Update from Rev. Chris Henry - November 11, 2020

Dear Friends,

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” This, as followers of Christ, is the hope we claim. And while the news evolves, the headlines continue, and new worship decisions almost certainly await us, we hold this hope with steadfast conviction. We have shared the journey of this challenging year in ways that shine the light of Christ in the world and renew our weary souls with gifts of encouragement and love. This day is no different, as we lean into the hope of Christ’s presence with heart’s yearning to begin, again. Today I write to you wanting to choose the light – inspired by your faithfulness, the beckoning call of the Advent season, and our mission to grow as followers of Christ – and share good news of hope and anticipation:

• Second’s plans for the Advent season and Christmas Eve
• Exciting updates for Second’s broadcast ministry
• Strategic shifts within our senior leadership team

Advent with Second
Our journey to the Advent season has been punctuated by periods of darkness and struggle. Still, as Christians, we know the light of the Christ child is coming. This Advent season we invite you on an interactive, spiritual journey with Second. Beginning December 1 – fully digital and soon accessible in the Advent Spire (arriving early December) – in-depth daily devotions will come to life with innovative music and video components, based on Handel’s Messiah, featuring faces and voices from Second and others from across our city, including the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and Second’s Beecher Singers. Together in spirit, we will seek to explore more deeply, more fully…Who Is This Messiah? As one body of Christ, we invite you into this journey towards Christ’s majestic birth.

Christmas Eve with Second
One of the most glorious worship experiences with Second occurs on Christmas Eve. This year, the magic and meaning of the Christmas message, the reading of scripture, and the joyous music at the heart of Christmas Eve will be brought to you in your home online only – at 7 p.m., December 24, available to all at that time and on-demand afterward. With wisdom, practicality, and faithfulness, I feel it is right for Second to embrace this path for this year, knowing the profound news of Jesus’s birth transcends all time and space. Even amidst this change, the joyful news of angels and shepherds will find you. We invite you to tune in with your families and witness the wondrous story first told two millennia ago.

Broadcast Ministry at Second
One year ago, the broadcast ministry at Second was behind-the-scenes, and our livestream worship met the needs of a relatively small group. Today, members, friends, and viewers from all over the country tune in by the thousands to hear God’s word and be inspired by the gift of worship – calling on us to faithfully usher this ministry into a new beginning. Starting next month, we will overhaul the foundation of this ministry. New audio and video equipment, renewed innovative thinking, newer technology, training, and more will give this work new wings to fly and high expectations to pursue. This ministry has sustained exponential growth – and the time is right to strengthen its foundation and expand possibilities. Together, we will carry this mission forward and begin, again.

Executive Structure, Strengthening
The staff at Second is here to serve the mission of Jesus Christ – to partner and grow with you as the body of Christ. To carry forward our most effective and faithful stewardship of this call, aligning with our strategic vision, I am thrilled to report that Rev. Karen Lang has assumed the position of Executive Pastor at Second, overseeing all pastoral staff and facilitating the ministries of the congregation. Karen is uniquely gifted for this role and for this moment, and I’m grateful that she has responded to the call to serve in this way. Martha Nommay, Director of Finance and Operations, remains in her senior leadership position responsible for all church operations, a role that Martha fills with excellence, integrity, and deep care. It is a privilege to work with these two committed and gifted colleagues as we serve Second and the broader community faithfully.

As Karen transitions from her role in pastoral care, we are blessed to welcome Rev. Madison VanVeelen to the position of interim Director for Care; and new to Second, is Ashley Elskus, coordinator for Pastoral Care & Funerals. The congregation’s Associate Pastor Nominating Committee has begun its search to fill the position of Associate Pastor for Care, and Madison has been strongly encouraged to apply for that role as an extension of her current position.

I want to also recognize Rev. Brian Shivers, our Senior Associate Pastor for Formation, who was recently nominated and installed as Vice Moderator of Whitewater Valley Presbytery. This does not impact Brian’s formative and faithful work at Second, but it most certainly affirms his strength in ministry, his call to serve, and his heart for the connectional church.

Friends, there will be more to share on each of these topics in the weeks ahead (look for more in my Monday Memo). And as always, we will stay in close communication early next week on any new decisions regarding worship, maintaining the health and safety of all as top priority. For now, I wanted you to hear directly from me and know that I still boldly proclaim the goodness of our God, the substance of our hope when the future is unseen. We are followers of Jesus Christ, whose birth disclosed the light of God that shines through all our darkness. We believe in a hope that does not disappoint and in a God who enables us to persevere in faith.

May the God of hope and the light of Christ always guide our path.

With peace and grace,





A welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives