Michigan Avenue Forums

Michigan Avenue Forums at Fourth Presbyterian Church promote civic formation within the Chicagoland community by presenting a series of events that feature important thinkers and public leaders in live lecture or debate format, discussing current issues of civic and ethical priority.

Recent forums have featured Elaine Pagels on her book Revelations; Walter Brueggemann on ministry in the twenty-first century; a panel discussion, cohosted with WBEZ, on NATO in the twenty-first century; Nadia Bolz-Weber on her books Pastrix (in 2013) and Accidental Saints (in 2015); and a mass incarceration series that included an evening of conversation with Iva Carruthers and WBEZ's Natalie Moore as well as a panel discussion with John Chisholm, Barbara Wilson, Christophe Ringer, and Reggie Williams that was moderated by Jeanne Bishop (in 2016).


Upcoming Michigan Avenue Forum

Morality, Christian Ethics, and Political Discourse
with Clarence Page, Robin W. Lovin, Niala Boodhoo,
and Mary Schaafsma

7:00 p.m. in Buchanan Chapel • Monday, October 24

Join journalist Clarence Page, Princeton emeritus professor Robin Lovin, and Fourth Church members Mary Schaafsma and Niala Boodhoo for a conversation about the current path of morality in our country. Where is the church’s place in a conversation of morality, ethics, and politics? As a church, where can we truly begin to seek making a difference in this world?

Our October 6–13 book study on The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion parallels the the conversations that will be had in this forum.

Niala Boodhoo, Public Radio host in Urbana, Illinois, is the Startup Host/Executive Producer for the radio show “The 21st,” a statewide news and talk show of Illinois Public Media. She’s been a journalist since 2000, having worked for the Miami Herald, Reuters in London and Washington, D.C., and the Associated Press in Miami. Ms. Boodhoo got her start in public media in 2008 at WLRN, where she launched The Miami Herald Friday Business Report. Most recently, she hosted The Afternoon Shift, a two-hour, local weekday show on WBEZ/Chicago Public Media. She also currently serves as the Asian American Journalist Association’s National Vice-President for Broadcast.

Robin W. Lovin is William H. Scheide Senior Fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton, New Jersey, and Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics emeritus at Southern Methodist University (SMU). A resident scholar at CTI since 2012, he became a member of the SMU faculty in 1994 and served as Dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology from 1994 to 2002. Dr. Lovin’s most recent books are Christian Realism and the New Realities and An Introduction to Christian Ethics. He has also written extensively on religion and law and comparative religious ethics. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow, former president of the Society of Christian Ethics, and a member of the advisory board for the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at Oxford University.

Clarence Page, the 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary, has been a columnist and a member of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board since July 1984. His column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services in close to 200 papers. He has been based in Washington, D.C., since May 1991. In September 2014 his latest book, Culture Worrier: Selected Columns (1984–2014), was published by Amazon. Mr. Page was a reporter and assistant city editor for the Chicago Tribune from 1969 to 1980. He joined WBBM-TV in August 1980 as Director of the Community Affairs Department and worked as a reporter and planning editor at the station from August 1982 to July 1984. He received a lifetime achievement award in 2004 from the National Association of Black Journalists and was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 1992. His book Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity was published in 1996. He has received honorary doctorates from Ohio University, Columbia College in Chicago, Lake Forest College, and the Chicago Theological Seminary, among others.

Mary Schaafsma is currently the Executive Director of the League of
Women Voters of Illinois. She joined the staff of the League in 2009 as the project director of the League’s redistricting project and was promoted to Executive Director in the Spring of 2013. Ms. Schaafsma has devoted her career to work in public interest, advocacy, and citizen engagement organizations and has experience in developing public education and advocacy projects and campaigns, funds development and communications, and coalition building on a range of issues, including campaign finance reform and redistricting reform. Her interest in civil discourse and civic engagement stems from her view, perhaps somewhat naively but always aspirational, that those who benefit from the promises of democracy should aspire to engage, as Abraham Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature.” Mary has been a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church since 1985 and has served as elder, moderator of the Board of Deacons, and chaired the Mission Committee as well as several nominating committees and has ushered the 11:00 a.m. service for decades.

For information about Michigan Avenue Forums, contact Mark Eldred, Worship Coordinator and Interim Director of Adult Education.

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