Sundays at 10:15am South corner of 96th Street & Central Park West

Second Presbyterian Church

Seeking a Better World Together

November 2017

Author gbakoulis, Written Nov 8, 2017

Happy November, as we remain busily engaged in celebrating our lives together and in God and Christ. We embrace our new Minister of Music, Eunjung Ahn, and continue to grow as a congregation with our Transitional Pastor, Rev. Stephen Phelps. Always, we cherish times spent together. Please join us as often as you can, and invite others to share in our fellowship.

Whether you are a longtime or new member, or are considering making Second Presbyterian your spiritual home, we hope you will find ways to engage with us. Please call the church office at 212.749.1700 or speak to any church member if you have questions.


We seek God and practice a welcoming faith, treasuring our times together in God’s presence. We worship on Sundays at 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Children leave for Sunday School at 10:30 a.m. with their teacher, Pamela Hahn. Following worship (11:30 a.m.), we gather for Coffee Hour in the Carnegie Library.

All members of the congregation are encouraged to assist with worship as lector, beadle, greeter, or offering collector. Please see our Worship Coordinator for November, Scott Amrhein, if you’d like to assist. 

Sunday, November 12: Worship, 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Rev. Stephen Phelps preaching; Eunjung Ahn, Minister of Music.

Sunday, November 19: Worship, 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary; Rev. Stephen Phelps preaching; Eunjung Ahn, Minister of Music.

Sunday, November 26: Worship, 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary; Rev. Stephen Phelps preaching; Eunjung Ahn, Minister of Music.

Holy Communion in 2017:

Sunday, January 8: Baptism of the Lord

Sunday, February 26: Transfiguration of the Lord

Wednesday, March 1: Ash Wednesday

Sunday, April 9: Palm Sunday

Thursday, April 13: Maundy Thursday

Friday, April 14: Good Friday

Sunday, June 4: Pentecost

Sunday, June 11: Trinity Sunday

Sunday, October 1: World Communion Sunday

Sunday, November 26: Reign of Christ


Session: November 16, 6:00 p.m., Head of School’s office.

Trustees: November 21.

Deacons: November 12, 11:45 a.m. (after coffee hour)

Choir practice: Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m., with Minister of Music Eunjung Ahn. Please speak to Eunjung, or email her at ejahn [at] secondpresbyteriannyc [dot] org to learn more.


Special Coffee Hour to celebrate our children’s birthdays (August-December): Sunday, November 12.

Talk about the Jarvie Program: Sunday, November 19, during coffee hour in the Carnegie Library, Rev. Marjory Roth will talk to us about the Jarvie Program, which offers services to qualified individuals aged 65 and older to help them “Live, not merely exist.” Beneficiaries must be members of a Protestant tradition who are referred by their community.

James N. Jarvie was a faithful Presbyterian who, in 1925, began a charity for older adults in the New York Area. His mission continues under the aegis of the Presbyterian Foundation, with a Chaplain and a team of social workers, who serve persons of the Protestant faith, age 65 and older, within a 50-mile radius of Columbus Circle. Rev. Marjory Roth, Jarvie Chaplain, will tell us more about their services and application criteria. We hope this presentation will be of interest to seniors, adult children of aging parents, deacons, and all church members interested in ways to serve one another.

Update on Interim Pastor Search

by Nancy Hughes, Clerk of Session

The Interim Pastor Nominating Committee, on which I sit with Clayton Young and Neal Boswell, has been meeting weekly since September. So far, we have received 39 applications – 21 “matched” to our position by PC(USA)’s online job bank, and 18 self-referred. In our first round of review, we eliminated 20 applicants based on information on their resumes or Pastor Information Forms (PIFs). Pastors with no experience as an interim, little familiarity with small or urban congregations, and those not yet ordained were rejected quickly. One candidate withdrew when she received another job.

We next began a more in-depth look at the remaining applicants, listening to sermons, reading blog posts, searching Google for anything that would help us discern elements of style, skill, and faith, to help us determine whom we should interview. As of late October, we have narrowed the list down to 12 hopefuls, from whom we expect to select about half for interviews with the committee. We are starting to conduct those interviews.

The interim search process began last summer, while we were engaged in the search for a short-term, part-time pastor and moderator, to start immediately upon Rev. Leslie Merlin’s retirement at the end of August. That search resulted, most happily, in our call to the Rev. Stephen Phelps as Transitional Pastor. At that time, session also approved a job description for a full-time Interim Pastor. Like the Transitional Pastor, the Interim will be chosen by the session. In contrast, our installed pastor will be chosen by the congregation. A significant part of the Interim Pastor’s job is to guide the congregation through a process of reflection, or mission study, to prepare the way for the new installed pastor.

The diversity and life stories of applicants are fascinating – many heard the call to ministry in mid-life, and come from a wide assortment of careers and backgrounds. Many are converts to Presbyterianism from other denominations. An interesting side benefit to the screening process is getting to look at videos of different styles of worship.

Our Presbytery COM liaison, Sharon Davison, has been an invaluable resource and support. As she reminds us, the selection of a pastor involves the search committee, the Presbytery, the candidate, and God. Interested candidates can self-refer online through the PC(USA) CLC website, or by contacting the search committee directly, Nancy Hughes, (212) 288-5765, nhughescsw [at] aol [dot] com.

Pastoral Care During the Transition

During this period of transition, Nancy Hughes, Karen Amrhein, and Elaine Song will serve as contact people for members and regular attendees to call when there is an immediate need to be shared. Examples of needs are hospitalizations, surgeries, deaths, or crises for church members or their family members. When contacted, Nancy, Elaine, or Karen will then learn how we as a congregation may best help someone and learn what information may be shared with Steve Phelps and with our congregation. The idea of having contact numbers was thought of at a meeting we had on ministering to each other in September. During this meeting, we discussed the importance of supporting each other.

Community Service/Giving

Visits to Bedford Hills Prison: Our desire to be of comfort in a world of pain leads us into prison, a place of sorrow and despair. We have partnered with Gethsemane Presbyterian Church on its visits to women in Bedford Hills Prison and Taconic Prison. The women we visit are participants in Gethsemane Church’s “Project Connect” as they work to develop a life of spiritual health. The visit remaining in 2017 is December 2.