Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Growth Opportunities

Christ has called us to be his disciples, and as a community we focus on discerning and responding to this call individually and corporately, for the sake of the world.

Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, our hearts can be transformed to become the persons God created us to be by loving God and our neighbors more deeply. Spiritual formation is key to this transformative journey.

We invite you to join us on this journey, to partake of spiritual formation opportunities we offer throughout the year—practices, experiences, and disciplines for people of faith to deepen our relationships with God, neighbor, and self.

The Spiritual Formation Council hopes that these opportunities will help strengthen your spiritual growth:

Adult Education Classes
Bible Study Men’s | Women’s
Contemplative Retreats
Path of Discipleship
Pilgrimage Trips
Labyrinth Ministry
Daily Devotions

Adult Education Classes

This adult education program provides short-term and ongoing education for our members, friends of the church, and the wider community. All programming is currently offered virtually via Zoom. No matter your particular interests, we trust the Academy’s offerings will provide opportunities for growth and Christian community.

For information about upcoming Academy classes, click here.

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Contemplative Retreats

Contemplative retreats are held at a nearby retreat center at various times during the church year, typically during Advent and Lent.

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Path of Discipleship

Lent is a great time for each of us to conduct a spiritual “spring cleaning,” take a spiritual inventory, and reflect on how we might improve our relationship with God. As James 4:8 relates, “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.”

Thus the Spiritual Formation Council annually hosts a six-week Path of Discipleship series during Lent. In 2023 that weekly series, which began on Tuesday, February 28, is exploring The Spiritual Resilience Handbook by Connie Fourre.

A veteran faith formation educator for adolescents and adults, the author explains, “Spiritual resilience is the ability to maintain a sturdy positive spirit and a clear sense of purpose and meaning even in the face of suffering.”

Registration for this series is now closed.

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Pilgrimage Trips

In the past, groups from Fourth Church have participated in pilgrimages to Iona, Scotland, and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.

2023: Ghost Ranch — The Intersection of Spirituality and Creation

We are returning to New Mexico the week of May 15–19, 2023, for “The Intersection of Spirituality and Creation,” a Ghost Ranch Pilgrimage of Faith and Learning. The registration deadline is Monday, April 3.

This retreat, which is a program of Fourth Church Adult Education in partnership with the Spiritual Formation Council, will be held at the Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in New Mexico and will be led by Fourth Church pastors Nancy Benson-Nicol and Lucy Forster-Smith.

Ghost Ranch, located close to the village of Abiquiu, was the home and studio of painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Ghost Ranch spans 12,000 acres of southwest landscape marked by towering rock walls, vivid colors, and vast skies.

The retreat can accommodate up to twenty-five participants and will include presentations by Nancy Benson-Nicol and Lucy Forster-Smith as well as time for spiritual renewal community building. We will spend mornings learning together, afternoons hiking and exploring the area, and evenings together as a group with guided conversations and worship. We will spend one afternoon and evening in Santa Fe enjoying the museums, dining, and wonder of that city.

Please note that in keeping with being part of a retreat center, Ghost Ranch sleeping rooms (described as “simple and rustic”) are free from phones, televisions, internet, and alarm clocks. Throughout Ghost Ranch, cellphone service is described as “very limited” and WiFi access is said to be available only at certain spots around the ranch. More details are under the “Plan Your Visit” tab at ghostranch.org

Program Cost
The following program cost includes lodging (as detailed below), local transportation, food, and the program itself. It does not include travel arrangements, which participants will make themselves.
Dorm room for one (private bedroom, shared bathroom): $1,140
Private room for one (en suite): $1,420
Couple / shared private room: $1,110 per person

Travel Arrangements
Participants will make their own travel arrangements, making it possible to extend your time in the region if you’d like!

Shuttles will run from the Albuquerque airport (ABQ) to Ghost Ranch on May 15 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. If you want to take advantage of the shuttles, please schedule flights that land at ABQ by 6:00 p.m. on May 15, and depart from ABQ after 1:00 p.m. on May 19

Final date to register and pay the non-refundable $200 deposit: Monday, April 3
Payment in full is due: Monday, April 10
Register here

Some scholarship assistance is available. Contact Jana Blazek for details.

We will have a pre-retreat meeting following worship on Sunday, April 2.

For additional details, contact Nancy Benson-Nicol and Lucy Forster-Smith.

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Labyrinth Ministry

A tool for prayer and meditation for those seeking God, the labyrinth in Buchanan Chapel is available for walking several days of most weeks.

More on the labyrinth

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Those interested in meditation will find a variety of opportunities available at Fourth Church. Members of the Center for Life and Learning (a Fourth Church program for adults sixty and over) gather weekly for “Mindfulness Meditation,” and the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being hosts weekly meditation workshops on Tuesday evenings.

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Subscribing to Daily Devotions

Daily devotions, written by the staff of Fourth Church, are available via email (sign up here or send addresses to devotions@fourthchurch.org).

Devotions are also posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/fourthchurch) and online.

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126 E. Chestnut Street
(at Michigan Avenue)
Chicago, Illinois 60611.2014
(Across from the Hancock)

Getting to Fourth Church

Receptionist: 312.787.4570

Directory: 312.787.2729



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