Mission Trips

Mission trips enable us, as representatives of Fourth Presbyterian Church, to live with and learn from our brothers and sisters from around the world, from Central America to Chicago’s South Side. We share their struggles with hunger and violence. We do what we can to help, but mostly we show that we care.

We also discover that when we break away from our routines, we see new connections and make lasting friendships with each other.

If you are unable to travel, you can still participate in global mission by attending special programs featuring our partners from around the world. Events are announced in the News@FourthChurch e-newsletter (request a subscription via news@fourthchurch.org) and the Sunday bulletin insert “News and Opportunities.”

Occasionally calls go out for items needed by our hosts, such as medications and church school supplies, which our travelers can take with them. We invite you to consider supporting this aspect of global mission.

The material things, though, are secondary. Invariably our hosts make one request we all can honor: “Pray for us.”

Mission Trips | Mission Team Expectations | Application Forms
| Read about the 2012 Urban Plunge trip

Mission Trips

Havana, Cuba | Northern Ireland | China Insight

Havana, Cuba Mission Trip
April 16–23, 2016

Fourth Presbyterian Church has had a sister relationship with First Presbyterian Church of Havana for more than fifteen years. This trip reinforces that relationship as we live into our shared faith.

Participants will

  • become familiar with the historical, political, economic, and cultural context for Christian witness in Cuba
  • be inspired by the resiliency of a church thriving amid scarcity and learn about particular ministries of First Church in Havana
  • share in a midweek worship service in a parishioner’s backyard, singing Latin American hymns and songs

Sights to see may include the Ernest Hemingway Museum, a cigar factory, the United States embassy, an art museum, and the beach. Overnight accommodations will be in the church dorm or in a modest hotel near the church.

Trip leader 
Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry
Carol Lobbes, Fourth Church member

Nature of the trip
Building relationships; cross-cultural learning; supporting ministry

Age range
Twelve years and up; those under eighteen must be accompanied by an adult

Cost (excludes air fare)
$2,300 per person; includes airfare (some scholarships are available).

Applications due
December 20, 2015 (a deposit of $1,150 is required)
To register, please use the online registration form at www.bit.ly/HavanaCuba2016

For more information about this and other mission trip opportunities, visit www.fourthchurch.org/mission/trips or contact Vicky Curtiss at 312.981.3598.

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Northern Ireland Mission Trip
July 9–17, 2016

This trip provides opportunity to learn from encounters with both historic and contemporary expressions of Christian witness in Northern Ireland and to gain resources for dealing with societal division and conflict.

Participants will

  • visit key places of Christian witness in the Celtic church and learn about Celtic spirituality and how it is lived out by Christians in Ireland today

  • explore the impact of Ireland’s religious, political, and ethnic conflict as a way to understand conflict in other settings
  • reflect on the gospel imperative to work for peace and reconciliation, how it is being pursued in Northern Ireland, and opportunities and challenges for peacebuilding in their own settings
  • deepen their understanding and support of the wider mission of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

The group will visit Dublin, Belfast, Newgrange, Corrymeela, Derry, Omagh, and the Giant’s Causeway. Overnight accommodations will be in group hostels and bed-and-breakfast locations.

Trip leader 
Hardy Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Young Adults
Layton Williams, Pastoral Resident

Nature of the trip
Spiritual development; cross-cultural learning; peacebuilding; supporting ministry

Age range
Young adults, aged 22–40

Cost (excludes air fare)
$2,500 per person; includes airfare (some scholarships are available).
Participants will be asked to help with fundraisers to underwrite the total cost of the trip.

Applications due
January 15, 2016 (a deposit of $1,000 is required)
To register, please use the online registration form at www.bit.ly/NIreland2016.

For more information about this and other mission trip opportunities, visit www.fourthchurch.org/mission/trips or contact Vicky Curtiss at 312.981.3598.

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China Insight Mission Trip
October 15–22, 2016

You are invited to join mission-trip host Opportunity International for an autumn trip to China, a country that stretches more than 3,000 miles in both directions and is home to 1.3 billion people—more than any other country.

Despite having a growing economy and massive workforce, China suffers from extreme poverty, with about 300 million people struggling to survive on less than $2.50 a day.

This trip will provide participants an opportunity to

  • Learn about the culture of China from resident hosts
  • Experience firsthand how financial services and training are helping people in China break free from poverty
  • Meet Opportuntiy International clients who have overcome great challenges to create brighter futures for their families

Places we will visit during the five-day trip include Shanghai, Suyu, and Fengxian. An optional two day excursion will include time in the city of Nanjing and on the banks of the Yangtze River.

Trip leader 
Linda VanderWeele, of Opportunity International and member of Fourth Church

Nature of the trip
Learning about the impact of micro-financing; building relationships; cross-cultural learning; supporting a mission partner

Age range
Eighteen years and up

Cost (excludes air fare)
Seven-day trip (including excursion): $2,403
Five-day trip (without excursion): $1,903

Applications due
August 5, 2016 (with $500 nonrefundable deposit)
To register, please apply online at http://opportunity.org/news/events/insight-trips/2016/insight-trip-china.

For details, please Contact Adele Nandan in Opportunity’s International Education Department at anandan@opportunity.org or 312.487.5047.

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Mission Team Expectations

God calls us to receive and share the love of Jesus Christ, a love that crosses all cultural, geographic, economic, and generational boundaries. Mission trips provide opportunities for serving, learning, advocacy, peacemaking, spiritual inspiration, and building relationships and cross-cultural awareness.

As we interact with brothers and sisters from around the world, we honor their dignity and show respect through mutuality, learning and receiving from them while giving support in solidarity. It is essential for us to follow their lead and wisdom on addressing the quality of life and witness of faith in their context.
Mission trip participants are asked to bring an open and humble mind of a beginner. 

  • Reflective worship is an important part of every trip.  
  • Mission trips start well before the date of departure and extend beyond our return home. All participants are expected to participate in orientations, trip-related activities, and debriefing and post-trip activities. Articles or books may be recommended reading.
  • Mission team members need to be flexible, cooperative, and positive, supporting the team leaders and our hosts as they need to adapt to unexpected circumstances and changes in plans. 
  • Accommodations are purposely modest to lower the cost of the trip and to benefit from the hospitality of our hosts. 
  • Estimated costs include airfare, most meals, lodging, ground transportation, and in some cases a contribution toward the project or people served. Actual costs may vary depending on changes in airfare and the number of participants who register.
  • Each team member must pay a 50% deposit of fees by the stated deadline, $100 of which is nonrefundable. Limited scholarships may be available upon request.
  • Unless stated otherwise, persons of all ages and abilities are welcome to apply.
  • For international trips, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your return date. A copy of the first two pages of the passport must be submitted with trip applications.

For more information, please contact Vicky Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission, at 312.981.3598.

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Application Forms

Please see the individual trip descriptions for online registration links.

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For More Information

Contact Vicky Curtiss
Associate Pastor for Mission, Fourth Presbyterian Church

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