John H. BoyleJohn Boyle

March 16, 1926 – June 8, 2013


John Boyle came to Fourth Church in 1976 as both Founding Director of the church’s Lorene Replogle Counseling Center and Associate Pastor. He continued to serve as a counselor at the Counseling Center and as a Parish Associate on the pastoral staff until the time of his death in 2013.

We give thanks to God for John’s ministry among us, which touched so many; for his good and faithful life; and for the promise of eternal life we’ve been given in Christ.

Prayers | Sermons
by John Boyle

Photos from the Funeral Service for John Boyle
(including the presentation of the flag by the military honor guard)

Sun-Times Obituary | Chicago Tribune Obituary
Profile from the Chicago Tribune
(accessing the profile requires a DigitalPlus subscription to the Tribune)

Sermon from the Funeral Service
by John Buchanan

Remembrance from the Funeral Service
by Jennifer Tozer



When I came home from World War II Europe in 1946
after nearly two years in combat, I had already decided to be a minister. Initially I was not aware of responding to a call by God. The call I had responded to was the call of silence—the silence of corpses in railroad boxcars, stacked in piles like so much cord wood, or lying sprawled on the ground, and the silence of the hollowed eyes of the survivors of disease, starvation, or extermination in the infamous Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, whose liberation I had participated in. Later on I concluded that the silence to which I had responded was for me the call of God.”

              —John Boyle | “The Future of Futility,” May 9, 2010


Prayers by John Boyle

“Creator God, may we so live as to show gratitude all our days for the gifts bestowed upon us, and especially for the gift of life and for the gift of your love made known so fully in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
              —John Boyle | “Prayers of the People,” November 18, 2007

September 16, 2001: first Sunday after 9/11

November 25, 2001

December 9, 2001

December 30, 2001

February 24, 2002

March 10, 2002

June 9, 2002

June 16, 2002

January 21, 2007

February 11, 2007

April 29, 2007

June 17, 2007

July 22, 2007

August 26, 2007

November 18, 2007

January 20, 2008

March 2, 2008

March 9, 2008

April 13, 2008

June 8, 2008

September 21, 2008

October 12, 2008

November 16, 2008

December 14, 2008

April 26, 2009

“Suffering God, as our Lord was mocked by his torturers, so are we mocked by the questions that haunt us. Who am I? Why am I here? What’s it all about? Is this all there is? Where am I headed? Is there life after death? They mock us, these questions, for our answers are never enough and only provoke more questions. We soon learn that all our attempts at mastery over what is ultimately mystery are in vain. Teach us, dear God, how to live with mystery with faith and courage in the face of it. In the midst of the darkness of mystery and of the unknown, may the light of your love and of your Word made flesh in Jesus Christ be enough for us to entrust ourselves to you.”
              —John Boyle, “Prayers of the People,” March 9, 2008


Sermons by John Boyle

August 13, 2000: “Agenda for Living”

August 12, 2001: “The Meaning and Mystery of Faith”

December 30, 2001: “The Peril and Promise Christmas Brings”

December 25, 2005: “Is It Over?”

December 17, 2006: “The Point of It All”

January 28, 2007: “God’s Awful Grace”

April 1, 2007: “Cheers and Tears”

June 17, 2007: “Revenge and Redemption”

September 23, 2007: “The Power to Bless”

December 30, 2007: “Subject to Change”

March 23, 2008: “Come Up Higher”

April 27, 2008 “Groping for God”

August 3, 2008: “When God Challenges Us”

October 5, 2008: “The Dagger and the Cross”

February 15, 2009: “A New Status”

March 22, 2009: “This Much!”

May 10, 2009: “Intimacy and the Hard Labor of Love”

June 14, 2009: “Under the Eye of the Clock”

August 2, 2009: “A New Longing, a New Priority”

November 8, 2009: “When Faith Is Threatened”

February 7, 2010: “Who’s Calling?”

May 9, 2010: “The Future of Futility”

August 8, 2010: “Hokum, Humility, and Healing”

December 12, 2010: “When Hopes Deceive”

January 30, 2011: “The Folly of Faith, or Who’s the Fool?

April 10, 2011: “Going with Life”

May 15, 2011: “Born to Lose”

November 27, 2011: “Attention Must Be Paid”

February 26, 2012: “The Life God Gives Us—Alternative to Futility”

June 10, 2012: “Is God a Bully?”

July 22, 2012: “Hounded by God”

August 26, 2012: “When God Offends Us”

September 30, 2012: “Risky Business”