Academy for Faith and Life

Welcome to the Academy for Faith and Life, an anchor component of Fourth Presbyterian Church’s adult education program. Through this program we provide short-term and ongoing education for our members, friends of the church, and the wider community.

The Adult Education Committee is committed to offering learning opportunities that invite participants to engage in a range of study options. You will find biblical and theological offerings for those who have years of prolonged study as well as for those who know little about Christian theology or the Bible. Some of the courses integrate issues of social and ethical importance with Christian principles and values. There are classes on spiritual development and practice and others that consider arts and culture. No matter your particular interests, we trust the Academy’s offerings will provide opportunities for growth and Christian community.

Look below for more information about this season's Academy for Faith and Life opportunities!

 

Join us for a Reformation trip to Europe in 2019!

Spring 2019 Adult Education Opportunities

Galatians: New Testament Social Ethics for Today
Sunday, March 3–24 at 9:30 a.m.

Lenten Path of Discipleship Series
Tuesdays, March 12–April 16 at 6:00 p.m.

Reformed and Always Reforming
An Educational Tour in the Steps of the Reformers

Trip dates: Wednesday, October 2–Sunday, October 13

Practicing the Presence of God
Sunday, March 24–April 7 at 11:00 a.m.

Bearing Witness:
The Trauma of Sexual Violence and Caring for Survivors

Sunday, March 31–April 14 at 9:30 a.m.

Meditating on the Psalms
Sunday, April 28–May 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Marilynne Robinson’s The Givenness of Things
Sunday, April 28–May 12 at 11:00 a.m.

Why We March: Stonewall to Today
Sunday, May 5 at 12:15 p.m.

Just Peace in the Middle East through Education:
    The Work of Pilgrims of Ibillinn

Sunday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m.

Bible Studies | Newsletter
Course Recommendations and Proposals

Contact Us | Child Care

 

Galatians:
New Testament Social Ethics for Today

Sunday, March 3–24 (4 weeks)
9:30 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by G. Walter Hansen

Paul’s letter to the Galatians calls Christians to express the truth of the gospel in communities where there are ethnic, social, or gender divisions. Paul’s message aims to heal ongoing tensions of race, class, and gender by spelling out the social implications of justification by faith.

This class will provide an opportunity both to understand the crisis in the church addressed by Paul’s letter and to apply this letter to ethical issues in the church today.

G. Walter Hansen is a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church and Professor Emeritus at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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Reformed and Always Reforming
Educational Tour in the Steps of the Reformers

Wednesday, October 2–Sunday, October 13, 2019

    Information session Thursday, March 14

    6:30 p.m. in Room 4G

You are invited to join Lucy Forster-Smith and Judy Watt this October for a trip to Europe to follow the steps of the Reformers.

•  Visit Prague, Luther sites in Germany (including Wittenberg and Eisenach), Dresden, the Terezin Memorial, and Geneva.

•  Explore the history and work of the Reformers, as well as
share in discussion about how that work and history applies
to the present.

The Academy for Faith and Life will be holding a trip information session on the evening of Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. Registration for the trip will open following the session. To express interest or for more details, please send your name and contact information to Allison Santos (asantos@fourthchurch.org; 312.573.3363). Information will be posted as it becomes available at www.fourthchurch.org/academy

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Practicing the Presence of God

Sunday, March 24–April 7 (3 weeks)
11:00 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by Victoria G. Curtiss

The Apostle Paul encouraged believers to “pray without ceasing.” How do we do that? Brother Lawrence and Thomas Kelley—along with numerous poets and Christian mystics—can teach us how to be attentive to the presence of God in our everyday lives.

This class will explore our oneness with nature, the importance of wonder and gratitude, contemplative prayer, and the simplification of our lives, so that we can live from our center.

Readings will be sourced from Joan Chittister, Annie Dillard, Denise Levertov, Gerald May, Mary Oliver, Joyce Rupp, and David Whyte.

Victoria Curtiss is the Associate Pastor for Mission at Fourth Church. An ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church (USA), she is also a spiritual director.

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Bearing Witness:
The Trauma of Sexual Violence and Caring for Survivors

Sunday, March 31–April 14 (3 weeks)
9:30 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by Elizabeth Pierre

This course will seek to cultivate an understanding of the trauma of sexual violence and its impact on one’s body, mind, and faith. Socio-cultural factors such as race, class, gender, and religion are integral to responding effectively and empathically to survivors.

The many facets of this complex topic will be discussed so that we might better grasp the factors that can encourage or impede recovery from traumatic experiences. Participants will also learn practical steps to care for survivors of sexual violence as a way to deepen their personal ministry.

Elizabeth O. Pierre is assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling and counseling psychology at North Park University. She has worked as a counselor for women recovering from drug abuse and for families going through the adoption process. Elizabeth holds a PhD from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in pastoral theology; she also received her counseling training from Boston College and the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy.

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Meditating on the Psalms

Sunday, April 28–May 12 (3 weeks)
9:30 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by Stephen Hall

In Psalm 1, the virtuous person is described as one who meditates on the psalms. In this course participants will learn theological and practical ways to understand the psalms more deeply.

By studying different types of psalms, we will explore how both praise and lament contribute to an overarching spiritual theme through unique poetic expressions. By blending lecture, discussion, and workshop, readers will learn to meditate on the psalms as a group and independently for their own edification.

Join us as we dig deeper into the “Prayer Book of the Church.”

Stephen Hall holds an MA in Hebrew language studies from the American Institute in Jerusalem, a ThM in Old Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is working on a PhD at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He is a returning instructor to the Academy for Faith and Life.

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Marilynne Robinson’s The Givenness of Things

Sunday, April 28–May 12 (3 weeks)
11:00 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by Jeff Doane

Marilynne Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and a superb essayist; many consider her one of the foremost cultural and theological voices of our time. Jeff Doane will join us again this spring to dive into a few essays from Robinson’s collection, The Givenness of Things.

These pieces provide critiques of current societal values and patterns, as well as reflections on our theological language. Topics range from fear and limitation to grace awakening; the collection also includes an in-person conversation with former President Barack Obama. In these essays Robinson offers us an opportunity to help shift our focus from often polarizing interactions to the faith-based values that underlie our current social realities.

Participants will be asked to purchase the book of essays to get the fullest experience out of the class and to aid group discussion.

Jeff Doane is on staff at Fourth Church as the Parish Associate for Older Adults.
An ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church (USA), he is Pastor Emeritus
of Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church.

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Why We March: Stonewall to Today

Sunday, May 5
12:151:10 p.m. in Buchanan Chapel

Cosponsored by the Fourth Church LGBTQIA Group “Widening Our Welcome”

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, an event in New York City in 1969 that sparked the gay rights movement and international Pride Parades. On the last Sunday of each June, our church marches in Chicago’s Pride Parade. Why is that, and what does it mean to our community?

Come hear the stories of congregants, clergy, and staff from Fourth Church as they reflect on the meaning of Stonewall today as well as our participation in the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches.

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Just Peace in the Middle East through Education: The Work of Pilgrims of Ibillin

Sunday, May 26
11:00 a.m. in Room 5E

Led by Laurie Lyter Bright

This presentation will be held in conjunction with Father Elias Chacour preaching during Fourth Church morning on 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
on May 26.

Laurie Lyter Bright will share her understanding of life in Palestine and Israel today. She will discuss the mission of Pilgrims of Ibillin, which supports the Mar Elias Educational Institutions and other mission projects that cultivate a just peace in Israel and Palestine. The organization’s primary goals are to promote justice and peace, encourage open dialogue, and support peaceful coexistence among diverse cultural and religious groups in the Middle East. Join us to learn more about this group and how to support the continuing existence of threatened Christian communities in Israel and Palestine. We also invite you to worship with us at 9:30 a.m. to hear Elias Chacour, founder of Mars Elias University, preach.

Laurie Lyter Bright, Pilgrims of Ibillin’s executive director, is a minister in
the Presbyterian Church (USA), a Lewis Fellow, and a doctoral candidate at Colorado State University in education and research methodology. She is author
of the recently published book Vagabonding: In Defense and Praise of Millennial Faith, and studies the church as a site of education and justice, primarily around issues of rape culture.

Elias Chacour is Archbishop of the Melkite Church, founder of Mars Elias University in the village of Ibillin in northern Israel, and author of Blood Brothers. He is internationally known for his work for reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews.

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Academy Newsletter

To receive periodic email updates from the Academy for Faith and Life, send email addresses to academy@fourthchurch.org.

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Course Recommendations and Proposals

Suggestions for future course offerings can be submitted to academy@fourthchurch.org or dropped off at the church reception desk.

Please use this Recommendation Form if you have an idea for a class or speaker; use this Proposal Form if you would like to submit a class of your own for consideration.

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Staff and Contact Information

Staff
    Lucy Forster-Smith
    Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education
    lforster-smith@fourthchurch.org
    312.573.3364

    Casie Dodd
    Adult Education Program Assistant
    cdodd@fourthchurch.org
    312.573.3366

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

—please contact the Academy office at academy@fourthchurch.org

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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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View the Academy for Faith and Life calendar here.