;
  • · Self-Development of People – invests in communities responding to their experiences of racism, oppression, poverty and injustice and educates Presbyterians about the impact of these societal ills.

Fish banks were distributed to the children of the Sunday School on February 18th. Banks will also be available to anyone who would like one and special envelopes will be placed in the pews. During Lent, Minutes for Mission will focus on the specific programs that the offering will support. The offering will be received on Palm Sunday, March 25th, although gifts can be made at any time during Lent.

Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing will impact countless lives around the world, and will join congregations all over the country as we seek to answer God’s call and make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters. As we respond through our sharing, Isaiah 58 also provides a promise. As we respond to injustice, feed those who are hungry, and provide places for those without homes, our “light will break forth,” and we shall be called “repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in.”

For further information, please contact Bill Tyre, Chair of the Stewardship Committee, at or 312-613-3817.


Everyone enjoys living a happier, fulfilling life. Family counselors advise that one of the essential components to living a happier life is developing the ability to forgive—first yourself, then others.

This topic will be explored in-depth in a series of sharing and discussion groups beginning the Sunday after Easter, April 9, 2018. Bring your refreshments to the Library and join us to explore this very sensitive topic that engages people from all walks of life—those who forgive easily as well as those who struggle with this sometimes difficult practice.

The discussion will last one hour. During May, we will meet on the first Sunday of the month. Those who will be participating in the group discussions are invited to complete the sign-up sheets in the bulletin and place this in the offering plate.

I look forward to hearing your stories and sharing this topic with you!

Reverend Theola Jones