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 Autumn 2015

Becoming a Vital Member of a Church Body
Handel’s Messiah

Becoming a Vital Member of a Church Body

   —with Tom Payne—
   Sundays, November 29–December 20
(4 weeks)
   11:00 a.m. in Borwell Dining Room

        Register here for this class.

What does it look like to serve in a more personally meaningful way as a path to fulfillment? Join Fourth Presbyterian Church member and author Tom Payne as we dive into this topic and discover our own unique gifts and passions. We will also look at possible ways in which serving is not aligning with those gifts and passions and thus can be a path to burnout.

Come take a closer look at ways to utilize your gifts and passions to engage and serve this church and beyond. What better gift to give yourself during this Advent season than the gift of seeking how you might serve God in this world!

Tom Payne is a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church and serves on the Adult Education Committee. A successful corporate and leadership consultant, Tom is a lifelong student of communications and storytelling who is fascinated by how stories help us connect more deeply to ourselves, our communities, and God’s Word.

Register here for this class.

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Handel’s Messiah

   —with John Sherer and members of the Morning Choir—
   Sundays, November 29–December 20
(4 weeks)
   12:15 p.m. in Buchanan Chapel

        Register here for this class.

Join John W. W. Sherer, Fourth Church Organist and Director of Music, as he leads a four-week Advent-inspired presentation on a seasonal favorite, Handel’s Messiah. Members of the Fourth Church Morning Choir will joins us to offer musical excerpts and examples.

This four-week course will culminate in a group venture on Sunday, December 20 to Orchestra Hall (220 S. Michigan) to hear a 3:00 p.m. performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Seats at the performance are in a reduced-rate, limited block and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis (we have a limit of twenty-five). To purchase a ticket, please complete the online registration.

For additional information, contact Interim Director of Adult Education,
Mark Eldred (312.573.3367).

John Sherer is Organist and Director of Music at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Register here for this class.

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Registration for Academy Classes

Please help us in our planning by preregistering for classes. That helps us, among other things, match room size to the anticipated size of the class.

To register, click on course names below. While online registration is preferred and streamlines the process, you can also register by contacting Mark Eldred (312.573.3367) or by downloading and returning a paper registration form.

     Praying with Eyes Open | Vicky Curtiss
     God in the Modern Wing | Walter Hansen
     Presyterian Beliefs | Mark Eldred
     Becoming a Vital Member of a Church Body | Tom Payne
     Handel’s Messiah | John Sherer

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Other Opportunities

Asking Big Questions in Good Company:
   A Series for People in Their Thirties and Forties
   Second Sunday of the month

Led by local religious scholars, “Asking Big Questions in Good Company” uses a theological ethical lens to bring into focus topics for each monthly conversation with fellow Christians. Together we will be exploring such topics as: What is power, and how should it be properly exercised? How should we think about the ancient concept of wisdom in our contemporary fast-paced world? 

Join us as we wrestle with these and other topics in the light of faith and Christian practice.

More information is available on the ThirtiesForties web page.

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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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