Academy for Faith and Life

The Academy for Faith and Life provides short-term and ongoing adult education for the members and friends of Fourth Presbyterian Church and for the larger community. Its mission is to draw participants into the many realms of God’s activity, emphasizing the intersection of faith and life. All persons are welcome to participate in Academy courses, and all meeting rooms are wheelchair accessible.

View the Academy for Faith and Life calendar here.

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Classes for Spring 2016

Locked in a Box: A Documentary
What's That Labyrinth Thing Anyway?
Finding the Sacred through Poetry
The South Side with Natalie Moore

Locked in a Box: A Documentary on Immigrant Detention

   —with Susan Krehbiel—
   Sunday, May 1
(1 week only)
   12:15 p.m. in Borwell Dining Room

   Register online here

Presbyterian Church (USA) Disaster Assistance Representative Susan Krehbiel will facilitate a viewing of the documentary Locked in a Box, followed by conversation regarding the film and our denomination’s continuing place in the world of immigration.

Susan Krehbiel works part-time as the Catalyst for Refugees and Asylum to coordinate Presbyterian Church (USA) humanitarian response and advocacy on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants. She coordinates PDA assistance and technical support to mid-councils and local task forces to equip congregations in their respective ministries. She also works with other
PC (USA) ministries and with ecumenical and interfaith partners to expand
our capacity to serve refugees and other vulnerable migrants.

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What's That Labyrinth Thing Anyway?

   —with Marsha Heizer—
   Sundays, May 8–22
(3 weeks)
   11:00 a.m. in Room 5B

   Register online here

You may well have seen the labyrinth in the floor of Buchanan Chapel, but are you familiar with what a labyrinth is? With a single path leading into the center, a labyrinth has no dead ends or other elements designed to confuse or trick the person who is walking. Instead the same path is used to both enter the labyrinth and to return from the center; there is a single entrance, which becomes the exit on the return walk.

According to Veriditas, the organization that trains facilitators and promotes the use of labyrinths in the United States and around the world, “The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.”

In this class, which will consist of three sessions, we will use the labyrinth as a tool for walking meditation or prayer. The first session will focus on the definition and history of labyrinths around the world and their use in Christian churches. In the second meeting, we will explore contemplative prayer practices and learn about the logistics of walking the labyrinth. For the third session, members will meet in Buchanan Chapel and participate in a labyrinth walk.

Marsha Heizer has been helping with labyrinth walks at Fourth Church since 2006, particularly with the walks before the monthly fourth Friday Taizé services. She received training as a Labyrinth Facilitator in 2013 and was certified the following year. She has been engaged with the Labyrinth Ministry at Fourth Church for the past two years.

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Finding the Sacred through Poetry

   —with Mary Lenox—
   Sundays, May 15–22
(2 weeks)
   9:30 a.m. in Room 5B

   Register online here

Through poetry we can see the sacred in the ordinary. A poem might begin with a thought, a feeling, a touch, a smell, a sound, an “aha moment” that ignites the imagination. It’s a grace moment. Join us in an interactive exploration to discover your poetic words and images that touch the heart.

Bring an open mind; pen, paper, or notebook; a sacred object; and a willingness to look within to access spiritual dimensions through poetry.

Mary F. Lenox, a published poet, is the author of Threads of Grace: Selected Poems. A member of Fourth Church, she has a certificate of advanced studies from Chicago Theological Seminary. She has traveled broadly throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and Brazil and was a visiting professor at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.

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The South Side: A Portait of Chicago and American Segregation

   —with author Natalie Moore—
   Monday, May 23
(1 night only)
   7:00 p.m. in Anderson Hall

This May we will welcome WBEZ’s Natalie Moore as she reads from her new book The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation.

Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel have touted and promoted Chicago as a “world-class city.” Yet swept under the rug is the segregation that compromises Chicago. Dubbed one of the most segregated big cities in the country by the Manhattan Institute and unlike other cities in that no one race dominates, Chicago is divided equally into black, white, and Latino, with each group clustered in their various turfs.

In this intelligent and highly important narrative, Chicago native Natalie Moore shines a light on contemporary segregation on the South Side of Chicago through reported essays, showing the life of these communities through the stories of people who live in them. The South Side shows the important impact of Chicago’s historic segregation and the ongoing policies that keep it that way.

Copies of Ms. Moore’s book will be available for purchase at the event, and there will be a book signing after the reading.

Natalie Moore is radio station WBEZ’s South Side reporter. Prior to joining WBEZ in 2007, she was a city hall reporter for the Detroit News. She has also been an education reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a reporter for the Associated Press in Jerusalem. Natalie is coauthor of Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation and The Almighty Black P. Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang.

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Academy Newsletter

To receive periodic email updates from the Academy for Faith and Life, send email addresses to

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Staff and Contact Information

Mark Eldred, Worship Coordinator and Interim Director of Adult Education (312.573.3367)

Contact Information

• general questions or requests for information,
• requests for class tapes,
• evaluative comments,
• suggestions for courses and speakers

—please contact the Academy office at (312.573.3367).

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Child Care

On Sunday mornings: Childcare for infants up to age two is available in the Nursery from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sunday School classes for all other children are offered at both 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. from September through May. For information about Sunday School and children’s and family programs, contact Matt Helms at 312.573.3362.

On weekdays
: To arrange childcare for weekday courses or events, contact Matt Helms (312.573.3362) at least one week prior to the event.

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