“100+ Ways to Get Connected”

This page is a fully linked, electronic version of one of the most popular printed publications at Fourth Church, “100+ Ways to Get Connected.”

1. Children, Youth, and Families
2. Community Building
3. Congregational Leadership
4. Education
5. Fourth Church Membership
6. Music
7. Outreach, Mission, and Advocacy
8. Serving and Volunteering
9. Spiritual Enrichment

1. Children, Youth, and Families

Sunday School classes for children age three through fifth grade are held on Sunday mornings every month except August. Volunteer teachers use a shared curriculum. (Registration is not required for children to attend.)

The Sunday morning Nursery (for children aged 0–2), like the Sunday School, is on the fourth floor of the Gratz Center.

Confirmation equips youth to profess faith and enter active church membership. All eighth graders are welcome to attend, regardless of their relationship with Fourth Church, as are youth older than eighth grade who have not yet made a profession of faith. Volunteers help lead the weekly Sunday morning gatherings and the two weekend retreats.

Family Camp offers families an opportunity in late May to spend a relaxing weekend together at a camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where kids and adults enjoy both programming and free time. Accommodations are hotel-style, with fresh meals prepared each day.

Family Nights are a monthly opportunity for families with young children to have dinner, play games, and make crafts together.

Vacation Bible School, a fun-filled August week of Bible stories, games, crafts, and singing for preschoolers and grade school students, is held 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and is supported by youth and adult volunteers.

Youth Groups gather weekly on Sunday mornings from September to May. There are separate groups for Junior High (grades 6–8) and Senior High (grades 9–12). These groups are accompanied and supported by youth volunteers.

Lock-Ins and Retreats for youth (grades 6–12) are overnight and weekend events that take place onsite at Fourth Church as well as at camps and retreat centers in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Adult volunteers are needed to serve as chaperones during these overnight events.

Mission Trips for youth take place during the summer months, providing week-long opportunities for youth to put faith into practice by serving and building relationships. Adult volunteers are needed as chaperones.

See also Children and Youth Choirs


2. Community Building


“Books by Women” Book Group, which meets at the church on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m., September–June, discusses classic and contemporary works by women authors.

The CLL Monthly Book Club is a monthly Zoom gathering for those sixty and over to discuss a wide variety of books chosen by the group.

Men’s Book Group meets in varied locations and via Zoom.


Cornerstones is a group of couples and singles over fifty who usually meet for fellowship, dinner, and a program on the first Friday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Gratz Center.

Deep Listening Dinners are hosted periodically and bring together eight to ten diverse people committed to listening deeply to each other and sharing honestly with one another in order to better understand our differences while also honoring our commonalities and shared humanity.
Contact Nanette Sawyer

TwentiesThirties is a group of individuals in their twenties and thirties seeking to develop relationships and grow in discipleship. Activities include small group gatherings and Bible studies, monthly social outings, and retreats.

Zoom Small Groups meet for 6 weeks at a time via Zoom, 4–5 times over the course of the year. These fellowship groups focus on a theme or a book as a way to keep learning and growing.


Benevolent Guild, which meets every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., creates stuffed animals and taggies for donation to children in area hospitals and shelters. No sewing experience is necessary.

The Knitting and Crocheting Group creates hats, scarves, mittens, and similar items for those in need. Participants create the items on their own time and then meet both on Zoom and at church on the fourth Tuesday of the month between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. to drop off completed projects and pick up materials.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry partners with the Knitting Group to create shawls and lap robes that will be requested by the Deacons, Stephen Ministers, or pastors to go to members and individuals as a tangible expression of loving care from Fourth. As it is stitched, each shawl is infused with the prayers of its crafter on behalf of its recipient.


Interfaith Conversations: Neighbor to Neighbor offer an opportunity to gain perspective on our religious neighbors’ perspective and experience and to strengthen relationships with our neighbors of diverse faiths.
Contact Simon Crow

Interfaith Holidays provide occasion to gather with neighbors of various faiths. Fourth Church members attend the interfaith Passover Seder hosted by Chicago Sinai Congregation, share interfaith Iftars with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, and worship with neighboring faith communities during the Thanksgiving season.


Men’s Discussion Groups bring together six to eight men for a time of studying scripture and sharing personal reflections on the text. No knowledge of the Bible, theology, or experience is required.
Contact Simon Crow


Interfaith Coalition Against Racism is a coalition of congregations (including Fourth Church) that develops interracial relationships, offers community forums, and engages in advocacy and actions to address racial injustice.
Contact Joe Morrow

The Racial Equity Council, a standing committee of Session, seeks to lead the church to become an anti-racist, multiculturally inclusive church; foster an environment that is inviting and welcoming for all people, particularly people of color; and build interracial relationships within our congregation.


Women at Fourth is an intergenerational gathering of women who meet for fellowship, education, and service. In addition to their book group, Benevolent Guild, Knitting and Crocheting, and seasonal drives to support mission programs, they also gather for monthly fellowship on the fourth Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Bumpus Room. This time together includes light refreshments and a program.


3. Congregational Leadership

The Board of Deacons is often called “the heart of the church.” Deacons are responsible for the care of the congregation and outreach ministries.

The Board of Trustees oversees the financial life of the church, including the endowment.

Session, as the governing body of the church, is responsible for the life and ministry of Fourth Presbyterian Church. It focuses on shaping faith, building community, serving others, and stewarding resources.

The Nominating Committee works to provide a slate of officers to be presented at the Annual Meeting in February. They also nominate at-large members of the Nominating Committee to replace themselves(!) for the following year.


4. Education

The Adult Education Council oversees short-term and ongoing adult education for the members and friends of Fourth Church and for the larger community. Classes are offered on Sunday mornings, September through May, on a variety of topics that include Bible study, spirituality, and the ways in which faith intersects with the most important topics of our time. The annual Michigan Avenue Forum, a lecture forum, and First-Tuesday Book Discussion are other opportunities for involvement.
Contact Lucy Forster-Smith

The Center for Life and Learning is a daytime weekday program for adults sixty and over. Among its offerings are exercise and wellness classes as well as lectures and multiweek courses on topics ranging from current events to music and the arts, from foreign languages to religion and history. There are also excursions and social events.


5. Fourth Church Membership

The Inquirers’ Class invites those interested in becoming members of Fourth Church to learn more about this congregation as well as the history and beliefs of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The class is a prerequisite for membership, but all are welcome whether or not they are presently considering membership.


6. Music

The numerous choir opportunities — for adults, children, youth, and instrumentalists — are all listed on the Choirs page.


7. Outreach, Mission, and Advocacy

World Mission Social Justice Council mobilizes the congregation in its calling to participate in the realization of God’s “heaven on earth” in the Chicago area and beyond. The council stewards Fourth Church’s resources as it engages members of the congregation and other volunteers. Through partnerships that encompass direct engagement, grantmaking, advocacy, and volunteerism, we join with the efforts of local, state, national, and global communities. The council also serves as a clearinghouse for opportunities and incubates new initiatives for mission.
Contact Joe Morrow

Advocacy Committee supports Fourth Church efforts to learn about and influence change in public policy to reflect God’s vision of justice, peace, and flourishing. The committee engages in issue education as well as facilitating letter-writing, calling, petitions, and lobbying opportunities. Issue priorities currently include voting, immigration reform, gun violence, environmental stewardship, and housing. Subscribe to the enewsletter or contact Joe Morrow.

Community Engagement Working Group works on behalf of the World Mission Social Justice Committee to pursue, strengthen, and evaluate Chicagoland community partnerships in keeping with Fourth Church Strategic Directions. The group encourages this through accompaniment, knowledge sharing, mutual aid, and joining organizing efforts.
Contact Joe Morrow

Employment Network group seeks to generate employment and workforce development opportunities with community partners across Chicagoland including the St. Sabina Employment Resource Center.
Contact Joe Morrow

Refugee Resettlement opportunities include working with partners such as RefugeeOne to support new immigrant families arriving in the Chicagoland area, providing material resources and mentoring.
Contact Nancy Davis

The Fair Trade Bazaar, held the first full weekend of every December, brings together Fourth Church volunteers and fair trade vendors to raise more money for families in developing countries.

Hunger and Homelessness are issues addressed by Fourth Church Meals Ministry, which serves Sunday and Monday Night Suppers as well as bag lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and by the Chicago Lights Social Service Center, which meets basic human needs while working with partner agencies to support persons on their journey toward greater stability and self-sufficiency.
See Serving and Volunteering below.


8. Serving and Volunteering


Stephen Ministry provides one-on-one Christian caregiving to someone facing a life transition or challenge. Those with gifts of listening, compassion, and wisdom who are willing to participate in the fifty hours of required training are encouraged to consider applying for the program.

Visitation Ministry is an opportunity visit with long-term members on a monthly basis, helping them stay connected to the congregation.
Contact Nancy Benson-Nicol


Career Development provides high school students in the Chicago Lights Tutoring program a head start in keeping a job and planning for a satisfying career. Internship hosts and class facilitators are needed;
contact Mark Dennison

Nursery assistants, who are church members, help support our nursery staff by providing loving care for our youngest members on Sunday mornings.
Contact Matt Helms

Sunday School teachers teach approximately two times per month as part of a teaching team or serve as substitutes in assisting a lead teacher. Teachers are members of Fourth Church; previous teaching experience is not necessary and curriculum and lesson materials are provided.
Contact Matt Helms

Summer Day reduces learning loss for 125 students through six weeks of instruction in language arts, math, music, dance, drama, photography, visual art, yoga, and meditation at the church. Volunteers are needed as academic and arts instructors, meal-time assistants, and field-trip chaperones for this Chicago Lights program.
Contact Mark Dennison

Tutors are paired one-to-one with students living in dis-invested neighborhoods for one evening of tutoring and mentoring a week at the church as part of the Chicago Lights Tutoring program. Substitute tutors are also needed as are individuals to teach enrichment classes.
Contact Mark Dennison

Youth leaders and chaperones work with our junior and senior high youth groups, which offer a variety of opportunities to accompany youth on their faith journey, from Sunday morning youth group gatherings to retreats, lock-ins, and summer mission trips.
Contact Rocky Supinger


For more information on these “Cooking and Serving” volunteer opportunities, contact Director of Volunteer Ministries Robert Crouch

Bag Lunch assemblers put sandwiches in bags and load the lunch cart for distribution at the Bag Lunch program held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The time commitment is 10:15–11:30 a.m.; individual volunteers are prescheduled to serve on specific days. Training will be provided.

Bag Lunch distributors hand out bag lunches, fresh fruit and snacks, and pour beverages in Anderson Hall during the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday bag lunch distribution. The time commitment is 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Bakers for Communion use a gluten-free recipe (provided) to prepare the wafers used for Communion services.

Bakers for Monday Night Supper prepare dessert items at home, typically enough to serve twelve to fifteen guests at Meals Ministry’s Monday Night Supper.

Monday Night Supper Dining Room volunteers assist with setup, beverage pouring, hospitality, serving, and cleanup for Monday Night Supper, which is held at Catholic Charities (721 N. LaSalle). The time commitment is 2:45–5:30 p.m. on Mondays.

Sandwich makers make sandwiches for Bag Lunch guests and partner programs. Volunteers make and bag 300–400 sandwiches every Thursday at 10:00 a.m.. All of the necessary supplies are provided.

Sunday Night Supper Cooks prepare meals on site in the Deloteus Kitchen and for Sunday Night Supper guests. Volunteers must be at least sixteen and physically capable of standing for extended periods of time and moderately heavy lifting. Supervision and supplies are provided. The time commitment is 1:30–5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Sunday Night Supper Dining Room volunteers assist with room setup, beverage pouring, hospitality, serving, and cleanup for Sunday Night Supper in Anderson Hall. The time commitment is 3:00–6:00 p.m.

Dish washers are needed to load the church dishwasher following Coffee Hour and other events to reduce the use of disposable products.


Christmas Wishes is a gift drive organized by Women at Fourth to provide holiday presents to Chicago Lights Tutoring students.
Contact Simon Crow

The School Supply Drive sponsored by Women at Fourth collects backpacks and school supplies every July and August for youth in the Chicago Lights Summer Day, Dance Academy, and Tutoring programs.
Contact Simon Crow


Chicago Lights Urban Farm volunteer opportunities are available April through November at the Farm, located at 444 W. Chicago Avenue.
Contact Paxton Suggs


For more information on all of these Social Service volunteer opportunities, contact Social Service Center Director Theresa Thornburg

Donation Organizers help sort, tag, and organize clothing donations for the Social Service Center. Volunteer opportunities can be scheduled Tuesday through Friday during the morning hours.

Food Pantry and Share Shop Helpers assist program participants in selecting food and clothing items, helping to bag selected items, and help to keep spaces organized. Volunteer opportunities are available on Tuesday through Friday mornings.

Outreach Services Volunteers join the Social Service Center staff in going out to the community and providing resources to participants who are experiencing homelessness. Volunteer opportunities are midday on Tuesday through Friday.

Food Truck Unloaders help unload the food trucks and stock the food pantry shelves on the second and fourth Monday of every month from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.


For all of these “Welcoming and Hosting” volunteering opportunities, please contact Director of Volunteer Ministries Robert Crouch

Coffee Hour hosts serve refreshments during Sunday Coffee Hour.

Discover Fourth Committee members work on innovative ways to welcome new people and engage them in the life of faith and the Fourth Church congregation.

Docents engage in friendly, warm conversation with newcomers while offering short guided tours of our historic sanctuary. A one-session training is required.

Inquirers’ Class teachers are members of the church who help tell to those considering membership the story of God’s goodness happening here at Fourth Church.

Shower Ministry greeters welcome those using the Fourth church showers on Tuesday afternoon. The schedule rotates; the time commitment is 1:15–4:00 p.m.

Welcome Committee members welcome and greet visitors, members, and guests each Sunday and at various open houses and other occasions in the life of Fourth Church.


For all of these worship-related volunteering opportunities, please contact Director of Volunteer Ministries Robert Crouch

The Beadle carries the Bible while leading the worship procession up the center aisle at Sunday morning worship services. The Beadle role is filled by members of Session or Deacons; others are encouraged to volunteer for occasional services.

Communion Servers are ordained Elders or Deacons in the PC(USA) who have attended a required training session. They help serve Communion in the morning worship services (first Sunday of the month) or serve Communion by intinction on Holy Days.

Lay Liturgists lead the congregation in worship by reading the Psalter or scripture lessons. Lay Liturgists participate in Sunday services as well as on Holy Days.

Ushers are ministers of hospitality who seat worshipers, receive the offering, and assist newcomers in finding their way. Ushers join a specific service team and are invited to serve during special services throughout the year.


9. Spiritual Enrichment


Men’s Bible Study, which focuses on the scripture texts from worship, meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 a.m. in the Loop.
RSVP (required) to Simon Crow

Women’s Bible Study is based on the Bible study guide from Horizons magazine. It meets via Zoom the second Wednesday of the month from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and also on those Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Contact Simon Crow


Labyrinth Ministry brings together people interested in taking part in the meditative labyrinth walks that are periodically hosted at Fourth Church.
Contact Rocky Supinger


Mindfulness Meditation is a weekly meditation session offered in person by the Center for Life and Learning for adults sixty and over.
Contact CLL Director Annette Mileski

Sacred Pause is a time of meditation hosted virtually by our Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being on Tuesdays (7:45 a.m.) and Saturdays (8:30 a.m.).
For details contact the Replogle Center


Path of Discipleship is a series offered during Lent as a time to engage, one evening a week, in book study, small-group discussion, table fellowship, and worship.
Contact Nancy Benson-Nicol


Contemplative Retreats are held at a nearby retreat center at various times during the church year, typically during Advent (December) and Lent (March).
Contact Nancy Benson-Nicol

Pilgrimage Trips are sponsored periodically by the Spiritual Formation Council. Past pilgrimage destinations have included the island of Iona in Scotland and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
Contact Nancy Benson-Nicol



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(at Michigan Avenue)
Chicago, Illinois 60611.2014
(Across from the Hancock)

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