The Season of Lent

The Season of Lent

By John Franke, Theologian in Residence

Lent is the season in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days in commemoration of the length of time, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John, that Jesus spent fasting in the desert and enduring the temptations of Satan before the beginning of his public ministry.

Some Christians will fast during Lent or give up something in order to express solidarity with Jesus, while others will adopt particular spiritual practices during the season to try and draw closer to God. All of this is done in preparation for Holy Week and the observance of Jesus’ passion as he goes to the cross, as well as the triumph of Easter and the resurrection.

In all of this, the church expresses its commitment to Jesus as the Word of God in human form, who forgives the sins of the world and shows us the way to live our lives. Because Jesus is the living truth, who has called us to follow him, we have the audacity to continue to insist that some things are true for everyone regardless of their social and cultural location:

  • that all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore to be treated with dignity and respect no matter their circumstances or shortcomings;
  • that God is particularly concerned with the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed and that their liberation from these circumstances should be a priority in human affairs; and
  • that God loves all people and none are beyond redemption.

Such commitments are aspects of Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God, a community where everyone has enough, and no one needs to be afraid. The self-denial, temptations and sufferings we remember during Lent and Holy Week remind us of the cost of seeking to establish such a community in the world. It will not come easy, it will make demands on us, and it will be costly.

The joy of Easter morning and the resurrection reminds us that the price is worth paying. Living self-sacrificially for the sake of a better world is consistent with God’s intentions for creation and will produce a wonderful harvest in the form if a more just, equitable and peaceful world.

In this season of Lent, let us commit ourselves again to following Jesus. To share with him the way of self-giving and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. To forgive others as we have been forgiven. And to look forward with confidence to that day when, having shared in the fellowship of his suffering love for the world, we will share in the fellowship of his glorious resurrection.  

Go to Lent Home Page


Lilies and the Memorial Flower Fund
Donate Today

Lilies and the Memorial Flower Fund

Support the Memorial Flower Fund with donations in your loved one’s name. The fund provides chancel flowers for the Sanctuary every Sunday, poinsettias at Christmas and lilies at Easter. After worship, the Deacons distribute the chancel flowers to hospitalized members. The fund also provides poinsettias and lilies to homebound members during the holidays.

Make your donation online, or forms are available in pew and literature racks and at the reception desk. Names of those being remembered or honored will be published in the Easter Sunday bulletins on April 1.

For more information, please contact Melissa Elisha at (317) 253- 461, Ext. 367.

FIRM DEADLINE: Sunday, March 25, Midnight.


Guest Organ Recital
Friday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.

Guest Organ Recital

5th Symphony by Louis Vierne

Martin Jean, Director of the Institute of Sacred Music and Professor of Organ at Yale University, presents a free concert in the Sanctuary. He will perform the monumental Fifth Symphony of French composer Louis Vierne. Dr. Jean is a warmly communicative artist who plays with “visceral intensity…and exquisite excellence” (The Kansas City Star).


Palm Sunday
March 25

Palm/Passion Sunday Worship

Parade of Palms


Join the children of the church in a festive parade of palms at the end of the 9:30 and the beginning of the 11 a.m. services. A live donkey leads the children through the sanctuary as they wave their palms and proclaim, “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna,” along with the singing congregation. 

The 8:15 a.m. traditional service, the 10:35 a.m. Wholeness and Holy Communion service and the casual evening services at 5 & 6 p.m. meet at their normal times.  

Theology on Tap
Tuesday, March 27, 7-9 p.m.

Theology on Tap

A Deeper Conversation About Faith, hosted by Young Adults

Want to talk a little more about your faith, God, the Bible? Have questions you’ve always wanted to ask a pastor but have never had the opportunity? We invite you to join us for our new monthly series, Theology on Tap. Bring a friend! Light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will also be served. First pint is on us!
March 27: Dr. John Franke will lead us in a Holy Week discussion on doubt.

Rehm Guild Luncheon
Tuesday, March 27
Refugee Ministry Team

Rehm Guild - Refugee Ministry Team
Tuesday, March 27, 12 Noon


Refugee Ministry Team
Rev. Jim Montgomery

Bring a sandwich to the Common Room at noon on Tuesday, March 27. Salad, desserts and beverages are provided. All ages are welcome.

For reservations, contact Helen Frazier (317) 726-0025 by Thursday, March 22.


Steak Dinner 2018
Wednesday, April 25
LaVall Jordan

Steak Dinner 2018

Register Now

Join us for our 35th Annual Steak Dinner featuring Butler University Head Basketball Coach LaVall Jordan.

Everyone is invited for this inspirational speaker over an excellent meal.

All the donations and proceeds from the Steak Dinner go to support the inner-city Youth Ministry at Shepherd Community Center. This ministry trains inner-city youth for bettering their lives spiritually and preparing themselves for the responsibilities of working at a job.

Adult Steak $35 (EARLYBIRD DISCOUNTS - $25 before 4/21)
Youth & children’s Steak $15
Youth & Children’s Hamburger $10

If you would like to make a donation to Shepherd Community Center now, please click here to log in to your e-Giving account. Additional donation opportunities will be available at the event.

A Spiritual Trajectory for the Second Half of Life
Sundays, 9:30 a.m.

A Spiritual Trajectory for the Second Half of Life

Four-week Book Study


Life in Christ is intended to be an ongoing adventure, an exploration of the mystery and wonder of the long trajectory of God’s Story and our own… An ever-expanding experience of the very heart of God! An ever-deepening understanding of God’s BIG Plan! An evergrowing participation in the life of God, moving all of humanity toward the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Everyone is welcome to join in this four-week study, based on the book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Second Half of Life, by Fr. Richard Rohr. The class will be led by Rev. Robert L. Hunter and Dr. David A. Chaddock, Director of CenterPoint Counseling at Second Church.

March 18:  The Two Halves of Life: Identity, Security, Mirroring, and a clear sense of Self in the first half of life is essential.

March 25:  Overview of the Two Halves of Life: Ascent – Descent… Suffering, and the opening to the mystery of life.

April 8:  God’s BIG Story, and our Small Part

April 15:  Moving Forward – Toward God’s Shalom

VBS 2018
Monday-Friday, June 25-29
(Kick-Off: Sunday, June 24)

Vacation Bible School - 2018

Stories from the Faith Family Tree

Vacation Bible School is about making friends, playing games, singing songs, painting pictures, sharing snacks, helping others and sealing God's story in our hearts. What a joyful way to add our own stories to the faith family tree!

"May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love." Ephesians 3:17

Join us for a week-long summer adventure as we dig our roots deep into God’s love and grow strong in our faith.

Questions: contact Rev. Caroline Dennis, at (317) 253-6461 or

VBS Kick-Off Worship, Ice Cream Social and Open House

Everyone is invited to join us for worship in McFarland Hall at 4 p.m. During the week, please pray that this will be a safe, happy and meaningful week for our children, families and volunteers.

Vacation Bible School

Register VBS Participants

for children Age 4 (by 9/1/2018) – (rising into) Grade 6

Cost: $30 per person
Early bird discount is available. Pay $25 when you register before May 31.

Registration closes June 10, 2018

For families needing a longer day of enriching experiences …
VBSXtended Day
7:30 AM - 9:00 AM and NOON – 5:00 PM

Cost: $30 for AM; $150 for PM per person
Early bird discount for VBSXtended Day is available. Pay $25 for AM; $125 for PM per person when you register before May 31.

Registration closes June 10, 2018

Extend your VBS day by adding on VBSXtended Day. Children and Family Ministries offers an early morning and/or afternoon of loving care for VBS Particpants. Children have lunch time with a meal brought from home, take a rest, enjoy arts and crafts, quiet and active games, and outdoor play.

Volunteer for VBS

Register to Volunteer

VBS volunteers range from rising 7th grade to mid-nineties! There is a job for everyone, from classroom teachers to technology assistants, snack preparers to craft creators. We hope you can volunteer with us all five days but we welcome your help on as many days as you may be available. The gift of your time and creative energy will plant seeds of faith that will grow though the life of a child (and your own!).

VBS Volunteers must plan to attend one VBS Volunteer Orientation & Teacher Training Session, spend 2 hours on Classroom Setup and Decorating, and stay for Clean-up Friday afternoon (6/29). 

PLEASE NOTE: In addition to registration, all NEW Volunteers need to complete the Second Presbyterian Church Volunteer Application Form and Background Check. Find a link to this form in your registration confirmation email. Previous volunteers will be notified if a new background check is needed.

A VBS experience for young children of VBS volunteers...
VBS Jr - Childcare

Register for Childcare 

While you volunteer, your children who are under 4 years old may participate in age appropriate VBS activities while receiving tender care (& a t-shirt) in our nursery.

Please note: VBS Jr Childcare is available to volunteers, for their children under 4 years old, only on days when they are volunteering.

Questions: contact Rev. Caroline Dennis, at (317) 253-6461 or

Wisdom School
April 2018

Wisdom School

The Way of Wisdom: a Wisdom School
Do you long for deep knowing?
Do you thirst for deep rest?


Wisdom is a way of knowing what goes beyond one’s mind, one’s rational understanding, to embrace the whole of the person: heart, mind, and body. Wisdom is the mystery embedded deep within every religion. Our particular Wisdom School will approach Wisdom through a Christian lens.

A Wisdom School is a retreat focused on living in Presence. It is about deepening what Cynthia Bourgeault calls "intelligent spiritual insight." In Wisdom Way of Knowing, she says, "Wisdom is not about knowing more but knowing deeper." This retreat will be based on the model developed by Cynthia Bourgeault.

A Wisdom School does not actually teach Wisdom; it creates a sacred space for Wisdom to emerge.

Wisdom brings about a change of consciousness. Practice is the path we follow to bring about this change.
Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault

Recommended reading:
Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cynthia Bourgeault
Gospel of Thomas (Jan and Diane will be using Lynn Baumann’s translation. There are many others)
(Kindle free version: The Gospel of Thomas, by A. Nyland)

If you have questions, please contact Diane at (317) 437-4689 or Jan at (937) 321-5016. 

This intensive retreat occurs over two weekends, offering an ancient roadmap of human wholeness, holding sacred space for our being to increase and to have greater receptivity to Presence. Through the Benedictine tradition of prayer and work, we will prepare our hearts to perceive the signs of Wisdom. We will use a three-centered approach in order to bring heart, mind, and body into harmony and deepen our spiritual formation.

Through the use of sacred practices, including silence, prayer, work, chanting, and Lectio Divina, we will hold sacred space. The leaders will be Diane Elliott and Jan Byars. Cynthia has been Diane’s and Jan’s spiritual teacher for many years and has endorsed this beginning Wisdom School personally.

Please join us for two weekends of deep Knowing & deep Rest! Space is limited to 30, first come first served. A waitlist will be created if necessary.

Dates: (Your registration includes two weekends.)

  • Friday, April 6, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 7, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 8, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 20, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 21, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 22, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Place: Second Presbyterian Church (7700 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN  46260) 

Cost: $150 per person includes 2 weekends.
This includes Friday dinner, and Saturday & Sunday lunches and snacks. Vegetarian and gluten free options available.

Second Presbyterian has graciously provided the facilities, keeping the cost very low.

  • $50 is due at registration and $100 by March 1, 2018.
  • Full $150 payment is required at registration, when registering March 1 - April 3.
  • Final registration deadline is April 3.

Since breakfast is not included, please eat breakfast before coming. You can register online or mail a check (made payable to Second Presbyterian Church, Wisdom School in memo blank) to Wisdom School, Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46260.


Five Good Books: Paul's Letter to the Romans

Five Good Books for March

Paul's Letter to the Romans


  1. Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans (Oxford, 1968)
  2. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, When in Romans: An Invitation to Linger with the Gospel According to Paul (Baker Academic, 2016)
  3. A. Katherine Grieb, The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness (Westminster John Knox, 2002)
  4. N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part 1 (Westminster John Knox, 2005)
  5. N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part 2 (Westminster John Knox, 2005)

Sundays, 10:30 a.m.

Meet us in McFarland Hall.


Parents visit; children gather. Join hands in service to God and BE SECOND Church to the world.

Comfy corner seating at low tables offer child forward mission activities and parent gathering spots during the 10:30-11:00 morning fellowship time.

Maundy Thursday
March 29

Maundy Thursday

Tenebrae Communion Service


At this service of shadows, we share the Last Supper and hear the story of the last hours of the life of Jesus. The service ends in darkness.

Maundy Thursday begins the Three Days (or Triduum), remembering the new commandment that Christ gave us in word and deed as he taught us how to love one another, washing our feet as a servant. We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, remembering the meal Christ shared with his disciples before his death.

Historically, this was the traditional day in which those who had undergone a period of public penance under church discipline would be restored to full communion.

Good Friday
March 30

Good Friday

Seven Last Words of Christ


Meditations are held in the chapel on the Seven Last Words of Christ. Please feel free to come and go as you are able. This service features hymns, vocal and instrumental music interpreting each word.

Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion. The hours of noon to 3 p.m. are particularly significant as these commemorate the time Jesus hung on the cross. It is an especially important time to pray for the church and the world for whom Christ gave his life.

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of Jesus

Easter Sunday

April 1

The festival of the Resurrection of the Lord (or Easter Sunday) is the center of the Christian year. On this occasion the church joyfully proclaims the good news that is at the very heart of the gospel: that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.

Morning worship services: 8, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Sanctuary Music at these services features special music with Sanctuary Choir, Festival Brass, organ and percussion. Prelude begins 20 minutes prior to each service.

Evening worship services: 5 & 6 p.m.

Families@Five, for families with young children is in the Chapel, and the
Second@Six Communion Service is in the Sanctuary.